The Burton Blog

Better with Age: How to Get the Most Out of Your Gear

Retro, throwback, old-school – we love to resurrect clothing and outerwear from the past.

While it’s cool to revive old styles in new products, it’s (debatably) more rad to rock the OG. We love gear that has a story. Stuff that’s well-loved and going strong. When people ask where you got it, you can casually claim, “No big deal, it’s from the 90s.” All it takes is the will to make it last.

We call our spring / summer line of bags, apparel and camping gear Durable Goods for a reason. Part of our mission to achieve our most sustainable line of softgoods by 2020 involves the process of life cycle assessment. We’re asking the question: how can we ensure that our products last as long as possible? 


With that in mind, we took a look around the office and snagged a few pieces that some of our employees use on a daily basis. Some are repaired; others, well-preserved. Take a look at some of these relics, and pay close attention to what has kept them in action –and out of the landfill – for so long.

Cam’s 2008 [ak]® 30L Pack


You might say, “I’ve had this pack for ten years, I should get another one.” But you’d run the risk of passing up something special, something unique, like Cam’s beloved [ak] pack.

He’s used it ever since he started traveling the globe for the Freeride World Tour. It’s been all over the place – 19 countries in total over the past decade. Cam refuses to get another bag. He fixed a buckle with duct tape, but otherwise, has never had to repair it. This thing is the definition of “better with age.”

TK’s 1994 SAP Jacket


Pro-tip: wool is unstoppable. As we said back in the ’94 catalog: “It’s tough. As nature’s most technical fiber, it sheds water, breathes, insulates you (even if you manage to get wet), and it’s super durable.”

Emphasis on durable. As Burton’s chief Archivist, TK insists that this belongs in a museum, but the fact that he still wears it today is a testament to its rugged demeanor. Check the Cordura patches on the elbows and the rear. That’s early snowboard-specific softgoods design at its finest.

Chaka’s 2004 Wheelie Flight Deck


As Burton’s Senior Creative Producer, Chaka has spent years traveling for photo shoots and scouting trips. While he could rep some shiny new luggage to look fancy, he’s happy to run his trusty 14-year-old Wheelie Flight Deck. It has a familiar pocket scheme and looks like it’ll perform well into the next decade. No wonder the Wheelie Flight Deck is still in the line today. 

Andrew’s 1990 Snocap


The word “timeless” gets tossed around pretty liberally these days, but the caps we started making in 1989 truly stand the test of time. The water-resistant fabric is still flawless. The Jade colorway hasn’t faded a bit, and neither has the retro appeal. Needless to say, Andrew rocks this around the office on a regular basis. The lesson: what’s old is new. Be bold.  

John’s 2014 [ak] BK Insulator


John’s a graphic designer at Burton HQ, and he’s not gentle on his gear. Note the discreet black patches. This BK Insulator has seen some action, but the fact that it still looks and performs like new is a great example of the benefits of life cycle assessment. Most things can be repaired, rather than merely tossed in the dumpster and replaced. Not only does this reduce waste, but it extends the lifespan of your favorite gear. Lesson learned: don’t toss it, fix it!

Rob’s 2004 Indie Pack


14 years old, and still going strong; Rob has used this as his day-to-day work pack since he bought it. The thing has so many hidden pockets that he gets held up at airport security. Too many places to stash the goods – not a bad thing, if you ask us. 

He says the water-repellant lining on the interior has just started to peel, but he’s never blown a zipper, never torn a seam, and never left it behind. The lesson: quality counts. 

Jason’s 1993 Biolight Hooded Pullover Fleece


Jason snatched this fleece up when it first came out and wore it throughout high school and college. Now, it’s his knock around go-to for yard work. Polartec® fleece performs just as well today as it did in the early 90s. Take that and the DWR (Durable Water-Repellant) nylon paneling, and you’re basically looking at one of our new tech fleece styles. Keep on rockin’ it, Jason.

TK’s 1996 Rose’s Thick Knit Beanie


Thermal beanies like this are good to go for decades. We have a hunch that TK’s taken good care of his, since it does not boast a 22-year-old stink. It served him well back in the mid 90s and still does today. If you buy something new this year, keep this hat’s decades-spanning journey in mind. 

Lucy’s 1984 Team Cap


Back in 84 we hardly even had a catalog. We were still teaching people about this crazy new thing called snowboarding, let alone selling them dope nylon hats. The fact that Lucy got her hands on it from a friend who rode for Burton in the 80s, and still busts it out for special occasions is just awesome. The lesson here: the older it gets, the higher the value.