Clothing tags turned into survival tools

Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1938, The Columbia Sportswear Company has been making clothes and outdoor gear for more than 70 years. Throughout the years the company has grown into a global sportswear brand. It is still based in Portland, and it’s still making footwear and clothes to keep you dry, warm, cool and protected in any weather condition.



These days the company is taking a more proactive approach not just in giving you a better product, but they are doing something remarkably creative with their clothing tags. We usually cut them off and throw away the clothing labels, but Columbia wants each of their product to serve a utilitarian purpose.



They are now converting the once-useless labels into awesome and useful survival tools. The cool gadget labels are aimed at campers, hikers, fishing enthusiasts, and outdoor junkies. Although the tags aren’t the only survival tool you’ll need to survive in the wilderness, they’re a great start.



The labels were created with the help of the advertising agency Ogilvy, based in Istanbul, Turkey. Apart from serving as a fantastic marketing tool, they make perfect, pocket-sized survival tools for anyone stuck in the wild and in need of some basic gear. Essentially, you can buy a Columbia jacket, put the label in the pocket, and use it whenever you need it.



The goal is to replace the old care and washing instructions with the survival labels on selected clothing. In addition to giving you the information on the clothes material, or whether it’s dry-cleaned only, the stainless steel tags will be convertible, creating a range of cool camping tools.

They could be transformed into fishing hooks, sextants, sewing kits, sundials, and water filters. Each label has an online video tutorial, that explains how to use and build each tool. They are both an excellent camping kit and fun way of learning basic survival skills.



Here are few of the first survival tags that you might see in the stores with Columbia Sportswear pretty soon.

Water purifier tool


The best thing about this tool is that it serves as a coffee filter at first. The tag tears open to a ready-packed coffee filter, on which you just need to pour hot water through, and you’ll get a fresh cup of coffee. You’re probably wondering, what to do with the tool after the single cup of coffee you have? Well, you don’t have to toss out the label. Once you use it as a coffee filter, it continues serving as a water filter.

Sundial tool

This cool pop-out can be turned into a precisely marked sundial. If by any chance you find yourself without a phone or watch, this tag will give you the most accurate reading of the sun. I think this one’s awesome!

Fishing tool


This tool sounds like the coolest one revealed by Columbia so far. Although there are many small, survival-style fishing kits available on the market already, none of them comes built into a label. This pocket-sized kit has it all, from fishing line to hooks.

Handsaw tool


Yes, this tool can actually saw through sticks. It even has a convenient finger grip, and a little ruler marked on the non-serrated side. Have you ever had a clothing label that could saw through wood? Probably not.



It’s amazing when big brands embrace survival preparation to this sort of level. Although Columbia Sportswear is already associated with great clothing and gear, efforts like this will help stress the value of preparation and that there’s more to being outdoors that just having a nice coat.



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tomi-stojanovik is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival