It took a while, but a plethora of brands are now making eco-conscious clothing. Count Patagonia as a leader in this group, but it’s not the only one who’s come up with smart ways to produce pants, shirts, and jackets without killing the planet. Here are nine of our favorite clothing pieces that you can feel good about wearing.
Wellen Hemp Polo ($58)
A couple of these shirts are all I need for most of the summer. The tailored fit makes them great for an office, but they’re also tough as nails, so they perform well hiking and camping. The durability comes from sustainably-grown hemp, while organic cotton adds softness and comfort. Plus, Wellen is on an environmental tear: all its gear is sourced in small batches to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in a landfill, and the company has committed to making all its clothing 100 percent recycled or organic by 2021.
Wellen Organic Denim Jeans ($88)
We’ve long known that jeans are rough on the environment. Wellen finds a way around this problem by making them from 100 percent organic cotton and by partnering with a factory that upcycles its manufacturing water used in the manufacturing process by sending it to local farmers for crop irrigation. The jeans come in a variety of washes, including a tasteful nineties-throwback light rinse.
Picture Marco Hoodie ($135)
Picture decided to put a big recycled logo on the right shoulder of this hoodie. Good. The Marco is worth flaunting—its Polartec Thermal Pro made from 100 percent recycled polyester. We also, of course, dig that it’s the perfect summer hoodie for cool nights and camping trips.
Fjällräven Keb Eco-Shell Jacket ($500)
Five Benjamins is a lot to pay for a rain jacket, especially when you can get a pretty good one for $100. But I’m willing to throw down on the Keb because it’s tougher, comfier, and better designed than a less expensive version. And Fjällräven went the extra mile when designing the Keb to reduce its footprint. The jacket is fluorocarbon-free, made from recyclable polyester, and all the emissions created during production and transport are climate compensated by the company.
Saola Cannon Shoes ($100)
Saola has so many environmentally friendly hacks it’s hard to fit them all in, but I’ll try. First, the soles are made from harmful algae that would otherwise sit in the bodies of water and wreak havoc on plants and animals. Next, most of the outer is made from recycled canvas or recycled plastic bottles. Finally, the insoles are made from a cushy cork that keeps your happy and is sustainably harvested from cork trees. And damn if they don’t look good, too.
Kathmandu Earthcolours Men’s Hooded Pullover ($50)
The list of eco-friendly efforts on this sweatshirt is long, too. Most of it is made from recycled polyester that comes from old plastic bottles, and cotton that’s sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative, which is working to create cotton that’s not only more environmentally friendly but also harvested with better labor practices. To top it off, the sweatshirt is dyed with old nutshells, leaves, and vegetables sourced from Barcelona.
Flylow Crowe Jacket ($200)
If I could only have one insulation piece for the rest of my life, this would be it. I wore the Crowe all winter, both inbounds and in the backcountry, because it’s just the right amount of warm and breathable, both by itself and under a shell. During the summer, it’s perfect for mountain-town nights and just steezy enough for dinner. And it’s stuffed with Primaloft Eco insulation that’s made from 80 percent postconsumer recycled materials.
Patagonia Long-Sleeve Recycled Wool Shirt ($129)
Yes, Patagonia is the standard-bearer when it comes to eco-friendly gear. So it’s not surprising when it comes up with inventive new products, like this shirt made from recycled polyester, nylon, and wool. Patagonia has long been great at incorporating recycled polyester and nylon, so we’re most excited about the wool, which was gathered from pre-used wool products in similar colors to their offerings: by not having to re-dye this fabric, Patagonia is able to save water and chemicals.
Jack Wolfskin Exolight Mountain Jacket ($500, available in August)
I agree, this German company has a questionable name, but you should still know about it because it designs great gear. My favorite piece is its upcoming waterproof shell where the outer fabric, waterproof-breathable membrane, and lining are all 100-percent recycled. That, and the entire jacket is 100 percent PFC free. Use it as a rain jacket in the summer and fall, and as a backcountry ski shell during the winter.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.