The Great Outdoors (UK)
HOW I’M CHOOSING MORE ECO-FRIENDLY OUTDOOR GEAR
JAMES USED HIS WALK through Glen Feshie as an opportunity to use a range of clothing from Craghoppers with impressive environmental credentials.
Caring for the environment is not just about landscape-scale conservation efforts like we saw in Glen Feshie. It also involves a series of informed, personal choices in the products we choose to buy in all aspects of our lives. This includes outdoor gear. Awareness is growing that if we are going to make any headway against the worsening climate crisis, we are going need to make wiser decisions. Thankfully many outdoor gear companies are now starting to put the environment as a priority in their design, manufacturing and repair processes. They have responded to a rapidly changing public mood.
There are so many things you can do that will have a positive impact. Even small changes, such as using locally produced, chemical-free midge repellent, all make a difference. I now try to repair damage to any clothing or equipment as much as possible, rather than simply replace it. I try to reproof my waterproof clothing more than I used to, in order to prolong its life. Making your gear last as long as possible is one of the best things you can do.
However, I recently realised that a lot of my outdoor clothing was reaching the end of its life at once. I decided to do some research into brands that produce environmentally friendly gear, which would suit me for general walking and short backpacking trips. The new line of clothing from British outdoor clothing brand Craghoppers really appealed to me.
Craghoppers has made a strong environmental commitment in recent years. As of 2021, 70% of its products are made from recycled materials. Many of its new garments are produced using recycled plastic bottles, and this information is clearly included with the product. To date, the brand claims to have saved 50 million plastic bottles from landfill to be recycled to make its fleece products. Along with supplying clothing and donating funds to numerous conservation groups, Craghoppers has also reduced its product packing by 50%, and has joined the Microfibre Consortium to help try to find solutions to microfibre leakage into the oceans.
Its ‘Guarantee for Life’ really appealed to me too – encouraging customers to repair their clothing as much as possible, rather than just buying new products.
We exclusively used clothing from the new Craghoppers line on our route through Glen Feshie, and it was ideal for the early autumn conditions. It kept us dry on a wet first day in the forest, and it responded well to the rapidly changing weather that Scotland is so well known for. This is not clothing I would use on a day of extreme winter weather on the Cairngorm plateau, but that is not its purpose. The good news is that environmentally friendly options are becoming increasingly common in the world of outdoor clothing, no matter what your requirements are.