Outdoor gear lying on the floor
Outside Business Journal

Fall is here. Time to clean out your gear closet—sustainably.

Cairn's "Gear Up, Give Back" program makes it easy to keep old gear out of the landfill

Outdoor gear lying on the floor
Jiakai Chang

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Every year, outdoor gear gets better. And if there’s one thing we all know, it’s that it’s hard to resist new toys. 

One unfortunate side effect of continual product improvement, however, is that old gear tends to pile up in our closets, and then eventually gets tossed in the trash, even if it only needs minor repairs—or worse, is simply out of style.

That’s where the “Gear Up, Give Back” program from Cairn (an Outside-owned company) comes in. As one of the outdoor industry’s most flexible upcycling programs, the initiative allows consumers to give their used gear a second life—while simultaneously funding outdoor experiences for children and adults with disabilities.

Here’s how it works. The program accepts all gently used outdoor equipment and apparel across just about every activity you can think of: hiking, camping, backpacking, running, climbing, cycling, skiing, paddling, and more.

The first step, after identifying gear you want to donate to the program, is to pack it into a box to get it ready for shipping. After that, you can head to Cairn’s website to print a free shipping label. You’ll be sending your pre-loved gear to Gear Fix, a company that cleans, repairs, and resells outdoor goods. Simple enough, right? It gets better. Cairn and Gear Fix are matching the net proceeds from the gear sales and donating the funds to Outdoors For All, a nonprofit that supports adaptive and therapeutic recreation for children and adults with disabilities.

The two Bend, Ore.-based companies are on track to donating $30,000 to Outdoors For All in 2021. With the funding, the nonprofit serves over 3,000 individuals a year, helping people enjoy the outdoors through snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country and downhill skiing, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and more. 

“The pandemic has affected everyone—and disproportionately, people with disabilities,” says Ed Bronsdon, the nonprofit’s executive director. “More than ever, Outdoors for All is committed to decreasing social isolation, fostering mental health, and increasing physical fitness through adaptive recreation.” 

This year, you can feel good about clearing out your closet and making room for the latest and greatest of the new season. 

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