Going green is nothing new in the world of outdoors gear. Patagonia, as one example, sold fleece jackets made of recycled soda bottles as far back as the mid 1990s.
But an industry-wide push to go green — including the use of sustainable materials as well as responsible manufacturing practices — is now a macro trend in the world of tarps and tents and hiking boots. Here are seven new items that tout a good eco story as well as performance for use in the field.
Carbon Neutral Camp Stove
Wasting little of its flame output, the Primus EtaPower MF stove utilizes up to 80 percent of the heat it generates for cooking — a good eco move to start. But to go another step, the company buys carbon offsets for every EtaPower MultiFuel stove sold, making cooking your hotcakes now a carbon-neutral experience. $190, www.primuscamping.com
New Zealand-based Icebreaker has a line of biodegradable apparel. The “Plant It” T-shirts and tops for women and the Renew/Recycle T-shirts for men are made of 100-percent merino wool — a sustainable, biodegradable and annually-renewable fiber. Wear one of these shirts for a few years, then as the Plant It’s name implies, dig a hole and throw the shirt in for a ceremonial, ecosystem-sustaining burial. $55 and up, www.icebreaker.com
Need solar power in a snap? The Solio clips to your backpack while you walk, sucking rays all day and saving the juice in its internal lithium-ion battery. Later, plug in your iPod, or even a laptop computer, to bank off the device’s 5-watt output — enough to power most any mobile device. $79, www.solio.com
Big Agnes Ripple Creek
This eco-cocoon is comprised of 96 percent recycled content, including a rip-stop nylon shell. But you don’t lose comfort for the bag’s green bias: Big Agnes stitches in a pillow pocket and cuts the bag wide for more room at your feet and shoulders. $160, www.bigagnes.com
Tote gear in an eco-friendly pack: The Osprey Circuit is made of 70 percent recycled materials, including re-born PET plastic, webbing and mesh. Bonus: With a slim laptop-compatible pocket this pack does double duty in town or on the trail. $99, www.ospreypacks.com
This series of car-top cargo boxes are made with 80 percent recycled ABS plastic, including scraps thrown aside during the manufacturing of other Yakima products. Boxes start at $459, www.yakima.com
Keen Newport Hemp
Woven hemp fiber gives this popular Keen hybrid sandal-shoe a new look. The patented toe guard protects from errant roots and rocks on the trail, while the airy — and eco-friendly — upper lets your feet breathe. $95, www.keenfootwear.com
(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for several U.S. newspapers; see http://www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)