Decathlon reveals new Quechua and Forclaz range for 2021
Last week Decathlon unveiled their new Quechua and Forclaz range for 2021.
Quechua and Forclaz are the French Sporting Giant’s Mountain Gear range. The collection features clothing, footwear, backpacks, tents and camping equipment.
The new Spring / Summer collection premiered in a virtual press-conference last week. The key aspects the event focused on were:
Mixed Opinions about Decathlon.
Major brands claim to promote diversity in the outdoors, but high prices create a barrier to entry for many groups. Arguably, Decathlon’s affordable gear has done more to increase access to the outdoors than perhaps any other company. The typical comeback is that these cheaper prices come with hidden costs.
The big name brands claim they spend a great deal on research and development, then Decathlon copy their ideas. Decathlon can afford to sell their gear cheaper, as they don’t have to recoup these R&D costs.
It costs more to produce gear ethically and sustainably claim the prestige brands. Cheap gear might cost you less money, but comes at the expense of the planet and workers in poorer countries.
Is there validity to these arguments? Both are extremely complex questions, particularly the latter. Last week’s announcement show that Decathlon are aware of the claims, and want to address them head on.
New Quechua and Forclaz Range Innovations for 2021
Decathlon are making a clear statement that they are not copycats:
“Innovation is in Decathlon’s DNA: the knowledge of our designers, combined with our teams’ passion for the mountains and our customer-oriented approach,is one of the brand’s many strengths.Decathlon Press Release
With a revenue of $13.4 billion in 2019, claims that Decathlon don’t have a budget for R&D seem a little far fetched.
Have they replicated innovations first pioneered by other companies? Of course, but so have all the other brands! Plus, if something is truly innovative shouldn’t it be patentable?
New features developed in house for the 2021 range include:
Easy Fit Back Pack System
A patented system that allows adjustment of the back length and shoulder straps with a single strap.
Featuring a 4 way stretch fabric that aims to make hiking boots more comfortable for a wider range of foot shapes and sizes.
The EASY Tent
We’ve all been camping with someone with a Decathlon 2 second tent. They’re smug when they put it up. You’re smug when you’ve packed up, and they are still fighting to fold it back into the bag after an hour…
The EASY tent promises to make packing up as speedy as popping it out.
AIR SECONDS 6.3
For larger tents, an inflatable pole structure makes set up and take down quick and easy. Don’t forget your puncture repair kit!
The latest version features polycotton components for greater breathability and durability.
Fresh & Black technology
A new multilayer fabric for tent awnings that regulate temperature and brightness. 4 different materials combine to reflect light and heat, keeping your tent cool and fresh throughout the day.
Decathlon’s Commitment to Sustainability
We predicted sustainability as a growing trend for the outdoor category in 2021. Decathlon certainly can’t afford to be left behind on this one.
Our environmental approach aims to address a product’s impact across its entire life cycle, while retaining essential technical qualities for optimal performance.
This effort starts with the design itself; our production and design teams source materials with the lowest possible environmental impact so we can offer products that are both responsible and durable.Decathlon
Decathlon’s commitments include:
1 – Materials made from Natural Fibers
Natural fibers are generally better for the planet. No harmful chemicals, and biodegradable when disposed of.
Merino wool. Soured from responsibly farmed sheep, and no chemical processing. The new range features dye-free t-shirts and sleeping bag liners.
Cotton. Industrial cotton can be terrible for the environment and the health of workers. The new range will use only organic cotton, grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
2 – Recycled Materials
Wherever possible, Decathlon will use recycled polyester made from plastic bottles. In some cases this will be a blend to ensure durability, another important feature of sustainability.
3 – More Responsible Dyeing
Dyeing fabrics can be a very energy and water intensive process. Decathlon are switching to lower impact techniques such as:
Dope Dying. Pigments are added during yarn production,thus avoiding the need for dye baths. This process reduces water consumption and the amount of energy used during dyeing.
Two-Tone Dying. Only one thread out of two is dyed. This dyed yarn is also dyed by “dope dyeing”. The technique can reduce CO2 emissions by a third.
Greige. Undyed, raw yarn. The product simply remains white.
3 – Durable and Repairable
The longer the life-cycle of a product, the lower it’s environmental impact per use.
Spare parts mean users can easily repair minor damage. All Decathlon products come with at least a 2 year warranty. The Quechua and Forclaz backpacks come with a 10 year guarantee.
All in all, Decathlon’s sustainability commitments look fairly solid.
It’s a myth that more sustainable always equals more expensive. In some cases perhaps. Organic cotton for example results in lower yields. But recycled materials and using less energy and water should result in savings.
There’s absolutely no reason that outdoor gear can’t be affordable and sustainable.
New Quechua and Forclaz range lands April-June
The latest updates to the Quechua and Forclaz ranges will be available from April-June 2021.
Are the products comparable to those of Patagonia, North Face, Saloman or Osprey? If you’re a serious outdoor fanatic with unlimited budget, then no, the Decathlon range is not for you.
If you simply want to do a bit of light hiking and camping once a month though, the Decathlon gear will do the job more than adequately.
Even if you are a serious outdoor fanatic, but with a limited budget, don’t dismiss them. The gear might be a tiny bit heavier, fractionally less breathable, the pocket not quite as well placed… But if you can get your entire kit and still pay the rent, perhaps these small sacrifices are justified?
You can view Decathlon’s current mountain wear range here.