Backpacker magazine announces Zero Impact Challenge design contest for sleeping bags - SNEWS

Backpacker magazine announces Zero Impact Challenge design contest for sleeping bags

The Challenge Following on the heels of the successful Zero Impact Backpack Challenge (featured in the March 2008 Gear Guide), BACKPACKER wants to continue to do its part to encourage more sustainable product development. So today we’re announcing a new contest for sleeping bag designers. The challenge: to create a 3-season bag whose materials and manufacturing process have minimal climate impact.
Author:
Publish date:

The Challenge Following on the heels of the successful Zero Impact Backpack Challenge (featured in the March 2008 Gear Guide), BACKPACKER wants to continue to do its part to encourage more sustainable product development. So today we're announcing a new contest for sleeping bag designers. The challenge: to create a 3-season bag whose materials and manufacturing process have minimal climate impact. We want you to design and produce one sample for our editors to test. We'll take these bags into the field, then describe and celebrate the top performers in a special feature in next year's Gear Guide. To qualify, your bag must rated to 15-20°F, and it must be a viable product that could be (or is) regularly manufactured by your company.

The Timeline
We will have a conference call with all potential participants on May 9, 2008 (details to follow in a separate email) to go over the challenge and let Cooler field questions about the analysis procedures. By June 1, we ask that any companies participating in the challenge notify us, so we know how many bags to expect.

The Deadline One sample (regular length) must be delivered to Backpacker headquarters by September 1, 2008*:

ATTN: Zero Impact Challenge/ Backpacker
2520 55th St.
Suite 210
Boulder, Colorado 80301
*If the bag is ready sooner than Sept. 1, don't hesitate to send it early so we can begin testing.

The Judging Criteria We've worked with Cooler, our climate partner, to determine the judging criteria, which will be explained in detail during the conference call. We'll give you a clear sense of where sustainability matters—i.e. you get a greater net carbon savings by greening the energy used in manufacturing and transportation than you do by using a moderate fraction of recycled materials. A significant fraction can make a big difference, and prior analysis has shown that manufacturing overseas can, depending on the countries involved, actually be more efficient from a global warming perspective. We'll walk you through the factors that we're looking at to help you understand how to achieve the best carbon rating within our framework.

We'll be looking closely at your use of recycled/renewable materials and overall sustainability, taking into account both the initial impact of fabrics and manufacturing as well as the bag's durability and end-of-life recyclability. Each bag should be accompanied by a document explaining and substantiating your bag's carbon footprint, with a detailed list of materials and an explanation of each material's positives and negatives. (When we say “carbon footprint,” we're looking for the best estimate you can give us on the net greenhouse gas emissions that would be required to manufacture this pack if it were to go into production.) We also invite you to tell us about any other unique environmental or performance benefits – the more information we have, the better!

When we field-test the entries, we will also take into consideration more traditional performance characteristics such as comfort, fit, weather resistance, warmth, packability, weight, ease of use, and versatility. It's important that your bag is not just green, but also a trail-worthy performer!

The Award We will tell our readers about this challenge in an upcoming fall issue. We'll announce the winners next spring at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, in our Gear Guide (April), and in our soon-to-launch green channel at Backpacker.com.

Questions? Contact gear editor Kristin Hostetter at khostetter@aol.com or (617) 298-7670.

Related

Backpacking NC Challenge 2011

Great Outdoor Provision Co. joins Osprey, MSR & Thermarest with author Joe Miller & UNC Press to inspire folks across North Carolina to go backpacking. Sometimes all you need is a little extra incentive to get you out the door and into the wild.Like an MSR Pocket Rocket Stove. Or ...read more