Gear company fundraises for state parks

Kula Cloth’s first stop on its Abundance Tour will take place Jan. 8 at Deception Pass State Park.

An outdoor gear company is launching a yearlong tour benefitting Washington state parks with an event at Deception Pass State Park this Sunday.

Kula Cloth’s first stop on its Abundance Tour will take place from noon to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at West Beach. Kula Cloth founder Anastasia Allison said this is a party to which “all are welcome, and nobody will leave empty-handed.”

The event will feature a treasure hunt for a chance to win prizes and free outdoor gear, donated by more than 20 brands such as Gossamer Gear, Gregory, Garage Grown Gear and more. Allison said she hopes to introduce attendees to reputable brands they might not already be familiar with and provide them with the tools “that can help them get started on their own adventures.”

There will also be a potluck with warm drinks, day hikes and nature walks, paddleboarding and kayaking, a beach clean-up and a silent disco dance party to wrap up the festivities. Beach clean-up participants will be entered in a drawing to win The One, an ultralight Gossamer Gear tent.

Attendees can also make custom Kula Cloths with their own artwork. The Kula Cloth is a first-of-its-kind, antimicrobial pee cloth that Allison designed to reduce waste on hiking and backpacking trips.

Allison came up with the product concept while on a 2016 backpacking trip, during which she was disturbed to find toilet paper litter all over the backcountry. She thought if a reusable pee cloth was marketed as a clean and official piece of gear, it would help outdoor recreationalists feel less squeamish about using one and reduce waste.

Her business idea was about more than simply making money off a product, though; the word kula means community, and Allison knew early on that she wanted to host events that would bring people together to form deeper connections with themselves, others and the planet.

Kula Cloth hosted a number of events in person prior to the pandemic, and virtual courses over the past few years. Allison’s idea for the Abundance Tour stemmed from a desire to give back to state parks, where she got her start early in her career.

As a child, Allison volunteered at state parks, and she was a park ranger at Twanoh State Park for more than seven years. It was there that she first began to really explore the outdoors, and her fellow rangers helped her acquire the necessary gear for her adventures.

State parks are special because they are many people’s introduction to outdoor recreation and exploration, she said. All profits from the Abundance Tour will support state parks and their foundations.

The tour will stay in Island County in February with a visit to Camano Island State Park. There will be eight events in total, all held at various Washington state parks, including a second event at Deception Pass State Park in July. No two events will be quite the same, Allison said.

Guests can register for the event online at Tickets are sold on a pay-what-you-will basis, with all proceeds benefiting the Deception Pass State Park Foundation.