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Outdoors for everyone

December 19, 2009
By JOHANNA BOYLE Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Chances are, if you like biking, kayaking, camping, hiking or doing anything outdoors in the Upper Peninsula, you'd like to see that outdoors preserved and protected. So, beyond recycling and turning off lights when you leave a room, what can you do to do your part?

Shopping for your outdoors equipment at a store that embraces green practices can be a good step.

Down Wind Sports in Marquette offers many green products and encourages both customers and employees to make less of an environmental impact.

Article Photos

People who live in the Upper Peninsula probably typically wish to stay current with weather reports. Weather radio/flashlight combinations from Eton, available from Down Wind Sports on Third Street in Marquette, operate using solar power or a hand crank, eliminating the need for batteries. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)

"It's very important for us because of the area we live in," said Down Wind co-owner Bill Thompson. "We are a store that promotes an outdoor lifestyle. By being environmentally friendly, I think it will be better for the environment."

Whether it's clothes, gadgets or equipment that you're interested in, Down Wind probably has it.

"We have a lot of products in the store from companies that are very environmentally responsible," Thompson said.

Patagonia, which sells a variety of clothing and outdoor wear, uses organic cotton its shirts and other items.

"It's much better for the environment," Thompson said. "They are really conscious of their efforts of having a product that is truly green."

In addition to using organic cotton, Thompson said the company also donates a percentage of its sales to environmental causes.

"It's kind of a feel-good purchase," he said.

For those who want to stay warm this winter, Down Wind also carries Ice Breaker wool clothing, which is made with a higher quality wool and specially knit to be soft and not irritate the skin.

"Even people who are allergic to wool can use this," Thompson said. "It's really comfortable to wear. It is warm. It wicks really well."

The wool is a renewable product, as opposed to synthetic materials.

"Synthetic underwear is very popular, but it's really made out of oil," he said. Ice Breaker comes in socks, pants, shirts, even underwear.

For those interested in gadgets, Down Wind also stocks solar-powered weather radio/flashlight combinations that do not use batteries. Available in a variety of colors, the Eton radios play either music or provide the most recent weather updates. For days when the sun isn't out, the radio/flashlight can also be powered using a hand crank.

"For us in the U.P., it's super important," Thompson said of the weather reports. "We had it at a kayak symposium this summer and it ran all day."

Also available at Down Wind are reusable bags by Vita, which are made from recycled plastic and aluminum, which can be stored in the car and used for grocery shopping.

Beyond the products, Down Wind also encourages green activity throughout the community with a bike-to-work program, recycling and reselling older bikes and sponsoring green programs throughout the area.

Down Wind is located at 514 N. Third St., in Marquette, and is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-8p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-3p.m. Visit them on the Web at or call 906-226-7112.

Editor's note: This series of stories will feature businesses that advertise on this page.



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