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One of the biggest concerns I hear from sustainable shoppers is that it’s hard to find ethical outdoor clothing and nearly impossible to find it cheaply. Challenge accepted!
You can trust that the outdoor clothing companies and sustainable brands discussed here are committed to preserving the very outdoors they seek to promote through fair-trade practices, fair-wage practices, plastic-free packaging (as much as possible), and using recycled or upcycled materials.
Let’s dive in!
Shop for Gently Used Ethical Outdoor Clothing
This is my favorite tip for finding eco-friendly outdoor gear and it absolutely applies to sustainable outdoor clothing as well. Buy your outdoor gear gently used!
Here are a few sustainable outdoor brands that are selling gently used ethical outdoor clothing:
Shop gently used gear
Geartrade is an awesome eco-friendly, centralized hub for buying and selling outdoor gear and clothing. The clothes are often so gently “used” that the tags are still on them, but your discount is massive. Reusing outdoor gear and keeping it out of our landfills is one of the most sustainable ways to shop.
Send in your clothes, too!
Have gear to sell? You can sign up for a free Geartrade account to sell your gently used outdoor gear, too! You can list it yourself or send it to Geartrade and they’ll sell it for you and send you the cash when your stuff sells.
Patagonia sustainable credentials
The founder of Patagonia literally created the 1% for the Planet program, which encourages companies to contribute one percent of total annual sales to grassroots environmental groups. So you know these guys are leaders even among other ethical outdoor brands who are looking to keep clothes out of landfills and to use sustainable materials in production.
REI’s sustainable credentials
If you live in the United States and you love the outdoors, then you are probably familiar with the outdoor company REI and its famous garage sales where the local branches of this ethical outdoor company will fill its parking lots, selling returned items at a hugely discounted price. During the pandemic, the large garage sales are on hold, but you can shop the online REI outlet to enjoy the same discounts.
You’ll enjoy even more perks if you join the REI Co-Op. REI gives 70 percent of its profits back to co-op members, employee profit-sharing and retirement plans, and non-profits committed to preserving the environment. Co-Op members can also trade in gently used clothes. See below.
Trade-in Your Used Gear for Credit & Buy New Outdoor Clothing!
These three brands allow you to trade in your gently used gear for store credit:
Trade-in your gear for store credit!
Co-op members, you can trade-in your gently used gear for REI gift cards. That’s doubling down on sustainability since you’re keeping your old gear out of the landfills, and you can use your gift card to shop REI’s stores that are already stocked with sustainable clothing brands. Win-win!
The North Face
I’m a fan of the North Face for their (limited) lifetime warranty on most products. But you can also recycle your outdoor clothing from the North Face or from any brand and receive $10 off on your next purchase of $100 or more. Drop your items in the North Face Clothes the Loop bin at retail locations. Used clothes are sent to the non-profit Soles4Souls and repurposed for children experiencing homelessness.
Patagonia is one of those outdoor clothing brands that I love so much for its commitment to sustainability, but their clothes can be pretty expensive. Offset the cost dramatically by trading in your used Patagonia gear for store credit. You can bring your gear into retail stores or mail in your items and Patagonia will cover the shipping.
Shop Past-Season Outdoor Clothing and Gear from Ethical Brands
I mentioned Patagonia above because, like REI and Geartrade, this sustainable outdoor outfitter sells used gear and accepts gently used Patagonia brand items for store credit.
But keep an eye on their web specials, featuring past-season ethical outdoor clothing on the cheap!
Also, keep an eye on the REI outlet featuring past-season sustainable outdoor brands and returned gear at huge discounts.
Great Finds for Ethical Outdoor Clothing Under $100
And now the moment you’ve been waiting for! My top sustainable finds for under $100 Let’s go!
The Trailhead pants by Coalatree
Waterproof, breathable, anti-microbial, tear-resistant, stretchy without being tight, big pockets, long but with the ability to cinch into capris, and made from recycled materials. That’s a long list of awesome, but I’m not even done yet. The best part? They roll and stuff into the pocket for packing!
The Trailhead shorts feature all of the same awesomeness but in shorts (obviously)!
Patagonia Polyester Fleece
Cozy vest made with recycled polyester fleece materials and fair-trade certified.
Cost for the Synchilla Polyester Fleece: $79
prAna Thermal Zip-Up is a great find for ethical outdoor clothing
Responsible down standard, sustainable, PFAS-free water-resistant, and stylish, too!
Hellebore vest for women $51.60 Red Slate vest for men $84.50
BAM Bamboo Jacket is a Great Ethical Outdoor Clothing Solution
Soft, breathable, durable, and made from 65 percent organic cotton and 33 percent viscose bamboo, these jackets are perfect for autumn at a great price!
Allbirds Shoes Made from Eucalyptus Trees
These sustainable shoes are made with eucalyptus tree fiber that is responsibly sourced from an FSC-certified forest. The midsoles are made from Brazillian sugarcane, and the insoles from castor bean oil, and moisture-wicking Merino wool. It doesn’t get more ethically outdoorsy than that.
The North Face Ethical Outdoor Jackets
The North Face has a whole online section that you can search for women’s jackets under $100. The men’s jacket sale is a bit more limited at our price range, but there are still some great finds to explore. Below are two of my favorites from the fall sale collection.
Fav Sustainable Outdoor Ethical Clothing (a smidge over $100)
Jeans Made out of Coffee by Coalatree!
I love everything about Coalatree and this ethical outdoor brand’s commitment to sustainability, but it’s their pants that I love the most. So here is our second pair of sustainable pants from this awesome company specializing in eco-minded goods.
We all need a good pair of jeans to tuck into our boots, right?
But these jeans aren’t your average pants. The dye in the denim is made from a waterless method, saving gallons of water with every pair produced. Plus, the jeans are water-resistant, stain-resistant, and made from recycled plastic and coffee. Yep. Coffee.
The best part is that they are so stretcy that they are perfect for a rainy day at the bookstore or a sunny day on the trails! OK, I’ll stop raving now.
The Decalf Denim jeans are unisex: $109
Rothy’s Loafers Made from Plastic Water Bottles
The knit on these loafers is made from plastic water bottles! They look great for the kind of autumn day that calls for a (sockless) road trip adventure!
I really love this sustainable shoe company. They are working to create a recycling program to keep their shoes out of landfills; they are working toward zero-waste production at their factory; they are making the entire fashion industry better by leading the charge in using twice-recycled materials in their products; and they are moving toward carbon neutral status. Amazing.
Is your outdoor wardrobe complete without flannel?
The North Face has a cozy flannel for just over $100. Made from 100 percent organic cotton and lined with recycled fleece, this flannel has cozy qualities and eco-friendly credentials.
The women’s campfire shirt: $109 The men’s campfire shirt was out of stock at the time of writing. It is still listed at $109 if it is restocked. But you may want to look at other flannel options here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on finding cost-effective and ethical outdoor clothing. Do you have more tips on finding sustainable clothes? More ethical outdoor clothing finds for cheap? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading and remember to wander with love!
About the Author
Hi! I’m Jen!
I’m a freelance writer and travel blogger who quit my nine-to-five after my fiancé, Jeff, died of cancer at the age of 40. When he died, I realized that life is just too short to delay our dreams. Since my dream was to travel and write, I now travel and write full-time. Today I wear hiking boots instead of heels and collect experiences instead of things.