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Look Good, Do Good: Best Eco-Friendly Hiking Gear

As outdoor enthusiasts and dedicated supporters of the conservation charity The John Muir Trust, we at Absolute Escapes are passionate about preserving our natural world from the harmful effects of industrialisation. Naturally, we want to do what we can to keep wildernesses, well, exactly that - wild.

With this in mind, we have been combing through the ever-growing world of fashion to bring you an ethical kit list for your outdoor adventures, so you can have a fantastic walking holiday with the added benefit of knowing your clothing has been sourced and produced responsibly.

 
 
 
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A post shared by John Muir Trust (@johnmuirtrust) onApr 30, 2019 at 7:40am PDT

 
Eco Jackets & Outerwear
 

Favoured by Greenpeace researchers, outdoor brand Páramo takes an unparalleled approach to sustainable textile production. For one, they have become one of the first companies globally to completely eliminate per and poly-fluorinated compounds (PFCs) - a family of chemicals with effective water and oil repellent properties - from their supply chain.

Despite the useful properties of PFCs, Páramo made this decision based on the understanding that PFCs cannot be broken down by natural processes and are bio-accumulative, meaning that they build up in the bodies of animals and humans. This has been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers and damage the immune system in children. Páramo also runs a recycling scheme, which offers customers a financial reward for returning worn Páramo items. 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Páramo (@paramooutdoor) onJun 1, 2019 at 12:45am PDT

The brand is also a leader in combating social sustainability issues in its supply chain. In 1992, they partnered with the Miquelina Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia. The Miquelina Foundation produces over 80% of Páramo’s products, and all profits made by the factory are directly reinvested in ensuring the factory’s employees are properly treated.

Páramo is particularly well-known for its outstanding waterproof jackets. Our favourite is the versatile Alta III Jacket, which is available in both men and woman's fits. This jacket is perfect for hillwalking and long-distance trails as it is breathable - meaning it stays comfortable all day - and has been waterproofed to a high standard using pioneering Nikwax technology. Additionally, the jacket has two chest pockets, which are designed to hold guidebooks and OS Maps. 

Páramo also produces unrivalled legwear for hillwalking and long-distance journeys. Their Velez Adventure trousers have been designed for those heading outdoors into changeable conditions - a fairly common occurrence on walking trails in the UK! The trousers are light and breathable, thanks to discreet thigh zips with internal storm flaps, and are fully waterproofed using the same Nikwax technology. Their lightweight nature makes them suitable to be worn all day next to the skin, meaning no more carrying heavy waterproofs in your backpack!

 
 
 
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A post shared by Páramo (@paramooutdoor) onNov 21, 2018 at 2:59am PST

 
Eco Inner Layers & Fleeces
 

French outdoor brand Eider is one of our favourites for eco-friendly inners. Their experience in skiwear production means they have the know-how to create a truly cosy jumper, and the best of them all is their Mission Hoodie. Available for both men and women, this moisture-wicking fleece is made using Polartec’s Thermal Pro fabric, synthetic fleece composed entirely of recycled plastic bottles.

Eider rightly boasts that their switch to using Polartec Thermal Pro fabric has saved over one billion plastic bottles from landfill.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Eider (@eider_outdoor) onMar 8, 2019 at 8:00am PST

 
Eco Walking Boots
 

Arc’teryx pride themselves on the high performance of their products, as well as their commitment to creating durable items. For example, they use antimicrobial treatments on their products, which helps to reduce odours, meaning the products require less washing and thus last longer.

The brand is also a Bluesign system partner, meaning it uses a global textiles management system that ensures environmentally responsible materials are used at every point in their supply chain. They also operate a very dedicated repair programme, with their Vancouver facility alone repairing over 13,000 garments in 2017.   

Walking boots are exposed to more wear and tear opportunities than any other piece of outdoor equipment. For this reason, Arc’teryx’s commitment to product durability makes them our top choice for walking boots, in particular, the Acrux TR GTX. The lightweight nature and heavily structured insole of these GORE-TEX boots make them perfect for long-distance walking. 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Flo Bayer (@flo.pxl) onDec 2, 2019 at 2:30am PST

 
Eco Backpacks
 

Perhaps a more unique approach to sustainability is Osprey’s SecondLife Catalogue. Within this catalogue is a world of ex-sample and preloved backpacks which have been repaired to the same or similar standard as a new pack. This is a fantastic nod to the increasingly popular concept of a circular economy, and may well save you some money too!

If you would instead prefer to buy a new backpack, leading mountain equipment brand Vaude offers a wide range of sustainable hiking packs. Our favourites are the Brenta 25, Brenta 30 and Brenta 35 packs, which increase in size respectively. Like Páramo, Vaude also boasts a PFC-free supply chain and are a Bluesign system partner alongside Arc’teryx. 

 
 
 
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A post shared by VAUDE (@vaudesport) onNov 17, 2019 at 12:00am PST

 
Got the Kit? Hit the Trail
 

If you're inspired to head out into the hills in your new sustainable gear, Absolute Escapes offer self-guided walking holidays in the UK & Ireland which include accommodation, daily baggage transfers, guidebook/map, and full information pack. 

Send us an enquiry today - we’d love to help you plan an unforgettable walking holiday.

Emily Farquhar

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