Nature

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Q: What is the greenest tent on the market?

What is the greenest tent on the market? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

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A:

Steal the packs of some AT thru hikers as they're cooling off in a swimming hole—or maybe using the privy—then dump their stuff on the ground and take inventory with an enviro-minded perspective. You'll probably find a plastic mug and food containers; maybe a plastic whistle and compass; petroleum-based fleece clothes (most likely not made from recycled materials) stuffed tightly into Ziploc bags to stay dry; a non recyclable gas-burning stove; a sleeping bag stuffed with synthetic insulation; and a shell jacket made from some kind of mystery proprietary waterproof membrane invented in a chemical company's evil laboratory. In other words, a hard core hiker's backpack is basically a big giant bag of global warming. With straps.

This situation is beginning to change, though, as a steady trickle of new outdoor products is being introduced that come from 100-percent recycled materials. Two notable tents fit in this category, the Nemo Nano Oz and the Big Agnes Salt Creek 2.

The body of the yellow-and-gray Nano Oz single-wall tent is made exclusively from recycled post-consumer plastic—from the floor to the top of the shell. Its aluminum DAC Featherlite poles are anodized using non-toxic methods. It weighs 4 pounds 3 ounces, fits two people, and sells for $449.

The roomier and heavier (6 pounds, 5 ounces) Salt Creek 2 uses all-recycled polyester for its fly and body--and as its white color indicates, no dyes were involved. (Good luck keeping it white for long in the backcountry, though.) Even the zippers are recycled. Price: $349.

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