8 eco-friendly gear brands from Colorado to support this Earth Day

Gear made by outdoor brands helps us get out safely into nature, where we can explore the mountains, rivers and rocks that inspire, excite and rejuvenate us. It is only natural that these companies also take measures to protect these beautiful spaces. Here, we found eight gear producers with Colorado ties who are taking steps to be eco-friendly and spotlighting some of their best products.

The Calistoga frames from Zeal Optics. Photo courtesy of Zeal Optics

See a brighter future for you and your planet with the latest additions to the See Grass collection from Zeal. Cat-eye Calistoga and more angular Northwind models (both $169) feature a plant-based Ellume polarized lens, plus frames made from 70% recycled plastics and 30% grass fiber in a closed-loop biorefinery fueled by the decomposition of organic matter. (A little eww, but also awesome.) Even better: These sunglasses are also part of Zeal’s Shades for Seas program, an April-only initiative, during which the Boulder-based brand plans to clean up 1,000 square feet. of coastline for each pair of sunglasses, goggles and lenses sold as part of a partnership with Plastic Oceans International.

Can you eliminate the climate impact of your equipment? This is the basis of Pearl Izumi’s new Pedal to Zero initiative. Each piece of clothing in their spring “bikestyle” collection (clothing designed to work well on the bike and look great on it) highlights the distance the consumer would have to ride, rather than drive, to eliminate the item’s carbon footprint. To arrive at the mileage, the Louisville-based brand calculates the total emissions from creation, shipping, and maintenance (e.g. washing), then divides by the Environmental Protection Agency estimate that a typical passenger car produces per mile (404 grams of carbon dioxide). Using that equation, their new Rove Short ($90) requires a two-wheel trip of just 20 or 24 miles—the women’s version has a slightly lighter footprint—to offset the environmental impact of production. Roll!

Climate neutrality, the idea of ​​reducing greenhouse gas emissions until they are close to zero and then offsetting what remains through an offsetting process, is a noble goal. That hasn’t stopped the Swiss wool experts at Ortovox, whose US headquarters are in Longmont, from taking up the challenge, and by 2024 no less. They have already eliminated perfluorocarbons (chemicals harmful to us and the Earth) from all insulation products. And many other items, including the Valbon Pant ($150 for both men’s and women’s styles), are made from a natural blend of organic cotton and soil-replenishing hemp.

Photo courtesy of Icebreaker

Colorado outdoor enthusiasts have probably noticed that their wool base layers are highly breathable, effectively wicking sweat away from their bodies while providing top-notch temperature regulation. Another wonderful attribute of wool: it’s ultra durable, especially when made without polyester (read: plastic) elements. And that’s the quest Icebreaker has embarked on with its Plastic Free by 2023 initiative. Hosted by Denver-based VF Corporation, Icebreaker lays out its many climate-friendly goals in a 75-page transparency report. Read it while lounging in their 100% Merino Tech Lite II Short Sleeve Tee ($85), available for women and men.

Every year, Norrøna writes a check for a greener future. The donations are all part of their 1% for Nature initiative, which sets aside 1% of their total sales to help organizations such as the Basecamp Explorer Foundation that work to promote sustainability and conserve the world’s ecosystems. Many of their products also tell a love story of the Earth. Check out their duffle bags ($189 for the 70-liter option), which are all made from 100% regenerated nylon yarn derived from pre- and post-consumer waste, like discarded fishing nets, in person at their Boulder storefront (also the site of their US headquarters).

Last year, Scarpa launched its Green Manifesto, a promise that includes a commitment to update products with the most environmentally friendly materials on the market and to partner with brands to create them when a lasting solution is not at hand. This year, the outdoor footwear brand hopes to make that commitment even more tangible through certification as a Benefit Corporation, a company legally bound to generate social and public good. Scarpa, whose American arm runs out of Boulder, includes environmental responsibility under this benevolent umbrella, and it shows in their Spirit Evo ($179 for men’s and women’s versions), a trail- and city-ready shoe featuring featuring a recycled suede upper, rubber toe and foam midsole, as well as an eco-friendly rubber outsole.

Photo courtesy of Sierra Designs

With a commitment to using post-consumer and factory scraps, recycled materials, and responsible sources (where the material comes from animals that have not been subjected to unnecessary harm), Broomfield-based Sierra Designs, helps us feel good about its clothes, tents, packs and sleep systems. Exhibit A: The Night Cap 35-Degree Sleeping Bag ($160 for regular length) features 100% recycled synthetic insulation from plastic water bottles and a recycled post-industrial fabric shell. Rest assured, indeed.

Soap isn’t exactly essential outdoor gear, but we can all agree that it’s the unspoken hero of after-after, namely that blissful moment when we strip off our dust- and sweat-covered clothes. and step into a shower. This is where Carbondale-based Osmia comes in. Their bar soaps come in recyclable packaging and contain far fewer ingredients (and no chemicals!) compared to commercially produced soaps. Pair a bar of their Oh So Body Wash ($18) with a soap dish ($24) made from methane gas from a former coal mine for a particularly earth-friendly experience.

(Read more: How to live more sustainably in Colorado)

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