We are constantly working on finding ways to be more environmentally sustainable in how we live our lives and to be thoughtful about the impact we have on our planet. Generally, we have found that the most achievable way to do this is by trying our best to make conscious decisions about what we do and how we go about our lives – that includes what we buy, for ourselves and others. By making small changes in these areas, this can all add up to a sustainable lifestyle shift as the conscious decisions start to become subconscious habits. For example, I can’t remember the last time I bought a plastic water bottle or threw something away when there was an option to recycle it, because I take a reusable water bottle everywhere I go. This sustainable gift guide is sponsored by REI, our favorite one-stop-shop for outdoor adventure gear!
We love that REI is a co-op and invests in the same causes that we care so much about, this is one of the reasons we became members ourselves. An REI Co-op membership (only $20 for a lifetime) provides you with a member dividend of 10% back on what you spend, in spring each year, as well as access to exclusive member-only events and sales. To learn more about REI’s values, what they do and what makes them different, click HERE.
Choosing environmentally sustainable outdoor adventure gear
The most environmentally-friendly sustainable gear is the gift that does not need replacing, resulting in you consuming less because you have good-quality gear that does a great job on your outdoor adventures for years and years.
When looking at buying new outdoor adventure gear, whether for ourselves or as a gift for a fellow adventurer/nature lover/trail runner/hiker all of the above, we consider the following:
- Is the product durable and long-lasting, and therefore will not need replacing very often / ever? Because the most environmentally-friendly gear is the gear that does not need replacing, resulting in you consuming less because you have good-quality gear that does a great job for years and years.
- Is it reusable and can it be fixed and/or modified to extend its life?
- Is the gift made from recycled materials?
- Does the company actively work to operate in a sustainable manner, and support environmental causes?
- Do we (or our gift recipient) really need it, and will it get a lot of use and be loved and used/worn?
We’ve put together a list of awesome sustainable gifts for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers, from our favorite outdoor adventure store, REI, that meets one or more of these criteria. Hopefully, this selection gives you loads of ideas for great environmentally-conscious Christmas gifts.
1. A Gift Card
This is a great way to prevent waste and you won’t have to guess what the outdoorsiest of friends and family would like to receive the most. Send an REI Gift Card and let them purchase their gift.
While surprise gifts can be wonderful to receive, if you buy a gift and it turns out to not be quite what the recipient had in mind, encourage them to say so and switch it out for an alternative, as REI has an excellent returns policy.
Gifts for Outdoor Adventure Enthusiasts
Durable/long-lasting camping gear: Camping, like trail running, is intended to be a way to be close to nature in a low-impact manner (assuming you adhere to the ‘leave no trace’ principles), and quality camping gear can get expensive, so any outdoor and nature lover would love the gift of some high-quality camping gear for their next adventure. We suggest sneakily trying to find out what kit they’re missing and then buying a highly-rated gift to fill the gap in their adventure arsenal.
2. Leatherman Signal Colors Multi-Tool
The Leatherman Signal Colors multi-tool is a super durable tool, made in the USA, that will last for decades. The bright colors of the Signal multi-tool will surely be enough to brighten up any adventure. It packs 19 useful tools into a compact, 4.5 in. size. The Signal multi-tool helps you go further knowing that you have the means to get yourself out of many a tricky situation should the occasion ever occur.
3. Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20 Sleeping Bag
Marmot Trestles Elite Eco 20 sleeping bags are great because they’re made using 100% recycled materials, all synthetic rather than down, and can be used in three seasons. Plus, you can zip two together for sharing with a snuggle-buddy and there are men’s and women’s-specific versions.
4. Patagonia Refugio 28L Pack
Patagonia’s Refugio backpack comes in Men’s 28l and Women’s 26l versions and is a super-versatile backpack suitable for day hikes and overnight trips, as well as everyday use such as commuting, gym, and school. We like that the Refugio is made using recycled materials, and like all Patagonia products, it is designed with quality in mind and with the intention of it lasting many years of hard use. The Refugio is one of Patagonia’s best-selling backpacks and it’s easy to see why. This pack would be an awesome gift, especially if it had some other smaller goodies tucked away inside for the recipient to discover. ?
5. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Vacuum Bottle 32l
It’s hard to describe the simple pleasure of owning and using a quality reusable water bottle like this Hydro Flask. On one level, you may think – ‘but it’s ‘just’ a water bottle’, but it is more than that. Hydro Flask bottles are so well-made, insulated and leak-resistant, they can be taken on any adventure. There are constantly new designs being put out, including limited-editions and designs unique to REI customers. Our favorite size Hydro Flask bottle and one of the most popular is the 32 fl. oz.
FULL REVIEW: Hydro Flask 32 fl. oz. review
Gifts for spending time under the night sky
Stargazing is a great family activity for the winter months. The nights start sooner, last longer and are much clearer during this time of year. You really don’t need much gear to make this micro-adventure happen either. Read our beginner’s guide to stargazing for information on how to get started with your own mini-adventure. Below are the few essential items to make being under the night sky as fun, comfortable, and informative as possible.
6. Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Blanket
The Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Blanket is lightweight, very packable, and made with a recycled synthetic alternative to down that traps warmth inside small pockets of air to efficiently preserve heat, regardless of conditions. Just as great for camping under the stars with or on your sofa watching your favorite show. Our cats and dog Kepler love snuggling under our Rumpl (Not at the same time! :))
7. Nikon Monarch 5 8 x 42 Waterproof Binoculars
If you’re going to really look at the stars but aren’t at the level of bringing a telescope with you, then a good pair of binoculars is a must! These highly-rated Nikon Monarch binoculars are great because they feature a high-resolution, fog-proof and waterproof design.
They also have excellent light transmission, so they’re perfect for stargazing and also all your other outdoor adventures – they’re a popular choice for bird-watchers, for example. These high-quality, durable binoculars will likely last a life-time, provided you treat them well.
8. Patagonia Nano Puff jacket
The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket is super versatile and made from 55% recycled materials! We love that Patagonia’s values are centered around having a low impact and doing what they can to save our planet. When it comes to their products, they are designed to be as simple and utilitarian as possible, with a focus on function, repairability, and, foremost, durability. Patagonia recognizes that the most direct ways we can limit ecological impacts are with goods that last for generations or can be recycled so the materials in them remain in use.
9. A Coffee Tumbler: YETI Rambler Tumbler with MagSlider Lid – 20 fl. oz.
Never buy coffee in a disposable single-use cup again, and enjoy this premium long-lasting coffee tumbler made with high-quality 18/8 stainless steel with a DuraCoat® finish. Its double-wall vacuum insulation keeps your drinks hot or cold for hours.
10 Rechargeable Headtorch: Biolite HeadLamp 330
The lightweight Biolite Headlamp 330 is perfect for stargazing, and also trail running and hiking, so another versatile product to have in your kit-bag! The Biolite Headlamp 330 uses a rechargeable battery that lasts for ages, so no need to buy extra batteries. It features a red light setting, which is very useful for seeing what you’re doing but not ruining your night vision or that of your stargazing companions. We have rated this headlamp as one of the best multi-use headlamps for the money that’s definitely the most comfortable.
FULL REVIEW: Biolite HeadLamp 330 Review