As a newly engaged couple, we were giddy and ecstatic. We carefully began our check list for the wedding, which included setting up a gift registry. Unlike most engaged couples, our situation was quite unique: we would be moving across the world two weeks after saying I do. We know, we know: what!? Obviously, classic registry gifts were completely out of the question. We tearfully said goodbye to the dream of sipping soy lattes and strolling hand and hand through department stores with a scanner gun. Kidding, only kidding! Instead of the typical route, we brainstormed, researched, and shopped around, trying to think of what we might need… ehem…or rather, what we could actually bring on our exciting adventure to South Korea.
One of our gift list items was a pair of quality, thoughtfully made trekking backpacks. We knew these would not only be helpful in the moving process, but hopefully be put to good use considering we would be living in a new country. Neither of us has been backpacking through the mountains or across Europe, but we hope to someday. In the meantime, we’ve used our packs for small weekend getaways such as camping with friends on Muuido and hiking at Seoraksan National Park. Highly recommend visiting both if you find yourself in South Korea!Deuter is a German company who makes authentic, quality gear. We actually went into a local REI in Seattle to select the right size for each of us. We love the fold over top pouch for easy to grab essentials and the lower compartment that can quickly unzip into the main cavern to increase the size of your pack if needed. The small side pockets, hitting right at the hip, were perfect for our passports and phones when we traveled to Korea. Bonus: these trekking packs easily fit in the overhead bin when flying (backpacking adventure abroad, anyone?)
Best of all: each of Deuter’s products are manufactured in a transparent way. In fact, they are members of the Fair Wear Foundation, “an independent, non-profit organisation that works to improve conditions for workers in garment factories.” This means Deuter’s factories are regularly screened and audited to ensure fair conditions, hours, and pay for their workers. On the FWF website, Deuter was scored in the performance category leader, which is the highest rating category a brand can receive from FWF. As noted on the organization’s website:
“Deuter Sport meets most of FWFs management system requirements and goes beyond several of them. Deuter has 97% of its supply chain under monitoring meeting the 90+% threshold required for members after their third year of membership. Deuter has a stable, long-term relationships with all it’s suppliers as well as significant leverage, which allows them to work effectively on improving working conditions. While continuous efforts are still needed, the company has strong systems in place to prevent and remediate excessive overtime. It has made considerable efforts to ensure subcontractors are part of its monitoring. Deuter received one complaint in its last financial year, which was handled according to FWF’s complaint procedure. Preventive steps were implemented” (Read the full report here).
We acknowledge that Deuter still has room for growth to become a completely ethical brand, but we were encouraged to see a larger company making an active effort to monitor + improve their systems as they move toward full transparency. If you happen to be piecing together a backpacking excursion in the near future or just need the perfect gift for the adventurer in your life, we encourage you to check out Deuter’s Trekking Backpacks and other quality equipment!