by Diane Spicer
Hiking For Her's 2021 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.
This guide includes:
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.
Now let's get started on your quest for sustainable gifting!
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:
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.
Here's a good example:
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?
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.
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.
The brands featured in this 2020 guide include:
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.
A backpack is a logical gift for a hiker, right?
This 65L top loading backpack uses recycled 200-denier double ripstop nylon for the main body, and 420-denier recycled nylon oxford bottom fabric to give you a pack that's durable and sturdy enough to handle abrasive surfaces.
The J-zip access on the pack's front makes it easy to find something important in a hurry.
A smaller 35L day pack is also available.
More features to love on the Traverse backpack:
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).
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.
Hip length, compressible to almost nothing in your pack, stretchy and breathable. Wow!
Lightweight (13 ounces) 93% recycled polyester with a bit of spandex, 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.
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 54% recycled polyamide and 46% 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!
Looking for a way to ease into sustainable gifting with a few thoughtful gift suggestions that will be appreciated by your favorite hiker?
Searching for a really unusual gift that's reusable and uber eco-friendly?
This 15L cooler is made from recycled materials. It's rated to keep ice for up to 12 hours.
But you can fill it with other inexpensive hiking gifts (see below) and enjoy the look of surprise on your giftee's face!
And when it's end-of-life, use it as fire starter material on a car camping trip, or toss it onto a compost pile.
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
Toting along food on a hike can involve a lot of non-reusable plastic to keep it fresh and tasty.
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?
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.
Hikers need hydration options regardless of the temperature, which makes a reusable, durable water bottle an excellent gift.
Take a look at this Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle with Sport Cap.
This 21 ounce metal Hydro Flask option keeps beverages cold all day, or hot up to six hours, on a hike
Lots of great color options, too!
Explore the entire universe of Hydro Flask sizes, colors, and caps here.
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!
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.
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.
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
2022 Sustainable Gifting Guide For Hikers