We need to look after the environment and practise Leave No Trace principles when we’re out adventuring, but did you know the gear you choose also makes an impact?
Materials like polyester are made from plastics, and when you put those clothes through a washing machine, microplastics leach into the water—and eventually, into the ocean. Single-use water bottles, fast fashion outdoor apparel and plastic bags litter the environment we love to explore. Even items that seem recyclable, like plastic jugs of laundry detergent used to clean your hiking clothes, often end up in the landfill.
To make smarter, healthier choices for ourselves and our planet, here are 20 eco-friendly gear items to switch to in 2022.
At the Campsite
1. Unpaper Towels
Napkins and paper towels are necessary for clean-ups at the campsite, but they are also single-use and disposable. Level-up your camping and picnic game with a set of unpaper towels from Ontario-based Cheeks Ahoy. These handmade, single-ply cloth towels can simply be tossed in the washing machine when you get home from your trip.
2. Reusable Tupperware
Easily organize your food for your next camping trip with reusable Tupperware. Humangear has a ton of handy items for camping and picnics. The Large 4-Pack of stackable containers has a handle and fits in most bicycle water bottle holders, so you can bring whatever you need on the go.
3. Sustainable Camp Clothing
Looking for comfortable camp clothes that are durable, warm and sustainable? Head to ecologyst to revamp your outdoor wardrobe. Made in North America, ecologyst offers high-quality clothing with an incredible warranty. Some of our favourite items include the new Fisherman Full Zip Sweater and Quilted Wool Liner Jacket, as well as the trusty gender-neutral Peak Hoodie.
4. Recycled Sleeping Bag
The North Face
We’re stoked that The North Face made this sleeping bag with 100 per cent recycled shell fabric and insulation. The sleeping bag features an embossed lining and comes in a beautiful green hue. Extra features include an internal phone pocket, fitted hood with a cinch-cord, tie-down loops for securing to a sleeping mat and extended width at the knees for maximum comfort.
5. Multi-Use Tent
The most sustainable tent is the one you use the most. Choose a versatile tent made from durable materials that you can take on different adventures. If you mainly go car camping, this three-season two-person tent is a good option. Weighting 2.47 kg (5 lb. 7 oz.) when packed, this tent also works for casual backpacking trips. New for 2022, the NEMO Dagger OSMO will be made from 100 per cent recycled fabrics. Find it in stores this April.
On the Trail
1. Reusable Snack Bags
I love packing snacks on hikes, but Ziplock bags aren’t the best choice. Instead, pick up these zippered, lined snack bags for everything from sandwiches to apple slices to trail mix. Simply toss it in the washing machine when it’s empty and reuse on your next adventure!
2. Ocean Safe Water Bottle
Everyone knows it’s better to bring a reusable water bottle than a single-use plastic bottle. Ditch poorly made bottles and invest in a premium drink container made from recycled materials. This bottle also spurs the collection of 1,000 plastic bottles with every purchase.
3. Recycled Hiking Boots
Hiking boots and trail running shoes made with recycled materials can still be stylish, comfortable and practical for hitting the trails. Merrell’s vegan-friendly Moab Flight Eco Dye is made with 100 per cent recycled mesh upper, 100 per cent recycled laces, eco-friendly dyed yarns and an EVA foam insole with 50 per cent recycled top sheet. Plus, the Vibram® EcoDura is 30 per cent recycled rubber!
4. Ethically Produced Outdoor Apparel
We love hiking clothes and gear available in inclusive sizes. Alder makes recreational apparel for the outdoors with sustainable and ethical production. Two of our favourite items include the ‘rain or shine’ coat, made with 100 per cent recycled materials, and the ‘take a hike’ shorts, made with 88 per cent recycled nylon. Both are available in sizes XS to 6X.
5. Reusable Hand Warmers
Hiking in the winter? Rather than taking a disposable hand warmer, invest in these natural and reusable hand, thumb and foot warmers. Made with traditional Indigenous knowledge in the Northwest Territories, the beaver fur warmers can be slipped into a glove or sock to brave the snowy trails.
In the Water
1. Filtration System
Pathogens, pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals and microplastics might be lurking in lakes, wells and rivers you want to sip from. Ditch the old chemical tablets and get a reusable water bottle purifier. In eight seconds, you can be drinking safe, clean water.
2. Recycled Dry Bags
In a pinch, you can use plastic grocery or garbage bags to keep your things dry in a kayak/canoe. However, these single-use items aren’t durable and don’t work as well as dry bags. If you love water sports, invest in a roll-top dry bag, like this one made from 100 per cent recycled materials.
Nettles Tale Swim
Even your swimsuit can help save the ocean! This ethical brand is made in Vancouver, BC. Swimwear features bold patterns and inclusive sizing. Options for water sports include the reversible Bonnie Top and Shorts, named in honour of Dr. Bonnie Henry.
4. Swim Trunks
Each pair of these swim trunks is made from eight recycled plastic bottles. Eco-friendly, colourful, fun and available in 6” or 8” lengths in a variety of sizes, these are perfect for beach days and causal paddles.
This wetsuit is made with 85 per cent natural rubber. Sourced from forests certified by the Rainforest Alliance, the Yulex® natural rubber is made from hevea trees. By replacing petroleum-based neoprene with natural rubber, Patagonia has reduced their CO2 emissions drastically.
1. Tru Earth
Wash your camping and hiking clothes with environmentally friendly detergent. Coming in an ultra-concentrated eco-strip, Tru Earth is as sensitive to your skin as it is on the environment. Try the Platinum for sweaty, muddy, stinky adventure clothes.
2. No-Filter Drip Coffee Maker
I’ve had one of these forever, and it’s a lifesaving early-morning-starter on camping trips. This drip coffee maker is ultralight, and the cloth filter removes the need for disposable paper filters, so you can reuse it at home or when travelling to keep saving the planet, one delicious brew at a time.
3. Organic Cozy Blanket
Made with 100 per cent organic cotton, this blanket has a beautiful nature graphic with layers of monochrome trees. The blanket is made sustainably and responsibly and along with other products from tentree, 10 trees are planted for every purchase.
4. Portable Campfire
Everyone loves the blazing bliss of an outdoor campfire, but they can create stinky problems and contribute to pollutants in the air. Instead, enjoy your backyard, oceanside campsite or patio with a campfire that produces less smoke, uses less fuel and is easier to clean up.
5. Recycled Hammock
Do you love getting away from traffic, emails, technology and the distractions of everyday life? Hammock-maker “Nakie” is all about stripping back and getting "naked" in nature. These hammocks are made from 37 recycled plastic bottles!