Geeze, I’m like synthetics from head to toe here. About the only things not produced in a factory were my wife’s cookies and the PB&J she lovingly prepared.

Me and my brand names

Just thought I’d post this, seeing as how my new job implicates me in the business of helping hikers decide which gear to buy. In an ideal world we’d all find local artisans to build our packs, sew our shirts and tack our shoes, but the urge for practicality and convenience nudges us into the arms of Big Business.

Truth be told, just about everything listed here could’ve been manufactured in somebody’s garage, by somebody I could call up in person if a strap frayed or a seam split.

Furthermore, fabrics made of natural fibers could replace just about everything here.

I’ve gotten pretty jaded about the “We Recycle!” pitches on everything from jock straps to mason jars, but the prospect of my pile of poly-what-have-you multiplied by millions of hikers worldwide makes these efforts seem almost noble. Sure, it’s a ploy to drum up business, but here’s the thing: hikers just like us are pressuring them to green up their businesses.

My guiding principle based on the products above: Be extra careful about what you buy — you may be living with it for a very long time. Don’t hate yourself for buying at REI, but do try to keep your home-grown outfitters in business. And take a long hard look at cottage industry gear; it just feels good to be able to know the person who put your stuff together.