Using ethical materials make us feel good, it improves our products as well...
Why Ethical Production.?
At Tundra we feel there are three important concerns regarding the production of our sleeping bags.
1] Factory Employees should have good working conditions judged by
We think that the people who produce our sleeping bags should enjoy the same working conditions that all Europeans expect. It seems cynical to us to produce high value outdoor equipment using the cheapest and most vulnerable workforce.
Tundra bags are manufactured in Poland by Warmth Unlimited of Warsaw under EU working conditions. Poland has long been a traditional manufacturer of down products and this is again becoming popular as Poland embraces the EU. See the link below
2] We should use the best possible design and materials available.
Tundra draws on the skills of designers who have many years experience in producing practical, high quality equipment for outdoor enthusiasts and their contemporary approach is coupled with Poland’s expert long tradition of manufacturing down products.
Add to this the fact that we use the lightest practical fabric available (25 grams per square metre and the world’s best down (860 FP Euro Standard) and you have an end product that easily surpasses competition in quality and performance
For more information see: “Technology”
3] The collection of the down should be as compassionate and humane as possible.
China is almost certainly the worlds largest single source of down from ducks and geese. Because Chinese labour costs are low (by western standards) most of the production of the worlds down products takes place there.
After the outbreak of SARS in November 2002 the Chinese Government
issued the photograph below to assure us they were taking steps to contain the spread of the disease.
This however also alerted us to the methods used in China to collect down from birds. The use of a “Jet Wash Wand” does not seem to us to be very kind to the birds, nor do the conditions they are kept in.
An alternative method is for down to be collected as a by-product of the food industry in which ducks and geese live for just four to six weeks, having been force fed to increase size.
Check out the size of birds on sale in the supermarket and then compare with the traditional images of spring chicks – a four week old chick is tiny compared to their contemporaries on sale at the meat counter!
This also does not seem to us very kind and we do wonder if the short lives of these birds are any more comfortable than those kept for the jet wash process pictured below. Think about the condition our own human hair and skin would be in should we be kept in dark cramped cages and either jet washed or killed off at four to six weeks – not too brilliant we suspect!
So we set out to source our down in a gentler way and discovered a special down in Poland. This is collected from the nests of birds that are kept for breeding and live on rivers, lakes and open farm land, moulting naturally four times a year. This naturally moulted down is then hand collected from the nests without disturbing the birds who are allowed to live to a ripe old age, doing what birds do naturally in the wild.
This last detail is very important for two reasons
Our Ethical or compassionate down has a fill power of c.860 Euro standard (see technology) whereas down from birds killed at 406 weeks struggle to better c.400 FP
High Fill Power means a softer fill, lighter weight and smaller packed size for your sleeping bag and the added bonus, you get a clearer conscience!