7 pieces of sustainably made outdoors gear that support environmental causes all year round instead of just on Earth Day

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ENOChoosing to buy from sustainable or charitable brands is a great way to support environmental causes when you're shopping.

  • Earth Day is a chance to reflect on the impact we have on the planet, but we shouldn't practice sustainability and eco-friendliness just one day a year.
  • By purchasing quality outdoors gear that uses sustainable manufacturing processes or from companies that contribute to charitable causes, you can make minimal negative impact on the places you love while supporting them at the time same.
  • Through programs like 1% for the Planet, brands can give back to causes that support the environment.

Earth Day is on April 22 this year, and it gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the impact we have on the planet. This is especially true for people who enjoy the outdoors because often, the things we buy and use when we access these wild spaces can contribute to the destruction of the environment that we enjoy.

The biggest difference you can make is actually by not buying something new. Fixing or reusing the gear that you have means less resources are dedicated to making new gear. But if you are in the market for something new, it pays to look for quality gear that is produced sustainably and will last a long time.

Picking sustainable gear can be hard as nearly every brand makes some kind of claim about its eco-friendliness. Two great indicators that products are made by brands that share your concern for the environment are endorsements by 1% for the Planet or Bluesign.

Businesses that are part of 1% for the Planet support approved environmental nonprofit partners by committing to donate the equivalent of 1% of sales through a combination of monetary, in-kind, and approved advertising contributions. More than $175 million has been donated so far, and brands are also becoming more interested in where that money goes and how they can make their business and manufacturing practices as sustainable as possible.

Bluesign looks at sustainability by ensuring that textiles bearing its logo don't use harmful chemicals and comply to standards for environmentally-friendly and safe production. These certifications aren't mutually exclusive, and many companies will have both.

Here are our picks for sustainable and environmentally-friendly gear this Earth Day.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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Prana Zion pants

Prana Zion pants
Buy Prana's Zion Straight pants from Prana for $89 Buy the Transverse Short Sleeve Crew from Prana for $49

Prana’s Zion pants are my go-to for hiking, climbing, and camping. They’re stretchy, soft, and comfortable. I have two pairs, both of which don’t require a belt (a huge plus when you’re folded in half on a rock face) and have lasted for several years of outdoors abuse.

I often wear them with the new and incredibly soft Transverse Short Sleeve shirt, which is made from hemp and recycled polyester. Prana is a Bluesign company so it also adheres to fair-trade practices and uses organic cotton and hemp in many of its pieces.

Big Agnes Chilton Sweater

Big Agnes Chilton Sweater
Buy Big Agnes’ Chilton Sweater from Moosejaw for $143.99

If it’s chilly where you're going, a down jacket is an obvious choice. But the weakness of down jackets is that when they get wet, they pack down and lose their insulating properties. To deal with this, companies use PFC treatments on their down, but that is far from eco-friendly.

Instead, jackets made with Downtek use PFC-free water-repellent down which follows Bluesign-approved chemistry and responsible sourcing standards to ensure that neither animals nor the planet are harmed.

Big Agnes’ Chilton Sweater is a great option for spring, and with 700 fill power down and a ripstop nylon shell, this jacket should last for years unlike cheaper styles that might find their way to a landfill after one season.

The quality YKK zipper won’t let you down either and I love that the chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack because it allows me to throw it in my bag for any cold weather travel without worrying about losing it somewhere in the mountains.

Adidas Terrex CC Boat Shoe

Adidas Terrex CC Boat Shoe
Buy Adidas’ Terrex CC Boat Shoe from Adidas for $80

The earth is mostly water, and if you find yourself on a boat this Earth Day, you might want to consider the disastrous impact of plastic waste on the world’s oceans.

Adidas’ Terrex CC Boat Shoe features a non-marking and draining sole. What really makes this shoe great for the ocean is that the upper is made with plastic waste that was intercepted before it reached the ocean from beaches and coastal communities. The shoes are also produced with a ZeroDye technique that doesn't use colorful yet harmful dyes in an effort to reduce use of water, chemicals, and electricity.

Zeal Optics sunglasses

Zeal Optics sunglasses
Buy the Zeal Boone Polarized Sunglasses (Women's) from REI for $149 Buy the Zeal Isabelle Polarized Sunglasses (Men's) from REI for $149

If you want to take some of the glare off the ocean, Zeal Optics makes a great gift or just a sustainable option any time you’re looking for a new pair of shades. I particularly love the timeless style and crystal-clear lens quality of the men’s Boone and women’s Isabelle glasses.

This year, during Earth Month (and year-round at REI stores), Zeal Optics will plant a tree for every pair of glasses you buy. Impressively enough, this is in addition to its commitment to 1% for the Planet. The brand uses plant-based materials in all its products and packaging, and soy-based inks on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper made with post-consumer recycled content.

Farm to Feet Max Patch socks

Farm to Feet Max Patch socks
Buy the Farm to Feet Max Patch 3/4 Crew Socks from REI for $22.50

Farm to Feet makes stylish socks in sustainability-focused factories in the U.S. with raw materials and wool also sourced in the U.S. This cut downs on the environmental impact of shipping and ensures animal welfare. Its stylish Max Patch socks make a great gift for anyone who loves to hike.

Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock

Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock
Buy the ENO DoubleNest Hammock from REI for $69.95 Buy the ENO Leave No Trace DoubleNest Hammock from REI for $69.95

After summiting, relax in an Eagles Nest Outfitters ENO hammock and sway above the wild. ENO (also a member of 1% For The Planet) plants two trees for every hammock sold, and if you buy one of the special edition DoubleNest hammocks, it also donates $10 to Leave No Trace.

The incredibly cozy hammock packs down to the size of a grapefruit and hangs in under two minutes, so naturally, I bring it with me on trips to the city park or trips to climb peaks.

Bee's Wrap

Bee's Wrap
Buy Bee's Wrap reusable food wraps from Amazon for $19

As you wind down in your ENO hammock, treat yourself to a snack wrapped in Bee's Wrap’s new ocean print.

Bee's Wrap not only produces its product sustainably and gives back to good causes (in this case, Five Gyres, a non-profit focused on reducing plastic pollution) but using a reusable wrap instead of the plastic version reduces so much waste. I use Bee's Wrap for everything from cheese to cookies almost every day, and it has really reduced my plastic waste and upped my packed lunch game.

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