Sick and tired of hearing about how green your gear is? So are we. So we tried to rethink the way we defined green for these eight sustainable products.
We are now officially numb to green product claims. Because really, making and buying stuff consumes energy by its very nature. Very few store-bought products are truly green. But at the same time, you have to buy gear to get out and enjoy the wild. The global economy can’t function like the parking lot at a Dead show. So the best we can do, short of not buying, is to think about how and what we buy, and to consider the impacts of those choices. With these principles in mind, we offer up some thought-provoking green gear.
[CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT]
The North Face El Cap
You can’t go wrong with an upgrade to a green material. Take this ever-popular TNF El Cap baselayer. It’s now made with 100-percent recycled Polartec PowerDry that performs just as well as the bad, old stuff, thanks to advances in the quality of recycled yarns.
Picture Yourself Going Green
and Getting Green Done
Need some motivation? Picture Yourself Going Green is a simple, smart guide on how to green your life, with suggestions on everything from light bulbs to cars. Getting Green Done talks sustainability on a corporate scale—Aspen Skiing Company’s Auden Schendler explains how the resort has made difficult-yet-ultimately-profitable choices to change its practices.
Picture Yourself Going Green: $23.95; erinnmorgan.com
Getting Green Done: $26.95; gettinggreendone.com
GoLite DriMove Lite
The biggest impact your clothing has on the environment does not come from manufacturing it, but from taking care of it. Washing and drying suck up energy and spew out carbon. We credit GoLite for pointing this out and suggesting that we air-dry this fast-drying 50-percent-recycled polyester shirt.
Platypus Platy Bottle
Now that a town in Australia has banned bottled water, the war against one of the most wasteful products out there has begun. This simple, BPA-free reusable is a perfect alternative to the 1.5-million tons of plastic waste that bottled water creates each year.
Big Agnes Salt Creek 2 Recycled
Big Agnes has been one of the few companies to choose green materials in hardgoods and this tent pulls no punches. It’s made of recycled polyester all around—the fly, the floor, the mesh, the zippers, the guy line. Wondering about the white color? No dyes were used. Even the poles feature an eco friendly anodizing.
When we asked our online followers for their input on the best “green gear,” a huge majority replied that the stuff that’s most sustainable is the stuff that lasts the longest. And many called out their trusty Whisperlite stove, which is made in the U.S., as something they bought years ago that they still own. Is it built from green materials? No. Does it reduce carbon in the atmosphere? Certainly not (it burns white gas!). But perhaps the least talked about green factor is how long something lasts.
Patagonia’s iconic baselayer material also topped the charts when it came to durability. Hell, I’m still wearing capilene I bought at the outlet store in Dillon, Montana in 1993. Yes, it is made from petroleum products, so it did spew carbon-emission evil into the world when it was first made—but if it ever does wear out, you can recycle it through Patagonia’s Common Threads program.
RedLine Monocog 29er Single Speed
One bike. One speed. Big tires. It commutes. It bombs singletrack. It creates no emissions. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.