The importance of minimizing our consumerism is under the spotlight more than ever before, and between climate change and climbing costs, it’s likely that you’re keen to get as many years as possible out of your favorite hiking backpack or sleeping pad. But a large part of the reason that outdoor gear enthusiasts are particularly guilty of frequent re-purchasing is because our gear takes a serious beating and needs to be replaced faster than fashion.
No matter how careful you are, you’re bound to snag that down jacket on a thorny branch, break the zipper on your one-person tent or wear down the soles of your hiking boots after hundreds of miles. So should those items be banished to the landfill where their synthetic materials will remain until the end of time? Not with the rise of outdoor brands offering gear repair services.
Increasingly aware of their role in carbon emissions and overflowing landfills, many leading outdoor brands are offering so-called circularity programs, where they’ll repair your worn or damaged gear. Whether it's a sleeping bag or waterproof jacket, these companies breathe new life into it by mending tears, replacing zippers and buckles, and re-waterproofing. Some of these are fixes you can make on your own, such as washing your sleeping bag, while others such as zipper replacements are better left to the professionals.
These programs mean that your gear can get a second – or even a third – chance at protecting you from the elements on your adventures, while you spend less and dispose less while you’re at it for a happier planet. Furthermore, it means you can shop for less-than-perfect gear second hand, save money and have it restored to its original condition.
Whether you’re clueless with a needle and thread or just don’t have the time or equipment to tackle mending or cleaning your gear, you’ll really benefit from these nine outdoor brands that will breathe new life into your favorite gear.
Colorado-born Osprey doesn’t just want to send you out into the wild with the best of backpacks, it's committed to making sure yours lasts a lifetime too. Billed as the All Mighty Guarantee, if there's a problem with the way your backpack has been made, the company will repair or replace it free. Damage from wear and tear isn't covered by the guarantee, but the company will still aim to get your bag back to a functional state. These days, Osprey is even producing new backpacks made using entirely recycled materials, starting with the marvelous Osprey Talon Earth 22, which we’ve been loving on for the past year.
Patagonia makes apparel for hiking, surfing, winter sports and fly fishing, and is also an industry leader in environmentalism. It makes 100% recycled goods like the Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Sleeping Bag, and even charges itself a one percent Earth Tax to provide support to environmental non-profits working to defend air, land and water around the globe. Its Worn Wear program is designed to extend the life of your gear with instructional repair videos and blogs and mail or bring your damaged gear into a store to see if it can be fixed. In the US, you also have the option to trade in old Patagonia gear for credit towards future purchases and shop for used Patagonia gear.
Global brand Rab started with a hand-stitched sleeping bag in a Sheffield attic in 1981 and has grown into selling a full range of gear for mountain-based activities, such as the highly-rated Rab Khroma 30L Ski Pack that we skied in this winter. Environmentalism has long been at the heart of this success story, and today Rab's Service Center offers repairs on their backpacks, sleeping bags, softshells and mid layers, waterproof, down and synthetic clothing starting at just £10 in the UK (US prices aren’t listed). You pay first, mail your gear in, and the team will fix it up and send it back to you. If your gear just needs spruced up for the season ahead, send in your waterproof or down gear for a wash starting at $35 for a jacket (£15 in the UK)
Portland-based Danner has been crafting exquisite hiking boots like the Mountain Pass since 1932, and while its footwear is built to last, it's now extending the life of its boots even further with its recrafting service. If you’re in the US and your Danner boots are looking a little worse for wear, head to the recrafting site and enter your boots' model number to see if they can be repaired. If they can, you’ll send them into the Portland workshop where they’ll be restored to their former glory with new components, then shipped back for free. If you’re outside the US and Canada, you can still use the recrafting service, but a $150 shipping fee will be applied to return your boots, so it’s advisable to seek a cobbler closer to home.
If you’re lucky enough to own a high end technical shell by Canadian brand Arc’Teryx, you’ll be keen to keep it in working order for as long as possible. Lucky for you, their ReGear program accepts your old Arc’Teryx gear in exchange for a gift certificate, refreshes it, then sells it on at discounted prices.
German-based Deuter has been making bags for well over a century now and we love getting outdoors in packs like the Deuter Futura 30. Their Deuter Promise offers a lifelong free repair service for customers in the US and the EU on any of their backpacks. All they ask is that you clean your backpack before mailing it in to them.
Salt Lake City-based Cotopaxi is on a mission to manufacture their packs and apparel entirely using recycled or environmentally responsible materials by 2025, and they’re getting close. Environmental awareness is at the heart of what it does, and its Guaranteed for Good program offers a backup plan for when your high quality gear gets down on its luck and offers repairs and trade in for credit services to their US customers.
8. Mountain Hardwear
Mountain Hardwear builds technical outdoor gear for rugged adventures, like the Mountain Hardwear Exposure/2 Gore-Tex Pro, which ticks all the boxes for us. Its team believe their gear is worth more on the mountain than in the landfill, and we agree. The company's Repair Over Replace program aims to fix your gear whenever they can – just submit a claim to have your gear inspected by one of the experts.
Montane was founded over 25 years ago on an expedition to Chile and the name has become synonymous with lightweight and breathable clothing and equipment for mountain professionals from the British Antarctic Survey to British Mountain Rescue Teams working in hostile conditions. We can't get enough of their wet weather protection such as the Phase Lite Waterproof Jacket on our hikes. The Montane Repair Service offers maintenance for your Montane jacket or trousers starting at just $20.
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.