Launching into a new year is the perfect time to reflect and look forward. For many, it’s also time to turn over a new leaf. If you are working on self-improvement, why not start with your gear closet? These items are particualrly eco-friendly and sustainable, which means both you and your wallet can rest easy knowing that you are doing your part to help Mother Nature.
It’s virtually impossible to create a list of eco-friendly outdoor brands and not have Patagonia near the top. The Silent Down Jacket performs as needed—it’s windproof, water-resistant, and toasty warm—but it’s made with 100% recycled down (duck and goose down reclaimed from recycled products) and a 70% recycled polyester taffeta outer.
Klean Kanteen’s history is steeped in environmentally-conscious thought; the brand originated their stainless steel water bottles in 2004 when the founders wanted to create a non-toxic solution to single-use plastic bottles. Nowadays, they also offer a 5-piece set of stainless steel straws to use on the go. Complete with a silicone tip, these indestructible straws are a safe and clean alternative to single-use plastic straws.
No matter the sport, outdoor lovers need a pair of sunglasses. Why not upgrade yourself and opt for a pair that are better for the environment? Zeal Optics glasses are 100% plant-based with materials derived from the castor bean plant. The Fowler shades still do what you ask (they block 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC light) but eliminate the need for petroleum-based materials. Hell yes.
The Re-Kanken is admittedly pricier than many other day-to-day backpacks, but that’s because Fjallraven puts a lot of thought into creating sustainable products. The Re-Kanken is made entirely from polyester created by 11 recycled water bottles. Additionally, Fjall uses SpinDye technology that reduces water, energy, and chemicals used by dying the fibers during the spin process. When it’s all over, you have a cute backpack that cuts out most of the BS usually seen in the manufacturing industry.
Cotopaxi’s mission is simple: do good. Since their founding, they’ve opted to donate 2% of the brand’s revenue every year to help eradicate poverty. Moreover, they guarantee their gear for 61 years: the average life span of someone in a developing country. Knowing all that, it’s no surprise that the Teca Windbreaker comes with an environmentally-conscious story. It’s made with 20-denier ripstop nylon that—surprise!—is the same nylon used in Cotopaxi’s sleeping bags. Like, literally. The fabrics used in the windbreaker are leftover and repurposed which means color options are limited. Once a pattern is sold out, it’s gone forever—or until those scraps show up on the cutting room floor once again.
The big problem with our world’s plastic consumption is that it frequently ends up in our oceans and waterways, polluting the eco-system and harming the marine life. To combat this problem, Adidas partnered with Parley to end plastic pollution. They stop the plastic before it enters the ocean and then recycle it into a variety of products. My fave? The Agravic Tee. It’s a basic, must-have item that doesn’t cost a fortune, and gets the job done.
The Spring 2019 season (launching next month) will be the first time Toad & Co. hits 100% sustainability, and they’re pretty darn excited about it. Since there is no universal standard, the brand set a high bar for themselves: each item needs to be made from a minimum of 80% sustainable fibers. For its part, the Breckinridge uses a mixture of recycled wool and nylon insulation to keep you warm while looking snazzy.
tentree is a certified b-corp whose goal is to become the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet. Not only does the Juniper Tee feature sustainable materials, but buyers can rest assured that that the manufacturing process promotes fair labor practices and safe working conditions. Even better: for every item sold by tentree, the brand plants ten trees to help combat deforestation.
From the beginning in 2008, Picture set out to eco-design products while considering recyclability, second life, and end of life. The Moder Jacket is no exception. It’s vegan-friendly and made from 100% recycled polyester. But, there’s more. Picture tracks the carbon footprint for each stage of a product’s manufacturing life cycle. For its entire jacket collection, Picture claims a savings of 618,000 kilometers of car travel. Hot damn.