It's a new edition of The Cache, your bi-weekly roundup for all things ultralight. New gear, new brands, interesting events, curious conversations, sales, giveaways, and just about anything and everything that we find remotely relevant. This week we look at the Coronavirus and its effect on the Outdoor Industry, AT & Pipelines, REI HQ, and New Trailtopia Meals!
As COVID-19 continues to spread to new states and countries, its impact is becoming more and more pronounced in increasingly obvious aspects of daily life. Unsurprisingly, the outdoor industry is not unaffected. Most drastically, it's having a huge impact on many outdoor brand's ability to both import finished products from Asia as well as source raw materials. Many overseas factories and ports simply aren't operational, and as of now, there aren't clear timelines for their reopening. As the vast majority of fabrics come from Asia, even "made in the USA" brands are finding themselves without the basic materials needed to make their gear and apparel. Expect to start seeing more out of stock notifications from companies both big and small.
While many companies are struggling to figure out creative ways around these production problems, some outdoor brands are seeing massive spikes in sales because of COVID-19. Good To-Go saw a "1500% increase in business overnight," and as fears of COVID-19 become more prevalent, dehydrated food sales are expected to continue to spike tremendously.
There has been a great deal of buzz surrounding the Appalachian Trail and the proposed continuation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The pipeline would cross the Appalachian Trail within the George Washington National Forest in Virginia, and the case itself is currently in front of the supreme court.
While there has been pretty heated discourse on both sides of the argument, this NPR article does a good job of summarizing the complicated mess of authority, impact, and precedent. Also... pretty interesting statements from Andrew Downs (senior regional director for the southern region of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy):
"Our analysis led us to the conclusion that the scope and range of those impacts did not rise to the level requiring opposition.""
Well... leave it to REI to make the rest of the world feel inadequate about their own workspace. Located 20 minutes east of Seattle, their new HQ is built to constantly immerse staff in the outdoors. We're talking blueberry bogs, campfires, rooftop green space, hammocks, and about a billion other neat feature and functions.
Speaking of a mad dash for dehydrated meals... Trailtopia recently released 3 new flavors of meals: Garden Vegetable Pasta, Szechuan Chicken & Rice, and Beef & Black Bean Burrito. We haven't tried them yet, but we're excited to!