Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why the choice of traditional gear?

You might have noticed that I plead for the use of traditional and/or natural gear and materials.
On the BCUK-forum I frequently visit there is the discussion going on about traditional vs. modern (you can read it here ). One of the guys made a comment that made it all clear, at least from my point of view. It is this one:"For me, the important distinction is between equipment that's made using materials largely derived from petrochemicals, in far-eastern sweatshops, and transported halfway round the world, eg. most contemporary gear, and that which is made using materials of renewable origin (cotton, leather etc.) by more local makers. Its about impact on the planet and ethics. ", made by charliefoxtrot.
All I had to add, was the element of emotion. The feeling natural/traditional materials and gear give me, when I touch it. It feels not as cold and unliving as synthetics. It also links me to the natural world around us, because it was living tissue, befor turned into gear, clothing and equipment and that too you can still feel and see. It provides a direct link to the past and it's knowledge we try to relearn and re-experience. And last, but not least, the use of materials and gear from that category fits precisely into my filosophy and helps me to stay focussed, going the path I have chosen to go.

I am allways amazed when these discussions pop up (and I allways get drawn in...), that there are hordes of people claiming that todays gear will be traditional in a hundred years and that the "icons from the old days" were not traditionalists either, but modern for their times and would probably use modern fibres and gear too. Apart from the fact that if we were to set a standard for traditional/natural we should look at the native americans for instance and not some 19th century urban man, who happens to like camping too. This way they completely neglect or avoid the, for me, true content of the discussion; using materials with a huge ecological footprint (as it is so popularly know these days) vs. materials that are less demanding on resources or leave less longterm waste, between taking your responsibility as a consuming human vs. being a hypocrite, between truely caring for our world or being a pretender.
For me someone running around in all new synthetics, with all the latest gadgets and still claiming he cares about our world and our enviroment, is the same as a sportsmen, taking his car for a 2-minutedrive to buy a pack of cigarettes; a pretender! It is all about action, not words.

Using traditional and natural materials and gear actually is synonimous for my way of living. My family and I are going the way back. We do not buy all the latest and greatest, we heat our house with wood (allthough that means hauling everybit of it uphill, while we have an electrical heater standing right beside our woodfedheater), we use natural materials or surplusstuff as much as possible or desirable (There still is the socially acceptable standard or SAS).
Yes, we do have a car, simply because we do need it here, with the school, nearest store and facilities are 12km away and at this moment we can not do without. Yes, we do have a tv, computer, xbox and internet, because some of it we simply need to be able to function in this society and because we have children and that's where the SAS comes in, again. Some things are also leftovers from the years previous to our current path. Since these are still functional, they still will be sporadically used untill they quit all together.

Am I telling you all this to show you how good I am and to tell you I have all the answers?? Hell no! I am telling you, so you can see it can be done. To tell you that you can do it too and to hopefully hear from others that I can do it differently, easier or better, so I don't have to fall on my face each time and learn it the hard and painfull way.
And by repeatingly telling and writing about this subject here, I am hoping to reach someone out there, who might be triggered to think about it for himself and make up his own mind and act accordingly. We're a family of five, yet we produce less waste than a average modern 2-personhousehold and we use less resources than an average modern 2-personhousehold and we have only just begun to change our ways. Imagine what would happen if more and more were to follow....

Now I fully understand that we can not change what we are and do over night and that we can not shift the balance in an instant. It takes time, time to relearn and unlearn, to rediscover and revalue.
Yet I firmly believe that doing things in a less wastefull manor will help our world to become a much better place. I also realise that this is wasted on the vast majority. They prefer to remain ignorant, often delibaretly turning a blind eye, but maybe.... just maybe....

In the end I believe it is not just about discussing your choice of gear and material, wether you're traditional or modern, walk around in a buckskin jacket of a polyester one. It is about who you really are, what you truely believe in and what you are willing to do in order to support that.
If someone fully dressed in the latest hightech, fashionable acceptable gear with all the bells and whistles came up op me, looked me in the eye and honoustly told me that he wholeheartedly believed that this was the best way for our world, I shall absolutely respect that. But I doubt if there would be many....

This is my truth, not THE truth....


  1. Your path is an honorable one, Ron. I admire you. I'm not in a position to do things in quite the same way as you, but I am making progress, bit by bit.

    As for the choice of gear type, I definitely agree with environmental protection as being a big factor in choosing natural/traditional gear. I think for me the main thing is the pleasing look and feel of the materials. I don't know what it is, I just like wood, steel, leather, canvas etc. It's not even so much about the past, tradition etc. (although I do appreciate this element of it) I just really like how they look and feel! :)

    1. Hej Matt,
      just realising you are on that path, is a major step too. I do not expect many to go as far as we are, but even small steps, one at a time, can make a huge difference!

  2. I have an appeal towards traditional gear as well. I own some modern gear and while it is fine to use, I just never catch myself wanting to use it. I find in most of my time spent outdoors there are two things I enjoy most, first is the outdoors itself, second is connecting to a simpler time that is long gone. It's easier to get that feeling with traditional gear. It's also one of those things where I have my reasons, but don't necessarily feel the need to justify it. I like using traditional gear so that's what I'm going to use. To each their own.

    1. Hej O.E.
      It isn't really about justifying, but more to state the reasons and maybe someone recognises them and is triggered to start thinking about it, himself. See it as throwing a small pebble in a pond; the splash maybe small, but the ripples go on and on.....

  3. Hi,
    I could simply say something about surplus, shipped long distances, to another continent, and the ecologic sides of it, but then again, the surplus seriously lives so long, and serves so well, that the ednurance of it, might justify it anyways, so ill shut my trap and tell you that i am a surplus geek as well.

    To me eco thinking is also a fact and a factor, in many aspects of my life, we dont consume trendy clothing, nor trendy food, we dont buy new electronics, like bigger tellies when our neighbour does, etc.


    To me, traditional gear and bushcraft, especially our own finnish way to do it, reacehs out to the past, has always and always will be, about honoring and learning the tricks from the past, and more than that, i myself, believe that traditional gear, even if its traditional only by its material, and not by the looks always, it makes you EXPERIENCE the feelings, they push you harder to learn the skills, required in the past. You mean, if youre all wet, soaken wet and chilly willy cold in snow rain, after ski´ing in moist day, you certainly feel the experiences just as your ancestors, and you feel the same, real need to get that frigging fire going , to warm up your self as well as dry your clothing, unlike if youd be wearing some immediately drying artificual plastic underwear and nylon gore tex overlayer all cushioned with some down an pair of those insane bAttery heated boot soles. Even changing simple meaningful importat pieces of kit, like swapping from ergonomical superb modern backpack, to hidious cotton pack, with or withour external steel frame, certainly CONNECTS YOU TO THE PAST better, etc... ;)

    1. Hej Perkunas,
      by surplus i don't just mean military, but civilian too.
      I will not buy surplus which has to be shipped for 1000's of kilometers anymore. All I buy is local and maybe even locally made.
      I believe that connecting to the past is vital for our future existence, since there are all the lessons we need to relearn and many of the answers modern man so desperately needs.

  4. Hi Ron
    We're basically on the same path.
    For me it has kind of been a round trip from basic through the gear junkie period, and I'm now back to basic (or at least on my way back to basic).
    I feel that picking up the spirit of my ancestors and their connection and understanding of how all things are connected is the most important, the eco/environmantal friendly part of it is just a bonus.
    I came to a point were I felt that the main objective of being outdoors was to use the gear, instead of using the gear as tools for being outdoors. I think theres a subtle but important difference there.
    Landing a nice trout with a XXX$ fly fishing rod gave me nothing, compared to landing the same trout with a freshly cut Goat Willow stick, line and a simple hook with earthworms.
    It is difficult to explain, specially on a lanuage that is not mine. But I'm quite sure you understand Ron. And I would like th share that trout with you once Ron, prepared over a small fire the traditional way:-)


    1. Hej Skaukraft,
      I have gone through that cycle too, maybe to some lesser extend, but still. I think many of us have or still do, because I also think that with growing in a certain direction comes the adjustment of ones gear.
      As for the trout on traditional fire; I'll make sure we can, when the season gets there!

  5. On the issue of ecological and economic footprint, I think often times things are not what they appear. Many manufacturers of modern gear go through great extent to ensure fair labor practices and use of renewable resources. Many manufacturers use mostly recycled polyester for example, for their clothing. On the other hand, many manufacturers of wool and cotton have despicable labor practices and use methods that pollute and have a high environmental impact. If we are interested in using products with the smallest economical and ecological footprint, we have to look at each individual manufacturer, regardless of whether their products are made of polyester or wool. There are manufacturers in each category that use fair labor practices and sustainable methods, and there are manufactures in each category that have despicable labor practices and cause high levels of pollution.

    1. Is that so, Ross?
      Then how come lots of large companies (from whatever industry) transfer their factories to Asian or Eastern European countries? Somehow I have serious doubts that they do that in order to make sure their employers get treated fairly (very low wages, long working days, sweat shops, child labor... ring any bells?). I also doubt if they do that so that they can follow strict western ecological guidelines and laws, wether they leather boots or plastic canteens. But for some reason, especialy the industries using manmade materials seem to find their way to our oriental neighbours.
      And using recycled polyester? Somehow I have the feeling that if that were true, we'd be hearing much, much more about that in the media. Those companies would certainly make sure we, the public, would know! Because that is what sells these days!
      You are right, we should absolutely check out each individual company befor we buy anything and with the internet around, that should not be to hard. True, the manufacturing of cotton these days is no where near ecologically friendly as many of us what like to see it and sheep and cattle have a serious impact on ecological systems, too. No argueing there! But at least their "products" are less wastefilling and are far more biodegradable than nylons and other manmade fabrics.
      And by simply looking at the surplusmarket I see many items from the old days with steel, leather, canvas or wool yet not all that many in polyester, nylon or similar fabrics. Agreed, the previous have been around for much longer, but somehow they also seems to far outlive their modern counterparts.

    2. I like traditional materials too but also use some of the new ones aswell. What I think speaking about ecological footprints etc. is that when people buy well made good quality and longlasting (and recyclable) products instead of cheaply made poor stuff which cost you very little and break after few days of use and cannot be fixed is very good way. World is so full of waste cause "consuming" is trendy word and those business men design products that won´t last too long to have continuous market. Who remember Nokia mobile phones beginning of 2000? Man could use it as a hammer to beat nails into walls and it still going strong. Today if you drop your smartphone into the floor (or even take it out in winter) will break it. And if you treat it well it can last year, max. Before mobile phones were used longer and people bought new batteries when old ones died, today you cannot change battery anymore cause nobody uses phone so long that battery will die :) That´s just one example, there´s thousands of more of it.
      Also I buy a lot of stuff from fleamarkets and I think that if product is once made (even have strong eco footprint) the best way is to take most out of it and use it into the end rather than let it to go dump in good condition.

      I´m happy to hear your attitude Ron and very happy that you have found possibility to live bit more old fashioned way. I´m doing a bit same and feel great when splitting logs to get my house warmed in winter! But I´m just very beginning on my path aswell and have plans to get further in future when possible.

    3. You are absolutely right, Finnman.
      It is this whole consumerthing that really ticks me off! I can say that none of my stuff I use these days is new. All is secondhand, either from surplusstores, secondhand- or thriftstores or fleamarkets.
      I have to admit that I did replace gear that was not broken with secondhandstuff that follows my filosophy. That replaced gear ended up with my kids, who do use it till it breaks beyond repair and even after that it will be looked upon to see if there are alternative uses for the parts or it gets taken apart into materials and disposed of separately.
      As for cellphones, I recently had to replace my old one and I do mean old (10 years at least)! I could use it to make calls and send messages; that was it and that was all it had to do. It died of old age... and my current one is an old beat up phone, but that too still works. I hate those "phones" with all the gadgets and gimmicks... what good do they do?

    4. I'm not sure why you have not heard about it Ron. Most of the companies publicize it quite prominently. Patagonia for example publishes reports on their full production chain. For many companies, it says it right on the label. A lot of the fleece these days for example is made from about 80% recycled material. You can look at something like Polartech.

      I think we have fallen into the trap of thinking that wool clothing in particular is environmentally friendly because it went out of mass use, and is now only made by a few small manufacturers. If we look at the age in which the "traditional" products were mass produced we would be shocked by how much pollution was created.

      Sustainability and eco friendliness? The reality is that there was a time traditional cotton production in the US required the import of slaves from Africa, that traditional wool production displaced hundreds of thousands of farmers in the UK, and that most bodies of water were polluted from leather tanning.

      There is a very good chance that if we all switched to using traditional gear, the impact on the environment would be a lot greater.

      We can't compare apples to oranges. We are looking at large mass producers of "modern" clothing and gear, and then comparing them to "traditional" gear made by small local manufactures these days. I bet you that if Smartwool had to mass produce clothing for half of the world's population, the environmental impact would be just as bad as that of any modern manufacturer, and would certainly be made in China.

      Historically, "traditional" gear has had a huge environmental impact, and has been produced through horrific labor practices. That is why we have to look at each manufacturer individually no matter if the gear is traditional or modern. Most mom and pop manufacturers have good labor practices and are more eco friendly. This is as true for wool manufacturers as for cuben fiber backpack makers. Mass production, which lowers cost, tends to lower the labor standards and cause more pollution.

      As far as waste, yes, many of us are wasteful. however we can be wasteful with canvas as well as nylon gear. One has the advantage of being biodegradable, the other has the advantage of being recyclable. I don't know what is available on the second hand market, but canvas and leather are a lot less durable than nylon. I think we forget that a lot of gear we consider "traditional" is made from modern materials. For example the ALICE packs we see everywhere are made of nylon. I'm sure they will be around for a long time.

    5. I find it interesting that you compare the productionproces and waste produced by the manufacturing of "traditional" materials and "modern" materials and than point to practices from many decades ago as compared to the processes now. Given the technology, knowledge and worldview, I'd say that really is comparing bag of apples to a crate of oranges, wouldn't you? They did not know than what we do know now, yet for all their faults, the goods produced back than were made to last and be repaired, not thrown away at the first sign of a torn hole or a fashionchange.
      This whole recyclingthing is indeed an issue to ponder over. As far as I know the recycling of plastics of all sorts isn't as wide spread as we think, is it? Don't know how fleece is made, but even if it is made out of 80% recycled manmade (I am assuming here) fibres, than that still leaves the questions as how much did the original materials cost in energylevels (manufacturing, transport), raw materials (oilbased products, chemicals) and waste.
      I read labels and there is an alarmingly large number of them that says;"made in....some oriental country". Very few show a European country (in my case) and very few, if any, state the amount of recycled materials.

      You talk about massprocution and to me that is exactly the keyfactor! If we were to switch to natural materials (traditional if you will) we'd be consuming much, much less! Simply because of the very considerable pricetag of raw materials! And be honest, it is much easier to patch up a leather and canvaspack (with a simple needle and thread and still use it for years) than it is with a nylon and polyester one.

      As for durability, I'd love to see how an nylon alicebackpack would look in say another 30-40 years. To me they hardly classify as traditional, btw. allthough I'd rather use one of those than one of those new fancy packs, even if it would because of the idea of reusing it. What would one of those fancy packs look like in 50-60 years, I wonder... I dare even compare a wool sweater to a fleece one. Those modern things are simply NOT designed and made to last.....

      And a random search for nylon, appearantly a very common manmadematerial used in many items incl. clothing, resulted in this phrase, but was backup by others, stating something similar; Quote - "Various nylons break down in fire and form hazardous smoke, and toxic fumes or ash, typically containing hydrogen cyanide. Incinerating nylons to recover the high energy used to create them is usually expensive, so most nylons reach the garbage dumps, decaying very slowly. Some recycling is done on nylon, usually creating pellets for reuse in the industry." end of quote.
      I didn't even mention the productionproces and it doesn't seem to like sunlight (UV) either. Somehow I'd rather have wool, thank you very much.

    6. Well, on the first issue, a nylon pack will last much, much, much longer than a canvas one. There is no way around that.

      As far as production methods, you are right, currently there are no mass produced "traditional" items. I give the historical example of how much those production methods can pollute, and how they can also lead to horrible labor practices.

      If we switched to natural materials, you could be right that we will waste less because they will cost so much more that our standard of living will drop so much that we will not be able to afford to be wasteful. I'm not sure I can say i approve of that approach. The other thing that can happen of course (which I think history tells us will happen) is that we will get cheap mass produced natural materials, and just like modern materials they will be made in China and destroy the environment.

      You are comparing current cottage manufacturers what make traditional gear to mass produced modern gear. I don't think it is a fair comparison. If you compare cottage manufacturers of modern gear to cottage manufacturers of traditional gear, I think you will see that the economic and environmental impact is very comparable. If we are to get mass produced traditional gear, i think it will be comparable to mass produced modern gear.

      I think history shows us that people will get what they want whether it is made from natural or modern materials, and they will do what they can to make it happen. I hate to bring it up, but all those nice World War II canvas pack people like to use from mainland Europe have a very high probability of being manufactured using either child labor, prisoners, or Jews in a concentration camp. I think I'll stick to my modern pack.

      We have to look at each manufacturer individually, regardless of what material is used.

    7. Sorry I had to cut that short. I'm trying to write this on my phone.

      The reason I mentioned the historical practices with respect to traditional or natural gear, was to point out that there is nothing inherent to the material itself that makes it better in ecological or economic sense. It is perfectly possible for a company to produce wool clothing and canvas packs in a way that destroys the environment and uses horrific labor practices.

      When companies try to maximize profits and mass produce objects, quite often the results are poor environmental and economic impact. However that is independent from the material used (at least in this case).

      If we look at companies today, there are manufacturers of non outdoors wool clothing (suits, coats, etc) that make their clothing in factories in China and don't care where the materials come from. Similarly you have companies that guarantee their modern packs forever and go through great lengths to be transparent about their production methods.

      Like I said before, if we care about the environmental and economic impact of our gear, we have to look at each company individually. Using the material as a guide to the production methods is a poor way to do it , and often gives incorrect results. I am not saying that all production of modern gear is better than all production of traditional gear. What I am saying that in many cases it can be, and we have to look at each company.

    8. It is not I, but you, who brought up the comparisson between todays cottage industries and large manufacturers, Ross, not me.
      You keep claiming a nylon pack will far outlive canvas ones. Well, prove it! Come with conclusive evidence and not some goofy, homemade experiment. If you want to discuss matters, stick to facts and don't come up with such nonsense as jewmade canvaspacks! Most of the stuff from that age is US-made or did you use jews, too? The rest pretty much got destroyed or ends up in the hands of collectors.
      I, for one, have several pieces of evidence right here around me; a well used 1930´s scouts messtinset, still going strong and liely to outlive me, a 1944 Swiss army backpack (no jews were harmed during the proces), a 1940's Swedish backpack (no jews either), an early 1960's German army backpack (no jews or other kind of slavelabour involved), a (probably) 1960's Finnish Savotta backpack (well used, repaired, yet still going strong with many more years left in it). Hell, I even have clothing from the '40's and '50's that still soldiers on! The list could go on for much longer, but you get the point. And looking online and knowing what you can get on fleamarkets, thriftstores etc. there is much more of this stuff still going around after being used and in many cases even abused. So to me that proves that old stuff is durable and predates our throwawaysociety. I did have my fare share with modern stuff, too and found myself far less impressed with their durability qualities. I do mean using it for real, not on a weekendhike in the woods, but during military exercises and training, sometimes being in the field for a few weeks on end. Practically none of that gear could go the distance, apart from my Berghaus Vulcan II.
      If I, however, look at nylon for instance, I see that it takes huge amounts of energy and materials to produce them, that is takes equally large amounts of energy to reuse them, so no one bothers and throws it away, it releases toxins on a serious level, when burned and that it breaks down, when expose to sunlight (UV). These are one of the first things you come across if you start te reseach the matter.... And I haven't even brought up the subject of getting the rawmaterials and the transport half way across the world and back. yet still you keep claiming it is good???
      Yes, I know productionmethods of that old stuff were far from being anywhere near enviromentally friendly (using massive amounts of water, wood or coal), but back in the days they did not know about that or did not have the luxury to think about that. A large economic collapse, a world war and a rebuidling-of-the-world-decade sound like pretty decent arguments to sidetrack the enviroment, at least to me.
      Yes, I know; they used slaves one..... and they still do, because you know as well as I that much of the manufactured goods these days does not originate in US or European factories, where workingconditions and wages are on an acceptable level.
      Yes, I know; they polluted the enviroment on a monumental scale back in the days and did not look what byproducts or waste ended up where. And so it still is today. Agreed, in western society the rules and laws are strict about that, at least in Europe, but the large companies always find ways to bypass those, either by moving to previously said asian or eastern European countries or by simply illegally dumping their junk. And if that doesn't work, they'll simply buy their way out of trouble. I can still remember seeing whole neighbourhoods being evacuated and torn down, because the ground they were build on, was so poluted it was classified as toxic waste! What about toxic wastedumps on a very large scale in sewers, rivers, lakes and forrests?

    9. Yes, we should look at each company individually, but using an example of a Chinese manufacturer of wool non-outdoorclothing vs. a modern backpackproducer is quit a false argument, don't you think? Neither is anywhere near the traditional/natural side, so I believe you have missed the entire point of this discussion or are desperately trying to downgrade the tradtional/natural aspect in favour of the manmandematerial one, which you so obviously love.
      Somehow I think that manufacturing (just the proces) a wool sweater or a canvas backpack has far less impact than the production of a fleece sweater or nylon backpack. I think there is far less energy needed and there are far less undesirable byproducts.
      Back in the days people often simply did not know about the impact of their doings, simply because their world was not much larger that the neighbourhood they lived in. They had no education, no media or any other way of knowing. We, on the other hand, do know today and deliberately turning a blind eye borders on criminal neglegence to me!

      I am convinced, and the info and evidence I have found over the years support that, that the impact of natural/traditional gear from the very beginning to the very end, has far less impact (but still does) that the use of modern/manmade gear.

      Let me clarify what I mean from beginning to end; the total proces from obtaining raw materials to disposing of waste and anything between. Transport, energy used, durability, wastedisposal or -reuse, the whole nine yards!
      And traditional/natural is material made without the aid of large factories, consuming massive amounts of energy, materials and/or chemicals, with limited amounts of waste. A Chinese made replica of an canvas armypack is not and a 1970's Alicepack isn't either. A 1940's Swiss horsehair backpack to me is, just as much as a modern handmade US backpack, if care is being taken by the selection of materials and productionmethods! The waste should be biodegradable within a man's lifespan, I think. And finally there's also the intention; to what purpose and with what idea is something made? Is it made to function properly and last for many years or is it made to be discarded after the next fashionchange? Is it made to please and serve a small targetgroup or is it made to be massproduced and shoved down the consumer's throat by any and all means necessary?

    10. Ron, you seem to be taking this rather personally, and starting with the personal attacks, so this will be my last post here. Take it for what it is.

      I think you are presenting very little (none) facts about the cost (economic and environments) of producing either modern/synthetic or traditional/natural gear. I know you like one more than the other, and you may have valid reasons to do so, but this particular reason (economic and environmental cost) is very fact specific, and you are not offering any facts. You can twist it around however you want, but some companies that use and produce natural materials have horrible economic and environmental impact, while some manufacturers of modern materials have a much smaller impact. I have given you the names of a few manufacturers. If your position is that every manufacturer of traditional gear is more eco friendly than every manufacturer of modern gear, I think you are just wrong on the facts. Since you have presented none here, it is hard for me to look into your sources. Furthermore, if we equate the scale of production, I think you will see a huge environmental impact across the board.

      As far as durability, it is just a product of physics. Look at durability tests on different materials. That aside, every military service has moved away from canvas and leather and now uses synthetics. Even old GI wool clothing was part synthetic for the added durability. Wool is notoriously non-durable, and canvas and leather suffer from severe rot problems.

      I don't know what stores you visit, but here we are neck deep in surplus ALICE packs that will be around for a very long time (have already been around for 40 years or so). Refusing to use them because they are synthetic is the height of waist. If we look at more modern manufacturers, many of them guarantee their products forever. If you look at Gregory and Osprey packs, they not only guarantee them forever, but the guaranty travels with the pack itself, so if you give it to another person, the guarantee is transferred to them.

      I am not saying that you shouldn't like traditional gear. I just think that your moral outrage is somewhat misplaced and based on personal opinion and anecdotal evidence rather than the full facts. It is okay to like something just because you like it. There is no need to try to force the evidence into making it look like the best thing on Earth. I think at the point where you are justifying the historic practices of certain manufacturers because they just didn't know better, I think we are way off from actual historical reality.

      I look at each manufacturer and see if they are responsible producers or not. I don't just paint everything black and white with a broad brush. You clearly feel more strongly about this issue; certainly a lot more so than I do. Like I said, at the point where where the personal attacks start, I think it's time for the conversation to end. I will not be bothering you or your world view any further.

  6. Finnman has a good point. Buying new stuff to replae old, but still functional, will never ever be environmentaly friendly. The workers of the factory can eat grass and fart oxygen, and the recycled polyester can be flewn in to the factory by white pigeons, and it will still be a waste of energy and resources.

  7. Ross said :
    "I'm not sure why you have not heard about it Ron. Most of the companies publicize it quite prominently. Patagonia for example publishes reports on their full production chain. For many companies, it says it right on the label. A lot of the fleece these days for example is made from about 80% recycled material. You can look at something like Polartech. "

    Maybe Ron hasnt heard that, cause of the same reason, for which i am unaware of those, as brands like patagonia and Polartech, etc, produce gear that does Not please me in any way, since theyre just plain ugly, and often, the modern hikinf stuff will remain ugly as hell, bright and noisy.

    Just my 2 cents :)

    1. That may very well be the case. It however does not change the issue of environmental or economic impact. I understand that people might select gear based on what looks good, what makes them feel connected to nature, the past, etc. That is a separate issue.

  8. Traditional gear, I think, does not have a gimmick- people get tired of gimmicks.

  9. Well, the point is, many people of nowadays using all that hightech PVC stuff from all these known brands, for a good feeling, nothing more.
    It´s a great masterpiese of marketing which works. In fact, bushcraft (I don´t like to use this word) is now thr meaning for camping, trekking, hiking and so on; and have nothing to do, with the "old style", so like "being trapper".
    Now it´s a mixture of all "styles", but this is another story...

    I personally like it, to mix new materials, and classical stuff; cause it works!
    But I don´t buy all these clothes or gear new, NO, I sell it in Second Hand shops or on markets.
    All we buy, if it´s cotton, Linen, Wool, Polyester, Nylon or so on.. now is 90% produced in Asia. There´s no discussion. Even the military clothes like Leo Köhler etc. are producing there.
    Since time of higher industry (industrialisation) all going more and more away from natural process in any way.
    We can see the results everyday in oceans, woods, rainforest, in the sky...
    And it´s not only the Outdoorsector!

    I think, TRUE traditional gear is only made from self hunted deer, Ren, horse, goat... made from leather, wood, bones.. all stuff, that indigenious tribes still use for their everyday living. And we people in europe have an own cultural background, with all the slavic, celtic, "viking/rus", merowing...
    This is OUR heritage of tradition, and if anyone will live a traditional way of classical bushcraft/woodcraft; look at these people, the ancestors.
    I think, this is the only traditional path, we can do. all other is still only camping ;-) (joke).
    BUT: we must accept, that we all live now in 21st century, with all the misery, all violence, slavery, f***ing money messing.. We only can do our best, if we buy something, to sell from local producers, regional products, or homegrown things. Or make more and more in homework, with needles, thread.
    Look in the past, but look in the future, too!
    Our NOW is the results from all fails from past..
    The connection with nature, with all spirits of em, don´t need any gear.
    we ARE nature.

    cheer waldkauz

    1. hej Waldkauz,
      gut dich auch hier zu treffen!

      Thanks for your reply. You sure do have valid points there, especially the last 2 sentences.

    2. Yieh Ron..
      I sometimes come here to ya blog and read a little bit :-)
      Also I like the pictures you show, all this from your "new" homeland.
      If I had the chance or some more money, I would also go to Sweden or so on.
      But, as artist...
      So I only can do my way here, where I still am.
      Blessings to you and your family; enjoy mother earth..