How Small Outdoor Gear Manufacturers Are Leading Sustainability In the Recreation Industry

Outdoor Gear Manufacturers Are Leading Sustainability In the Recreation Industry

Venturing out to the great outdoors is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature. This is especially true if you live in a big city or you’re cooped up in your office all day. In this article, we describe, how small outdoor gear manufacturers are leading sustainability in the recreation industry. 

How to Prepare for a Weekend Camping Trip? Every outdoor activity needs at least one type of specialized gear. A sturdy pair of hiking shoes is necessary for treks and trails. You need good insulating clothes for colder outdoor activities. A pair of warm snow boots are always a necessity for all the outdoor winter fun. You also need reliable cookware for your weekend camping trips.

What is the Sustainability Movement? Environmental sustainability efforts have always been important. More so if you want to enjoy the outdoors for a long time. Find out how some small outdoor gear brands are spearheading the sustainability movement.

Recreational Industry’s Rocky Relationship with Sustainability

Outdoor gear brands are the champions of the sustainability movement in the outdoor industry. And rightfully so. How could you sell a lifestyle appreciating the outdoors if you’re not working towards preserving it? 

Yet, the recreational industry isn’t perfect. Over the past few years, as more people pick up outdoor activities, the business has been booming. With demand running high, manufacturers were churning out gear at large rates. 

Some companies have been steadfast in keeping environmental sustainability at their core, but others haven’t. Customers aren’t always aware of the “before stages” of their products either, which isn’t always their fault. 

It was only a few years ago when researchers discovered that PFCs, often used for waterproofing garments, and microplastics in outdoor gear end up in natural bodies of water and the biomes of remote areas. There isn’t much education on what to do about your gear after it’s past its prime either, outside of warranties. In the end, they end up in landfills. 

Despite this, several outdoor gear brands big and small have been actively improving their business models. Reflecting that they practice what they preach. Smaller manufacturers, in particular, have been making incredible shifts in the environmental sustainability movement. 

Small Outdoor Gear Brands Pioneering For Sustainability


Vaude is the leader in sustainable innovation in the outdoor recreational industry. They pride themselves on “thinking with foresight.” As a business, they are environmentally friendly, showing how it is possible to be gentle on the planet. 

Their headquarters have been fully climate neutral since 2012. Recently, Vaude’s global manufacturing of all its products has been climate-neutral as well. 

The German-based company has put in a lot of impressive research into sustainable materials. Their resilient brand is known for products that are made from recycled materials, with less water, fewer chemicals, and less CO2 as well. They are also mindful of their product packaging. 


NEMO is best known for its eco-friendly tents, sleeping bags, and other camping necessities. The brand is from the USA and uses mostly domestic manufacturers.  They also strive for responsible overseas entities for some of their production. 

Their products feature eco-friendly materials like 100% Responsible Down Standard certified down. They also use chemical-free silicone PFOA-free finishes as opposed to polyester-based urethane waterproof finishes. They also claim this extends the tent’s life significantly.

They are aware that their products face the rigours of the great outdoors and offer a lifetime guarantee. This is in line with their philosophy of “designed to last, not to landfill.” 

Their packaging is 100% recyclable on top of being made from recycled materials. They are one of the first small brands to implement the Higg Assessment and measure its business’s impact. 

Alpacka Raft

Alpacka Raft’s pack rafts are all handmade and made to order in Mancos, Colorado. The brand is a team of 35, all secured with living wage jobs and health care, which always boosts employee motivation. 

They try to source their raw materials from the US as much as possible. Alpacka Raft is also completely transparent with its supply chain, manufacturing control, and traceability as well. 

The rafts are made of Proprietary 210-420 denier high-count nylon. This is to ensure products that are long-lasting and heavy-duty. They also use Vectran high-performance fibre, a material five times stronger than steel. Instead of PVC, they use polyurethane coating. 

They give back to their community in Mancos as well as Alaska, where the brand was originally founded. The brand is also actively offsetting its emissions from manufacturing. They are constantly improving energy efficiency and performing in-house recycling and composting services. 

Jade Yoga 

These environmentally friendly yoga mats and accessories are made from natural rubber. Instead of using PVC, EVA, or other synthetic rubber, the brand sources their rubber from a natural source: rubber trees. Their cotton products are made from organic and recycled cotton as well. 

They keep their supply chain smaller by doing most of the manufacturing domestically. This in turn reduces shipping emissions. 

Jade Yoga has clear business intentions and goals. They have multiple initiatives that save the planet and empower communities. The Trees for the Future program plants one tree for every mat sold. They also have programs for Nepalese women makers and support rural artisans in India. 


You can’t go on a weekend-long or even week-long camping trip without bringing cooking gear with you. BioLite offers camping stoves that don’t rely on gas. Their stoves run on organic matter like leaves and twigs. 

These stoves are highly efficient and don’t require a lot of organic matter for fuel. BioLite also provides two-in-one renewable energy. They do this by converting thermal energy into electricity that can charge a 2600mAh built-in battery.

Outdoor Gear Manufacturers Are Leading Sustainability In the Recreation Industry
Outdoor Gear Manufacturers Are Leading Sustainability In the Recreation Industry

A Green Future

All industries are being pushed towards more sustainable practices. These are just a few of the brands that have taken up the responsibility to show other companies, even those outside of the outdoor industry, that it can be done. 

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