War is good business. There's no denying it. Probably every sector of the U.S. economy is hungrily eyeing the $441.6 billion earmarked for military spending in 2006 - a number that represents an astounding 45% growth in spending since 2001. You'd have to be stupid or perhaps deeply principled e.g. really stupid, to ignore the potential profits a nice fat slice of the war pie can offer your business. No business or industry seems to be immune, not even *sigh, ours.
Camelbak: Definitely the most open about selling gear to the war machine. They are the Dr. Strangelove of outdoor gear. A whole section of their site, in fact, is devoted to selling gear to military. And they are mentioned in countless articles including this one in USA Today. Not comfortable with this? Try Platypus hydration systems. I couldn't find mention of them selling to the military. But who knows.
GoLite: Another proud supplier to the US military. Back in 2003 5% of their sales were coming from the military. I'm sure it's even more now. The same USA Today article has this fine quote, "War can be good for smaller companies," says Demetrios Coupounas, co-founder and president of GoLite. Yeah boy! Nothing like killing 30,000 Iraqis and over 2,000 Americans to really drive home some good profits.
North Face: I don't get it. They're out there saving lives in Pakistan while at the same time they're making a tidy profit selling Met5 (you were wondering who bought them) jackets and other gear to an institution specialized in ending lives. A Time article, Troop Chic, also gushed over the industry for selling to the military. "The North Face recently added a camouflage fly to one of its expedition tents in the hope of making more military sales. In every other way, says Jill Pagliaro, a spokeswoman for North Face, “the design for Alpine athletes and military usage is similar.” I guess when you're driving profits for a huge corporation, you can't let any segment go, including the war segment.
Black Diamond: This one hurts folks. I hold/held BD to higher standards, despite what Ultraformat has to say. But even they sell to the military according to their own site. Albeit the Austrian military. Which somehow seems even worse.
Arc'Tryx: Another company quite proud to be selling to the machine. From their site: The Marines also needed about 200,000 units of the pack—called Improved Load Bearing Equipment, or ILBE—over four years. When the bidding dust settled, Arc’teryx had won the contract.
Outdoor Retailer: This completely floored me this year. Among the seminars on Environmental Sustainability and Green Business Practices you had Doing Business with the U. S. Military at last summer's OR. Am I the only one who sees the absurdity of this? An industry promoting Environmental awareness at the same time it supports an industry that scars, destroys, and pollutes the environment? My head hurts.
The list goes on. Oakley, Johnson Outdoors, Oakley, Rain-Shield, Integral Designs. In fact, even if you wanted to buy gear from manufactures that don't support the war machine, you might be hard pressed to find them. I will spare you my opinion on the matter. It should be evident by now. I'll just remind my 10 readers you have a choice. And I'll remind the industry we also have a choice. The outdoor industry is not in the bomb or the gun making business. Killing, or "defense" as you might call it, are not our core business nor is it necessary for our survival. As my dear friend Albert Einstein once said, “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” Perhaps we could focus on the prevention side and let someone else intimately more skilled and knowledgeable work on the preparing.
House Backs Arctic Drilling As Part Of Pentagon Spending Bill!
Finding a backdoor, the Republicans have managed to attach drilling in the ANWR to the Pentagon spending bill. Ironic in some way given my post last week about the outdoor industry supporting the US military. The industry must be stoked about this. Holida
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Dec 19, 23:09
How Would You Feel About Profiting from War?
Now here's something interesting to think about over the new year: What to do when your company is offered a lot of money to sell to the US Military in the middle of a highly controversial war. It's not an...
Weblog: Triple Pundit Tracked: Dec 31, 04:27
Ray Jardine Is The Man
I've never read Jardine's Beyond Backpacking
which is supposed to be the bible of "light-backpacking" but there is a
good article about him in the Adventure Sports Journal. From the
article you get the sense that he wants nothing to do with b
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Jan 13, 09:38
NOVA's "Deadly Ascent" Into Bad Climbing Reality T.V.? Maybe?
I don't even own a t.v. which may explain a lot, but if I did, I might consider watching this show tonight on NOVA. First a disclaimer, this was sent to us by a p.r. agency, but since it's airing on public television I'm thinking it may not suck. It can
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Jan 17, 08:34
The Chrome Bags Sultan: Waterproof Pack For Your Wet Gear
These guys are headquartered down the street from us so I took a little stroll to say hi and take a look at their product. If you haven't heard of Chrome Bags, they've been around since the 90s making messenger bags originally but have since expanded th
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Jan 18, 07:43
Camelbak's New CEO: Eager To Sell To The Military
Camelbak announced that they've brought on a new CEO to replace Glenn Gross. I'm sure the employees are stoked that he has an MBA from Stanford. He'll fit right in. Though, if I was up in Petaluma and read this, I'd be sending out a few resumes:At Marin
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Jan 21, 02:26
Live Blogging Winter OR O6: Innovation Buzz Welded Construction
Welded construction continues to be one of the hottest innovations and is moving out of apparel into shoes and packs. Pioneered by our friendly military supplier, Arc'teryx, welded construction eliminates stitching in favor of high-tech adhesives spread b
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Jan 29, 08:25
Top 10 Reasons You Know The Outdoor Industry Is Dead
What I mean by dead, is not thriving. And by not thriving I mean, life sucks if you are trying to sell backpacks or hydration systems or anything but cute climbing pants to Marina Girls. Ask Dana Design. Anybody hear from them lately? Now, of course,
Weblog: Getoutdoors.com Outdoor Blog Tracked: Feb 13, 09:50
I was wondering awhile back how such a vast profusion of outdoors companies could stay in business, considering how few people I see on the trails.
I thought, chraritably, that the reason is that such gear can be sold all around the world because outdoors people are everywhere. Now it's much more clear: who does the most camping and hiking, regular folks or grunts serving in the military?
While it's true that it's unnerving that all these companies are selling gear to the war machine, it's also perhaps true that the war machine is the reason why we have such a fantastic choice of gear.
I'm fine that these companies sell to the military. I'm sure this endeavour supports R&D that allows the average outdoorsman/woman to enjoy technical and effective grar. They are in business and I doubt even fewer could afford high quality, technical gear if products weren't developed for the military who I'm sure puts the product to test.
Your just now figuring this out??? The outdoor industry has actively been going after military contracts since well before the first Gulf War. Malden and Gore have been major suppliers for ages. Big guys with military haircuts have been wandering the aisles at every OR trade show since it started. Perhaps you'd prefer the troops use substandard gear while they're supporting your way of life.
Actually, the 30,000 + figure for Iraqi deaths since the U.S. invasion comes just from deaths reported in the media. Epidemiologists published a study in the British medical journal Lancet in October 2004 that found about 100,000 excess deaths since the invasion. See http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0140673604174412
But hey, who's counting? Certainly not the killers who extort my tax money for war.
"We don?t do body counts"
General Tommy Franks, US Central Command
I had no clue companies like North Face sell to the military. It is rather shocking. I've been buying things from them for years. Something I will change immediately. The question is who to buy from? I would hope that Patagonia is one of those that does not sell to the military. Would anyone know whether they do?
thanks for the listings, now i know which companies i will support (those who support
our troop) can you imagine a company in business for a profit! how low can you go
You people have to much time on your hands GET A LIFE.
Ok, well, I have to admit I am a bit surprised at this post. While I tend to agree with your sentiments regarding our current government's policies, I do NOT have a problem with outdoor equipment manufacturers selling to the military (and/or law enforcement). First, whether in war or at peace, the military always has been and always will be a large customer. This has been the case for centuries and millenia. For better or worse, there are times when it is necessary to take up arms (not limited to wars - for example Katrina) and during these times there are a lot of people outdoors, sometimes under extremes that go beyond our imagination. The demands of the military have always been a significant source of funding for research and they always will be. I have been a beneficiary of the output of the research as have most outdoor enthusiasts. I have to ponder what action you would have these companies take? Stop selling to the military because they are (stuck) in a war? So the companies should not sell tents to the military? Remember not all equimpent goes to Iraq - do you want there to be nothing available for aid in the next Katrina (or earthquake overseas)? Should pharmacuetical companies refuse to supply bandages or antibiotics? Flat out, I do not think any of this logic makes sense to me. North Face, Camelbak, and Arc'Teryx did not send troops into Iraq the elected US government did. Blame them for this (I do) and vote them out (I will keep trying to do so).
Thanks to Camelbak, GoLite, and the North Face for products that make sense in the climate that we fight. I'm sorry that some do not support giving the boys on the ground the outdoor products that make the job more comfortable.