Old gear is the best.
There’s old gear like the first tent you ever bought when you were young because you had a $50 gift card and you saw it hanging majestically from the ceiling of a grocery store for $49.99. The price was right, the quality was subpar, and it smells funny now, but you’ll always remember the beautiful places it inspired you to explore (even if it was just your backyard) and how it did its very best to shelter you during the early years.
Then, there’s the old gear that was passed down to you. Maybe it’s an incredible retro anorak that your mom rocked on the slopes when ski ballet was still a thing. Or, if you come from a particularly badass line of relatives, maybe it’s an ice axe that took your grandfather up Rainier back in the day.
We’re big fans of gear that stands the test of time. In fact, we’re still using our original blue enamelware from when GSI was founded in San Diego in 1985, and it works like it did on day one. But, at the risk of getting existential, the reality is that nothing lasts forever. We all love our gear, but sometimes we love it a bit too much or play in it a little too hard.
At GSI we support your outdoor adventures with gear that withstands the test of time and minimizes space and waste. We make conscious choices about our materials in order to create environmentally friendly and long lasting gear to keep you adventuring for years to come. Here’s how to tell if you should repair or retire your gear and what you can do about it instead of throwing it away.
How can you tell when gear is near its end?
Our gear is durable and made to withstand whatever life in the outdoors throws at it, meaning you need to buy new gear less often therefore minimizing your impact on the environment. Treat your GSI gear with tender loving care and it can last through all your adventures for years (even generations) to come.
The rule of thumb with cookware in general is that if any material is coming off the pan and ending up in your food, replace it. Not only is this unappetizing, but it’s also potentially unsafe. This may mean the non-stick or enamel coating is flaking off, you’re seeing copper come through, or you can’t remove the rust (particularly with cast-iron).
With GSI cookware, you can avoid this scenario entirely with our scratch-resistant technology. The Teflon® with Radiance Technology on our Pinnacle Series, for example, has abrasion resistance of 500 cycles and scratch resistance of 1000 cycles, so it can endure many years of abuse from metal tools. The Halulite Series isn’t even coated, making it impervious to scratching and abrasion in the first place. Our Glacier Stainless kitchenware can take a beating and keep on heating: each piece is made of high-grade 18/8 stainless steel and built to last for years to come.
GSI enamelware and polypropylene pieces are designed to withstand the wear and tear of outdoor life, so you can serve meals to your friends and family with the same table set for years to come. Our enamelware is specially hardened to withstand scratches and abrasions, and our polypropylene pieces are 46% more durable than other BPA-Free polycarbonate alternatives.
If your tableware does have an accident, it's time to retire it if there are chips or cracks on the eating surface. Luckily, our polypropylene is completely recyclable and enamelware looks really good living out a second life in the china cabinet.
Our stoves pack up neatly into a compact and efficient set, so that, if used correctly, they can last you through meal after meal. However, it’s important to play it safe when it comes to things like gas and flames. The biggest thing to be aware of here is gas leaks. Connect your stove to the fuel canister tightly but don’t light it. If you hear a hiss, try replacing the gaskets. If that doesn't help, then it may be time to invest in a new stove like the Halulite Minimalist Complete Stove and Cookset.
What to do if your gear is beyond repair
Your old or malfunctioning gear may not be a lost cause. Before you throw it in the trash, know that there’s another way. (Unless it’s somehow completely destroyed, ideally from years of use, in which case that is a beautiful thing and we know you got your money’s worth!)
- Check the warranty. Many outdoor brands, including GSI, stand by their products and will be happy to help you find a solution.
- Look for a replacement part. With our replacement parts you won’t have to buy something entirely new and completely trash the gear you originally had, thereby avoiding waste and saving money. Don't see the part you're looking for? Contact our great customer service team at 800-704-4474 for help finding what you need.
- Sell. Visit your local consignment store, or post online to Craigslist or an outdoor community on Facebook.
- Recycle. Because we have a company wide commitment to taking care of the planet, our polypropylene tableware pieces are completely recyclable. Give those trusty pieces a chance at new life.
- Upcycle. Get creative and start Pinterest-ing! Before you throw that torn tent away, save and clean the tent fabric to sew it into handbags, grocery bags, or wallets. Skis can be reincarnated into a coat rack, fence, or chair. Old snowshoes make for great cozy cabin wall art.
- Donate. Let’s face it: many outdoor activities aren’t cheap. Giving away your lightly-used gear can enable and inspire others who are less fortunate to get outdoors. It’s the ultimate (and perhaps the most rewarding) way to give your gear new life.
Just like us, our camping gear comes to a point where it has to be put out to pasture. Treat your camp cookware right and it will last a lifetime, saving money and the planet. Who new outdoor cooking could be so earth friendly? (We did.)