Zero Waste Outdoor Gear: Adventure Responsibly

Are your outdoor adventures leaving more than just footprints behind? It’s alarming to know that petroleum-based plastics, used in much of our gear, could take a century to decompose.

This blog will guide you through responsible and sustainable choices for outdoor gear, ensuring your love for nature doesn’t harm the environment. Get ready to adventure responsibly, with zero waste!

Key Takeaways

  • Outdoor gear made from synthetic materials contributes to pollution and harm to marine life through microplastics.
  • Choosing eco – friendly outdoor gear brands like Vaude, Patagonia, REI, Cotopaxi, and Prana can help reduce your environmental impact.
  • Making sustainable choices in outdoor gear includes considering secondhand or rental options, repairing and caring for gear, looking for eco-friendly certifications and materials, and supporting brands with ethical practices.

How Outdoor Gear Impacts the Environment

Outdoor gear impacts the environment through the use of synthetic materials and microplastics, water usage and pollution, waste generation, and animal welfare concerns.

Synthetic materials and microplastics

Many outdoor gear items are made of synthetic materials. These materials come from oil and gas. It takes a long time for them to break down in nature, over one hundred years! Tiny bits called microplastics can wash off these items too.

They end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Fish and other sea animals may eat the microplastics by mistake. This is not good for the animals or our planet.

Water usage and pollution

Outdoor gear production, particularly the manufacturing of synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, consumes a significant amount of water. In fact, it takes thousands of gallons of water to produce just one pound of fabric.

This excessive water usage contributes to water scarcity issues in many regions around the world. Additionally, during the production process, chemicals are often used that can contaminate nearby water sources and contribute to pollution.

These pollutants can harm aquatic ecosystems and pose risks to both human and animal health.

Furthermore, when outdoor gear is washed or exposed to rainwater during use, microplastic fibers can be released into the environment. These microplastics then find their way into rivers and oceans, where they are ingested by marine life.

These tiny particles not only pollute our waters but also enter our food chain when we consume seafood.

Waste generation

Outdoor gear contributes to waste generation, which is harmful to the environment. Food wrappers are a common type of garbage left behind during outdoor adventures. Additionally, petroleum-based plastics used in outdoor gear can take over a hundred years to decompose.

The production process for outdoor gear materials often involves bleaching, dyeing, and chemical treatments, leading to further waste generation and environmental impact. It’s important for consumers to be mindful of this and make sustainable choices when purchasing outdoor gear.

Animal welfare concerns

When it comes to outdoor gear, animal welfare is an important concern. Many materials used in outdoor gear, such as down feathers and leather, come from animals. The production of these materials can involve unethical practices like live-plucking or mistreatment of animals.

It’s crucial for consumers to be aware of the source of their gear and choose brands that prioritize animal welfare. Look for products made with synthetic alternatives to down feathers and seek out brands that have certifications or commitments to ethical sourcing.

By making conscious choices, we can help protect animals while enjoying our outdoor adventures responsibly.

Ethical and Sustainable Outdoor Gear Brands

There are several ethical and sustainable outdoor gear brands that prioritize eco-conscious materials and practices. Want to know which brands are leading the way? Keep reading to find out!


Vaude is an outdoor gear brand that focuses on sustainability and eco-conscious practices. They are committed to producing environmentally-friendly products that have a low impact on the planet.

Vaude uses recycled materials in their clothing and equipment, reducing waste and conserving resources. They also prioritize fair labor conditions and ethical production processes.

With Vaude, you can adventure responsibly knowing that your gear is not harming the environment or contributing to unethical practices. Choose Vaude for sustainable outdoor gear that allows you to enjoy nature while being eco-friendly.


One of the ethical and sustainable outdoor gear brands that you can consider is Patagonia. They are known for their commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation. Patagonia uses recycled materials in their products, reducing the need for new resources.

They also promote repairability by offering a repair service for damaged gear, extending its lifespan. Additionally, Patagonia supports various environmental initiatives and organizations through their 1% for the Planet program.

So when it comes to choosing eco-friendly adventure gear, Patagonia is definitely a brand to keep in mind.


REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) is one of the ethical and sustainable outdoor gear brands to consider when making ecoconscious choices. They offer a wide range of environmentally friendly outdoor clothing and equipment, made with ecofriendly materials.

REI is committed to reducing waste, promoting recycling, and supporting conservation efforts. By choosing REI products, consumers can enjoy their outdoor adventures while minimizing their environmental impact.


Cotopaxi is an ethical and sustainable outdoor gear brand that values social and environmental responsibility. They create high-quality products with eco-friendly materials, such as recycled fabrics and responsibly sourced down insulation.

Cotopaxi also supports global poverty alleviation through their “Do Good” initiative, which funds projects aimed at improving education, health, and livelihoods in impoverished communities.

By choosing Cotopaxi, you can feel good about your outdoor adventures while minimizing your impact on the environment.


Prana is an ethical and sustainable outdoor gear brand that focuses on eco-friendly practices. They prioritize using organic cotton, recycled materials, and low-impact dyes in their products.

Prana also supports fair trade and ensures workers are treated ethically throughout their supply chain. Their commitment to sustainability extends beyond the manufacturing process, as they implement initiatives to reduce waste and conserve resources.

By choosing Prana for your outdoor gear needs, you can enjoy your adventures while minimizing your environmental impact.

Tips for Making Sustainable Choices in Outdoor Gear

Consider secondhand or rental options, repair and care for gear, look for eco-friendly certifications and materials, and support brands with ethical practices. Find out more about how you can make sustainable choices in outdoor gear here.

Consider secondhand or rental options

Take a sustainable approach to your outdoor gear by considering secondhand or rental options. Buying used gear or renting equipment can greatly reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact of your adventures.

Plus, it’s often more affordable! By giving pre-loved gear a new life or borrowing from rental services, you’re helping to extend the lifespan of products and reduce the demand for new manufacturing.

This means less energy consumption, fewer resources used, and ultimately less waste generated. So before making a purchase, explore secondhand shops or check out rental programs in your area to find eco-friendly alternatives for your outdoor needs.

Repair and care for gear

Taking care of your outdoor gear is an essential part of being a responsible adventurer. By repairing and maintaining your gear, you can extend its lifespan and reduce waste. Simple tasks like patching up small tears in tents or re-waterproofing jackets can make a big difference.

Regularly cleaning your gear helps to remove dirt and debris that can damage fabrics over time. When storing your gear, make sure it’s clean and dry to prevent mold or mildew from forming.

By practicing these simple repair and care techniques, you can continue to enjoy the outdoors while minimizing your environmental impact.

Look for eco-friendly certifications and materials

When choosing outdoor gear, it’s important to look for eco-friendly certifications and materials. These certifications can help you identify brands that prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Some common eco-friendly certifications include Bluesign, which ensures the use of sustainable materials and responsible manufacturing practices, and Fair Trade Certified, which guarantees fair wages and safe working conditions for employees.

Additionally, look for gear made from recycled or organic materials to minimize your environmental impact. By choosing gear with these certifications and materials, you can enjoy your outdoor adventures knowing that you are making a positive difference for the planet.

Support brands with ethical practices

When shopping for outdoor gear, it’s important to support brands that prioritize ethical practices. Look for companies that are committed to sustainability and eco-friendly materials.

Choose brands that prioritize fair trade, animal welfare, and reducing their environmental impact. By supporting these ethical brands, you can make a positive impact and contribute to a more sustainable outdoor industry.

Ways to Practice Zero Waste while Adventuring

Pack reusable water bottles and food containers for your outdoor adventures.

Pack reusable water bottles and food containers

Make sure to bring reusable water bottles and food containers when you’re going on outdoor adventures. Instead of using disposable plastic bottles and single-use food wrappers, opting for reusables reduces waste significantly.

Did you know that petroleum-based plastics can take over a hundred years to decompose? By bringing your own reusable containers, you help reduce the amount of plastic waste ending up in our environment.

Plus, it’s more cost-effective in the long run! Remember to choose durable options made from eco-friendly materials like stainless steel or glass.

Choose biodegradable or compostable products

When it comes to outdoor adventures, choosing biodegradable or compostable products is a simple yet effective way to reduce waste and protect the environment. By opting for items that can break down naturally, you avoid leaving behind harmful materials that can harm wildlife and ecosystems.

For example, instead of using plastic water bottles, consider investing in reusable ones made from eco-friendly materials like stainless steel or glass. Additionally, look for biodegradable options for camping utensils and food containers.

These small choices can make a big difference in minimizing your carbon footprint while enjoying the great outdoors.

Leave no trace and practice responsible outdoor ethics

When enjoying the great outdoors, it’s essential to leave no trace of our presence and practice responsible outdoor ethics. This means being mindful of our impact on the environment and taking steps to minimize it.

For example, we should always pack out any garbage we bring in and dispose of it properly. Food wrappers can be particularly problematic, so make sure to keep them contained and take them back with you.

By following these principles, we can help protect the natural beauty of our outdoor spaces for future generations to enjoy.

Recycle and properly dispose of waste

Dispose of waste responsibly by recycling and using proper waste disposal methods. When camping or adventuring outdoors, it’s important to leave no trace behind. Make sure to pack out all of your garbage and recyclables so that they don’t harm the environment.

Did you know that food wrappers are the most common type of garbage left behind during outdoor activities? By properly disposing of your waste, you can help reduce pollution and ensure a cleaner, more sustainable outdoors for future generations.

Petroleum-based plastics used in outdoor gear take over a hundred years to decompose, so recycling them is crucial. Remember to separate recyclable items from regular trash and find designated recycling bins or facilities near your location.


Make your outdoor adventures more eco-friendly by choosing zero waste outdoor gear and practicing responsible habits. Look for ethical and sustainable brands, consider secondhand options, and make sure to repair and care for your gear.

Pack reusable water bottles and food containers, choose biodegradable products, and always leave no trace. Together, we can enjoy the great outdoors while minimizing our impact on the environment.


1. What does it mean to have zero waste outdoor gear?

Having zero waste outdoor gear means using products and equipment that are designed to minimize environmental impact by reducing waste, promoting recycling, and utilizing sustainable materials.

2. How can I find zero waste outdoor gear?

You can find zero waste outdoor gear by looking for brands that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Look for products made from recycled or biodegradable materials and companies that promote recycling programs or take-back initiatives.

3. Why is it important to adventure responsibly with zero waste outdoor gear?

Adventuring responsibly with zero waste outdoor gear helps protect the environment by minimizing pollution, reducing landfill waste, and preserving natural resources for future generations.

4. Can I make my current outdoor gear more eco-friendly without buying new ones?

Yes, you can make your current outdoor gear more eco-friendly by practicing proper maintenance and repair techniques, reusing items when possible, and avoiding single-use disposable products like plastic water bottles or utensils.