Corporations love to give out schwag. Be it coffee mugs with the company logo, water bottles with the company logo, or mouse pads with, you guessed it, the company logo, companies love to give out trinkets stamped with their company symbol.
And if you go to thrift stores, you’ll see the detritus of company schwag. The usual cotton t-shirts, polo shirts, and sweatshirts with CyberCompanyStuffLogoHere branding also on fleece jackets and softshells. Perhaps not the lightest gear, but light enough, good enough, and cheap enough for outdoor users who need beater gear or for people starting on a budget.
And if there’s an obnoxious company logo on the old corporate schwag, is it that much worse than a North Face logo?
Corporate schwag giveaways tend to mimic whatever’s currently trendy with pseudo-outdoor outdoor clothing, primarily if the company is based somewhere “Out West” or posits itself as a progressive (!) company.
And that’s how I wound up with a synthetic puffy jacket blazoned with a large company logo.
My current life means a low-stress job performing IT tasks similar to earlier in my career if with more time off, three day weekends every week, and the ability to work around Joan’s NPS job in a tourist town.
And during the holidays of 2019, I received a corporate giveaway jacket sold by a company called “Storm Creek.”
There’s nothing special about this jacket other than it’s similar to many quilted puffy jackets found at larger retailers. Oh, the jacket claims environmentally friendly practices for the petroleum-based nylon-shell and polyester filling. But so does the similar Patagonia jacket that it’s mimicking.
The men’s large comes in at 13.5 oz vs. the 12 oz of the Patagonia medium. In other words, the weight’s surprisingly similar.
The corporate schwag jacket retails for $99 vs. $199 as well.
But two salient points:
- I received this jacket for free
- I doubt my employer paid $99 ea for these jackets and they probably received a discount for the bulk purchase.
Like the Patagonia jacket, this corporate schwag jacket gets marketed more for front-country / town use than backcountry, hence the baggier fit vs. my Montbell Thermawrap.
So how did I use this jacket?
Well, I don’t wear it in town, nor do I take it backpacking. I’d rather not advertise where I work, and my Montbell pieces are better constructed, warmer, lighter, and more compact even with the hood I prefer.
But over the past year or so, I found myself using it more and more.
I keep it in the truck as a “just-in-case” jacket, wear it often, so I do not beat up my other clothes as much when camping, and frequently grab it for day hikes. In particular, it makes a good layering piece under my more oversized fleece jacket for colder weather when, again, in base camp situations.
It does not feel as comfortable as my other pieces, but it works rather well for a beater or emergency piece of gear.
But the main reason why I mention it?
Because I think you’ll see more of these corporate schwag puffies in consignment and thrift stores in the years ahead. People are equally as
cynical likely not to want to wear corporate schwag, outgrow the clothing due to lack of exercise in part because of the stressful corporate company that gave them the trinket, or it’s just not a piece of clothing to their taste.
You’ll find it among the fleece, softshell, polos, and other InsertComapanyHereCoolProgressive! clothing.
Is it as good as the Patagonia jacket? I suspect close enough. Similar weight, material, design, and green ethos.
But at a lower cost in the end, and what’s more green-friendly than buying (hardly) used clothing?
So give the corporate schwag puffy a whirl. Your neighbor might have one they don’t use. And they’ll show up in the thrift store soon enough. If you need an insulation piece for a bargain, I think the corporate schwag clothing could work well, be it for beater clothing, camping, or even backpacking well enough.
And if you don’t like the large logo?
Just make a YouTube video, and state the company logo belongs to some boutique cottage gear company. And you might even start a trend!