Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 Eco Friendly Outdoor Gear Christmas Present Ideas

Do you enjoy walking and back packing in the great outdoors? Are you concerned about sustainability and protection of the environment?  What eco-friendly outdoor gear should be on your Christmas wish list? The Pyrenees Mountain Adventure team have put together their top 10.

1. Caldera Cone Stove  (Trail Designs)

Similar in design to the Trangia meths stove but smaller and lighter. In summary, the Caldera System includes the cone specifically sized to fit your pot and provide maximum stability and wind protection. The stove runs on meths not gas. A meths bottle can be recycled but a gas canister cannot and will end up as land fill. Boil times are slower than gas burners but the stove is silent. The design is very simple (with very little to break) and therefore long lasting.

2. Fire Steel Fire Starter. 

 Model: Swedish FireSteel 2.0 scout  

No need for matches or lighters with a fire striker. Small shavings are torn off the rod with a hard, sharp edge of the supplied metal scraper. These shavings are very hot and perfect for igniting a gas or meths stove.  Very simple design (with very little to break) and therefore long lasting.

3. Walking Boots (La Sportiva)
La Sportiva boots are made in Italy so labour standards are likely to be higher than average and there are less product miles for the product to travel from factory to European market. The company has a strong commitment to sustainability having achieved Environment Certification ISO 14001. To gain this certification, the business must demonstrate that it meets a range of criteria aimed at reducing the negative effects of the production process and therefore the environmental footprint of the business.

4. Waterproof jacket and trousers (ebay patagonia)
Buying anything that has previously been used reduces resource use (energy, water, crude oil etc). The damage has already been done. Giving an item a second life also means that the item does not end up as land fill in a rubbish dump. Patagonia has teamed up with ebay to make it much easier to buy and sell used Patagonia clothing and gear. 'The greenest product is the one that already exists'.

5. Shirt (Patagonia),0x000000,10,8,120,8&cvt=jpeg
A superlight long-sleeved shirt. Its ultralight blend of moisture-wicking 65% all-recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton provides big-time ventilation and 15-UPF sun protection.  

At Patagonia the recycled polyester comes from used drinks bottles, unusable second quality fabrics and worn out garments. These don't end up in as land fill in a rubbish dump and producing the shirt using recycled polyester requires less energy, water and crude oil.

Since 1996, Patagonia has only used organic cotton. Conventional cotton production is chemical intensive. Fully 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals in the United States are used to produce cotton, grown on just one percent of all major agricultural land. Research shows that extensive and intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, soil additives and defoliants pollutes and degrades  the soil, water, and air. It also harms agricultural workers, nearby residents and other animals. Organic cotton is produced using techniques that are healthier and safer for the environment and people.

6.  Socks (Teko)
The socks are made in the USA from organic merino wool or  EVAPOR8 recycled polyester fiber which is made from 100% post-consumer waste, like plastic bottles. The factory is 100% wind-powered and there is a lifetime guarantee on the product. Processing of the wool is chlorine free and the dyes used are non toxic.


7. Waterproofing Product (Nikwax)


When it rains does the rain on your waterproof  not 'bead up'? Does the fabric soak up rain? Before buying a new jacket, try Nikwax TX Direct. Wash your waterproof in a washing machine with Nikwax TX Direct and add durable water repellency and revive breathability.

8. Sleeping Bag (Mammut Ajungilak)

The insulating filling and the inner and outer materials of the Kompact Recycled are all made from recycled PET bottles with the sleeping bag offering the same insulation values as its traditional brother and weighing just 50 grams more. It takes around 40 bottles to produce the Kompakt Recycled. Using the plastic from the bottles means around 50 percent less energy is required to produce this sleeping bag and .  When it comes to its details and design, this environmentally friendly sleeping bag is no different to its traditional counterparts.

9. Portable Solar Charger. (PowerMonkey from PowerTraveller)

Charge up your mobile devices with a portable solar charger.

10. Back Pack (Fjällräven)
Kajka 65 

All the Fjallraven backpacks in the Kajka range have a wooden frame.The aluminium frame has been replaced by birch which has reduced the carbon footprint of the backpack by 90%.

To be environmentally friendly as possible when choosing outdoor kit remember Reduce, Repair, Reuse and Recycle. 

Reduce. First of all reflect on whether you really need the item. If you don't really need it, then don't buy it! By reducing your consumption there is less demand on scarce resources. 
Repair. Is it possible to repair the item? Choose an item that has a lifetime guarantee. Patagonia has one as does Teko. Waterproof jackets can be reproofed using products like Nikwax. Choose items that are easy to repair.
Reuse. Try and choose 'previously enjoyed' products rather than brand new ones. If you buy items that have previously been used, the damage from the production of the item has already happened. Patagonia in conjunction with ebay have set up an e-outlet for used Patagonia clothing and gear to make this easier.
Recycle. Choose items that are made from recycled materials and can themselves be easily recycled. A plastic meths bottle can be recycled but a gas canister cannot.

If you must buy new, try and choose items:
  • made from natural fibres e.g. organic cotton and wool. 
  • made from recycled materials that can be recycled themselves.  
  • made in Europe or the US
  • made by companies with Environment Certification ISO 14001 and/or EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme.)
  • made by companies with a named person in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility/ Environmental Care. 
  • made by companies who each year, produce and make available on their website, a Sustainability Report, or something similar, with goals to achieve and progress towards attaining those targets. 
  • made by companies that ‘give something back’ in terms of supporting organisations through donations of money or equipment. 
  • made by companies who operate a recycling scheme which encourages the recycling of the company's products.