{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 cruelty-free bug spray. ready? set? into the wild we go.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!