Jun 01 2014

Patagonia’s Recycle program


Yvon shows how to hydrate the right way - before the climb.

Yvon shows how to hydrate the right way – before the climb.

For years I’ve known about Patagonia’s legendary lifetime warranty, but, until last week, had never used it. As a gear ‘ho/reviewer I rarely latch on to a single product and hold it, thus, no need to exercise a lifetime warranty.

Patagonia’s puffy pullover was an easy exception to make. Initially I wasn’t too keen on it and for use in the backcountry I’m still more of a fan of a down vest than a sleeved puffy. But the reality of living in the mountains where temps are generally cool made the adoption of the Patagonia puffy something of an inevitable choice. It’s great for taking the dog for a walk, or hanging out at a hut apres ski, or my flawed use, when you wake up and haven’t stoke the pot belly stove yet.

Soon enough that potbelly stove and my down puffy had a close encounter and the puffy did not come away without serious scars. All I did was graze the door while stuffing wood in, but that’s all it took to sear holes in the sleeve behind the cuff. An 800°F slab of iron can do that. A classic duct tape patch worked for the first hole, and it even survived a run through the wash cycle to clean off the soot. However, a repeat encounter left multiple holes in the fabric and it was too much surface area for duct tape to hold on. Besides, Deb refused to let me wear it in public. I kinda liked the dirtbag styling, but over time I had to admit the fact that it was leaving a trail of down meant it needed replacing. It was already past being worth fixing.

Lifetime Warranty OR Recycle

Then a friend suggested I take advantage of Patagonia’s lifetime warranty. With the Patagonia outlet only a half hour away it was worth trying.

I knew better than to even ask about a warranty exchange, since the damage was not from mere long term use.

“Do you have some sort of exchange program, or repair you could make to this,” I asked?

“Hmmm, that looks pretty bad,” the gal behind the counter mused. She politely eliminated the option of a warranty exchange.

“It is sort of abused,” I agreed.

“We could give you a credit for it, with our recycle program,” she countered.

“What would that be?”

She punched a few buttons and said in a deadpan quizical way, “A hundred bucks?”

About as plain jane as you  can get - simple pullover down sweater. Back in black.

About as plain jane as you can get – simple pullover down sweater. Back in black.

I took the offer, walked over to the rack of discounted puffies and found a new one for $125. Plus tax minus the credit I walked out the door with a new, unseared, Patagonia puffy for 33 bucks and change.

The new puffy isn’t quite as warm, and it doesn’t have a sneaky chest pocket. Nor does it leave a trail of feathers wherever I go, and the old puffy was actually a tad too warm and an ugly green made more attractive with soot. This one promises to get even more use, though I’ll have to remember to take it off when stoking the stove.

Thanks, of course, to Yvon and the crew at Patagonia for standing behind their products even when they probably shouldn’t. There’s a reason Patagonia is still the clothing brand others try to emulate.

Price: Not Cheap
Warranty: Lifetime, and a cool recycle program.
Lots of sizes and colors. Get one.

© 2014