$550 or $15?

My oldest son is spending his summer working with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. He’s working on hiking trails in national parks in Colorado. A typical day involves using a large cross-cut saw to remove giant trees from many paths. (You can check out his adventures at their WordPress site.)

gore-tex jacket (detail)I’m not telling you this to brag about Jay, but rather to talk about breathable rain jackets. In the June 7, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal, an article about outdoor adventure gear features a jacket — the Arc’teryx Beta AR. I am sure that it is a totally amazing garment. However, H&M had a similar breathable waterproof jacket for $70. I went to my local H&M and bought it on an end-of-season closeout for $15.

I ask you — which is the better deal?

Jay will be using that $15 jacket all summer — far more than the average Arc’teryx Beta AR buyer will wear their finery during their whole lifetime.

There is an American tendency to buy far more than you need. I also fall prey to this thinking. Let’s fight it.

Footnote: I understand that it is more righteous to buy used clothing than to sponsor companies like H&M that use far-too-underpaid labor. Alas, I couldn’t find a good waterproof breathable jacket at any of our local used clothing outlets.

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4 Replies to “$550 or $15?”

  1. I hope he has fun! I did a year with the Montana Conservation Corps on a backcountry crew and it was a dream. Hard work but still dreamy.

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