Sustainable clothing brands: 9 choices that keep the environment in mind
We take a closer look at some of our favourite sustainable clothing brands, so you can make an eco-friendly choice when buying your outdoor hiking gear
It can be all too easy to put on our waterproofs and head out for a hike, oblivious to their use of harmful materials like PFCs, or pick up a backpack that’s been made without animal welfare in mind.
To help make an informed choice we’ve put together a list of sustainable clothing brands below and outlined their eco-credentials.
We’ve also selected some individual products, so you can wrap up warm this winter while doing your part for the planet.
Sustainable clothing brands
Patagonia has made sustainability a core part of its brand, announcing that 87% of its line is made from recycled materials. There's also its infamous ironclad guarantee to return any item you’re not happy with, or to repair it for a reasonable price which means Patagonia's products last longer and go further.
Its line includes the Torrentshell 3l JKT Jacket which is made from 100% recycled waterproof fabrics, so you can stay warm and dry on your next hike, safe in the knowledge you're doing your bit for the planet.
The jacket has three breathable layers so you don't overheat, held together with sewing that is Fair Trade Certified™. There should also be plenty of features including zippered pockets that should keep your hands warm, and an adjustable hood with a cord-and-hook design to keep the rain at bay.
Jack Wolfkin’s sustainable outlook includes producing products that reject the use of fur and Angora wool, placing an outright ban on PFCs (per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals) while embracing recycled materials, helping us to appreciate the great outdoors without causing it any damage.
The brand is careful with how it sources its leather, using natural-by-products of the food industry and making sure no endangered or threatened species are used.
That means the VOJO 3 Texapore MID women's hiking boots are a sustainable option for your next trip. Boasting both breathability and robustness, they have a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry, and a reliable tread on the outsole to keep you stable on slippery terrain.
- Buy now from Jack Wolfskin
A member of the Fair Wear Foundation, Deuter also holds itself to the Responsible Down Standard which means it only uses certified feathers to ensure the welfare of animals. In 2020 Deuter also became PFC free, which means its water repellent coatings rely solely on renewable materials.
So if you’re looking for a reliable and green hiking backpack, the Futura 23L may be the right sustainable choice for you.
Boasting 25% less perspiration as a result of their new-style mesh which encourages airflow, this is a lightweight pack at 1200g. It has a 23L capacity as well as plenty of pockets and loops, to store your walking pole or anything else you may need.
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- Buy now from Cotswold Outdoor
With the goal of making its products climate neutral as of 2022, VAUDE is on a mission with sustainability in mind. The brand have a specific Green Shape range of products which are environmentally friendly, sourced from sustainable materials under fair working conditions.
This line includes their TH long walking socks which are made from a mix of wool and synthetic fibre. With extra padding in both the toes and the heel, you can stay cosy and keep your feet protected while helping to protect the planet.
- Buy now from Alpine Trek
Tentree’s ethos is very straightforward: for every product you buy from its range it will plant 10 trees. The goal is to plant 1 billion by 2030 to tackle climate change, and tentree are well on their way, with 67,107,532 planted to date.
You can help be a part of this project by investing in their embroidery kurt beanie. Made from responsibly sourced organic cotton, this un-cuffed relaxed hat should do the trick of warming your heart while it warms your ears on those frosty, winter walks.
- Buy now from tentree
Part of its plan for long-term sustainability, Hilltrek introduced its Organic Ventile® range in 2019 which uses organic cotton fibres that don’t rely on synthetic fertilisers or toxic pesticides to grow, and consume little water in the process.
This collection includes the Blaven Organic Hybrid Ventile trousers which boasts durability and breathability, with fibres that expand when they come into contact with water to stop it getting through, and best of all they are PFC free.
Thanks to the limited rustle noise from the fabric, these would be a great choice for wildlife photographers or birdwatchers, as there's a reduced risk of startling any animals you're observing.
These trousers have plenty of storage space, including zipped pockets for added security, extra pockets in the back, and hand-warmer pockets in the front.
- Buy now from HillTrek
Founded on the ethics of social development and environmental protection, Paramo's goal is to produce high quality waterproof clothing without sacrificing the planet.
Part of its strategy involves supporting conservation, maintaining their Paramo recycling scheme, and eliminating PFC treatments from its products and supply chain.
You can support this sustainability project by investing in the women’s Pajaro jacket which should not only be weatherproof, but also light and comfortable to wear.
There's a two way zip as well as an internal storm flap to seal you away from heavy winds, with upper arm vents to make sure it's still breathable. It also includes removable foam inserts in the shoulder as well a roll away hood, so you can fashion the jacket for whatever climate you're faced with.
Smartwool say it wants to help others embrace the outdoors, but it also wants to protect it for future generations. It aims to do this by ensuring the clothing Smartwool provides has sustainability at the core, by using responsibly sourced wool.
Joining forces with ZQ Merino to protect Merino sheep, the brand utilise recycled wool fibre where possible.
The merino men's neck gaiter for example is made from 100% merino wool, boasting a tight, interlocking knit to keep the cold out, while ensuring there's plenty of breathability.
Keeping you warm and dry by keeping out the wind and rain, the merino wool should also create a snug, comfy fit, moving sweat away from the body so you don't overheat over a long period of time.
Designed with a subtle and clean seam to avoid any bulky areas poking out and making you uncomfortable, this odour-resistant warmer measures 26.5 centimetres in length.
With a focus on sustainability since 2003, Finisterre have embraced its responsibility to create a range of clothes that protect our oceans, choosing materials that produce the smallest environmental impact.
These include organic cotton which rejects GMOs and pesticides, recycled polyester, and wool which has been selected for its sustainable and bio-degradable properties.
One of its best-selling jumpers, the Mora, has been made with a fisherman's knit from 80% wool. It aims to keep you warm on those coastal walks by using double the yarn of a plain knit jumper, without feeling too heavy or leaving you overheated.
- Buy now from Finisterre
Andrew Lloyd is a digital writer covering the latest gadgets, appliances and devices across Immediate Media's special interest brands. Whether you’re relaxing at home, exploring a mountainside, or staring into space, he likely has a recommendation for you.