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Sustainable Gifting Guide:
Your 2023 Map
To Eco-Friendly Hiking Gifts

By Diane Spicer

Give eco-friendly hiking gifts from companies with sustainability standards
#hikinggifts #ecofriendlygifts #sustainablegifting #hikingforher

Hiking For Her's 2023 sustainable gifting guide highlights the wealth of options you have right now to go easy on the environment as you light up your favorite hiker's face with a grateful grin.

Keeping human impact sustainable within a fragile, finite global ecosystem really matters to hikers!

And I'm guessing that's why you're here: to find gift suggestions for high quality hiking gear and outdoor clothing while being mindful of impacts on future generations.

You're in the right place! 

Use it for yourself, too.

  • If you're looking to support outdoor brands who strive for lower environmental impact and reject the mistreatment of animals and humans, you'll meet them here in this guide.

sustainable gifting guide for hikers

This guide includes:

  • the real world definition of outdoor brand sustainability 
  • quality brands now embracing sustainability
  • best sustainable hiking clothing and gear gifts available from REI Co-op


Hiking For Her is an REI Co-op affiliate, meaning the links in this guide take you to sustainable gear picks that will impress your hikers, and will result in a small commission for HFH when you purchase.

HFH is also a co-op member, reaping the benefits and rewards every year since 1978.

  • Read more about why being an REI Co-op member is a smart long term strategy for every hiker.

Now let's get started on your quest for sustainable gifting!

What do we mean by
"sustainable" gifts?

Since you're already here at a sustainable gifting guide, you probably know these buzz words.

You could use the words "eco-friendly" and "animal welfare" and "fair trade" to get a rough idea of what it takes for inclusion in this sustainable gifting guide.

But what if the "green" buzz words don't mean much to you?

Let's get specific and name the sustainability principles REI Co-op uses to label a product sustainable:

  • Use of recycled materials to reduce impact on the environment
  • Textiles made with minimal or no harmful chemicals and air/water emissions, and with less use of energy (Bluesign label)
  • Responsible management of forests (wood fiber sources)
  • Down (feathers), leather and wool sourced in a responsible and humane manner, following established standards
  • Organic certification for fibers (cotton and hemp) or food ingredients (fruit and meat)
  • Fair treatment of workers: wages, working conditions, and representation

Trust REI Co-opto source
this sustainable gifting guide for hikers

REI Co-op is using sustainability as a lens to view the inevitable, but controllable, impact of producing hiking gear and outdoor clothing at a competitive price.

Tracing the supply chain is a way to identify the specific environmental and social costs of getting your gift of a new backpack or jacket to your favorite hiker.

Supply chain example

Here's a good example: 

  • Carbon emissions from creating new synthetic fabrics (backpacks, tents, rain gear) play a huge role in supply chain pollution. 

Using recycled fabrics in products is a responsible way to head toward carbon neutrality.

REI has also established product standards for responsible, or minimal, use of chemicals in their manufacturing processes (think clothing, backpacks, camping gear).

They also want to know that down feathers used in their jackets and vests, along with the wool in their base layers, socks and jackets, are responsibly sourced from certified farmers who uphold animal welfare standards.

And they've put a lot of effort into setting up a used gear outlet.

So which outdoor gear brands are embracing these ideas?

Brands taking a stand
in this sustainable gifting guide

You won't find some famous outdoor brand names associated with hiking in this sustainable gifting guide.

But you will see several outdoor brands which have been verified to use some, or all, of those sustainability principles outlined above.

  • They are at the vanguard of the sustainability movement.

Achieving sustainability is a work in progress, as goals are set and then achieved for one product, and the process begins again.

So your favorite brand might be working hard behind the scenes to get on the Sustainable Train, but isn't quite there yet.

  • This guide will be updated as more and more brands adopt sustainability standards.

Which brands are highlighted in this
sustainability gifting guide?

The brands featured in this 2020 guide include:

  • REI Co-op
  • Patagonia
  • Fjallraven
  • Hydro Flask

Did you know?

REI required all existing

brand partners to be in alignment

with minimum brand standards by 2021.

Note that prices you see in this guide may be lower when you click on the photos to investigate these gifting options.

A happy surprise, no?

Let's start with REI Co-op as a source of durable, well designed and sustainable hiking gifts.

Sustainable gifting guide:
REI Co-op 

A backpack is a logical gift for a hiker, right?

This 60L top loading backpack uses recycled 300-denier recycled ripstop nylon (bluesign® approved) fabric to give you a pack that's durable and sturdy enough to handle abrasive surfaces.

It's available in four torso lengths and has an adjustable back panel for a customized fit.

There's a 32L version for dayhiking.

More features to love on the Traverse backpack:

  • Adjustable, swappable shoulder straps and interchangeable hipbelt to dial in the correct fit and comfort level
  • Integrated rain cover, eliminating the need to buy an additional piece of gear

Sustainable gifting guide:

The history of the company named Patagonia is well worth examining if you're not familiar with it.

Patagonia features 61 styles of waterproof shells (the outer layer in a hiking clothing layering system).

All are made with recycled materials.

All are certified as sewn by people who were treated humanely (Fair Trade Certified Sewn).

  • That certification also indicates that extra money is set aside in a fund which workers control.

Patagonia has set itself a company goal to become carbon neutral by 2025.

So expect to see many more recycled and renewable fabric offerings from Patagonia.

This Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Hoodie jacket is just one example of sustainability built into the supply chain with recycled fabrics: 94% recycled polyester/6% spandex.

Hip length, compressible to almost nothing in your pack, stretchy and breathable. Wow!

Lightweight (6.3 ounces), this jacket will take your hiker through three season hiking for many years.

A good duffle bag is an important piece of outdoor gear, whether you're car camping, storing stuff at the trailhead during a backpacking trip, or staging a day hike from the back of your car.

This one from Patagonia reduces landfill waste by using 100% recycled body fabric and webbing, sourced from plastic bottles.

It's available in various sizes, from a cute little 26 liter version (a baby duffle!) all the way up to 100L.

Sustainable gifting guide:

This might be a new company to you, but it's been around a long time doing good things for us hikers.

Here's an example of a jacket you won't find anywhere else: the Fjallraven High Coast Wind Jacket made of recycled polyamide and organically grown cotton.

This jacket makes a great outer layer for mild hiking weather, with its wind resistance and fast drying finish.

Full zip, adjustable hood, 3 pockets, elastic at cuffs to keep out debris and wind - and looks great, too!

Sustainable gifting guide:
meaningful and durable gifts for hikers

Looking for a way to ease into sustainable gifting with a few thoughtful gift suggestions that will be appreciated by your favorite hiker?

Keep reading!

Here's a gift for a hiker who also camps that's reusable and eco-friendly.

This 52 quart cooler is made from recycled materials:

ECOCOOL is made with postconsumer recycled resin (PCR).

It's rated to keep ice for up to 3 days.

Fill it with other inexpensive hiking gifts (see below) and enjoy the look of surprise on your giftee's face!

A hiker can never have too many socks, and that's a fact.

Liner socks are meant to be snug beneath outer hiking socks, offering moisture wicking and quick drying fabric to prevent blisters.

These REI socks feature recycled PET polyester.

A hiker can never have too many snacks for the trail, either.

But too much sugar and weird chemicals work against a hard working body.

This SOLELY Fruit Jerky snack has only 2 ingredients to fuel a hike:

Non-GMO Project verified

USDA Organic certified

No added sugar, additives, or preservatives

Plenty of tasty carbohydrates to keep your hiker fueled up

Ready for a fun fact to help you stretch your gift buying dollars while checking the sustainability box?

You save 10% when you buy 10 or more hiking snacks or pairs of hiking socks at REI!

Toting along food on a hike can involve a lot of non-reusable plastic to keep it fresh and tasty.

For a day hike lunch, your hikers can use these reusable beeswax + cotton sheets instead of throwaway plastic.

Perfect gift for a hiker who makes her own granola and trail bars.

Easy to clean, too!

If those attractive reusable sheets don't scream "cool eco-friendly gift", how about this reusable durable silicone sandwich bag to replace cling wrap or plastic bags? 

These Stasher Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bags can also be used on backpacking trips for hygiene supplies, or to store survival items away from moisture and dirt.

Multi-use gear is always a welcome hiking gift.

Sustainable gifting guide for hikers:
a few more trailworthy options

A hiker can also never have too many hats, especially if she loves to explore trails in all four seasons.

For warm weather hiking, this REI Co-op Vented Explorer Hat has a lot going for it.

Organically grown cotton crown paired with polyester mesh side vents: UV protection, durability, and ventilation

Wide brim (3 inches) to cut glare and shade neck and shoulders, too

Handy snaps on brim to adjust coverage side to side

Top of crown features a stash pocket

Hikers need hydration options regardless of the temperature, which makes a reusable, durable water bottle an excellent gift.

  • Your hiker will keep singe-use plastic bottles out of the landfill by using a hydration container that fits snugly into an outside backpack pocket, season after season.

Take a look at this Hydro Flask Lightweight Vacuum Water Bottle with Flex Cap.

This durable metal Hydro Flask option keeps beverages cold up to 24 hours and hot up to 12 hours.

Lots of great color options, too!

Explore the entire universe of Hydro Flask sizes, colors, and caps here.

Sustainable gifting guide updates

As more outdoor brands and products become available, this guide will be updated to give you the best sustainable gifting options for year round gifting to the hikers in your life.

If that includes yourself, bookmark this page and check back when it's time to make a wish list for your birthday or other special event.

And thanks for taking a step toward a brighter future for the planet.

Every little step counts, and you're a valuable part of the sustainability cycle!

Gift cards for sustainable gifting

If you have no idea what your hiker would like from this sustainable gifting guide, why not let the electrons do the work and give a gift card from REI Co-op?

You'll rest easy knowing there are many, many sustainable choices of hiking and camping gear, outdoor clothing, and fun stuff for the trail for your hiker to choose and enjoy, thanks to your thoughtfulness.

How to find more sustainable products
on the REI Co-op website

Ready to do more shopping for eco-friendly outdoor products beyond this carefully curated sustainable gifting guide?

Type the word "sustainable" into the search box of the REI website.

  • No surprise when all products tagged sustainable appear. But keep going.
  • Sort into viable options for your gift giving: categories, gender, best use, sizing, price.

You can also type in one of the preferred attributes, such as "fair trade", to discover an entire collection of products at REI.

Try "eco friendly", too.

Your gift list will be whittled down to nothing quickly, and you'll feel great knowing you're a giver of quality, sustainable hiking gifts.

And if you're an REI member, your eligible purchases result in an annual rebate - a perfect way to gift yourself each year for being such a smart gift giver.

Lots more member rewards, too! Explore them here:

REI Membership Benefits

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2023 Sustainable Gifting Guide For Hikers