PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) are often used in outdoor gear to repel water, oil & dirt.
It’s a man-made chemical that keeps waterproof membranes working the way they should ensuring users stay dry. That beautiful water beading effect you get on your gear? That’s from PFC’s.
With time PFC’s wash off of the gear that they are applied to ending up in our waterways/landfills. From there they make their way up the food chain.
“In animal studies, some PFCs disrupt normal endocrine activity; reduce immune function; cause adverse effects on multiple organs, including the liver and pancreas; and cause developmental problems in rodent offspring exposed in the womb.”
Given the long lifespans of the product and it’s newly recognized ecotoxicity the outdoor industry as a whole have been looking into getting away from using it. The initial move was to reduce the chain size of the chemical which would reduce its lifespan. With this move, the concern of ecotoxicity still remained and was proven and the shorter chain chemical was still takes a long time to break down.
Getting away from using PFC’s is the answer. The issue is finding an alternative that meets performance and durability standards. Multiple major outdoor brands have claimed to now have found their own solution, which you will notice over the coming months. PFC free products will be something to keep your eye out for.
Deuter has started rolling out PFC free products including their Giga packs, X Venture series, Orbit Sleeping Bags and the Pico Kids Pack. The models are not only pioneers in style, but also in sustainability. Deuter is committed to relieving the environment by phasing out PFC-coated materials in sleeping bags and backpacks and is aiming to be PFC FREE by 2020.