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Cordova Outdoors faces a dilemma common to all outdoor gear companies. We consume natural resources to make products designed to be used outdoors, but those products are only worth using if the outdoors, the natural world, remains a place people want to experience. No one enjoys spending their free time trekking across a landfill or swimming off a beach covered in trash.

So, how do we reconcile those objectives?

First: we work hard to build gear that lasts.

We do that so you can buy it once, buy it right, use it, care for it, and pass it on. Our objective, which admittedly is the polar opposite of a subscription service, is to provide you with the last cooler you ever need to purchase. Our recurring revenue doesn’t come from selling you the exact same consumable product over and over, it comes from you loving your gear enough to tell a friend.

Second: we try not to ship things halfway across the world.

Sure, geopolitical tensions are high, and the term “friend-shoring” is gaining popularity as the country that has been the World’s Factory for the past several decades looks to assert dominance on the world stage. There are critical components of our economy that are produced overseas, but the fact is, getting what is made over there over here takes a lot of energy and time. We’re not immune to the economic factors that have made overseas manufacturing attractive, but we try to minimize the environmental impact, and cost, of transporting raw materials and finished goods.

We do this by manufacturing in America. Our Basecamp Class™ coolers are manufactured in Idaho’s Treasure Valley – our home. The resin for the shell comes from Texas, the foam from Missouri, the handles and other components from local, small businesses like us. We’re proud to work with great vendors and to employ good people who make great coolers.

Third: we are thoughtful about what we discard.

Plastic is a problem. It makes modern life possible but stays around FOR-EVER. Discarding plastic, seeing it in landfills or, even worse, the ocean, is something we absolutely hate. On the flipside, defects are part of manufacturing. We are continually striving to reduce ours, but they do happen. We’ve found two effective ways to make lemonade out of these “lemons”.

  1. Linear Low-Density Polyethylene is endlessly recyclable – an awesome characteristic of the material used to fabricate our cooler shells. When we have a defective shell, the plastic is reground back into resin and used to make our Obsidian Basecamp Class™ recycled cooler. The cooler is black because all the colors of scrap resin are mixed together during the regrind. We’re proud of the fact that we were awarded the Association of Rotational Molders Recycled Product of the Year in 2022 for developing this cooler.
  2. We love our brand and what it represents, but at the end of the day, a cooler is a tool, not a status symbol. Our manufacturing standards are high and rightly so. However, there are a few “defects” that really don’t impact the coolers’ ability to do its job. If a cooler, despite our best efforts, has a relatively minor issue like a slight wobble, a Lid Lock that doesn’t engage properly, or a cosmetic blemish, we’ll set it aside and sell it as a discounted factory second. 

Happy Earth Day! Yes, we collectively – humankind – are facing unprecedented environmental challenges. It’s also the greatest time in the history of humankind to be alive. We’re doing what we can to make the world a place where our children and grandchildren can make that same claim. While enjoying the same Cordova cooler you bought and passed down to them.

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