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National Outdoor Leadership School teams up with DuPont Cordura

By Matt Lloyd, NOLS Media Intern
Reprinted from The Leader, Fall 2000, Vol. 16, No. 1

The longstanding relationship the National Outdoor Leadership School has with DuPont recently paid off in a significant donation to the NOLS scholarship program by DuPont Cordura.

DuPont Cordura will provide NOLS with $24,500 to support the NOLS scholarship program this year. The scholarship is open to all students who apply for spring or fall 2001 semester-length courses and demonstrate merit and financial need.

DuPont Cordura is a division of DuPont, a well-known science company, with interests in food and nutrition; health care; apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation. Founded in 1802, the company operates in 70 countries and has 94,000 employees.

Innovations developed by the company also have uses in the backcountry. Indeed. many of the products we use and wear to keep us safe, warm and comfortable contain technologies developed by DuPont, including, Tactel, Lycra, Thermax, Coolmax, and Cordura. Packs, boots, apparel and numerous other items are constructed of DuPont fibers.

Cordura is "air-textured, high-tenacity nylon." The product results in some of your most used and abused products being lightweight, abrasion-resistant and durable. Many outdoor manufacturers such as L.L. Bean, Nike, The North Face, Marmot, Outdoor Research and Patagonia, use Cordura in their products. It is also found in NOLS wind gear and backpacks.

DuPont has a long running history with NOLS. In the late sixties, NOLS seamstress Thelma Young developed the first synthetic filled sleeping bags with DuPont Dacron 88 synthetic fill fiber. Synthetic filled sleeping bags and clothing were a revolutionary change from down-fill in the development of water resistant insulation for outdoor products. Thelma's famous stitching designs provided baffles for the fill. These baffles prevented the fill from "packing out."

The school's founder, Paul Petzoldt, was instrumental in helping bring synthetic-fill bags to the field of outdoor recreation.

"Since Dacron provides even insulation, a bag of Dacron sleeps well even when wet," said Petzoldt in a 1970 article about the school's use of the material. "A wet down bag, on the other hand, could mean turning back from the trip rather than risk the possibility that someone might suffer extreme exposure."

And as DuPont continues to revolutionize and refine its synthetic fibers--Fiberfill, Fiberfill II, Hollofil, etc.--NOLS continues to use these DuPont fibers in sleeping bags, jackets and pants.

DuPont Cordura has also sponsored the annual National Trails Day program since its inception in 1993. National Trails Day is a nationwide day of public events, observed on the first Saturday in June, that is aimed at raising public awareness of, and appreciation for, America's trails and the volunteers who maintain them.

The first three DuPont Cordura scholars will participate in NOLS semesters this spring.

More information on the NOLS/DuPont Cordura® Scholarship


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