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Old fleece

Interesting article in Outside about The North Face's Denali fleece and fleece mid-layers generally.  https://www.outsideonline.com/2414471/the-north-face-denali-fleece-history

i have a denali fleece jacket - old enough that i can't recall when i got it.  Still a great jacket, though i tend to stuff others into a backpack for hikes of any length because the Denali is bulky and doesn't vent moisture as well as some other options.  when patagonia first started selling fleece in the 80s, they offered jackets that were inside-out versions of today's 'retro x' fleece, without the windblock layer and with very little wind protection, period.  a while back, i picked up a somewhat improved version of it, probably made late 80s or early 90s, on a used clothing website.  the fleece isn't as soft as the 'retro pile' patagonia resumed selling in the last few years, but it's much more durable and remains a very good layer for hiking in colder weather.  can't argue the quality - these things can last a lifetime.  
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Interesting read.

While not quite as old, when I was working at a thrift store in college, an old Columbia fleece came through the donation room. It didn't take long for me to buy it for a paltry $2. (Biggest benefit of working at a thrift store is getting first crack at buying the goods).

The fleece was already old at the time I snagged it (2006), guessing it was made in the mid-to-late 90's. I've replaced the zipper, but otherwise still wear it.

Has it faded? Yep. Is the fabric thinning a bit? Of course. Is it still the best fleece I've owned and most long-lasting layer I own? You betcha! 

I have a light Patagucci jacket from around 1987.  It is has a couple of small holes in it, but the zipper is still good.  I wear it often. 

I actually have a tanned sheep hide with the fleece attached.  it is great to sit on in cold weather around a fire.  Sometimes I sleep on it.  Great insulation and very comfortable.  I used to have a sheep hide with sheared fleece on it, that I left in my pick up to sit on when I lived in the Rockies. .  It was much warmer than vinyl when the temps were below zero. 

ppine said:

I actually have a tanned sheep hide with the fleece attached.  it is great to sit on in cold weather around a fire.  Sometimes I sleep on it.  Great insulation and very comfortable.  I used to have a sheep hide with sheared fleece on it, that I left in my pick up to sit on when I lived in the Rockies. .  It was much warmer than vinyl when the temps were below zero. 

 I have a sheered and tanned fleece lambskin, its small, I use as my winter pillow.

Due to fleece's habit of constantly shedding into the environment, when being washed in particular I think will soon become "Politically Incorrect". Then possibly it will become "extinct" on the market - except perhaps on the used gear market.

So dear readers, hang on to your fleece garments as relics of a bygone era.

Eric B.

there has definitely been press about how fleece garments threaten the environment by shedding microfibers into the watershed, and eventually into fish and others that live in the water.  typical waste treatment plants only remove 60-90% of it.  

the wool industry generates excess manure that pollutes groundwater and waterways, excess greenhouse gasses, soil erosion from overgrazing.  Mothproofing is primarily accomplished with chemicals that may be a neurotoxin.  

either way, the way people live has some impact on the planet.  i'm not sure outlawing clothing is the way to go; any synthetic alternative will have some impact on the environment, and cotton, aside from being useless in damp/wet weather, uses huge amounts of water and a lot of pesticides.  

-it would probably be straightforward to add better filters to washing machines.  they would have to be emptied periodically, same as the lint catcher. (current solutions aren't so easy to install or use: https://www.septicsafe.com/washing-machine-filter/  or, use a filter bag like this: https://www.patagonia.com/product/guppyfriend-washing-bag/GP001.html

-farming livestock for wool can be done in sustainable ways to avoid overgrazing and spread the impact of manure.  Perhaps less toxic chemicals can be found to mothproof.  

October 27, 2021
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