My “Big Three” Outdoor Gear – Backpack

I have been infected with the outdoor virus for some years now and since then I bought quite some gear. Most of my gear was bought second hand (because it can get quite expensive..) or before I was aware of any sustainability issues. However, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at my own gear and find out how green it actually is.

In this series I will have a look at my biggest and heaviest items the so-called ‘big three’; backpack, shelter, and sleeping bag.

Let’s start with my backpack(s);

Osprey Aether 60

The Osprey Aether 60 is the first piece of gear I ever bought. Generally  speaking it was a good choice as it is a comfortable and durable pack. However, I definitely made a beginners mistake by overestimating my ability to carry a 60 liter pack. After a while carrying a 60l pack is just not very comfortable. I also realized that the bigger the pack the more (unnecessary) stuff you put in it. Besides, just the pack already weighs 2290 grams!

Unfortunately Osprey is not clear about its sustainability. On their About Osprey page they do communicate an Environmental Message which focuses on long lasting quality gear which is ensured through their All Mighty Guarantee. However, any data regarding their production methods or environmental impact is lacking.

A 60 liter pack was
heavier than expected

Deuter Act Trail 38 EL

After some years of using the Osprey pack the search for something smaller and lighter resulted in the Deuter Act Trail 38 EL. Yes, downsizing this much definitely pushes my limits in deciding what to take, and yes I had to update some of my other gear to make it all fit in the pack. But its save to say that this is one of my best buys. Both because I enjoy hiking lighter and taking less stuff, and because it is a comfortable and high quality pack.

Deuter scores high on the social aspect of sustainability. They are a member of the Fair Wear Foundation which is a non-profit organisation that works on improving working conditions for garment workers. Deuter has achieved ‘leader’ status, which means they are doing exceptionally well. Like Osprey, Deuter also focuses on high quality gear with a long lifespan. Additionally, Deuter is a Bluesign system partner since 2008. Keep an eye on our blog: more info on Bluesign soon follows!

Conclusion

I bought the Osprey pack way before I took sustainability into account, and I was able to get the Deuter second-hand. However, to be honest, I did hope that both companies would score higher in terms of sustainability.

Even though I still have the Osprey pack I started using the smaller 38 liter Deuter for most of my hikes. Which pack do you always hike with? And do you know how sustainable it is?