Giving Life to Leftovers: The Extension Collection

What do you do with your leftovers? Here at Outdoor Research, we try to use every morsel we have, whether that means taking our Thanksgiving leftover food on our #OptOutside adventures, or using leftover fabric from our factories to create new, innovative gear.

The latest gear in our Extension Collection is anything but waste, though. This collection combines some of our highest-end, most popular fabrics that we simply breathed a second life into. The best part: You won’t see these limited-edition styles or colors anywhere else.

Here’s how it came to be.

Over the last few years our Ascendant and Transcendent collections have gotten pretty big – big enough that we found ourselves with a hefty amount of leftover material taking up space in our manufacturing facilities. All of this fabric was still perfectly functional and otherwise untouched, but as leftovers, they didn’t serve a purpose – unless we could give them one.

“The idea came from the THOUSANDS of yards of fabric we were sitting on, unused,” explains our Gloves Product Manager Lauren Taylor. “We had the choice of using it or sending it to the landfill, like a lot of companies unknowingly do when they write it off to the factories.”

The problem was that these leftovers were all in wacky colors and funny shapes, with smaller quantities of certain types that couldn’t be stitched together for an entire jacket or pair of gloves... but that didn’t deter our product managers from coming up with a solution.

“It was an interesting process because we have a fixed amount of material in each color, so this played a big role in our patterning and coloring,” said Sara Nazim, OR’s product manager for headwear. “There was a lot of tetris and design challenges because the fabric was limited – but having parameters also led to some fun and creative problem solving.”

The result was our Extension Collection: An eclectic range of fabrics, fills, and colors morphed into wearable products like pullovers, hoodies, and parkas, to fun and quirky accessories like blankets, scarves, and booties.

And just like how the Extension Collection was created, we named this hodgepodge group of gear with the same spark of idea. The purpose of each Extension piece is to extend the life of its excess fabrics and keep waste out of the landfill – as well as extend your limits and time outside with trusted Outdoor Research quality.

“We were born from ‘research’ and are committed to growing our sustainable choices each season in ways that truly contribute to reducing our impact, and not just sound good in a marketing presentation,” says Outdoor Research’s Head of Marketing Erika Canfield. “The Extension program is one of many steps we are taking to make good on this commitment.”

You’ll recognize the ultra-cozy and highly effective Polartec® Alpha® Direct insulation in the Men’s and Women’s Extension Pullovers, as well as the Men’s and Women’s Extension Cowl Neck Hoodies. Not only does this fabric feel like your most comfortable blanket at home, it’s one of our best performing Active Insulation fabrics that wicks sweat the moment you start to heat up, yet keeps you warm when you stop for a short break.

The Pertex® Quantum shell and 650 responsibly sourced down insulation of our Extension Down Scarf, Extension Down Blanket, and Extension Down Booties all came directly from our most popular puffy collection. Each piece comes with its own stuff sack to make it easier than ever to pack them down and take on the road, and each uses a quilted down construction that’s lightweight, compressible, and water resistant so moisture won’t soak in.

Finally – the Women’s Extension Down Parka truly is the best of Pertex® Quantum with an 800 fill power of responsibly sourced down insulation. The hood has a zipper that lets you easily remove or zip it back on, and smaller details like an insulated stand collar, insulated snap secure storm flap, and tricot lined hand pockets are all designed to keep you as cozy as can be.

Shop the Extension Collection to extend the life of your adventures – and act fast! These are a limited edition batch, and won’t be around forever.