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Concerns regarding the DWR on tents.

Hi - I'm happy to read in one of the conversations that the REI Half Dome SL 3+ Tent is free of flame retardants. I would also like to know more details of the fabric treatments used and whether the tent fabric is coated with DWR. Can you please send me the details, as I'd like to avoid PFCs. Thanks!

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7 Replies

@summercamper 

Thanks for reaching out!

We are glad to hear that you appreciate the lack of flame retardants in our Half Dome series this year! In terms of PFCs, the chemistry is a bit beyond me, but I wanted to link some resources for you to check out. If you have further questions don't hesitate to ask them here and we can see if we can track down an answer for you. 

The short answer is that we do use a Durable Water Repellant to treat our tents. From our Product Impact report:

As of 2019 product lines, REI has eliminated DWR treatments that contain long-chain PFAS from our supply chain. We use short-chain PFAS alternatives where viable alternatives do not yet exist, and we continue to explore non-fluorinated alternatives, which we believe will eventually provide the best balance of performance and environmental stewardship.

You can read more at the link above, or, if you really want to dive into the technical chemistry you can read through our Sustainable Chemistry Guide and Restricted Substances List. If you're like to read more, all of this information can be found in our 2020 Impact Report that we published recently.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Thanks for your reply. PFCs are called 'forever chemicals' because they persist in humans and in the environment for so long. Short chain is not significantly better than long chain. It'd be great if REI can catch up asap and create truly nontoxic outdoor gear, not just for users but for the people manufacturing the gear and for environment! It looks like there are some tents that are already free of both flame retardants and PFAS (e.g. use silicone for water repellency), but they are hard to find (small and/or very expensive and/or out of stock) - and there is definitely a market for them! We especially need a 4+ family camping tent. Thanks.

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I was just looking at the Mountain Hardwear Mineral King tents - I see on the web that Mountain Hardwear does not use flame retardants. Separately I read that Mountain Hardwear does not use PFCs for water repellency either. But I can't find all that on their own website. And I can't find anywhere online that says they are both PFC and flame retardant free, the articles just mention one or the other. Is it true that their tents contain neither flame retardants nor PFCs?

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Hi @summercamper - Thanks for reaching out!

You are correct that the Mountain Hardware tents currently available do not use flame retardants. Because they have not listed whether these tents do or do not use PFCs, we suggest contacting them directly to get the most up to date answer. They can be reached at 1 (877) 927-5649 or via the Live Chat feature on their homepage.

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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The Mountain Hardware "live chat" reported that the Mineral King tent "has a DWR coating as well as seam seals to help it be waterproof, so yes it will have a small amount of short chain PFCs". Bummer.

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Even worse, Mountain Hardware live chat says that "It is only the Trango" that is flame retardant free.

"The Trango began production in 2019. Any new tents made after 2019 are being made FR. The Mineral King is an older product."  

REI, please correct your website here (https://www.rei.com/product/164811/mountain-hardwear-mineral-king-3-tent-with-footprint) which says that the tent is flame retardant free. I had just purchased this assuming this was true, and will be returning it ASAP.

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@summercamper 

We responded in the other thread, Looking for chemical free camping tents, about this but wanted to make sure the information is posted in both places for anyone else who reads through these:

Thanks for your patience as we tracked down this information. It appears as though the representative you chatted with from Mountain Hardwear was mistaken. We reached out to Mountain Hardwear and here is what they said:

"Hi! 100% of MHW tents are FR free, and have been for a couple of years now. The info below (regarding your comment about 'any new tents made after 2019 are being made FR') is not correct."

We looked on the Mountain Hardwear website and on their Sustainability Efforts page they have a 'Featured FR-free tents' section that only includes the Trango at the moment. That could be the source of the confusion. We have passed along this feedback to them so they are aware.

Thanks for the head's up on this!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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