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How We Extend the Functionality of Your Gear—and Repair It

Patagonia  /  7 Sep 2017  /  4 Min Read  /  Worn Wear, Snow

Reno repair technicians ham it up at the cutting table last winter. Left to right: Silvia Aguilera, River Rees, Andy Cook, Jola Sciepura, Crystal Roberts, San Khan, Claret Garcia, Nelly Hernandez, Leslie Castle and Angelita Gonzalez. Photo: Ken Etzel

Lasting Function and a Commitment to Repair

In a landscape of disposable ski and snowboard fashion, fixing and keeping your snow gear in play is the most radical act we know. On average, most of us keep a piece of clothing for just three years, yet the materials and processes for making any new garment are tremendously costly to the planet. The average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year, of which 85 percent goes to landfills. Only 15 percent is donated or recycled, although most discarded clothing is suitable for reuse.

We build your winter garments and equipment to last. We want you to keep them in use—to love them for the experiences you’ve had with them the way so many have been trained to love brand new things for their pristine novelty. Like a good backcountry partner, your snow garments become something you can trust; you know what they can survive and where they thrive. They’ve trudged the last steps to faraway summits and toughed it out on multi-day missions. They’ve been immersed in the season’s best turns and endured a few tears and repairs along the way. Why wouldn’t you keep them around? Just to swap them for next season’s color?

Photo: Jeff Cricco

Crested Butte Ski Patroller Ellie Atkins gives her jacket the good ol’ duct tape treatment inside the patrol shack—a temporary fix to get her through the day. Crested Butte, Colorado. Photo: Jeff Cricco

At Patagonia there are two ways we are changing our relationship to things: first, our dedicated approach to building durable, meant-to-last high-performance products with recycled inputs wherever possible. For example, this season our pinnacle PowSlayer Jacket and Bibs are now built with 100% recycled GORE-TEX® Pro face fabric. And second, our commitment to repairing, repurposing or recycling your garments at the end of their life.

We discovered about 10 years ago, after publicly committing to take back from customers anything we’ve ever made, that in the “Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle” mantra, recycle comes last for good reason. Some things shouldn’t be made, or bought, in the first place. Everything made comes with more environmental cost than we can repay. Whatever breaks should be fixable. And whatever still works, yet merely hangs in a closet or sits in a garage, should be put back in circulation.

Each time we have ramped up our repair facility in Reno, we have outgrown our capacity within months to the point where we now operate the largest clothing repair facility in North America (repairing about 50,000 pieces per year).

Photo: Tim Davis

Repair Tech Andy Cook fixes one of the nearly 50,000 garments repaired at our Reno facility last year. Photo: Tim Davis

Photo: Tim Davis

Looking down on our Reno distribution center and repair facility. A short walk over the Truckee River gives employees access to an extensive trail system behind the building. The shoulder of Peavine Peak beckons in the distance. Reno, Nevada. Photo: Tim Davis

Photo: Fred Marmsater

Patagonia Repairs Supervisor Tanya Nawrocki looks for matching trim pieces (zippers, buttons, pulls). Photo: Fred Marmsater

Photo: Ken Etzel

Patagonia Repair Tech Manuel Rivera fixes a ski patrol jacket. Photo: Ken Etzel

Photo: Tim Davis

The boneyard: Repair techs will pull usable parts and fabrics from these shells when needed. Photo: Tim Davis

Photo: Tim Davis

Andy Cook removes a strip of seam sealing tape from the zipper backing of a PowSlayer Jacket after heating/loosening it up on a Geo Knight heat press machine. Photo: Tim Davis

Photo: Tim Davis

When a garment can’t be repaired, it doesn’t get thrown away. These bails of irreparable garments are ready to be upcycled, recycled and/or repurposed. Photo: Tim Davis

Every Patagonia Snow garment is built for lasting function and straightforward repair. If your shell is hammered, we’ll fix it in Reno or we’ll teach you how to fix it. If it’s beyond all help, we’ll repurpose or recycle it.

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