Gear Washers debuts this weekend in Feral Mountain Co.

The new technical gear restoring company wants to help stores help customers properly clean their sleeping bags, jackets, and more.
Anabelle McLean in ski gear

Anabelle McLean is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast.

Anabelle McLean believes there are two reasons people don't wash their outdoor gear: They either don't know how or they don't carve out the extra time. Because washing your ski pants or sleeping bag requires more than just mixing them in with your jeans and T-shirts.

Her new Denver-based company, Gear Washers, is making the process easier and less intimidating for customers while also incentivizing them to visit their local specialty outdoor retailers. Starting on Nov. 23, Feral Mountain Co. will be a drop-off location for Gear Washers.

“The idea is to keep alive the really great gear that’s already being made by outstanding companies," McLean said. "There’s no need to throw away something that’s perfectly good – it hasn’t gone bad just because it’s dirty. It is amazing what just washing and re-waterproofing will do. It’s a small investment compared to outright buying a new set of gear.”

Side-by-side comparison of clean and dirty jacket from Gear Washers

A side-by-side comparison of the Gear Washers' work: dirty to clean.

Using high-efficiency industrial washers at her Denver location, McLean launders synthetic and down apparel and gear items as well as re-waterproofs and UV-proofs materials that need it. She says she can micro adjust how much water she's using for each load based on how many garments are being washed, therefore wasting less water.

How it works: 

1. Place an online order at for the garments you want serviced. 

2. Drop-off those items at Feral and receive a confirmation number.

3. Pick-up your clean gear at the store. Turnaround is 4 to 5 days including weekend days.

Prices range from $60 for a tent (the most labor intensive) to $20 for hardshell pants or jackets to $18 for vests, dog packs, ski skins, hammocks, and unstructured backpacks. She also offers $10 add-ons like deep stain removal and re-waterproofing.

Nikwax is her cleaning product of choice. McLean says she aligns with the company's mission and commitment to sustainability, and because the waste water is free of chemicals, she feels safe handling it and using it on her customers' garments.

“Many people don’t realize that they should be cleaning their outdoor gear to help maintain its performance," said Heidi Allen, VP of marketing at Nikwax. "While Nikwax makes technical cleaners for people to use to care for their gear at home, the first time you wash a ski jacket or sleeping bag can be intimidating for some. Gear Washers provides an awesome service helping people get their outdoor gear clean and we’re proud to be their product of choice.”

Feral is McLean's first partner store and she's currently only equipped to serve shops in Denver, Boulder, and the surrounding mountains—along with mail-in orders. But as she grows her team and business and scales it, she is interested in eventually expanding beyond those cities and working with other retailers. 

With more stores and companies getting into selling consignment gear and offering rentals, she sees major potential for Gear Washers.

For more information about the new program, email McLean at, visit, or follow on Instagram at @gearwashers.


20180512_Feral Idaho Springs Shop Streetscape crop 2

A retail success story

On a recent rainy Thursday afternoon, the front door of Feral Mountain Co. swung open and in walked two scruffy guys wearing backpacks stuffed with everything they’d need for a trip to Canyonlands. Hours before they set out for Utah, they stopped by the Denver store for a few more

REI tent with sleeping bags inside

REI revamps used gear site

Chaco classic sandals for $50. Burton snowboard boots for $70. A The North Face parka for $138. No, these aren't items on Craigslist. These are listed on REI's used gear site, which received a facelift this week, plus new brands and more product categories. The revamp also more

Above view of Patagonia Worn Wear pop-up store in Boulder 2019

The rise of outdoor pop-up shops

'Tis the season for pop-up shops and exhibits, where shoppers have one more choice to find their holiday gifts. Customers nowadays are attracted to buying experiences and many brands are looking for ways to stoke desirability through their own seasonal stores in addition to more