{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!

{eco footwear} change your shoes: 4 vegan boots

four distinctive boots come to life in sustainable textiles, from the fertile minds of designers conceiving versatile + sustainable footwear solutions, so you can kick the fast fashion habit  {pun intended!}. from pineapple leaves + cork, to recycled plastic bottles + cardboard, take a look at these ethical options, each produced under fair labor standards, each a little piece of art to slip into and pair with your invisible cloak of courage; for girls +boys of action + days filled with movement, hustle + flow:

1/ the editor boot from bhava: bhava, based in new york, knows what's important to girls on the go: cool + comfortable designs, delightfully comfortable, but never too decorous. the editor boot is a 3-in-1 convertible boot that offers a perfectly designed bootie, a knee-high option and an over-the-knee option. this is the thinking girl's

transitional boot for spring, fall or winter months with a 2 inch heel for all day wear + an all natural cork insole. ethically manufactured in spain where shoes are still being handmade by generations of artisans. the design is in the details, from the choice of upper, and the soft eco-suede lining {all imported from italy} to the european hardware and custom crafted solid wood heels. bhava's italian vegan leather does not contain aromatic amines, PCP, formaldehyde, PVC, phthalates, azo-dyes, or chrome. for movers + shakers, this is the bootfor fearless gals balancing it all! {women's footwear only}

2/ the biker boot from beyond skin: if you're the kind of gal that loves the biker babe meets boho chic aesthetic, then this is the eco alternative for you. if you're a city slicker, then you're still in luck. beyond skin uses 100% recycled PU lining materials across their collections. their synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed polyurethane + are sourced from italy. 

beyond skin has recently introduced  'dinamica' faux suede which is made from 100% recycled PET plastics. an incredibly durable + flexible textile, it also does not water mark. currently, beyond skin is the only footwear label using this material - it's presently used by jaguar + mercedes-benz in their car interiors. all of their shoes have insoles made from approximately 70% post consumer cardboard. heels + uppers are made of 70% recycled resin. now there's something to stand on. {men's shoes + boots coming soon!}

3/ the matilda + the grace from bourgeois boheme: uk-based bourgeois boheme offers uncompromising craftsmanship, sleek designs + unadorned simplicity {and super customer service}. the matilda is a classic chelsea boot with all the style's signature elements including an elastic gusset for easy slip-on + off. the grace is a neat ankle-high boot, combining elements of the timeless chelsea boot and the modern classic pistol-style boot. this beautifully curt ankle boot is handcrafted in portugal. made with PVC free eco vegan leather {microfibre PU}, comfortable latex insoles, breathable linings + waterproof uppers. elasticated side panels up your comfort level. if you're the kind of gal that likes to be librated from unyielding high heels, then these multi-functional low heels are the magic you need for the cool weather months. bourgeois boheme's collection of coolly androgynous + functional boots can certainly keep up with supergirls working to change the world. {men's shoes + boots also available}

4/ the laia boot from nae: nae is a portuguese footwear brand with a vegan philosophy + a deep-rooted concern for environmental sustainability. nae works with alternative materials to leather such as cork, ecological microfibers, pineapple leave fibers and PET {recycled plastic bottle}. nae uses natural + breathable microfiber certified by oeko-tex, light + waterproof cork derived from cork trees, recycled tires + plastic water bottles, and pineapple waste plant fibers which are sourced from fair trade pineapple farmers in the philippines. a magical renaissance of natural fibers is filling the footwear market with winning options for consumers, workers + the little planet we know as earth. {men's shoes + boots also available}

*bonus: previously i highlighted nicora, an american-made, vegan footwear label founded by third generation shoemaker + one of my personal eco heroes stephanie nicora. offerings include enduring classics that carry you seamlessly from one season to the next with style. put a little pep + a little eco in your step. {men's + women's kicks available} 

{for men only} right this way brave gentlemen, my fave brand for functional + fierce men's shoes + boots.  

{don't forget the tip} although not an ideal alternative ecologically, PU has a lighter environmental footprint than PVC + leather. PU looks a lot like PVC leatherette, but unlike PVC it's kinder to the environment. PVC contains chlorine, a toxic chemical which produces dioxin during its manufacturing process and has been linked in numerous studies to estrogen-mimicking chemicals. although PU is made from petrochemicals, animal agriculture + turning animal hides into leather is a much more energy-intensive + polluting practice. raw hide tanning is a chemical-heavy process that uses chromium VI, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives + chlorine: harmful chemicals linked to asthma, blindness + cancer. these toxic chemicals have a detrimental effect on both the environment + workers' health. the animal agriculture or meat industry is a highly polluting + inhumane industry, of which leather is a product, not a byproduct + it is not produced in an effort to minimize waste; it is a highly profitable + lucrative business, and it is the most profitable part of a cow's body.*

 learn more at change your shoes