Waste Not, Want Not

New ways to reduce, re-use, and recycle.

"Waste is a tax on the whole people."—Albert W. Atwood

Sustainability is the name of the game these days, and the outdoor industry is attempting to rise to the challenge. While top brands are starting to take responsibility for the environmental impact of production, every dirtbag has been inadvertently sustainable for years. In our increasingly disposable culture, where “if it’s broke, replace it” has become our mantra, taking small steps to reuse, refurbish, and repurpose our gear can go a long way to a cleaner planet and a thicker wallet. Win-win if you ask us. Here are some ways to turn trash to treasure and some cheap alternatives to pricey gear.

Trash to Treasure
Old bike tubes.
Cut in half, pierced inner tubes transform into “ranger-bands”—super strong bands of any length used for lashing down gear. They’re also highly flammable and can be used as firestarter in a pinch.

Plastic Gatorade bottle. A $2 water bottle that may not be unbreakable, but is pretty darn durable—and how hard do you drop your $10 Nalgene anyway? Once it wears out, fill it with tap water and use it as a shooting target. 

Old rake. Every garage has one. Put it to good use by removing the dilapidated fingers and tossing it in the boat as a spare oar.

Food containers. Rinsed of PB&J debris, re-sealable zip-locks are great for organizing your batteries, extra buckles, and pieces of rope and webbing. Used yogurt tubs are pretty much free Tupperware, perfect for day-trip lunches or for freezing that leftover elk chili. 

Cheap Fix
Found the bliss of fatness underfoot but stuck with an old skinny-ski touring setup? Summon your inner dirtbag and save some cash. Take your old skins and cut a slit down the center, leaving several inches uncut at the tip and tail. Now you can spread out each skin when you take your fatties out, or keep them together on your narrower setup. Two for the price of one: a penny-pincher’s special.