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Looking for chemical free camping tents

Recently read an article about flame retardants and tents. I know Mountain Hardwear is no longer using them on their tents and that REI is planning on phasing them out this fall. What are my options currently available? Thanks! 

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32 Replies

Hey John-

Appreciate the links.  It was actually the REI blog post that brought this to my attention so the transparency is great in terms of putting a spotlight on the problem.  But what is not great is how long it is taking.

I think my big concern is that the new ASTM-F3431 looks like was completed in June 2020.  REI takes some credit in the May 25, 2021 blog post for getting the standard passed, "REI Co-op and a cohort of leading tent manufacturers in the Outdoor Industry Association played an instrumental role in creating the new ASTM F3431 standard" which means REI has known this was coming for over 1 year now (writing this as of July 2021).  Given that 1+ years is plenty of time for REI to tell it's suppliers (including the tent factory its used called Jasper Outdoors who make tents for other companies without Flame Retardants) to stop spraying toxic materials on fabrics and even to sell the rest of the toxic inventory despite REI knowing this is not good for consumers, the environment, factory workers, etc.

The REI Product Standards document you linked to states that:
- "REI expects that all camping shelters supplied to REI be free of prohibited FR chemicals."
- Transition period = "Ongoing 18 months from time of first purchase order"

REI has know about this issue for about 18 months and has only transitioned 1 tent and does not seem to have made any progress on having other suppliers get rid of flame retardants; seems like there is something else at play.  I went to my local store and the reps knew less about it than I did which is sad.

As a long-time Co-Op member this makes me uncomfortable.  Serious question - how hard is it for Eric Artz (REI's current CEO and who spent 7 years previously on supply chain as COO and CFO) to spend 5 minutes thinking logically about this and making a decision to get the ball moving?

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Given the conflicting information I am hearing about Mountain Hardware, see above, can REI please please please triple confirm that the currently-on-the-shelf REI Half Dome SL tent 3+ is free of flame retardants? So that if I go to the store and get one today, I will get one that is flame retardant free? Do I need to know if it's an 'old' one or 'this year's tent'?? Please advise. Thanks!

@summercamper 

Thanks for reaching out!

To start, the current model of REI Co-op Half Dome SL 3+ tent is free of flame retardants. This year is the first year we have introduced the 'SL' model of Half Dome so if it says 'SL' on it then you are getting the correct one. 

Secondly, we will connect with our sustainability team to find out about the Mountain Hardwear tents and make sure our website is correct.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Thanks for your helpful and quick reply!

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Depending on the use, check out a canvas and wax tent from Army Surplus. Big Agnes has been making changes to their tent dye which may help.

 

https://www.bigagnes.com/Gear/Collections/Solution-Dyed-Fabrics

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We bought the REI Half-dome SL 3+ tent (which is no longer available?) and inside there is a label that says "This tent is made with flame resistant fabric which meets CPAI-84 specifications." Can you please explain this? Are there flame retardants used, or not? See photo. Thanks!IMG_4334.jpg

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@summercamper 

Thank you for reaching out!

The REI Co-op Half Dome SL 3+ is flame retardant free. That tent is currently sold out but will be available again when we get more stock in. For more information regarding the CPAI-84 flammability standards, please read this article, recently updated in the Uncommon Path, REI Pursuing New Testing Method to Eliminate Flame Retardants. Specifically to your question, the article states:

"As of January 2021...CPAI-84 has established the performance requirements from the recently published ASTM F3431 method. Since it is possible to meet these requirements without the use of flame-retardant chemicals, the updated CPAI-84 should help enable the industry to move away from the use of such finishes."

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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This helps BUT it would be nice to have a more transparency in terms of the timeline of when REI will transition all of its own brand and all suppliers to the new standard. 

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With so much emphasis on flame retardants, what about PFCs, PFAS, and PFOA?? These highly-toxic “forever chemicals” are present in durable water repellent (DWRs) sprayed on tents, and are often present even in tents that don’t have flame retardant.

What tent offerings don’t have ANY of these chemicals or flame retardants? Where is REI at in getting rid of all these fluoridated hydrocarbon chemicals?

 

outdoorLIfE

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@outdoorLIFE 

Thank you for reaching out.

At this time, all available information about chemicals used in making our gear and apparel are contained in the links provided in previous responses on this thread. We will see what information we can find regarding tents that are free of all of these chemicals. We will likely follow up with you on the other thread you started.

Thanks!

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