As outdoorsy folk, we often spend a lot of our hard-earned cash on outdoor kit. The outdoor kit industry has grown from being just for serious adventurers to a huge fashion industry as well now.

However, as we all know, the clothing and fashion industry is often criticised for helping support the throw-away culture that still exists around the world.  But with so many environmental issues at play nowadays, it is ever-more important that we all think long and hard about how sustainable the goods we buy are.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when buying sustainable outdoor clothing and kit: making sure you’re getting the right fit, that it’s good value, and that it’ll get the job done. It’s your hard-earned money you’re spending, after all.

But a new bit of kit is more than that: it’s also a vote. When you buy something from a company, you’re supporting them, and by extension their ethos too. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re only buying from the most responsible brands. There still aren’t that many truly eco-brands around, but there are are more popping up all the time.  So, here are a few things to look out for when choosing sustanable equipment and who to buy it from.

  • Product process – look for materials from sustaiable and renewable sources.  Plant-based and animal based materials like cotton, bamboo, merino wool are all good to look out for as long as they are responsibly sourced.
  • Location – where are the products made? Is the wellbeing of the workers being considered? How far away have the goods to travel to get to you?
  • Durability – will the goods last a long time and stand up to lots of use?
  • Waste – when you’re done with the product, can it be recyled or will it breakdown naturally without polluting the environment?

Some companies talk a good game, but what they say may not always be as good as it sounds.  So do your research and have a look at the facts and figures, track record, ethos before deciding to buy their products.  At the end of the day, if we buy from sustainably run companies, then those that are not doing what they should be doing will be forced to change or go out of business.  So, it matters because we are choosing to help the planet.

Consider buying second hand – there is lots and lots of used clothing and equipment for sale on the likes of E-bay.  People often buy-use-sell, or buy-don’t use-sell.  Always worth a look online to see what’s available at what will likely be a fraction of the cost of new equipment.

So what brands should you be looking out for?  Here’s a great bunch to start with.  Hope you can find what you’re looking for and can shop more sustainably in the future.