One of the biggest trends in the outdoor industry over the past few years has been the increased focus on producing gear that is much more environmentally friendly. Numerous outdoor companies big and small have launched initiatives to create gear that uses recycled materials and more sustainable production methods. The results are a new class of “green” gear that is better for the planet, while still offering a high level of performance.
Here are a few of our favorite examples of the best green gear currently on the market.
has been at the forefront of the environmentally-friendly gear movement for some time now, and the company’s line of is a good example of its commitment to making more eco-conscious gear. The line-up includes a , an , and , all of which are made from Columbia’s proprietary OutDry fabrics that are created from recycled water bottles.
The jackets are only available in white to avoid the excessive use of water that comes with the dying process. They are also perfluorocarbons (PFCs) free, eliminating a chemical that is commonly used to create a waterproof coating, but has also been linked to adverse side effects to the wearer’s health.
Making products that are good for the environment has been a part of DNA from the beginning. The company has invested heavily in using recycled materials, including down, nylon, and wool. Now, Patagonia is leading the way in using hemp, because it is a plant that has very little impact on the environment, requires no pesticides, synthetic fibers, or GMO seeds. It also helps prevent soil erosion and actually replenishes vital nutrients in the ground.
The company has numerous products made from hemp now, including its , a soft, comfortable shirt that performs well on and off the trail.
Anyone who has been around the outdoor industry knows that a is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of gear you can own. A Buff can serve as a headband, a balaclava, face mask, neck scarf, and more.
But starting in 2018, the is now made from fabrics created from two recycled water bottles. This new material is just as stretchy and comfortable as the Buff we’ve come to know and love in the past, but now it is more Earth-friendly.
is a great example of a company that is making high quality gear while also working to reduce unnecessary waste. In fact, it has numerous products that are of fabric and other materials that are left over from the production of its other gear.
Take for example the , which is constructed of repurposed ripstop nylon that would otherwise be discarded at the factory. The pack features whimsical color patterns, is lightweight and durable, and downright fun to use.
isn’t exactly a household name in the U.S., but the European company is actually one of the biggest outdoor brands in the world. It also holds the distinction of creating the first 100 percent recycled weather shell, providing protection from the wind and rain while remaining environmentally friendly at the same time.
Every part of the is made from recycled or repurposed materials, including the zipper and the jacket’s breathable membrane. The shell also uses fewer raw materials than similar jackets and produces less CO2 emissions during production as well. As you would expect, the materials are PFC-free and the entire line of Texapore products are designed to generate as little waste as possible.
is known for making outstanding sleeping bags designed to keep us warm and cozy in the backcountry, but its is also good for the environment. Rated for use in temperatures as cold as 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the sleeping bag uses a soft, proprietary synthetic insulation called Hotstream by Insotect.
This material resembles down in many ways, and is just as efficient in keeping us warm on a chilly night. It also has the added benefit of being made from 100 percent recycled materials, making it a good choice for campers looking to help protect the planet.
extensive line-up of double-walled, vacuum-insulated, stainless steel water bottles are inherently good for the environment. By refilling one of these reusable bottles rather than purchasing a bottle of water you’re actually eliminating a lot of single-use plastic waste.
The company is also committed to doing away with plastic straws, which are finding their way into the ocean at an alarming rate. To combat this growing problem, Klean Kanteen has introduced a line of that are durable, reusable, and fun.
's line of products is made completely from recycled, PFC-free materials that still manage to maintain a high level of performance in terms of water and wind resistance.
There are a number of Eco-Shell jackets in the Fjällräven catalog, but the company is well known for its trekking and mountaineering pants. The is the perfect example of this, offering a garment that is both waterproof and breathable that is made from a blend of recycled fabrics.
Eliminate the need for gas or propane fuel when cooking your next meal around the campsite with . Using natural fuel sources like wood, sticks, and leaves, this stove is capable of boiling a liter of water in as few as 4.5 minutes. It also has the added ability to collect thermal energy from the fire, which is in turn stored in a built-in battery pack that not only powers the stoves onboard fan but can also be used to recharge small devices, such as a smartphone or headlamp.
Base layers are the articles of clothing that sit closest to your skin and play a vital role in keeping you warm and dry in cold weather conditions. That means they have to be able to perform at a high level at all times.
The from manages to do that, while also providing UPF 50+ protection from the sun, deftly wicking moisture away from the body, and avoiding picking up any foul odors. It also happens to use fabrics that were created from recycled water bottles. In fact, for every base layer shirt made, 26 water bottles are removed from the landfill.
Nauis a company that was formed to create outdoor, travel, and lifestyle clothing that is made in a sustainable and Earth-friendly way. To that end, everything in the company’s line-up is made from eco-friendly fabrics that include 100 percent organic cotton and 100 percent recycled polyester.
Nau’s designers also incorporate recycled down, and use both alpaca and merino wool to create performance apparel that also happens to look good. All of the company’s gear is also PFC-free, including its , which is versatile enough to be used on the trail, a bike commute, or just running errands around town.
is another brand that is focused on making its gear as sustainable as possible, taking multiple approaches to achieve that goal. In addition to using recycled materials and eliminating PFCs from its tents in favor of silicone-treated fabrics, the company puts a high priority on creating gear that is durable enough to last for years. That helps reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, as does NEMO’s commitment to repairing any damaged or defective gear.
Every Nemo product comes with , which means the company will repair or replace pretty much anything it has ever made.
Footwear manufacturer has long been on the cutting edge of using advanced materials and manufacturing methods for creating innovative shoes and now its making a major move towards producing more eco-friendly products. The company’s is already PFC-free and uses environmentally-preferred leather sourced from Leather Working Group-certified tanneries.
But in 2019, Keen is taking its entire line of hiking, lifestyle, and water footwear PFC-free as well, removing the harmful chemical from the vast majority of its shoes. ($70)