Summiteer wants to manufacture its rucksacks in Cumbria

Summiteer wants to manufacture its rucksacks in Cumbria

A gear company has launched a crowdfunding effort to kick-start its planned rucksack manufacturing operation in Cumbria.

Summiteer wants to set up a new workshop near Kendal to produce packs using recycled plastic bottles.

The company is chasing £3,000 of funding and currently has pledges of almost 40 per cent of its target, which must be reached by 11 December to succeed.

The backpacks will be made from RPET fabric, a type of polyester produced from 100 per cent discarded plastic bottles, an alternative way of producing polyester which is much less harmful to the environment.

Summiteer said this is in line with a new focus to put the environment and fair working conditions at the top of its agenda. The launch of its rucksack factory also coincides with its entry into the tent market. The Summiteer Haven, is a spacious two-person mountain tent that weighs in at only 1.95kg.

Company owner Ethan Thomas said: “It became clear to me that the industry was looking at things the wrong way; ultimately the biggest draw for people is pricing.

“If something’s cheap people buy it. I’ve seen posts on forums promoting rucksacks being sold in supermarkets for £20. People’s only concern is whether the quality will be any good.

“My concern is how on earth can they produce something so complicated and time-consuming and be able to sell it to a customers for £20? When you consider the mark-ups these products have for retailers to make a profit, and then the brand to make a profit, and then the factory owners to make a profit, there really is very little left for the workers who actually made the products.

“Overseas manufacturing is fine, but it has to be done right. I’m also concerned about the environmental impact this industry has. I accept that it’s very unrealistic to think that we can be a company that causes no environmental harm, but we can certainly create as little harm as possible.

“But it is something many brands fail to think of. I think half the battle is just being bold enough to do something like this, and then making it clear why you’re doing it. It may not earn us the most money in the short term, but I think promoting this ethos is a way of educating consumers to make better decisions in the future.”

People pledging cash on the Crowdfunder website will be offered discounted prices on the rucksack range.

More details are on the Summiteer website.

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