Have you ever wondered if your adventure gear or your adventure has positive or negative human and environmental impacts?
Do you research fair trade, production methods, product quality and durability, local designers and manufacturers, materials used, packaging and whether it can be repurposed, reused, repaired, recycled or if you really need it?
Does your adventure give back to community or contribute to the protection and conservation of the environment?
The concept of ethical adventure consumerism covers environment, human rights, health and social values.
In the last 5 years I have become increasingly aware of the impacts of where I go, what I do there and the equipment and clothing I use. This has meant a change in habits, loyalties and alliances towards quality, sustainability, First Nation sovereignty, environmental conservation and safety.
Over summer i will be sharing my ideas about ethical consumerism in outdoor adventure and some of my favourite brands and businesses who value integrity. I literally live this life, when I’m not holed up writing a book or blog I am living in a tent or hammock, carrying my belongings in a pack on my back and seeking better choices for replacement gear and clothing. I’m not an expert but i have a lot of experience and knowledge to pass on. This is the intro of a 10 part series. I have invited businesses, brands and experts to contribute to each post.
Today I am starting with xmas gifts. I’m not going to wage any war against xmas. Don’t get your undies in a knot, rather go buy some good quality, odour resistant, comfortable, quick dry, lightweight underwear for the adventurers on your xmas shopping list.
We buy a lot of rubbish at this time of year. Many of the gifts we give will either be stored away after a couple of uses, donated to charity or regifted next xmas. Why do we keep doing this? Let’s break the cycle and bring back socks and undies. I’m not jocking 😀
Keep it simple.
The best thing to buy someone is something they need and will use.
Ask them what they really need for their next trip or buy a gift card so they can choose.
Adventurers have very specific needs as our gear wears out and requires replacing.
We need only what we can carry or what we swap out from summer to winter or outback to alpine.
We don’t need more of what we already have. How many times have I stayed with fellow adventurers who have 3 cookers, 4 tents and every backpack they have ever owned in storage for 15 years to be used occasionally. Unless you’re taking a big family or groups out regularly you don’t need more than you use.
We absolutely do not need anything cheap which will fail while out or deteriorate between adventures. We need lightweight, reliable, durable products suitable for season, terrain and the type of adventure.
Alternatives to buying stuff as gifts are making a donation on their behalf to a cause close to their heart like conservation, give them an experience like a bushwalk and picnic to your favourite swimming hole, help out with logistical support on their next trip like food prep, gear drops, transport or offer the use of your equipment if you’re not using it.
Here are some useful gift ideas under $20 for the hiker or bike tourer in your family or workplace:
Jar of peanut butter, waterproofing treatment for boots or wet weather gear, tube of sealant, maps, cooker fuel, cooker wind shield, water bottle sticker, homemade energy snacks or granola bars, compostable poop bags, sunscreen, deet-free insect repellent, chocolate bars, reusable rubbish bags, headlamp batteries, electrolytes, ultralight tent pegs/stakes, homemade trail mix, compostable drip coffee sachets, spare tubes, chain lube, handlebar tape, craft beer…
Lastly, avoid rushing off to buy last minute xmas gifts. Impulsive gift buying leads to bad decisions. A thoughtful gift can be given any time.