Trail House, Frederick: Outdoors Gear with Sustainable Choices

We all see stores come and go in downtown Frederick, but one shop that is an anchor of shopping on Market & Patrick also qualifies as a business dedicated to sustainability, getting a Charter spot in our Green Directory.
Gerry and longtime staff member Becky Clark model not just Patagonia Synchilla and Better Sweaters but also a very popular new product: Hydro Flask-a popular steel vaccuum sealed outdoors beverage (esp. wine!) container. The whole store is full of good holiday gifts!
GreenFrederick spent an afternoon browsing around Trail House with Gerry Hicks, shop proprietor with her husband Clyde for more than 20 years.
Mission: “Put simply, we love the outdoors and we want you to love it too. We want you to breathe in the seasons. We want you to find the adventure that makes your heart pump. We want you to explore. In your own backyard. On another continent. It doesn’t matter where, just that you’re playing outside.”
Gerry: “I’m not seeking out green vendors; but it’s easy to find them because the outdoor industry, by its nature, has a mentality to preserve the environment.”
They were one of the first stores in the area to carry Patagonia’s
 synchilla fleece, a polyester jacket made from recycled soda bottles (see a cool video here.) Now, there is a range of clothing made from Fair Trade or recycled materials available.
(Photo at right:-a Patagonia off-country hoodie, an e-fiber sweater made from recycled denim.)
Other clothing brands with notable sustainable footprints are PrAna sweaters and Freefly bamboo-sourced clothing that is pesticide- and irrigation-free.
And there are a host of other things that a curious shopper can find that are sustainably sourced:
  • Haiku bags==made from recycled bottles
  • Oboz-Trail Runners—every time you buy a shoe, they “buy” a tree.
  • TenTree commits to TEN trees for every item that’s sold.
  • Keen Footwear’s Newports NH is a variety of shoes that makes the uppers from recycled polyester
Gerry: “Surprisingly, people don’t come in seeking sustainable items out. … they’re not more expensive than the other clothing we have.“
Commitment Beyond Merchandise
Shoe Department Manager Michael Chapline (he has an important job for the variety of hiking/trail running/water sandals Trail House is known for) is proud of the work they do.
Michael: “Way more goes in the recycling bin than in the garbage.”
They recycle or return all the packaging possible from their merchandise, and some vendors have even found ways to reduce packaging to almost nothing, he said.
Community Involvement: Clyde Hicks: “We’ve maintained trails in the Frederick City Watershed for 34 years.”
Work trips always seem to attract enough volunteers to fill slots to keep up the trails that many of Trail House’s customers use.