{eco hiking} into the wild: a sustainable guide to hiking gear

traveling solo is an enriching + expanding experience for me, but this month my best friend, lauren, her husband matt, + i journeyed into the woods of mount hood in oregon as a trio. the three of us made a mighty fine team of wilderness explorers, each of us equally bewitched + bewildered by nature's beauty.

together we trekked through densely wooded trails, an abyss of strapping roots, golden-green leaves + velvety soft moss. a canopy of trees above us + a panoply of mushrooms sprouting below us, we were spellbound. at the forefront of my thoughts was how to protect so much splendor. so how exactly does one prepare + what does one pack for a cruelty-free + eco hike in the mountains?

at one point we debated whether hiking gear was really necessary at all. honestly, as a minimalist, i actually don't own athletic gear. my work blazers don't translate organically to outdoor gear, but this never stopped me from hiking before. i put on my usual uniform of jeans, a tee with a flannel button-down layered over it for warmth + a cargo jacket with pockets for carrying my necessities, along with a pair of trainers. but there were moments that i wished i had a lightweight backpack or shoes with traction {and jeans don't perform so well when wet}.

certain outdoor gear is preventative + offers necessary protection from the elements, so if you're interested in investing in well-made, fair trade hiking kicks or the perfect parka, there are many ways to build a sustainable collection. here's a little starter kit for you. carry on, fellow explorers:

1/ the beanie: keep your noggin warm with a little knit number. i love a pom pom, i really do. but non-pom versions are also available. check out these fab organic cotton + hemp options here.

2/ the hiking boots: wrap your feet in pineapple leaves. yep, you read that right. i'm so excited that cruelty-free brand, nae, has teamed up with piñatex to create a pair of comfy hiking boots made of pineapple waste fibers. this is an exciting new alternative to leather that re-imagines waste as a durable, flexible + waterproof textile. sweet, sustainable pineapples!

3/ the parka: a sturdy + long-lasting investment piece with a water resistant hemp + organic cotton twill outer shell; this parka is lined with recycled PET faux fur, features handwarmer pockets + windcatchers with thumbnails. it comes fully equipped with pockets for carrying all of your hiking essentials. who designed this beauty? somebody deserves some serious recognition for a stellar product.

4/ the backpack: made with recycled PET bottles, this lightly padded backpack is just the right size, with lots of pockets for storing your reusable water canteen. pack your trail mix, your fruits + veggies, and some yummyvegan chocolate-covered peanuts. fully fueled? you're on your way.

5/ the reusable canteen: if you have a reusable stainless steel bottle, dig it out + put it to good use. if not, there are a plethora of eco choices for all boys + girls. because single-use plastic bottles don't belong in the oceans or in our landfills. but sadly, that's where most end up. learn more by watching the story of bottled water.

6/ the flannel: warm layers are a wise choice; depending on the weather, you can peel off layers or add on. i own exactly one flannel. and it gets good use. i actually purchased mine secondhand, at crossroads trading co. you can find more pre-loved options at buffalo exchange {if you're in chicago} or find a rad vintage shop {if you're in paris}. investing in a cozy, new one is also a choice, but be sure to care for it so it lasts for many a long hike.

7/ the socks: keep your feet + ankles toasty warm with a pair of ethically-produced, organic cotton socks. layer them up or keep an extra pair in your backpack in case you step into a lovely, gurgling stream, as i did. it's all part of the fun.

8/ the essentials: i mean business when i hike, so i ended up with a few nicks + cuts, which got me thinking. i wondered if there was a green option for adhesive bandages, and then i learned of everyday good co, offering latex-free + biodegradable bandages, made with 15% recycled materials. don't forget to pack nontoxic bug spray. ready? set? into the wild we go.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!