Gear Up for Adventure: The Ultimate Guide to Must-Have Outdoor Gear

by Stevie Smith May 26, 2023 7 min read

Gear Up for Adventure: The Ultimate Guide to Must-Have Outdoor Gear

The United States is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse outdoor landscapes in the world. From hiking and camping to fishing and kayaking, there are endless opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. 

But before you head out on your next adventure, it's important to make sure you have the right gear. In this article, we will discuss the types of outdoor gear you should always have with you for the top 5 most popular outdoor activities in the United States and how to shop for it responsibly.


Hiking feet

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States, with millions of people hitting the trails every year. To ensure a safe and enjoyable hike, it's important to have the right gear. Here are the essential items to bring on a hike:

Hiking Boots

A good pair of hiking boots or shoes will provide support and traction on uneven terrain. Make sure you have a pair of boots that will protect your feet from the elements and provide the proper traction for the types of trails you are visiting.

Eco-friendly brands that sell hiking boots or shoes include:

  • Merrell - The company strives to include recycled, organic, or renewable materials in every product. 
  • KEEN - Part of the company's proceeds go toward environmental organizations and improving sustainability in the global trade industry.
  • Vasque - The company has released products made from up to 75% recycled materials.


A backpack is essential for carrying water, snacks, and other gear. It is a good idea to get a sturdy backpack with all the necessary pockets and compartments to hold the gear you need for your hike. You may also want to make sure that it is made of a material that can withstand backpack cleaning so you can use it for years to come.

Look for a backpack made from recycled materials, such as:

  • Osprey - The company uses sustainable materials, chemistry, and social responsibility as the core concepts surrounding each product design.
  • Cotopaxi - The company uses recycled materials and participates in carbon neutral initiatives.
  • REI - The company is committed to monitoring and reducing impact through things like carbon neutrality, materials, and chemicals used throughout business processes.

Water bottle

Staying hydrated is crucial on a hike so it is essential to bring a durable water bottle along. To preserve the wildlife and foliage in the area, it is also important that you never discard plastic water bottles on the trails. 

Opt for a reusable water bottle made from stainless steel or glass, such as:

  • Klean Kanteen - The company is Climate Neutral certified and has donated over $3.7 million to environmental organizations.
  • Hydro Flask - The company is committed to reducing waste by providing reusable products and being mindful with their packaging.
  • S'well

Sun protection

Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat will protect you from harmful UV rays. Remember, you can get sunburn any time, even on cloudy days. 

Look for eco-friendly sunscreen brands such as:

  • Badger - The company is committed to being Net Zero and contributing to coral reef initiatives.
  • All Good - The company is a B certified company, Net Zero, and cruelty-free.
  • Raw Elements - The company is committed to using the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly ingredients and packaging.


Backpacks near a mountain

Camping is another popular outdoor activity in the United States, with millions of people enjoying the great outdoors each year. To make the most of your camping trip, be sure to bring the following gear:


A good-quality tent will keep you dry and comfortable throughout your camping trip. In addition, washing a tent can be a tough job if it is not made from quality materials. Luckily, there are fabricare cleaners like eClean Advanced Fabricare that can take care of your tent cleaning needs every season.

Look for tents made from recycled materials, such as:

  • Tentsile - The company is committed to forest preservation, recycling, carbon counting, and ethical production.
  • Big Agnes - The company is committed to using sustainable materials in their manufacturing and is proud to be 100% PFAS free.
  • NEMO Equipment - The company is committed to initiatives that work to reverse climate change.

Sleeping bag

A warm and cozy sleeping bag is essential for a good night's sleep. There are many types of sleeping bags on the market that can help you prepare for any camping conditions. From waterproof, down bags to natural wool bags, you’ll want a bag that can handle the weather you will encounter. Don’t worry, a sleeping bag cleaning service and help you take care of all your cleaning needs when the season is over.

Eco-friendly brands that sell sleeping bags include:

  • The North Face - The company makes products that are 100% recyclable. 
  • Marmot - The company's philosophy focuses on helping people (fair working conditions), providing superior products, and leading the way for environmental sustainability.
  • Therm-a-Rest - The company works with partners to educate youth and support conservation efforts.

Camp stove

A camp stove will allow you to cook meals and boil water. This can be especially handy if you are backpacking or want to boil water for coffee without damaging your kettle in the fire.

Look for camp stoves made from recycled materials, such as:

  • BioLite - The company has been involved in initiatives that support people in Asia and Africa, and offsetting CO2 emissions.
  • Camp Chef - The company is committed to ethical chemical practices and water conservation.
  • MSR - The company strives to consider sustainability in every step of their business processes. 


A headlamp will provide hands-free lighting at night. A bit of extra light is especially useful for finding tools around the campsite, setting up your bedding when it is time to go to sleep, or sneaking off to the restroom in the middle of the night.

Look for headlamps with rechargeable batteries, such as: 

  • Black Diamond - The company is highly involved in sustainable initiatives to support environmental organizations, recycle, and use sustainable materials in their products.
  • Petzl - The company is committed to reducing their carbon footprint, reducing waste, improving employee satisfaction, and partnering with sustainable suppliers.
  • Princeton Tec - The company partners with non-profits and outdoor associations to help make the world a better place.


fishing rod

Fishing is a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. To make the most of your fishing trip, be sure to bring the following gear:

Fishing rod and reel

A good-quality fishing rod and reel will make it easier to catch fish. Plus, they offer durability that will last you for years if they are taken care of properly.

Eco-friendly brands that sell fishing gear include:

  • Redington - The company is committed to finding climate solutions, becoming Net Zero, and supporting other sustainable brands.
  • Sage - The company favors local, sustainable craftsmanship over mass production.
  • Orvis - The company "is dedicated to helping to protect and restore 50 million acres of vital habitat by 2030."

Fishing line

It goes without saying that you will need fishing line to accompany your rod and reel; however, it is important to note that fishing line can cause damage to the environment if it is discarded or made from damaging materials.

Look for fishing line made from eco-friendly materials, such as:

  • RIO Products - The company is committed to constant research and development to make sure that they have the most innovative, performance product.

Tackle box

A tackle box will keep your fishing gear organized and easily accessible. 

Look for tackle boxes made from recycled materials, such as: 

  • Plano - The company uses recycled plastics in their products.
  • Flambeau - The company is committed to improving sustainable practices, reducing waste, and implementing new technologies.



Kayaking is a fun and exciting way to explore the great outdoors, with opportunities to paddle on lakes, rivers, and oceans. To make the most of your kayaking trip, be sure to bring the following gear:


A good-quality kayak will provide stability and maneuverability on the water. That means less chance of flipping!

Eco-friendly brands that sell kayaks include:

  • Old Town - The company participates in sustainable initiatives across all parts of the business including power usage, heating, and recycling practices.


A lightweight and durable paddle will make it easier to paddle through the water. In turn, you will be able to enjoy a much more relaxing adventure down the river.

Look for paddles made from sustainable materials, such as: 

  • Werner - The company is committed to reducing waste in their manufacturing processes.
  • Bending Branches - The company uses active recycling techniques in their manufacturing and business processes.
  • Aqua-Bound - The company focuses on energy conservation, recycling, and waste reduction in every step of their business processes.

Life jacket

A life jacket is essential for safety on the water. They are especially important for first-timers and, in some cases, they are required to traverse certain routes.

Look for life jackets made from recycled materials, such as:

  • NRS - The company focuses on using sustainable materials, promoting environmental initiatives, and constantly improving operations. 
  • Kokatat - The company only uses PVC-free materials that are sourced responsibly. 


Bike on a mountain

Biking is a great way to explore the outdoors and stay active. To make the most of your biking trip, be sure to bring the following gear:


A good-quality bike will provide a smooth and comfortable ride. There are many different styles of bikes that are great for different terrain and distances. Be sure to do your research ahead of time so you can choose the bike that is best for your trip and your body.

Eco-friendly brands that sell bikes include:

  • Trek - The company has always been committed to addressing congestion and climate change, however, in 2020, they also began new emissions initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Specialized - The company works to practice responsible manufacturing and reduce waste in their business.
  • Giant - The company partners with sustainable organizations that are working to improve the environment and communities around the world.


A helmet is essential for safety while biking. They can protect you in the event that you lose control of your bike, or something or someone hits you while you are on the road or trail.

Look for helmets made from recycled materials, such as:

  • Thousand - A portion of the company's proceeds go toward environmental relief efforts. 
  • Lazer - The company avidly tracks and measures sustainability through all steps of the supply chain.

Bike lock

A bike lock will keep your bike secure while you're away. Look for bike locks made from eco-friendly materials, such as: 

  • ABUS - The company has a line of waste-free, sustainable locks designed for long-lasting use.
  • Kryptonite - The company is committed to providing sustainable solutions for their products, employees, local communities, and the environment

Stay Fresh

Whether you're hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, or biking, having the right gear is essential for a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. In addition, it is important to keep that gear clean and mildew free. Instead of worrying about how to clean a tent yourself, find apparel care cleaners that are knowledgeable about your equipment to keep it fresh every season.

By choosing eco-friendly brands that sell gear made from sustainable materials, you can enjoy the great outdoors while also protecting the environment and making the most of your next outdoor adventure.

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