Toad&Co Sustainability Cheat Sheet

When it comes to sustainable, easy-on-the-earth clothing, there are some great options. But the apparel industry is still one of the biggest polluters on the planet due to poor-quality, cheaply made clothing. The industry is the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil, and accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. We’re doing our part to bring those numbers down by making high-quality clothing from better fibers. Our Sustainability Cheat Sheet identifies fibers that we think are good based on their low environmental impact, and fibers that aren’t so great because of their dirty production processes. Look at the tags or fabric content before you buy: If the majority of its fibers are from the ‘great’ list, it’s probably A-Okay; avoid buying items with ingredients from the ‘not so great’ list. You vote at the ballot box for sustainable climate measures, so vote with your dollars for sustainable, eco-friendly clothes. When you make educated choices, you can live well and do good.

Great Fibers

ORGANIC COTTON
The ONLY cotton in our eyes. Starts with GMO-free seed and follows practices that maintain soil health, conserve water and support biodiversity. 100% of our cotton is certified organic cotton. Period.

TENCEL®
Soft, perfect drape and made from responsibly forested trees in a closed-loop system. Efficient, clean and 98% of by-products are recovered and reused. Waste not, want not.

LENZING MODAL®
Starts with sustainably grown trees and processed in an energy-efficient system that reuses most of the by-products. We’re big fans.

RECYCLED POLYESTER
Goodbye plastic bottles, hello awesome fabrics. Made from post-consumer plastic waste which reduces emissions and uses less water that virgin polyester. Also stems the mountain of trash entering landfills and oceans.

HEMP & LINEN
Hemp & Linen are fast growing, low maintenance crops that are grown primarily with rain water, requiring minimal chemical inputs during growth and processing. Extra hemp bonus: the entire plant can be used!

RECYCLED WOOL
Upcycled wool garments and mill scraps are spun into new, performance fabrics, sparing reusable materials from landfills and drastically reducing the resources needed to grow, graze and process new wool. Bah-utiful!

bluesign® APPROVED
The bluesign® system takes into account the use of energy, water, chemistry, emissions and worker safety during fabric production. In Fall 2017 we have 13 bluesign® approved fabrics across 23 styles.

Not So Great Fibers

ACRYLIC
Acrylic may be cheap, but the costs are high. Acrylic is made from polyacylonitrile (a soft plastic and known carcinogen) in a chemical and energy intensive process. Toxic by-products during manufacturing have been linked to occupational hazards and waste water is difficult to treat. Acrylic fabric is nearly impossible to recycle. We refuse to use acrylic in any of our fabrics.

BAMBOO VISCOSE
Though Bamboo has natural origins, converting stalky bamboo into fabric is a dirty process. Pulping and spinning requires toxic chemicals and high energy demands. Issues with non-sustainable tree-sourcing risk deforestation of ancient bamboo forests. It’s common to see misleading eco-claims about bamboo (“bamboozling”) so we stay away from it altogether, preferring to use verified eco-friendly fibers like Tencel® and recycled polyester.

CONVENTIONAL COTTON
Don’t be fooled – regular cotton is pretty darn unnatural. It starts with GMO seed and high use of herbicides, inorganic fertilizers and hazardous pesticides. The process has high water use due to irrigation. For us, it’s organic cotton or bust.

RAYON VISCOSE
Cheap fibers leave big environmental footprints. Making rayon viscose is an energy intensive process that generally starts with unknown tree sources which can lead to deforestation in places like the Indonesian rainforests. Toxic chemicals are used in the pulping and spinning processes which generates harmful waste and by-product. Given alternatives like Lenzing Modal®, we steer clear of rayon viscose fibers.

SILK
Sure silk looks and feels amazing, but it requires a lot of trees and their tasty leaves to keep those worms fed. Large quantities of chemicals are used for growth hormones and de-gumming the silk thread from its sticky residue. Lastly, a lot of energy is required for processing.

Verified industry sources:
Textile Exchange Material Snapshots 2015, SAC Higg Index, Made-By Environmental Benchmark for Fibers

Weekend Plan: Apple Picking

Apple Orchard

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well what about an apple orchard in a day? Okay, it might not work the same way, but we think a day in the orchard is good for the soul. And now is the time to get to it! All through September, October and November the apple trees are overflowing. Grab some friends and spend a few hours getting provincial – take a hayride, swap your beer for cider and let the harvest begin. Here are some of our favorite spots to get your pick on.

All Seasons Orchard – Woodstock, IL

Three words: APPLE CIDER DONUTS. There’s a magical place halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee that serves up some of the finest homemade apple cider donuts east of the Mississippi (and probably west of it too, actually). You’ll work up an appetite after a few hours in the orchards – there’s 10,000 apple trees – so you’ll have earned a few pastries. With a donut in hand, head over to the corn maze or shooting gallery (apple shooters and pumpkin cannons, that is) and embrace all that is autumnal.

Carter Mountain Orchard – Charlottesville, VA

Virginia is for lovers, apple pickers and hard cider. Marked by a picturesque red barn in the hills of Appel-achia, you can’t get much more authentic than the rolling hills of Carter Mountain Orchard. Golden Supreme and Gala apples are the early crop, or take a break and switch to some sweet peaches. Whatever you choose, be sure to wash it all down with some hard cider (and maybe a growler to go, too).

Mt. View Orchard – Hood River, OR

“Hip” isn’t often a word associated with apple picking, but this may just be the hippest spot in the Pacific Northwest. With 50-acres of apple and pear farm nestled just north of Mt. Hood, Mt View Orchard has been growing delicious, top-grade, environmentally sustainable fruit for over 40 years. Pop in to pick a bushel, snag one of their famous applesauce cinnamon rolls (or five) and spend a day marveling the mountain and taking in that fresh Fall air. Check their website for fun events during the harvest season like regular farm-to-table dinners and Swiss-Edelweiss Day in late October.

Brackett’s Orchard – Limington, ME

40 minutes outside of Portland, Maine is a little slice of history (and a BIG slice of pie). Brackett’s has been a family operated farm since the 1780s so they’ve perfected the art of the harvest. Fresh apple varietals are popping up all winter long, so stop in every few weeks and see what’s new. Hayrides, U-pick, cider tasting, a country kitchen – everything you imagine when you hear “Apple Harvest” awaits you at Brackett’s. Go ahead, your taste buds will thank you.

Riley’s Apple Farm – Oak Glen, CA

California’s orange groves are known for their sweetness, but the little-known apple orchards are pretty darn good too! California’s apple country is in mile-high Oak Glen in Northern California, and it’s certainly keeping up with the apple orchards of the East. Riley’s Apple Farm is one of the original orchards in the area and they’ve got the log cabin and home-cooked fritters to prove it. U-pick is open until they run out, generally in late October so get up there while the gettin’s good.

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8 Ways to Use a Pareo

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The pareo is the greatest item of clothing you’ve never heard of. Part skirt, part accessory, part cozy blankie, the lightweight and super packable pareo is the Swiss Army Knife of your summer wardrobe. Here’s why we love it:

  • It’s a skirt – It’s long enough to wrap around a few times (40” x 75”)so you don’t have to worry about it being too sheer. Short or long, whatever your preference – you’re the stylist.
  • It’s a sarong – It’s got length so you can wrap it into a halter dress and a hidden pocket is perfect for a credit card or a few pesos. Beach, pool, lake, whoever the summer wind blows you.
  • It’s a scarf – Bunch it up around your neck for warmth on chilly nights.
  • It’s a shawl – Drape it over your shoulders when you need a light layer at the concerts in the park.
  • It’s a headscarf – Protect yourself from the sun or pesky mosquitos, cover up at religious monuments, or use as an eye-mask when you’re camping.
  • It’s a towel – Our pareo is made from handkerchief-light organic cotton, so it feels good and is good for the earth too. Towel off and wring it out – it dries in a jiff. See our model, Eleanor, below.
  • It’s an airplane blanket – Snuggle into it or roll it into a ball for a pillow. Drafty planes and trains will never stand a chance.
  • It’s a tablecloth – Poppy summer colors make for a perfect accessory to any summer festivity. Wine and cheese platter not included.

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You Choose America’s Best Town Ever

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One of these 64 towns can be called the “Best Town Ever.” Crowning the winner will be up to you.

Picking the locations for the fifth annual Best Town Ever contest wasn’t easy. Outside Magazine looked for places with great access to trails and public lands, thriving restaurants and neighborhoods, and, of course, a good beer scene— these are the towns that are hidden gems, underdogs, towns on the rise, or those solid golden-oldies with a new twist. 60 towns were picked to represent 4 regions of the U.S. – West, East, Midwest and South. And for the first time a wild-card round had Instagram followers nominate their favorite towns for the final four spots: Port Angeles, WA; New York, NY; Saugatuck, MI; and Roanoke, VA had a strong showing of support to bring the competition to 64 towns. Now the gauntlet begins!

Who will advance in the tournament? That’s up to you. Click through to the voting section to vote for your favorite towns and see which town rises to the top. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You can vote once per round, per matchup (So that’s 32 votes the first round, 16 the next round, etc.)
  • Starting on May 4, the first five rounds of voting will last five days each (so vote every 5 days on a new matchup)
  • The winners will advance until only two towns remain on May 29, 2015 to kick off the final round
  • The winner will be the town with the most votes on June 5

Oh ya, and you can win great stuff!

Enter your email address and ZIP code at OutsideOnline.com for a chance to win a three-night vacation to the winning town or up to $300 worth of new Toad&Co threads! Happy voting, and may the best town win!

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Vote for America’s Best Town Ever

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64 towns. 1 winner. You decide.

Outside Magazine’s Best Towns contest is back for the fifth year in a row. America’s most awesome towns go head-to-head, boasting their best attributes and proving that home really is where the heart is. So whether you’re a die-hard local or you just can’t stop thinking of that one summer getaway, YOU get to pick which town will be crowned Best Town 2015!

From mountain escapes to beachside getaways, powder hot spots to the dusty roads of the Wild West, Outside put together a bracket of their 60 favorite towns. But here’s the catch: They need four more towns to get to the top 64 towns, and they’re looking for your Wildcard Nominations via Instagram. If you have a favorite town with easy access to trails and wilderness, farmers’ markets and craft beers, great ‘hoods and friendly neighbors, then get to nominating!

How to nominate

  1. Upload your photos to Instagram. Use the hashtag #BestTowns2015 on each entry.
  2. Include the full name of your town and state in the description.
  3. You can enter as often as you want.
  4. If your town was one of the top 16 on our 2014 Best Towns list, sorry, it’s time to give someone else a chance.

Judging

  1. First and foremost, enter frequently and encourage your friends to enter too! We’ll keep a tally of the number of posts each town gets.
  2. Beauty, composition, and vibe in the photo all count. Dull, ugly or ill-framed images will be skipped.
  3. The number of likes an image gets matters – so tell your friends to like your pictures!
  4. In the image description, say why your town deserves the Wildcard spot but keep it brief – one or two lines is perfect.

Important Dates

  • Wildcard Nominations and voting starts at 8 a.m. EST on April 20, 2015.
  • Wildcard nomination and voting ends at 8 a.m. EST on April 30, 2015.
  • Start voting on the completed bracket on May 4, 2015.

Beginning May 4, all 64 towns will be up, so vote for your favorite towns. Each week is a new round and you can vote once per round for each matchup. And just to sweeten the deal, we’re giving away a new Toad&Co outfit every week to one lucky voter.  The winning teams will advance until only two towns remain then we’ll have a seven-day showdown to determine Outside‘s Best Town 2015!