Outdoor enthusiasts are some of the most environmentally-conscious folks out there. Hikers and campers have a certain reverence for nature and its fragile ecosystems. Many follow the ethos of leave no trace — the philosophy of minimizing human impact on the planet.
Outdoor lovers are mindful of what they own, why they own it, and what impact their stuff has on the environment. This makes buying gifts for them a little … different. This holiday season, try some of these useful, low-impact gift ideas for your nature lover.
Every Hiker Needs a Backpack
If you don’t need a backpack, can you even call it hiking? Hiking requires bringing a few supplies with you in case you get wet or hurt, hungry or thirsty.
Check out REI’s website to find tons of quality backpacks. Their Co-op Ruckpack is lightweight and made with bluesign-approved materials such as recycled ripstop nylon. As an outdoor outfitter, REI is a huge supporter of protecting natural places and is member-owned. They close their stores on Black Friday so their employees can spend time (outdoors) with friends and family.
Tentree takes sustainability to a whole new level. Their Mobius backpack uses recycled polyester, BLOOM foam padding, and post-industrial factory waste for their zippers and buckles. BLOOM foam takes excess algae from waterways, where it harms aquatic ecosystems, and turns it into plant-based foam. Tentree is a Certified B Corporation, meaning they pledge to put people and the planet on equal footing with their profits.
A Bottle That Filters Your Water
The first thing hikers pack in their backpacks is their water bottles. We don’t get far without clean water. Why not give your hiker a gift they’ll use again and again?
LifeStraw Go is more than a reusable water bottle. It has a 2-stage filtration system that filters out bacteria, parasites (think, Giardia — a camper’s worst nightmare), and even microplastics. The filter lasts up to five years. LifeStraw is a Climate Neutral Certified brand, which lessons the bottle’s overall carbon footprint.
Shop Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops
Some people might be insulted if you gave them a second-hand gift. Your eco-conscious loved ones would be thrilled. What’s so great about second-hand items?
For one thing, they keep usable goods out of the landfill. Buying second-hand items also conserves resources because no new raw materials are needed.
You can even do your thrift-store shopping online. Patagonia’s Worn Wear sells used gear that their customers have returned for credit. This is a great way to get high-quality outdoor gear affordably. Thift Books has over 13 million titles for sale. Cheryl Strayed’s Wild sells for $5 there.
Sustainable Camping Gear
The last place people want to be careless with earth’s resources is camping. Modern humans don’t just hole up in a cave and throw some ferns down for bedding. We need some stuff.
Did you know that people were recycling down feathers? They are. This Earthrise 600 sleeping bag from Mountain Equipment is filled with recycled down. Its shell and lining are also made from recycled materials and designed for three-season usage.
Campers who leave no trace won’t even sleep on the ground. They don’t want to compact the soil, so they string up a hammock instead. Coalatree makes hammocks with recycled and organic materials.
Serious campers need to bring their own cookware. Glacier Base Camper Cookset comes with two pots, two strainer lids, a frying pan, and a sack for storing. The pots nest together and the set weighs less than 3 pounds. This set will last a lifetime — a truly sustainable gift.
Gift a National Parks Pass
If your outdoor enthusiast has some vacation time coming, treat them to the experience of a lifetime. The National Parks Service sells annual passes for $80. which covers two park-goers. Their America the Beautiful Lands Pass covers admission fees to over 2,000 federally-protected recreation areas, including the National Parks. The pass can be used by two park-goers. Know a family of adventurers? Kids get under 16 get in free, so one pass is essentially good for the whole bunch.
The National Parks Service offers lifetime passes for seniors. They used to cost $10 — an amazing deal — but now they’re $80. Still not bad. You can buy an annual pass for seniors for $20.
Take Your Outdoor Enthusiast on a Hike
Want to give a gift from the heart? Join your loved one in their natural habitat. What better way to show your love than by spending time with others doing something they enjoy? That’s eco-friendly and doesn’t cost a thing.