Exciting news. It’s Earth Day today.
I know, I hadn’t heard of it either.
But once I’d investigated I really liked the idea.
There’s plenty of environmental concern out there but Earth Day is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the good things that are happening in the world of environmental awareness.
And of course, do our bit to make a difference.
If, like me, you love the outdoors, you probably love outdoor gear almost as much. After all, who wouldn’t love the items that keep us warm, dry and safe when we are outside enjoying ourselves?
But outdoor gear can also be fast fashion
In the UK, we consume 2 million tonnes of textiles every year with approx 50% of this ending up in landfill. If the landfill issues weren’t bad enough, that’s 2 million tonnes worth of greenhouse gases, toxic chemicals, and water usage, as well as possibly poor working conditions that we all need to consider Whenever we make a purchase.
2 million tonnes is the equivalent to about a million houses!
I know. Mind boggling!
That’s far too much wasted energy, raw material, and opportunity. But the great news is there are plenty of outdoor-ists setting a good example when it comes to outdoor gear shopping (including clothing). Below I’ve listed three good habits we’re getting the hang of.
In order of importance.
- Looking after our existing outdoor gear
- Mending or repairing it if it gets damaged
- Buying second hand outdoor gear instead of new kit
How to care for your outdoor gear
In with the old, out with the new!
Looking after outdoor gear is easier than you might think. All you really need to do is take some notice of the manufacturer’s instructions. Here are a few simple ideas to start you off:
- Dry all your gear thoroughly before packing it away
- Hand wash your merino wool base layers (more fun than you might think)
- Hang a moth deterrent in your wardrobe
- Scrub and polish your walking boots (especially if they’ve been in peat)
- Hang jackets up on coat hangers
- Wash your down jackets with a specialist cleaner
- Read washing instructions (and do what they suggest)
- Clean and reproof waterproofs with recommended products
- Clean and solar proof your tent outers
Wondering which outdoor cleaning products to use?
Well there’s plenty of choice out there. I’ve used both Grangers and Nikwax for cleaning and waterproofing jackets and trousers, as well as washing down jackets. I’ve have had good results with both. For easy comparison and choice, Trekkitt have a great range of waterproofing and cleaning essentials.
You can even clean your tent!
One thing I’m hoping to do before this camping season gets any further underway (I’ve already had two UK solo wild camping trips this year) is give my tent a good clean and reproof.
I love my one-person tent!
It’s served me extremely well over the last ten years so it definitely deserves a treat. I always hope for sunshine when I’m camping but all that lovely UV light can quickly deteriorate tent fabric.
I won’t be putting it in the washing machine though!
Next time it’s pitched, I’m planning to spray it with Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar wash. This one’s a water-based cleaner that’s free from fluorocarbons. As well as having a clean shiny tent, once I’ve done the deed, the fabric should be more waterproof (good for me) and more resistant to UV damage (good for the planet because I won’t need a new tent!)
Repair your outdoor gear
If you’ve ever darned your favourite pair of walking socks, you’ll know how satisfying mending outdoor kit can be. I’m not the most handy with a needle but I do try to mend as much of my outdoor gear as I can.
I need a bit of help with zips though!
Of course, sewing isn’t always the answer to gear problems. You can’t darn a leaky Thermarest or a ripped tent outer.
But you can patch them!
You would be amazed how many mends and patches there are available for different types of outdoor kit. I recommend you read through Trekitt’s impressive range of mending kits before you consider throwing out any of your outdoor gear. Amongst others you’ll find.
- Therm-a-Rest patches (everyone needs one of those eventually)
- Tenacious Tape repair patches (super strong and flexible)
- Gear Aid GORE-TEX Fabric Patches
Not confident about gear repairs?
I’m not always as confident as I sound about making outdoor gear repairs but when I found this small hole next to my tent zip, I decided it was time to go up a level with my mending skills.
I mean beyond the gaffer tape round a boot level!
All I did was clean the area, let it dry in the sunshine, then stick on a section of a Tenacious Tape repair patch. These patches stick more strongly over time so I left the tent out of its bag overnight.
There we go all done!
I would definitely recommend getting used to making your own gear repairs. After all, in an emergency, the ability to execute field fixes might make all the difference.
But help is out there!
If you really can’t make a repair yourself, there are plenty of excellent manufacturers and repair services available. From fluffing up your down sleeping bag to sorting out that dodgy tent pole, repairing your outdoor gear is ultimately far more satisfying than buying something new.
Trust me, I’ve tried it!
IN WITH THE OLD, OUT WITH THE NEW! REPAIR AND CARE IS TRENDING
‘Because where your clothes come from can be just as epic as where they take you.’
On this Earth Day, I couldn’t resist mentioning another favourite brand who have always gone the extra mile (all the way to Botota) to create outdoor gear that is designed to last and be mended.
Early adopters of carbon balancing, PFC-free and in-house recycling, Paramo deserve an extra-green smile today.
After all, it is their 30th Birthday!!