Outdoor Gear Guide: Eco-friendly Camping Gear

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The Blue Sun Solar Backpack from Clear Blue Hawaii charges small electronics in the backcountry.
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Patagonia’s Synchilla Marsupial fleece jacket is made from old soda bottles.

Head out this summer with the right gear for the road less traveled. More outdoor equipment companies are creating eco-friendly camping gear that use less energy, fewer resources and less-toxic materials. This guide from Sustainable Travel International lists items produced using resource-efficient, recycled, renewable and/or recyclable materials.


• Venture out with a backpack made of 98 percent recycled materials (mostly recycled plastic bottles).
• Solar panel-embedded packs and messenger bags keep cell phones, iPods, satellite radios and most personal electronics fully charged. Get the bags at Reware, Clear Blue HawaiiVoltaic and Eclipse Solar Gear.

Backpacking food

• Mary Jane’s Farm: organic, instant and quick-prep meals in recyclable packaging.
• Natural High: natural gourmet camping foods contain no artificial ingredients or MSG.
• Clif Bar: all-natural energy bars made from 70 percent organic ingredients. 

Camp stoves and ovens

• ZZ Manufacturing: a lightweight Sierra stove utilizes a battery and fan to produce 18,000 BTUs from burning pine cones, wood chips, tree bark, charcoal.
• Multi-fuel stoves that burn automobile diesel can burn biodiesel instead (they may require a separate primer). Try Mountain Safety Research‘s XGK-EX, the Optimus Nova, the Primus OmniFuel
• Global Sun Ovens soak up solar radiation and reach 360 to 400 degrees in about 45 minutes. 

Natural sunscreen and insect repellent

• Avoid DEET and other harmful additives with All Terrain‘s all-natural sunblock and insect repellent packaged in recycled and biodegradable containers. 

Outdoor clothing

• Patagonia‘s Capilene fabric (a polyester with wicking action) contains at least 50 percent post-consumer fiber from recycled Capilene garments. Its Synchilla Fleece is made from recycled soda bottles. You’ll also find organic cotton clothing.
• Tilley offers stylish hats, pants and shirts made from hemp blended with recycled polyester.
• Hemp Sisters sells hemp and natural-fiber apparel produced by Women’s Cooperative and fair trade groups.
• Timberland and Nike use environmentally friendly materials and support sustainable product innovation. 

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