These Outdoor Brands Are Stepping it up During the COVID-19 Outbreak

From Cascade Designs Inc. to L.L. Bean, outdoor gear retailers are shifting their factory production lines to face masks and medical gowns to clothe and protect health care workers on the front lines of COVID-19.

Cascade Designs, parent company of Mountain Safety Research and Therm-a-Rest, transitioned its Seattle factory to manufacture ASTM Level 1 medical masks. Production began March 31 with 1,000 masks a day, with a target of 20,000 masks daily.

The ASTM Level 1 medical masks provide protection for general medical use.

L.L. Bean is sewing dog bed liners into medical masks, with plans for as many as 10,000 a day. Production began March 31, and most of the masks are bound for MaineHealth, Maine’s largest health care network.

Canada Goose, best known for its $1,000 parkas, will begin making scrubs and gowns that will be donated to medical professions.

“The gear will be donated locally at no cost, with the goal of providing as much equipment as possible to those in need,” Canada Goose said in a statement.

Retailers are also paying attention to their employees while most of the country shuts down.

REI Co-op President and CEO Eric Artz said in an email April 6 that the company, which closed its 162 retail locations in March and continued paying all retail employees and maintaining their benefits through April 14, is hoping to begin curbside pickup within the next 45 days and gradually reopen stores in the coming months. REI currently ships all orders for free.

Artz said the majority of the company’s retail and field employees will begin an unpaid 90-day furlough on April 15. Health and welfare benefits will continue as normal for all eligible furloughed employees, and REI will pay 100% of health and welfare premium costs for all furloughed employees.

In addition, Artz said he will forfeit 100% of his base salary for the next six months and his incentive eligibility for 2020. The entire senior leadership team will take a 20% pay reduction for the next six months and will also forfeit all of their incentive eligibility for 2020.

Other outdoor brands are responding to COVID-19 as well.

The North Face: Donating 60,000 gloves to health care professionals and first responders, providing critical supplies to thousands in Colorado. All North American stores closed with a tentative reopening date of May 4.

Eddie Bauer: Shifted production to make high-in-demand N95 masks as well as surgical masks. Masks will be donated to Washington state through the state’s Department of Enterprise Services.

Patagonia: Stores, offices, and other operations in the United States have been closed temporarily. Employees able to work from home will do so, and all Patagonia employees will receive regular pay during the closures.

Outdoor Research: Seattle-based company commits to making 20,000 masks a day.

Zpacks: Producing personal protection equipment in Florida for local distribution.

Backcountry: Online retailers based in Utah donated 9,000 masks to the New York City Department of Homeless. Asking for donations for broader distribution.

Run Around the World Camaraderie Challenge: Sponsored by Nathan Sports, Merrell, and Trail Sisters. Virtual collective race around the globe, with participants contributing their miles until 24,901 is reached. Suggested $5 donation to register will go to the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

Swiftwick: For every pair of ASPIRE Twelve compression socks purchased, the company will donate a pair to medical professionals and support staff.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear: Producing face masks meant for regular people; not medical-grade quality.

Outdoor Retailer: The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2020, scheduled for June 23-25 in Denver, has been canceled.

Featured image via Maggie Slepian

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Comments 3

  • John : Apr 7th

    Just as a point of clarification, Outdoor Research is not owned by Cascade Designs.

    Reply
    • Hugh Owen : Apr 7th

      Correct. Thanks for pointing that out, John. I have changed it in the story.

      Reply
  • Lighter Me : Apr 10th

    Zpacks?!? Really? I guess you missed the Reddit thread about them and how they are putting their people at risk? Guessing you get some revenue from them?

    Reply

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