10 Outdoor Gear & Apparel Brands Making A Positive Impact
We launched The Offroader Supply Co. for two main reasons. First and foremost, we love the outdoors. Secondly, we believe wholeheartedly that smart business is when a company can produce profits while also making a positive impact in the world around them. Below, we introduce you to ten indie-outdoor brands who are not only producing rad products, but will also provide you with a taste of some of the goodness they’re bringing to our planet in terms of quality, sustainability, and their environmental and/or humanitarian efforts.
Conceived on a hiking and surfing trip in Hawaii in 2011 and formally founded in 2012 in Regina, Saskachewan. Tentree goes beyond the “do no harm” policy of many ethically minded brands and state its aim as “make a difference”. Not only do they produce cool, minimal-impact clothing, but for every item sold they plant ten trees!
Tentree’s Impact: Environmental
To date, Tentree has planted over 19 million trees, focusing its efforts in countries such as Madagascar and Ethiopia, where flooding and deforestation have devastated the tree population and consequently the fertility of the soil and ecosystem. Planting trees not only helps to restore that ecosystem, but also brings jobs to local communities.
Staff Pick: Men’s Overgrown City Tee – $36.00
A trendy tee with a trend-breaking design. Made with TENCEL®, a sustainably produced fabric made from eucalyptus and blended with organic cotton and recycled polyester.
2. United By Blue
About United By Blue:
Founded in Philadelphia in 2010, United By Blue is a certified B-Corp company that is committed to producing quality, responsible outdoor goods and cleaning up the world’s oceans and waterways. More recently, the company has taken off, with stores now open in Philadelphia, Asbury Park and NYC. All of its products are made with sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester and bison fibre.
United By Blue’s Impact: Environmental
Not only do they make badass, wanderlusty products for the modern outdoorsman from organic and recycled materials, but for every product purchased United By Blue also remove one pound of trash from rivers, beaches, oceans and other waterways by arranging volunteer clean-ups. Since the company’s founding in 2010, it has removed over one million pounds of trash from a total of 27 US states…WOW!
Staff Pick: Men’s Adventure Mobile Tee – $36
Made from 100% organic slub cotton, this pre-shrunk, super soft tee looks cool, feels cosy and contributes to a clean-up near you!
3. Barebones Living
About Barebones Living:
Salt Lake City-based Barebones Living are an up-and-coming brand already doing big things with their humanitarian efforts in Nepal, Africa, Utah and in other parts of the world. They design modern, minimalist lifestyle products inspired by and benefiting the outdoors.
Brand Impact: Humanitarian
Barebones Living focus on long-term, sustainable solutions that enable people to meet their own basic needs. In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, they donated 25 safari tents and 75 birthing shelters which will eventually become temporary homes. In Africa, they helped locals transform 250 hectares of scrub and desert into a thriving community with education, tools and funding, giving people power and jobs and raising the average salary of the community from $60 per month up to $600.
Staff Pick: Heritage Canteen – $60
Super sleek, super stylish and functional to boot, this 28oz, vacuum sealed, food-grade stainless steel canteen combines a retro look with modern practicality.
4. Parks Project
About Parks Project:
Parks Project make quality, national park-inspired products with a purpose – each one contributes directly to the ongoing care and restoration of National Parks across the US. Their ten-year goal is to have funded 100 projects and generated 100,000 volunteer hours while reinvigorating passion for our parks
Parks Project’s Impact: Environmental/Conservation
Each product purchased contributes directly to one of over 30 different conservancies across the USA. Some projects include bear conservation in Denali, trail restorations in Muir Woods, habitat restoration in Acadia and replanting Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park.
Staff Pick: Teddy Roosevelt for President Tee – $36
100% fine Jersey cotton, super soft, slim fit and supports the Parks Project collection, allowing the brand to organize more volunteer days for their incredible projects. Vote for Roosevelt and help contribute to clean-ups, trail restorations and more!
Founded in Austin, Texas in 2010, Kammok’s vision was and is to equip and inspire life-changing adventure through high-performance,tough, ultralight hammocks that maintain comfort and durability no matter what adventure you find yourself on.
Kammok’s Impact: Humanitarian
For every product sold, Kammok donate to Malaria No More and Explore Austin, a scheme that mentors young explorers, creates transformational outdoor experiences, and builds lasting communities for Austin’s youth. Over the course of the six-year program, each Explorer spends more than 1,300 hours with their Mentors and fellow Explore team-mates, creating life-long changes in character, integrity, courage, resilience and social skills for all participants.
Staff Pick: Flag Kammok – $79
Breathable, tough and weighing only 10oz, this limited edition hammock will let you ‘hang’ just about anywhere. 100% of profits go to the supporting the Harvey relief fund through the Red Cross.
Oliberté is a sustainable footwear brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Not only do they make high-quality, cool shoes and boots from responsibly sourced materials, they own the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory and are also a member of B Corp and 1% for The Planet.
Oliberté’s Impact: Humanitarian
Oliberté live by the motto ‘trade, not aid’ and have brought more than 70 jobs to their factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Their environmental standards, weekly doctor visits for employees, support of workers’ rights and donation of proceeds to the local community put them on a pedestal in terms of brands doing right by their workers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Staff Pick: Simia Rustic Brown Pullup Boot – $150
Stylish, funky and made from natural rubber and Premium cow and goat leather from Ethiopia. The leather is free-range, hormone-free and sourced directly from local tanneries.
7. LifeStraw – $29.95
Founded in 1994 to deal with the problem of Guinea worm larvae, LifeStraw has developed into a brand producing filters that eradicate almost every type of bacteria and protozoa you might come across. Not only do they make ultra-light, compact filters for trekkers and outdoor-lovers, they also help to ensure those threatened by contaminated water sources in developing countries worldwide benefit from their success.
LifeStraw’s Impact: Humanitarian
LifeStraws are now used in 64 countries worldwide. Through their ‘Follow the Liters’ Program, a portion of sales for any LifeStraw goes toward the purchase of LifeStraw Community purifiers which are distributed to schools in developing communities. One sale equals safe drinking water for one child for an entire year. To date, they have reached 1,053 schools, given clean drinking water to over 630,000 students given clean water and donated nearly 7000 filters donated. They were also on hand with filter donations to assist in crises such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, 2010 Pakistan floods, 2011 Thailand floods, and 2016 Ecuador earthquake.
Staff Pick: LifeStraw Personal $29.95
Ideal for hiking, backpacking, camping, travel, and emergency preparedness, this ultralight straw-style filter can turn up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water into safe drinking water.
Launched in April 2014 with just five backpacks for sale and a website, Cotopaxi are now a hugely successful outdoor gear brand that balances profitability with huge philanthropic effort. When someone buys a piece of Cotopaxi’s gear, a specific humanitarian cause is tied to it, with each item donating to a different beneficiary. For example, if you purchase a Cotopaxi+India water bottle, you give clean water to someone in India for six months, and when you buy a Cusco pack, you help to educate a child in Peru for one week. Nice!
Cotopaxi’s Impact: Humanitarian
Each year, Cotopaxi earmark 2% of revenue to provide targeted grants to nonprofits implementing sustainable solutions within their respective communities. Past grantees have included projects in areas as diverse as India, Mynamar and sub-Saharan Africa.
Staff Pick: Do Good Tee – $22.95
Made with an ultra-soft cotton/poly blend, this simple, fitted tee not only feels and looks great, but spreads just about the only words that need spreading: do good!
Portland-based footwear and clothing brand Keen combine innovation with strong environmental ethics to create awesome, ethical products that reflect their core company values: quality, integrity, health, caring, pioneering. Since 2003, they have funded grant programs and grassroots organizations across the world in an effort to create the next generation of environmental stewards.
Keen’s Impact: Environmental/Humanitarian
Since 2003, Keen have donated more than $15 million to nonprofit organizations and causes around the world and continuously striven to give back, take action and reduce their own environmental impact. Through the Keen Effect programme, they have recently funded organizations as diverse as Greening of Detroit, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Friends of Saguaro National Park, among many others.
Staff Pick: Men’s Owyhee Canyonlands Shirt – $30
Made from soft and durable 100% organic cotton and features Rehance® water-based printing that won’t crack, peel or fade. $10 from every tee purchased benefits Outdoor Alliance, a KEEN Effect nonprofit partner which aims to conserve America’s public lands and protect the human-powered outdoor experience.
Salt Lake City-based Coalatree make timeless outdoor gear and accessories with only sustainable, environmental materials and methods. With the sale of every product, they aim to clothe, feed and empower those less fortunate both at home and abroad.
Coalatree’s Impact: Humanitarian
With every purchase of a Coalatree product, a portion of the proceeds goes to one of the many nonprofits or causes the brand supports. Purchasing a kachula blanket, for instance, pays directly into the production costs of creating another blanket to keep someone warm during Salt Lake City’s harsh winters. Another of their givebacks, the seed initiative, helps to feed those less fortunate worldwide and empower communities in need by giving them the means to grow their own fresh food and produce.
Staff Pick: The Escalante Grand View Hammock – $59.99
Lightweight, compact and big enough for two, this hammock can, quite literally, elevate your outdoor experience as either a nap-time nest or a night time star-gazing nook.
Did we say ‘praiseworthy’?! The above brands, we’re sure you’ll agree, are worthy of far more than just our praise. Until someone starts handing them Nobel prizes, let’s do our bit to support them and their good deeds by keeping their brand on our radar next time we want to make a purchase with a purpose!