• Andrew Reinhart

Andrew Reinhart

Wetsuit Developer

STARTED AT PATAGONIA

2005

LOCATION

Ventura, CA

Andrew Reinhart
“I love being hands-on with the product. Whenever I can spend time working out new ideas or just learning new sewing techniques, I’m happy.”
 

Passionate about: Refining my systems. Whether it’s customizing a backpack for a special climb or modifying my fish stringer to avoid snagging on kelp, I love streamlining my gear.

Outside interests: Usually something involving the ocean, but my heart is also in the mountains. I try to split my time between the two; most often I spend my weekends diving and surfing out at the Channel Islands.

Path to Patagonia: My mother was hired as a product developer at Patagonia in 1988. I was raised here in Patagonia daycare. Growing up at Patagonia I had a handful of different “jobs.” Ten years ago I started my professional career as a seasonal employee at the Ventura store. From there I joined the wetsuit repairs team and then became a wetsuit developer.

Favorite Patagonia product: Cross-over styles have always been my favorite. Take the Wavefarer® Board Shorts. They’re one of the best surf trunks on the market, yet durable enough to handle abrasive rock while climbing.

Biggest accomplishment while working here:
Helping to develop and produce our big-wave inflation vest, which has changed big-wave surfing forever. We built and tested more than a couple dozen prototypes; at one point I remember taking some of the parts home to heat in my oven. We took free-diving classes and big-wave risk assessment courses, tested the vests in the pool and the lab, and it resulted in one of the best lifesaving devices ever made. A number of people are still alive as a direct result of this product.

What has been your biggest adventure?
Climbing a route alpine style in the Peruvian Andes with my longtime climbing partner, David. Bad weather had forced us down a dangerous and exposed section of the mountain. At one point a whiteout stopped all movement. We sat alone for an hour waiting for it to clear, unable to hear each other. After making our way off the summit we down climbed very unstable ice and snow. When we finally made it to safe ground, we fell to our knees, hugged and took a picture. This climb still stands as our biggest feat on both a spiritual and physical level.

Favorite part about your workday:
I love being hands-on with the product. Whenever I can spend time working out new ideas or just learning new sewing techniques, I’m happy.