ECO-FRIENDLY GIFT GUIDE FOR OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS IN 2019
*This eco-friendly gift guide is sponsored by REI, our favorite one-stop-shop for gifts for the outdoor lover in your life. As always, all words (and gift ideas) were thoughtfully crafted by the Bearfoot Theory team.
As outdoor enthusiasts, it’s our job to do what we can to reduce our impact on the planet, and even better, to help others do so as well. This eco-friendly gift guide features products that can help you and your loved ones reduce waste while supporting brands and organizations that are working to make the world a better place. Remember, you vote with your dollars. And, all of these eco-friendly gifts are available at REI, a company that I’m proud to work with.
Why? Because REI takes sustainability seriously. They’re committed to sourcing more sustainable materials, reducing their energy consumption, using renewable energy, supporting fair labor practices, and investing in outdoor access and stewardship. Most recently they kicked off their #OptToAct Campaign – which is a set of 52 weekly challenges starting in December 2019 intended to help you “reduce your impact, get active and leave the world better than you found it.” I often get asked by the BFT community how individuals can get involved in environmental causes, and this is an effective and easy way to make a positive impact and get your feet wet in advocacy.
If you aren’t an REI Co-Op member, now is the time to sign up and earn dividend points with every purchase which means 10% back in cash or store credit. REI always guarantees easy returns in case a gift just doesn’t work.
Eco-Friendly Gift Guide – Index
Eco-Friendly Gifts that Reduce Waste
Our favorite gifts that reduce single-use plastics and other waste
We’re all about items that reduce trash and dependence on single-use items, and Stasher Bags are a new favorite for saying no to ziplock bag waste. They’re made of silicone, easy to clean, and a convenient way to pack your trail lunch or store leftovers. You can even bake or boil in them, which is great for leftovers when you don’t have a microwave (hi you van lifers). Stasher Bag is a member of 1% for the planet, meaning a portion of their annual sales go towards supporting environmental non-profits. Plus, we love their Instagram for eco-minded inspiration.
FinalStraw Stainless Steel Straw
By now we all know how wasteful single-use plastic straws are and how detrimental they can be to wildlife and the environment (have you seen this video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose?). FinalStraw makes it easy to say no to plastic straws with their foldable stainless steel straw that comes in a pocket-sized case that attaches to your key chain. It’s dishwasher safe and comes with a handy little cleaning brush as well. FinalStraw is also a member of 1% for the planet, contributing 1% of their profits to support environmental organizations.
United by Blue Packable Tote
Everyone should have a reusable bag. It’s handy for everything from groceries to toting around your toiletries to the campground showers. This United by Blue packable tote packs into itself, making it easy to throw in your purse, stash in your car, or take along on your travels so you’ll never need a plastic bag again. As an added bonus, United by Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product purchased.
Humangear Utensil Set
This utensil set by humangear is handy for backpacking, camping, traveling, and work lunches. Just throw the packable case in your purse or pack, and you’ll never need single-use plasticware again. Humangear itself is a founding partner of the Climate Neutral initiative and is working to become Climate Neutral certified. They also donate a portion of their profits to Kiva, a micro-lending organization where funds are lent to support helpful projects.
Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Water Bottle
With all the great options for reusable water bottles nowadays, there’s really no need to buy plastic single-use ones. The Hydro Flask wide mouth 32 oz water bottle is our favorite. It’s a good size for all-day hydration, keeps your drinks hot or cold, and it’s easy to clean and carry. We also love Hydro Flask because they support non-profit organizations focused on building, maintaining, restoring, and providing better access to parks.
Hydro Flask Coffee Flask
This Hydro Flask coffee flask is perfect for drinks on the go. It’ll keep your coffee or tea hot, it’s spillproof and easy to clean, and it fits nicely in your cup holder if you’re on the road. Fill it up at your local coffee shop instead of using a to-go cup which often isn’t recyclable.
Jet Boil Canister Recycling Tool
One of the downfalls of using fuel canisters is that many are single-use and can be difficult to recycle. This Jet Boil canister recycling tool makes recycling possible by releasing any remaining fumes and puncturing the canister to indicate to recyclers that the canister is empty and safe to recycle. If empty isobutane canisters can be recycled in your area, this will make a great eco-friendly gift.
Flame King Refillable Cylinder Kit
This Flame King propane canister refill kit helps save money and reduce waste by making refilling propane canisters easy. The kit comes with a stand, a refillable canister, and a refill adapter that fits on any standard 20 lb. propane tank.
Eco-Friendly Gifts that Give Back
These eco-friendly gifts give back in a variety of ways, so you’re not only purchasing a well-made product, you’re also supporting a good cause
Buff Headwear – Trail Edition
We’ve always loved Buff’s multifunctional headwear for their versatility, but when we saw their Triple Crown Series we were especially excited. These Buffs are not only made with recycled materials (each one is made with 2 recycled plastic bottles), but Buff also donates 5% of the purchase price to one of three non-profit trail organizations with the mission to protect, preserve, and promote the “Triple Crown” National Scenic Trails. This includes the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Appalachian Trail.
tentree Juniper Hoodie
This tentree Juniper Hoodie is the perfect eco-friendly gift for both men and women. It’s super cozy and versatile, and best of all, tentree plants ten trees for every purchase. This hoodie comes in both a zip and a non-zip version in multiple colors, and in both men’s and women’s sizes.
Janji Deviation Tights
Theses Janji Deviation Tights make a great gift for the active woman in your life. Whether it’s running, hiking, or yoga, these breathable, moisture-wicking tights will fit the bill, plus they come in a few different fun colors. And best of all, the Janji brand donates 5% of proceeds to support clean water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives in developing countries.
Patagonia Defend Public Lands T-Shirt
Patagonia has long been leading the charge for sustainability in the outdoor industry. You really can’t go wrong with any Patagonia product you purchase, knowing that they take sustainability and the environment into account in everything that they do. Their Defend Public Lands T-shirt is one of our favorites because it highlights the importance of taking a stand to protect the wild spaces we love. It comes in both a men’s and women’s style in different colors.
ENO Leave No Trace Hammock
Give the gift of relaxation this year with a hammock. ENO’s Leave No Trace double hammock is light, compact, and big enough for two people. With every purchase of this hammock, ENO will donate $10 to Leave No Trace to support their mission of teaching people to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.
Nomadix Festival Blanket
This Nomadix blanket is a great gift for picnic lovers, beach goers, or festival enthusiasts. The soft top and water-resistant base make it perfect for sitting on whether at a park, festival, campground, or the beach. This blanket is made with recycled plastic bottles and in addition, Nomadix is a member of 1% for the planet.
Landmark Project Camp Cup
This enamel cup by Landmark Project is a fun gift for any outdoor lover. And with each purchase, the Landmark Project donates a portion of proceeds to the Smokey Bear Fund for Wildfire Prevention Education.
Cotopaxi Travel Pack
The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L travel pack is the perfect carry on for any adventure. It has lots of thoughtful features and is designed with durability in mind so it can be used for years to come. Cotopaxi is a brand we love because they’re always doing good. They allocate 1% of their annual revenues to the Cotopaxi Foundation which supports non-profit partners that work to alleviate poverty, provide education, and support refugees around the world.
Manduka Yogitoes Towel
For the outdoor-loving yogi, the Manduka Yogitoes Towel absorbs sweat and reduces slipping during those flowy vinyasa sessions. Made from 50% recycled polyester and 8 recycled plastic bottles, this earth-inspired, grippy towel will help elevate your yoga game. Sustainability and transparency is at the core of everything Manduka does. They even have a recycling program where you can send in your old mat so it can be turned into something new rather than ending up in a landfill.
Check out these eco-friendly apparel brands for more ideas
Gifts that Re-Use
Buying used gear is one of the best ways we can reduce our impact on the planet, and REI’s used gear site makes it easy to buy lightly used gear that’s been inspected for quality.
Did you know that 85% of clothing ends up in landfills? REI is working to tackle this issue in the outdoor industry with the REI Used Gear site, where you can browse thousands of gently used outdoor clothing, shoes, and other gear items that would otherwise end up in a landfill. You know that awesome return policy REI has? This is where the best of that gear is ending up. Not only is this an effective way to reduce your impact this holiday season, you can also save a ton of money. Here are a few of the deals I’ve found in there:
- 30% off my favorite Thermarest Pro-Lite Sleeping Pad
- 60% off an almost new pair of my go-to Oboz Sawtooth II hiking shoes.
- 36% off this Hydroflask Camp Wine Tumbler
- 29% off Osprey’s Daylite Shoulder Sling Bag
- 40% off my favorite luggage – the REI Big Haul Rolling Duffel suitcase
Buying used gifts will make for a great conversation piece about the importance of re-using, and if the product simply doesn’t work out, all of their Used Gear has a 30 day, no-questions-asked return policy.
Here are 4 reasons to buy used outdoor gear
Give the Gift of Adventure
Annual National Parks Pass
The America the Beautiful National Parks Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites throughout the country. It’s good for a year from the month of purchase and covers admission for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person. As an added bonus, REI donates 10% of the sales of this pass to the National Parks Foundation which works to protect the parks we love.
REI Classes & Events
Give the gift of learning with an REI outdoor skill building class or event. They have everything from classes on navigation, backpacking, skiing, paddling, and cycling to camp outs and trips.
REI Gift Card
For the person that’s hard to shop for, an REI gift card is always a good idea. Better to give them the option to purchase something they really want and need than to gift them something they might not use at all. You can have gift cards delivered by mail or purchase an e-gift card to be delivered to the recipient by email for extra easy gifting with no paper or plastic waste involved.