Cotopaxi Kilimanjaro 20L Review

Cotopaxi – Way more than just awesome gear

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Every now and then companies pop up that bring a smile to my face. Ones that focus on much more than a bottom line and cheap clothing, that genuinely try to make the world a bit better to live. I hope it’s a trend we see more of, but Cotopaxi decided the mission of making “Gear for Good” is their lifeblood and they seem to deliver that and a whole bunch more.

My girlfriend and I recently got the chance to try some of their gear, which embodies the Cotopaxi mission, and dig into what makes the company tick, the extent of which was a bit of a surprise…

Because Cotopaxi sells directly to the consumer, they can put more effort and resources into making the best product, which makes them feel more luxurious than what you pay for. Of course, that’s its own side effect of sustaining the do-good social mission they’re known for.

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Cotopaxi benefits a huge list of non-profits that seek to address the needs of those most in need;

People living in extreme poverty with a lack of access to health resources, proper education and the ability to better their livelihood. The surprising part is just how many of these organizations they’re able to assist.

Jay Hampton, VP of Marketing, says it best, “Partner organizations include Brighten Your Corner, Health & Ed 4 Nepal, Juconi, Kilimanjaro Kids Community, Maria Imaculada, Philippine Community Fund, Radiating Hope, Qosqo Maki, Choice Humanitarian, and Who Lives. 

Cotopaxi has partnered with CHOICE Humanitarian over the past year in support of midwife training in rural Guatemala, funding two full time positions and making measurable progress toward reducing under-five mortality rates in the community.”

Hampton also mentions the challenges of being a benefit-corporation can be daunting but well worth it,

“We find that many consumers these days want to know that their financial support is going directly towards helping making the world a better place.”

They’ve even hired a Chief Impact Officer, a staffer whose sole purpose is to track such details. Now that’s commitment.

There are even ways for average-joe to get involved, more so than simply purchasing products. Cotopaxi pushes a challenge to its consumers, one that asks fans to commit “human-powered” activity to different causes. Challenge 113 has volunteers doing 113 miles of old fashioned elbow grease for good.

And, who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Questivals are the fun, 24-hour version of The Amazing Race, except these end up involving non-profits and challenges of service around the US.

Gear for Good

Okay, but what about the gear? We got to field test the Kilimanjaro 20L lifestyle pack and an Inca 16L technical pack, both great performers in their own ways.

What seems like the flagship Cotopaxi pack, the Kilimanjaro 20L is a bit of an in-between-er. With stylings akin to a school pack, it squeezed in rugged functionality with everyday details. Although a bit bulky feeling for my girlfriend Mia, it suited her well with a sleeve that fit a 15″ laptop, smart pockets for item organization and a tough exterior for protection. She mentioned several times that a slimmer profile, woman-specific version of the pack would have been better suited for her, but it worked well for most daily tasks she put it through.

Whenever I got the chance to sling the Inca 16L over my shoulders, I found it was very capable and comfortable. With small ergonomics features that led up to a great day pack, it felt like someone thought long and hard about the design. Easily accessible pockets, a generous main compartment and comfy shoulder straps, I never felt like the backpack was an awkward burden. All with a smooth but rugged outer shell, the quality does seem to live up to what’s been said before.

I’m not sure how they do it. Packing this much quality into the products and benefiting so many different people and organizations boggles the mind. If one company can do so much, why can’t more? I’m completely impressed with the fact that Cotopaxi makes great and does great things. Keep up the good work guys!


Disclosure: I received these products from Cotopaxi for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own and truthful.

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