The Best Sustainable Hiking Gear of 2021

We found eco-friendly gear to consider for your next day hike.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
Made from organic bamboo, Boody underwear offers a soft feel from fabric that wicks moisture and doesn’t irritate skin.
These merino-wool-blend socks keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and offer comfort and breathability.
Sustainability hits a high note with these 100 percent vegan boots that are also free from virgin (new) plastics.
Great for hiking or daily use, this day pack includes a removable rain cover, which comes in handy on the trail.
Completely plastic free, this double-wall vacuum insulated water bottle keeps drink cold for 100 hours.
Best Food Container:
Eco-Life Edo Box at Amazon
Rest easy knowing that you can stow the box in your day pack without food leaking out.
Ready for any element, this puffer uses synthetic down made from 55 percent post-consumer recycled materials.
Made from certified all-natural ingredients, Raw Elements’ sunscreen provides safe UVA-UVB broad spectrum protection.
Don't Forget a First Aid Kit:
I GO Mini First Aid Kit at Amazon
No matter the brand, it’s important to keep first aid supplies in your hiking pack.

When we want to get out and enjoy nature, it’s good to be prepared. Day hikes are much more enjoyable with the right combination of clothes and footwear. You may also want a light pack, for snacks and water, and it’s always a good idea to keep first aid supplies handy. 

However, any gear we buy new has some environmental impact, and there’s also the issue of any packaging that might come along for the ride too. So, if you’re looking for hiking gear that’s also gentle on the environment, avoids single-use plastic, and still holds up on the trail, we have some suggestions for putting together the perfect day pack. 

Here's the best sustainable hiking gear:

Best Underwear: Boody Eco Wear Underwear

Boody Eco Wear Shaper Bra

Made from organic bamboo, Boody underwear is a sustainable choice with garments for all genders. Bamboo fabric requires much less water than conventional cotton. Boody offers a soft feel from material that wicks moisture and doesn’t irritate skin. No side seams mean you can hike to your heart's content without feeling a nagging seam against your legs, and the flat-ribbed waistbands won’t press into skin.

The bamboo used for the fabric is grown organically without pesticides and fertilizers—only rain water. Boody is also certified vegan by PETA and produced in a WRAP-certified facility ensuring fair and safe labor. Bonus points for recycled packaging with vegetable-based ink.

Best Socks: Darn Tough Hiker Boot Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Boot Cushion Socks

Made in Vermont, these merino-wool-blend socks keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and offer comfort, breathability, and are fast drying. Merino wool is antimicrobial and repels odors and bacteria, which means you can tackle dough day treks without worrying about wet, smelly socks, as the fabric pulls moisture away from skin and dries fast.

Although these sock aren't vegan, Darn Tough uses ethically-certified Merino wool from South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, and Uruguay. The socks are guaranteed for life, and a performance fit means no bunching, blisters, or slipping while you're exploring.

Best Hiking Boot: Alice + Whittles The Weekend Boot

Alice + Whittles The Weekend Boot

Sustainability hits a high note with these 100 percent vegan boots that are also free from virgin (new) plastics. The water-resistant upper is made from repurposed marine plastic collected by fishermen, and a high-performance vegan glue binds the upper and sole together.

The boot’s temperature-controlled lining is made with 100 percent recycled synthetic wool, and the sole is made from natural and  sustainable rubber (45 percent of which is recycled). Currently, 90 percent of materials used by the company are sustainable and traceable, with a goal of reaching 100 percent.

Need to clean these boots after a long day through dusty or muddy terrain? Simply wipe them down with warm water and soap and they’re good as new.

Best Day Pack: Jack Wolfskin Ecoloader 24 Pack

Jack Wolfskin Unisex-Adult Ecoloader 24 Pack

Great for hiking or daily use, this day pack includes a removable rain cover, which comes in handy on the trail. The shoulder straps and back padding foam are made from BLOOM algae, a renewable biomass feedstock. Water used in the algae harvesting process is cleaned and returned to nature—a win for the environment (and a really cool talking point with fellow hikers).

The synthetic components of the pack are all 100 percent recycled, and 18 plastic bottles are used to make each pack. The four-way zippered opening makes it easy to access everything you’ve packed, and the zippered side security pocket is great for easily stowing keys, cards, and anything important.

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Best Water Bottle: Klean Kanteen Insulated TKPro 32 oz

Klean Kanteen Insulated TKPro 32 oz

Completely plastic free, this water bottle from Klean Kanteen is double-wall vacuum insulated with an internal thread design to increase thermal performance. Keep things hot for up to 38 hours, and cold for 100 (!!) hours. This stainless steel is not only good for water, but also soups and coffee. The bottle is also leakpproof and chip-resistant.

For the last 10 years, the company has been identifying its emissions and working to reduce them. Kleen Kanteen has purchased carbon offsets and renewable energy credits for any emissions they weren't able to eliminate directly, as a way to fight climate change. It also donates 1 percent of gross sales through the non-profit 1% for the Planet.

Best Food Container: Eco-Life Edo Box

Eco-Life Edo Box

Made from wheat fiber, this bento box is great for carrying a variety of snacks or meals while out on the trail. You can fit 100-plus ounces of food inside, and the box comes with a fork and knife also made from wheat fiber.

The inner-locking lid creates an air-tight seal to keep food fresh, and the whole set is top-rack dishwasher safe, although it’s recommended to hand wash the inner lid to protect the seal. Rest easy knowing that you can stow the box in your day pack without food leaking out.

Best Puffer Jacket: Patagonia Nano Puff® Hoody

Patagonia Women's Nano Puff® Hoody

Layers are always important when hiking through mountainous terrain or desert landscapes where temperature changes can happen fast. A puffer jacket is a great addition to wrap around your waist and put on when things turn chilly. Patagonia’s Nano Puff Hoodie is made from synthetic down, made from 55 percent post-consumer recycled materials. You might even be able to snag a used one through Patagonia's Worn Wear hub.

The jacket is also water-repellent and has a recycled polyester shell and lining. Non-hooded versions are available, but the hooded version is made to fit under a helmet. The sewing for the puffer is all fair-trade certified, and the front zipper has a wicking interior storm flap to keep moisture out and warmth in. It's available in men's and women's sizes (view women's sizes on Patagonia).

Best Sunscreen: Raw Elements Face + Body Sunscreen Tin SPF 30

Raw Elements Face + Body Sunscreen SPF 30

When you're spending time outdoors, it's important to use a sunscreen that's both effective and safe for the environment. Raw Elements’ sunscreen is one of the best, with top marks from the Environmental Working Group.

Made from certified all-natural ingredients, Raw Elements’ sunscreen provides UVA-UVB broad spectrum protection that’s water-resistant beyond 80 minutes. It’s also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and extracts, and protects skin after sun exposure. It’s safe for all ages, soy-, nut-, and gluten-free, and the natural, biodegradable formula won’t burn your eyes.

Don't Forget a First Aid Kit: I GO 85 Pieces Hard Shell Mini Compact First Aid Kit

I GO mini first aid kit

Treehugger recommends avoiding single use plastics for water bottles and snacks, it’s important to keep first aid supplies in your hiking pack. You can always assemble one yourself with things you have at home.  

If you’re looking to buy a ready-made kit, we like this one for hikes. Along with plenty of bandages and sterilizing pads, it has tweezers in case of ticks or splinters, and sting relief wipes. It weighs about half a pound and comes with a handy carabiner, so it can be attached to the outside of a pack. 

Final Verdict

We love the hiking boots from Alice + Whittles (view at Alice + Whittles) for their eco-friendly design and the company’s commitment to sustainable materials. Raw Elements’ sunscreen (view at Amazon) is also a huge hit for us, as sun protection is so important while exploring and environmentally friendly sun protection is always the safest route to take.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is committed to helping readers reduce the environmental impact of our day-to-day lives.

Author Amanda Ogle is a veteran reporter who loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can. She loves hiking, and one of her pet peeves is seeing waste littering our precious parks and trails. She strives to educate adventurers on sustainable gear and the importance of knowing what’s in their products.