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    « August 2008 | Main | October 2008 »

    From the Trenches - "How much down is in your jackets?"

    TrenchesOur Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are our front line of communication with Patagonia fanatics far and wide. The crew here at our Call Center in Reno, NV are at it seven days a week, taking orders, helping with returns, and most importantly, answering the astonishing range of questions our customers fire at us. Like flocks of swirling swallows or shimmering schools of tropical fish, our customers swoop in with mysteriously synchronized concerns and questions on a regular basis, prompting the need for ready answers. Times like these, nothing would be more handy than magically beaming knowledge out into the ether. Our very own Old School is here to do just that. He's stepped back from the front lines to answer some of these popular questions, straight from the trenches.
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    "How much down is in that jacket?" That’s a pretty common question here in Mail Order, so I compiled a list of down weights for all our down coats. These weights are for size Medium and are in grams (1 ounce = 28.35 grams). The fill-power of the down used in each of the jackets is also listed. For an broader overview on down, see my previous post here.

    Hibernation Men's Lifestyle Jackets

    Men's Hibernation Parka - 205g (600 fill) If your pooch is like mine and demands a walk no matter how cold or blustery, this is your coat.

    Nanuq Jacket - 250g (600 fill) Another cold weather special in a bit shorter length.

    Stealth Downer Jacket -145g (600 fill) An everyday down jacket that won't make you look like you just stepped off the Grand.

    Women's Lifestyle Jackets

    Women's Ina Down Parka -170g (600 fill) A waterproof/windproof down coat for the coldest andFiona wettest climes.

    Women's Fiona Parka - 105g (800 fill) A long length down sweater, but even cuter.

    Women's Down With it Parka -167g (600 fill) If you're not down with cold weather, try this jacket.

    Women's Upside of Down Jacket - 105g (600 fill) Street-smart looks combined with backcountry warmth.

    Continue reading "From the Trenches - "How much down is in your jackets?"" »

    Solar Cooking

    Xtracycle_2The following post comes from author and urban homesteader, Erik Knutzen. I recently had the pleasure of working with Erik on a talk he gave at Patagonia Ventura about urban farming, vegetables, chickens, hooch, bicycles and cultural alchemy.

    I'm a big fan of backpacking sufferfests, which often involve a long drive followed by hiking thousand of feet up and over challenging, rocky terrain. The sense of accomplishment and breathtaking scenery is always worth the effort, but something is also to be said for an alternate camping scenario we’ve taken to recently, involving loading up our cargo bike (the amazing Xtracycle) and biking to our destination, all the while carrying almost as much as we would car camping. After rolling into our campground, we’ll spend the weekend kicking back at the campsite, taking it easy and pretty much not going anywhere or doing anything. With the carrying capacity of the cargo bike, we can get fancy with the food and libations, allowing us to skip the usual dehydrated camping chow.

    These sittin’ around type of trips, or even a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, are the perfect occasion to deploy a solar cooker. Best of all you can build a solar cooker yourself for pennies out of cardboard and aluminum foil. For some foods, such as rice, it’s actually easier to cook with a solar cooker than it is on a stovetop. Put some rice in a pot, place the pot in the solar panel cooker, stick it out in the sun and two hours later you have lunch.

    Continue reading "Solar Cooking" »

    Polar Bears Swimming Amongst Melting Arctic Ice

    Professional photographer and Cleanest Line reader, Scott Dickerson, contacted us recently about a unique aerial shoot he did with the US Coast Guard, University of Alaska, US Geological Survey and the World Wildlife Fund. It involved documenting a report of nine polar bears seen swimming amongst melting Arctic ice. He wrote about the shoot on his blog and gave us permission to reprint the story and photos below. Scott lives in Homer, Alaska and is a proud member of 1% For the Planet. He can be contacted through his Web site.

    Scottd_080828_3889e_2 The adventure started with a phone call last week from the World Wildife Fund - “Scott, can you be on Kodiak Island tonight for a flight to the Chukchi Sea?” Before I could think I answered, “Sure, what time?”

    Slowly I learned the details of the assignment as I packed my bags. Nine polar bears had been sighted swimming in the Chukchi Sea many miles off Alaska’s Arctic coast. It was a rare opportunity to fly with the Coast Guard and polar bear biologists on a survey to see firsthand the polar bears' plight as the sea ice they depend on melts away beneath them. This was an impressive example of agency cooperation amongst the US Coast Guard, University of Alaska, US geological survey and the World Wildlife Fund. Steve Rychetnik, videographer with Sprocketheads, and myself were brought along to document the effort.

    Continue reading "Polar Bears Swimming Amongst Melting Arctic Ice" »

    I Remember

    I remember seeing the surreal images on my uncle's television first thing in the morning, and trying to make sense of them on my way to work. I remember the eerie, empty feeling that pervaded the office that day, and canceling my flight to New York – it was scheduled for September 12.

    I didn't know any of the people who lost their lives seven years ago today, but I remember them anyway. My dad was a fireman. It could have been him that perished in an act of heroism.

    I don't know most of you who read this blog, but I remember that we all share the human spirit and the spark of life that pervades this planet. I'm grateful for the dialogue we've shared here, even when we disagreed. 

    I wish you well on this day of remembrance, and every day beyond.

    Surf Imagery at the Cardiff Store

    Choose_2_3 Maggie_pgonia_2

    Surf stoke is such a positive feeling. It enriches our lives and makes us better people. Surf art has a way of rekindling the stoke when we're not in the water -- it transports us back to the ocean in our minds and hearts.

    The crew at Patagonia's Cardiff surf shop have just such a display in their front window right now. Local surf photographer Maggie Marsek is plugged-in to the glide-inspired surf scene of San Diego's North County and she captures its essence in her photos. In other words, she brings the stoke. Stop by the store or visit Maggie's site to see her work up close.

    Another person who knows a thing or two about capturing surfing on film is Chris Malloy. The Cardiff store will be screening Chris' new film, One Track Mind, on Sept. 27 at 7:30 and 8:45 PM. The movie will be shown outdoors, under the stars and admission is free (first come, first served). Call the store for details or visit Woodshed Films for more screening dates.

    Hit the jump to watch the trailer for One Track Mind, and read about a few more events at the Cardiff store in September.

    [Photos: (left) Jon Peck and Carolina Roder, from Patagonia Cardiff, help Maggie choose photos for the store display. (right) Maggie with the final selections. Photos by Rob Rhyne. With thanks to 70percent.org.]

    Continue reading "Surf Imagery at the Cardiff Store" »

    Product Testing: Angel's Landing in a Monsoon

    We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.

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    Product Report  -  Rain Shadow Jacket
    Activity -  Hiking, Zion National Park
    Tested by -  Chip B., Patagonia Customer Service

    Top Wed. Aug 6th found my boys and I at Zion National Park,  ready to hike Angel's Landing. It was sunny and hot, in the low 90's. Thunderheads were building in the distance in every direction; harbingers of impending doom. Being monsoon season, I figured I'd better pack our rain shells before we got on the shuttle. Feeling like a casual tourist, I wore GI II Shorts [ed note: only Gi II Pants are avail. this fall], a Puckerware Shirt, and a Spoonbill Cap. The outfit was airy and comfortable for the hike up, despite the 90+ degree heat. This is an incredible hike and I would recommend it to anyone, unless you have acrophobia.

    Puckerware The paved trail ends at a saddle with a great view, and from there the trail goes up a very exposed ridge to the top, over what seems like another ½ mile. At one point it is about 3½ feet wide with a straight drop of 1200' on one side and 900' on the other. There are steel chains you can hold onto if needed, but they're only a few inches off the ground. The 4-foot garter snake that jumped out of the rocks in front of me seemed not the least bit concerned with the precipice on either side. The view from the top was amazing, but the sky was darkening quickly.

    Continue reading "Product Testing: Angel's Landing in a Monsoon " »

    LIVE: A Music and Surfing Experience

    Invite_2 Patagonia ambassador Mary Osborne sends word about the premiere of Live: A Music and Surfing Experience, a new surf film by David Parsa. From Mary, "It's a killer movie about surfing and music from the '50s to the present." Surfing Magazine says of the film, "Live: A Music and Surfing Experience dances through each decade and shows why the two go together like Shaun Tomson and tubes. You’ll be strumming your six string and waxing up before the credits."

    Check out the poster for a partial list of featured surfers and musicians. The screening will be this Wednesday, September 10, 7pm, at the Krikorian Cinema 6 in San Clemente, CA. If you can't make the premiere, the DVD is available to pre-order from the filmmaker's Web site.

    Watch the trailer after the jump and have a happy Monday.

    Continue reading "LIVE: A Music and Surfing Experience" »

    The Shorts: The Simple Joy of Moving Upward

    Shortz After hitting the road to enjoy the summer weather and record some future stories, Dirtbag Diaries host Fitz Cahall is back with another podcast to start your weekend off right. Today's listener-submitted Shorts episode is voiced by Craig DeMartino. From Fitz:

    If you plan on calling Craig DeMartino inspirational, he would prefer you wait to see if he can even drag his butt off the ground. After loosing his leg in a climbing accident, DeMartino had to retrain his body and learn his craft all over again. He hoped one day he would compete against the able-bodied, but taking on Chris Sharma in a World Cup? That was beyond dreams.

    Craig DeMartino takes us to Vail and the Teva Mountain Games. Behind the bright lights, big names and massive crowds, climbing’s everyman gets his moment in the sun.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:

    The Shorts - The Simple Joy of Moving Upward (MP3 - right-click to download)

    Like what you heard? The RSS feed, subscription link to iTunes, and contact information, should you want to submit a story idea of your own, are all available at www.dirtbagdiaries.com.

    Could You Go Naked in the Woods?

    9780786720088That's the question tacitly posed by a recent release from the fine folks at Perseus Books, “Naked in the Woods: Joseph Knowles and the Legacy of Frontier Fakery,” by Jim Motavalli. In it, environmental author and journalist Motavalli details the life and times of Joseph Knowles, a man who in the early 20th-century made a career out of what could only be described in today’s terms as “survivor-style” exploits. Simply put, Joe Knowles was the Bear Grylls of early America. As Motavalli notes in the book, the presence of these shows today is a testament to the staying power of a simple question: what would you do if you found yourself suddenly helpless and alone in the wilderness?

    Joe Knowles set out on answer the question on August 4, 1913. Stripped down completely--wearing only a loin cloth out of respect for the throng of attendant news cameras--Knowles stepped about as naked as can be into the still-wild woods of northern Maine.

    Likened to a modern-day Adam, Knowles commanded a large share of media attention as a result of his stunt, so much so that he fashioned something of a career out of his adventures. Upon emerging from the woods, Knowles stepped into a society more than eager for the speaking tours and special media appearances that immediately followed. But scandal followed, with claims that Knowles spent his time in the wilds secreted away in a remote cabin, not--as he claimed--killing animals with tools fashioned by hand and creating clothing from their skins. Thus, the driving question behind Naked in the Woods is the legitimacy of Knowles’ exploits.

    Continue reading "Could You Go Naked in the Woods?" »

    Country of Origin Information Available Online

    Footprint In early July of 2008 we announced the release of our factory list, available from the Leading the Examined Life portion of our site. As the post states, this was a big step for us. The Footprint Chronicles is our opportunity to maintain a higher level of transparency in our corporate practice. They were launched in the belief that within today’s corporate sustainability revolution lie some compelling stories, and that corporations themselves cannot be relied upon to always know which stories need to be told. The Footprint Chronicles provide an opening for more direct communication with customers. They are our chance both to tell what we are doing and to learn—from you—what it is we must do next.

    The publication of our factory list provides a perfect example of this process. Making our factory list public directly addressed customer concerns about Patagonia’s adherence to socially responsible manufacturing. But it opened the door for the next big question, "If Patagonia is looking for full transparency, why not publish the country of origin for each product in the printed and on-line catalogs?"

    We're happy to announce that we're doing exactly that. Hit the jump to find out more.

    Continue reading "Country of Origin Information Available Online" »

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