When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by Outerknown #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
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Sustainable Outdoor Clothing: 7 Brands For The Ethical Adventurer | Sustainable Fashion


Imagine this: you reach the summit just as the sun rises, the view is breathtaking and the town and trees below you look like miniature replicas. 

But then you spot it: the unwelcome guest in the great outdoors.

Litter. 

But it goes far deeper than abandoned Clif bar wrappers and beer cans.

Plastic is also fashion/2019/jul/16/the-big-fashion-fight-can-we-remove-all-the-toxic-invisible-plastic-from-our-clotheshttps://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/jul/16/the-big-fashion-fight-can-we-remove-all-the-toxic-invisible-plastic-from-our-clothes” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener” class=”rank-math-link”>prolific in the clothing we wear for the outdoors. And this form of pollution is far less obvious but perhaps even more insidious, as we explain below.

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural materials, like organic cotton and hemp.

Arms of Andes, for instance, only uses 100% natural, ethical, and biodegradable alpaca wool. Coalatree also uses natural fibers and produces them by supplying local disabled adults with employment opportunities. 

If synthetics end up in our eco friendly backpacks, we prefer those that have been removed and properly recycled, instead of newly produced. 

That’s why we love Patagonia who sticks to regenerative organic cotton and mostly recycled synthetics in place of virgin ones in their more technical garments.

Climb, hike, or cycle your way to the end of the article to find out how we determine who makes the cut of sustainable outdoor clothing brands.

*This post contains affilate links

  • Outerknown
  • Coalatree
  • tentree
  • Toad&Co
  • Arms of Andes
  • Patagonia
  • prAna

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by Outerknown #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by Outerknown

Outerknown is certainly known to us.

They’re one of our favorite ethical clothing brands for men and women.

The brand was founded by Kelly Slater, a World Surf League champion—so you know they know how to make sustainable outdoor clothing for rugged adventures.

Between outerwear, sweatpants, tanks, t-shirts, swim trunks, and anything else you could need for ocean based activities, or just simply being in nature, they’ve got you covered. 

Materials:

Outerknown is a stand-out brand for their use of recycled plastic (rPET and Econyl) swimwear, among other sustainable materials.

You can sweat sustainably in t-shirts made from mostly 100% organic cotton, sweaters, and organic hoodies made from hemp, alpaca, or wool, and winter jackets filled with RDS-certified down. 

While they do use some spandex for stretch, it’s easy to find clothes made with either 100% natural materials, or a blend between natural and recycled materials.

In fact, nine out of ten garments are made with either organic, regenerated, or recycled fibers.

A bluesign®-approved company, their manufacturing process uses very few chemicals. 

Nothing screams eco friendly outdoor clothing like clothing that protects the outdoors from factory pollution! 

Supply chain & labor practices:

A Fair Trade USA partner, Outerknown doesn’t leave transparency out of their priorities either. 

You can take a revealing look at their list of manufacturing partners, all of which adhere to the brand’s Code of Conduct as per standards set by the Fair Labor Association (FLA).

The business directly impacts the lives of over 5,000 workers thanks to fair trade certified factories in China, Mexico, and Peru. 

Green business practices:

100% of their swim trunks are made with renewable/recyclable fibers.

They also have a program to repair, replace, or properly recycle their S.E.A. eco friendly jeans. 

For even more about their fashion circularity plans and renewable energy implementation, see their 2030 Sustainability Strategy.

Inclusivity:

Sizes vary, but are generally XS-XL for women and S-XXL for men. 

Community & charitable giving:

Advocacy for the great outdoors is a big part of Outerknown’s mission, and they do a lot towards educating, collaborating, and supporting events and causes that advocate for climate action, champion water stewardship, and protect our oceans.

Available: Outerknown

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by Coalatree #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by Coalatree

Coalatree is committed to providing adventurers (like you) with something appropriate and ethical to wear.

The brand actually started out as a self-sustaining organic farm located in Colorado. They used sustainable practices for their farm products and now do the same with their clothing line. 

Whether a sweaty summer adventure is up your alley or a plunge into a sub-freezing winter wonderland, Coalatree carries eco-minded goods such as jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts, shorts, pants, tops, and camp goods like blankets and hammocks. 

Materials:

In addition to some completely avoidable virgin synthetic fabrics, here’s a rundown of some more sustainable materials you might find: recycled nylon, recycled spandex, organic cotton (that’s recycled, to boot), and recycled coffee. 

Recycled coffee?!?! 

In a super cool process, they gather recycled coffee grounds from local coffee shops, grind them into nano-sized particles, and mix them with recycled plastic water bottles. 

Boom! 

You get morning brew turned into an odor-resistant fiber. 

Most clothes are also coated in a non-toxic DWR (AKA Durable Water Repellent) finish, which extends the life and water-resistance of the clothes. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

As an American sustainable outdoor clothing company, all the garments are designed in their headquarters located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

They partner with local producers and strive to only work with ethical and eco-friendly factories around the globe.

All manufacturing facilities are certified by Fair Wear Foundation and bluesign® (no room for harsh chemicals for this ethical outdoor clothing brand!). 

Green business practices:

At SJ, we’re monstrous fans of multifunctionality and longevity. So is Mother Earth and so is Coalatree. 

Their men’s trailhead shorts and some jackets, for instance, aren’t just tear-resistant but can be folded into their front pocket to be used as a travel pillow. How cool!  

Their factory partners are progressing towards zero emissions by using renewables, efficient machinery, and low-impact ventilation.

They also use tree-friendly packaging and waterless dyeing in many of their garments, which saves thousands of gallons of precious H2O. 

Inclusivity:

Coalatree provides XS-XXL in most things.

For some $$$ inclusivity, there’s also a pretty sweet sale section. 

Community & charitable giving:

Every year, Coalatree sends their surplus fabric to be transformed into blankets for the homeless. 

They also partner with local and global organizations working to protect the great outdoors like the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and Anasazi Foundation youth wilderness therapy program.

Available: Coalatree

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by tentree #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by tentree

Sure, tentree plants ten trees for every purchase, but as one of our favorite organic clothing brands, there are many more reasons we’re including them here.

We love all of their luxury-feeling loungewear and “earth-first apparel,” but for the purpose of this article, we’re giving their outdoor clothing collection an (alpen)glowing review.

And what a collection it is…

With men’s and women’s t-shirts, tanks, button-ups, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, hoodies, sweatshirts, outerwear, jackets, joggers, shorts, and pants…they have all you could need when it comes to the best sustainable outdoor clothing!

Materials:

While you might find a tiny bit of elastane to give some garments a little bit of stretch, we’ll give tentree ten thumbs up for the use of mostly eco-friendly materials like recycled synthetics, TENCEL lyocell, hemp, and organic cotton. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

tentree’s transparency (try saying that five times fast) is undeniable. 

They have a factory ledger that lists where all of the products are made and also shows what certifications pertain to each location up (i.e. SA8000, BSCI, Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Trade, WRAP).

It should come as no surprise that tentree is a Certified B Corp and is in fact one of their top-rated companies. 

Green business practices:

Single-use plastics will be totally out of tentree’s supply chain by 2023. 

For now, expect mostly recycled packaging. 

Before you hit the “add to cart” button, you also see the Eco Log of each product. This highlights the water, emissions, and waste savings behind each garment. 

Inclusivity:

XS-XL is available for most garments, with diverse models wearing them.

They also made our list of affordable ethical clothing brands, as they’re inclusive for your bank account, too.

Community & charitable giving:

By 2030, tentree are on target to plant one billion trees. 

Three cheers for eco friendly outdoor clothing brands that make the outdoors more sustainable in every way!

Available: tentree

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by Toad&Co #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by Toad&Co

We’re toadally obsessed with Toad&Co

The Californian company wants us to choose between two earth-friendly options: going naked or wearing sustainable clothes.

While the former is quite a tempting offer, they’re helping us do the latter. 

And let us tell you: clothes have never looked as comfortable as naked feels.

With a belief that every day is an adventure, they make clothing both stylish-enough-for-the-streets and technical-enough-for-the-peaks. 

Choose between men’s and women’s shirts, pants, t-shirts, shorts, jackets, layers, and underwear. 

Materials:

Toad&Co Uses a range of SJ-approved fabrics like organic cotton, lyocell, hemp, RWS certified wool, hemp, recycled fabrics, or Lenzing modal.  

You can search by specific collections to find things made with all-organic or vegan-friendly materials. 

While totally avoidable, expect to find some virgin polyester and/or elastane for stretch in some garments. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

They have a factory in California that produces some products and several global partners for everything else.  

All must abide by their strict code of conduct, which, at a minimum, ensures safe working conditions and prohibits forced/child labor. They regularly visit and audit the factories, too. 

Outside Magazine actually ranks them as one of the best places to work.

Green business practices:

This american sustainable outdoor clothing brand is doing what it can to clean up the dirty textile industry. 

Certifications from OEKO-TEX and bluesign® cover some of their manufacturing processes, eliminating toxic substances from their production.

Their headquarters also purchase carbon offsets in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates, use energy-efficient LED bulbs, and ship products in 50% post-consumer recycled poly bags and reusable LimeLoop shipping bags.

Using elements of a circular economy, they partner with thredUP and The Renewal Workshop to turn textile scraps and unsold products into new clothes. 

Inclusivity:

Men, expect sizes S-XXL. Women, you’ll see XS-XL.

Community & charitable giving:

The company supports its local community by volunteering with nonprofits and providing opportunities for local adults with disabilities (through employment in their Californian factory). 

As a member of 1% for the Planet, they’re also pretty big into environmental activism, so you’ll see their name on related petitions.

Available: Toad&Co

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by Arms of Andes #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by Arms of Andes

For adventures near and far, why not incorporate something from one of the world’s most iconic travel destinations?

Arms of Andes is a sibling-operated brand specializing in the use of Peruvian alpaca wool. 

While alpaca wool may evoke images of snuggling up by the fire, it’s actually an efficient material for all types of adventures—hot, cold, or something in between. 

In it, you can go further, pack lighter, and not leave any microplastics behind. 

Between the hoodies, bottoms, underwear, socks, leggings, and shirts, they fulfill all basic outdoor activewear needs. 

Materials:

What makes for the most sustainable outdoor clothing?

We think it’s a material that is ethically sourced, temperature regulating, and can be composted at the end of its life. 

Alpaca wool can do all this and more. It’s also the only material in Arms of Andes products. 

Not only is it great from our planet’s point of view, but it’s also one of the softest, lightest, and most breathable fabrics out there.

Add the antibacterial, odor resistant, high sweat-wicking, and UV resistant properties, and you have a material that screams ‘wilderness backpacking adventure’.

Their garments are naturally dyed using plants and insects. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

The company only uses 100% Andean alpacas who are free roaming in the Peruvian Andes as they have done for thousands of years.

Every step of the supply chain that follows is in Peru, too. 

All workers and alpacas are treated with respect (and veterinary care for the latter). Representatives from the company frequently monitor working conditions to ensure this never changes.

Green business practices:

Alpaca wool is biodegradable and has a super low carbon footprint, and in Arms if Andes’ case, it’s single-sourced.

Inclusivity:

S-XL sizes are available for men, XS-L for women. 

Available: Arms of Andes

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by Patagonia #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by Patagonia

Would we even be talking about sustainable outdoor clothing if we didn’t mention Patagonia

Patagonia puts the ‘go’ in ‘go outside.’

Not only are their products designed to be truly lived in, but they’re also one of the brands that pioneered the sustainable fashion movement.  

And they continue to lead the movement today by piloting the world’s first regenerative farming certification and staying eco-politically active, arguably making them the most sustainable outdoor clothing company.

Expect quality, durability, practicality, and unmatched ethics in anything you wear from Patagonia (for men, women, kids, and even babies), whether it’s a new t-shirt, sweater, winter coat, pair of leggings, quintessential Synchilla fleece, or backpack.

Don’t even get us started on their circular-minded Worn Wear used clothes and gear program…

Materials:

Patagonia uses a lot of different materials. They tend to steer clear of virgin synthetics and never use traditional cotton. 

Instead, most of their outdoor garb is made with natural fibers like hemp, linen, USA-grown organic cotton; ethical animal fibers like RWS certified merino wool and RDS certified down; and recycled materials like nylon, polyester, and cashmere.

72% of their product line is made with such recycled fabrics. 

Don’t forget the PVC-free inks, toxin-free dyes, and earth-safe waterproof finishes.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Nearly 70,000 workers are supported in Patagonia’s fair trade certified and bluesign®-approved factories.

Their ethical supply chain has been praised far and wide, ranking them consistently at the top of Fashion Revolution’s fashion transparency index.

Their Footprint Chronicles in every product description disclose the exact factory a garment is produced in.

Still, they strive to do even better. 

From their migrant worker program and living wage program to the publication of their finished supplier list, packing that Patagonia fleece for your weekend trip will keep you feeling warm and fuzzy inside, too.  

Green business practices:

We already mentioned their Worn Wear resale program, which is one of the most fashionable ways to fight for our planet, but Patagonia doesn’t stop there. 

In fact, they have taken an active role in community outreach, education, and environmental activism.

This is on top of using recycled materials, recycling all garment polybags in Patagonia stores (which they hope to phase out altogether), using as many compostable packing materials as possible, and recycling chemicals. 

And there’s a lot more where that came from in their environmental report. 

Inclusivity:

The outdoors are for everyone; not just skinny, athletic, non-POC folks.  

In recent years, Patagonia has aimed to better represent outdoor lovers big and small with XXS-XXL. In fact, they’re one of our favorite body-positive brands. 

Their commitment to all types of inclusivity is clear, whether on the surfboard or in the boardroom, and we expect to see them address further shortcomings in the near future. 

Community & charitable giving:

We’ve mentioned 1% for the Planet quite a bit (because we’re members, no biggie), and Patagonia founded it!

They also created their Action Works website to help connect YOU to local community events and organizations.

Available: Patagonia

When we’re rolling out camp clothes for our next big adventure, we prefer sustainable outdoor clothing made of natural and eco friendly materials. Image by prAna #sustainableoutdoorclothing #sustainableoutdoorclothingbrands #sustainableoutdoorclothingcompanies #ethicaloutdoorclothing #ecofriendlyoutdoorclothing #sustainablejungle
Image by prAna

prAna puts the… well, prana in our daily yoga routines. 

While they carry eco friendly yoga clothes galore (leggings, yoga pants, sports bras, and tanks), they also offer plenty of sustainable clothing for off the yoga mat, too.  

In fact, this ethical outdoor clothing brand first gained renown as a rock climbing garment maker, and they still create some of these iconic products, as well as surfwear, hiking clothes, and travel wear.

prAna has us feeling some serious wanderlust with their tees, tops, jackets, hoodies, sweaters, sports bras, outerwear, shorts, and pants. 

They even have some super cozy pajamas for after that 20-mile hike.

Materials:

With a huge range of garments, expect a variety of materials used, some of which are sustainable fabrics (more so than others).

Here’s what we love: organic cotton, recycled polyester, TENCEL lyocell, hemp,  sustainably harvested Merino wool, RDS-certified down, and recycled synthetics. 

Their best-selling Zion Family Collection keeps the “performance” in “performance fabric” owing to its durable, stretchy, travel-friendly, and UPF protective properties. It’s now also made with mostly sustainable materials (like recycled nylon).

You’ll see some virgin synthetics, which can definitely be avoided with some peeking around the product details. 

The only one of these we are generally okay with is a little spandex to make our hikes a more comfortable (since there’s no recycled alternative yet). 

Supply chain & labor practices:

In North America, prAna was the first fashion brand to become Fair Trade Certified and many of their products are still produced in Fair Trade factories that support more than 33,000 textile workers around the world.

While some factories are not fair trade certified (and you can filter by category if you prefer), they still meet ethical wage standards and prAna regularly visits and audits them to make sure there is no child labor, forced labor, or harassment. 

Green business practices:

prAna is bluesign® approved, eliminating all kinds of toxic chemicals in production. 

They’re also a Textile Exchange member and promote sustainable fashion as an industry through their Clothing for Positive Change education initiative.

Inclusivity:

XS-XXL is available in some garments, and they also have an extended plus size range for more size inclusivity.

Community & charitable giving:

prAna has a partnership with Outdoor Outreach,  which supports underprivileged (primarily urban) youth with experiences and adventures in the great outdoors.  

Available: prAna

Outdoor clothing is especially tricky when it comes to sustainability.  

Why?

Because outdoor clothing is so often made of plastic. And plastic is still more effective.  

While natural fibers are suitable for certain kinds of outdoor clothing, more technical garments (like water-repellant shells and swimwear) simply can’t be created from non-plastic alternatives…. yet.

We can minimize the impact of necessarily choosing plastic by choosing recycled plastic fabrics.

That said, there is still another problem even recycled fabrics can’t alleviate: microplastics.

Microplastics shed from synthetic garments every time we wash them, and about 35% of all ocean microplastics come from precisely this source. 

Synthetic garments release an average of science/article/abs/pii/S0025326X16307639′” target=”_blank” aria-label=” (opens in a new tab)” rel=”noreferrer noopener” class=”rank-math-link”>700,000 microfibers per wash (or up to one million for fleece). That amounts to 1.5 million tons a year!

So what’s an outdoorswoman (or man) to do?

We can start by buying from brands who make garments that last and offer repair programs (reducing overall plastic pollution).

And as always, wash our outdoor gear in a microplastic catching bag like the Guppyfriend.

If there’s ever been a more important time to consider sustainable and ethical fashion, it’s when we’re heading outdoors. 


Spending time in nature is great for our mental and physical well-being

It encourages physical activity, reduces stress and fatigue, and improves mood and self-esteem. But we’re not sure how many of those benefits would be found near a polluted river or on a littered trail… 

In order to fully enjoy these spaces, we should all be doing our part to protect them by choosing products that meet the following criteria:

Materials:

Most of a garment’s impact comes from its material so we look for organic cotton, hemp, linen, alpaca, Merino wool, ECONYL, rPET, recycled organic cotton, TENCEL lyocell, modal, recycled cashmere, and heck, even upcycled COFFEE GROUNDS (!). 

The more natural and/or recycled, the merrier.

Supply chain and labor practices:

Many brands on the list at the very least have a code of conduct, so you can be sure your sustainable outdoor clothing isn’t tarnished by forced child labor, unfair working conditions, or harassment. 

Many are also transparent to the T(ree) about where their factories are based, who’s working in them, what they pay, and what certifications are in place to verify their ethical claims.  

Green business practices:

We love seeing circular practices, like brands offering repairs for their garments, recycling old clothes and gear, or only using 100% biodegradable materials. 

Beyond that, multifunctional clothes are the best—and not just from an ultralight backpacking perspective. 

Then there’s the less obvious: recycled/recyclable packaging, waterless dyeing processes, renewable energy-powered facilities, efficient machinery, and regenerative agriculture.

Inclusivity:

Sizes should accommodate all types of adventurers and while not all brands are perfect here yet, most at least have XS-XL sizes. Some brands even have an extended range so no one is left out. 

We also believe the outdoors shouldn’t be barred by budget, so it’s good to see sales and reasonable prices (without compromising on quality and production ethics) so adventure is made affordable and accessible. 

Community & charitable giving:

Donations of products, textile scraps, and funds, activism, education, tree planting, and actually helping people who normally can’t access outdoor adventures do so—these are what truly make the best ethical and sustainable outdoor clothing companies.


We’re now itching for an adventure and we hope you are, too. 

But before you grab your eco friendly water bottle, air out that old tent, and squeeze everything into your backpack, think about what you’re bringing into Momma Earth’s house. 

Whether you’re hitting the trail, the mountain, or just your back porch, for a fun (and conscious) adventure, consider supporting one of these sustainable outdoor clothing brands. 

And remember, upgrading should only be done when necessary.

You can always check-out some affordable secondhand options at an online thrift store too. 

When you’re planning a solo route or rendezvous with adventure buddies, feel free to share this article with your fellow outdoor-lovers. The more the merrier when it comes to protecting our beloved outdoors! 


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