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Outdoor Brands are now Making Masks and Hospital Gowns
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and some of our favorite outdoor brands are doing extraordinary things right now with their factories and supplies. During WWII, Ford converted its assembly lines to make bombers; now, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, Chaco is making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Simms is making hospital gowns.
The makers of our favorite sports sandals have paused operations at their ReChaco sandal repair facility and converted it into PPE production.
“Due to shortages being communicated in our communities, Chaco is temporarily pausing our ReChaco factory operations to focus on prototyping and producing masks and protective materials for health care providers, essential workforce, and front-line responders. Our ReChaco factory and Mobile Factory Bus are equipped with sewing machines, tools, and materials to usefully serve this need. Our trained staff is volunteering to serve in this capacity and we are committed to making whatever we can to aid in the response. We are following strict safety and sanitation protocols and using social distancing during production for our health and safety. We are partnering with our parent portfolio company, Wolverine Worldwide, our sibling brands, and local community organizations to source and vet materials, patterns, and prototypes. We are following the direction and approved specifications of the relevant authorities, and we intend to share what we learn over social media. We hope to inspire other individuals, brands, and companies to join the effort to do what you can. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a sewing machine and some creative thinking.”
If you’re like me, you own and love way too many backpacks, and at least one of them is made by Osprey, who, like Chaco, have also paused their warranty and repair operations to pivot into PPE production.
“Equipped with sewing machines, patterns and material from our local quilt shop, our warranty and repair team has temporarily suspended its business-as-usual operations to focus on producing protective masks for our local community. We have a goal of sewing 100 fabric masks per day to aid in the response and are giving them to health care workers and front-line responders in and around Cortez, CO. Our masks are being sent to Southwest Memorial Hospital as well as our local health department who supplies home health care and nursing homes in the area. In a continued effort to reduce waste, each mask is being sewn so that it can handle multiple washings. To preserve the health and safety of our employees and mask recipients, we are following social distancing protocols during production. We have also coordinated with the Governor’s office and plan to continue making masks for as long as we can be of assistance in helping to protect our community.”
The leading name fly fishing gear, Simms, recently converted their Montana shop from hand-cut waders into medical gowns for the Bozeman Health Medical Group.
“The gowns we are producing truly fall into our core-competency. We have the material, equipment and an expert team of sewers ready and willing to make the gowns. In order to combat the shortage of protective gowns, it is critical for our brand to play a part in assisting the American people during this difficult time. It’s been so inspiring to see all the brands in the outdoor industry repurposing their facilities, equipment, and skills to help those in need. We are thrilled to deliver the first run of gowns to the Bozeman Health Group and hope our efforts of support can extend beyond our local community to help others around the entire country.”