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    Product Testing - Hemp and SunTech Tame the Horrors of Okra

    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 staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.


    Product Report  -  Caplilene Silkweight T-shirt (aka: Capilene 1), Sun Tech Shirt, High-wire Hemp Jeans, Lightweight Endurance Ankle Socks, and Nomad Boots
    Activity -  Championship Okra Wrestling (read: volunteer work for EarthWorks Community Farm)
    Tested by -  James Enochs, Environmental Coordinator, Patagonia Pasadena

    Enochs3 It all started with the crash of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. I’m not sure exactly when, but at some point in the very distant past, those two tectonic plates smashed together and formed the San Gabriel Mountains, just above Patagonia’s Pasadena store. Sometime later, rainfall formed the San Gabriel Valley, and at the southern end of that valley, right where it meets the Los Angeles River, a smaller fertile indentation on the landscape was formed that would later be called the Whittier Narrows. Much later, LA County Parks and Rec donated four acres of what was being used as overflow parking for the nearby Whittier Narrows Recreation Area to a group called EarthWorks Community Farm.

    [James battling wasps and stickiness in the sea of okra, armed only with his trusty Sun Tech Shirt and High Wire Hemp Jeans. Photo: Sean Carter.]

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    Sock Testing with Ultra Long-Distance Walker Gregor Sieböck

    Dsc_0588_2 Earlier this year, I was introduced via email to Austrian ultra long-distance walker, Gregor Sieböck. An interesting individual, an even more interesting pursuit; what exactly is ultra long-distance walking? I came to discover that it’s not a competitive sport, but more a way of life for Gregor and a vehicle to carry his message of sustainable living across the world, one (literal) step at a time. Inspired by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Gregor has sought to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” a walking pilgrim and ambassador for Mother Earth, encouraging others to lead simpler, more sustainable lives. Having already walked the world once, from Austria to New Zealand via South America (15,000 km), and currently immersed on a new walking endeavor across Europe on ancient pilgrim trails, Gregor has been walking his talk.

    [Gregor Sieböck takes a break in the Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy. All Photos Gregor Sieböck Collection]

    In a moment of serendipity, Patagonia’s Director of Product Testing and Development, Duncan Ferguson, happened to have received a stash of prototype Ultra Lightweight Hiking Crew Socks that same week which needed to be field-tested. So I put a couple pairs of socks in the mail to Gregor to begin an “ultra” field-test; all day long, day after day, for months on end. We got a lot of great feedback from a crew of field-testers; everyone spoke to the socks’ comfort on runs, wicking capabilities, and blister-free experiences, but only Gregor’s feedback came with validation gained from 1780km of non-stop abuse. He dropped us a line recently having concluded the sock test, and we’ve graciously shared his remarks and images here.

    Continue reading "Sock Testing with Ultra Long-Distance Walker Gregor Sieböck" »

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