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Our Guide to Good Gifts

With so much of this year being a bit of a write off, you might be planning to make a big fuss over a special day in 2021. But how to make sure that your gifts have only the right kind of impact? Here are few of our favourite ethical brands for clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and books, as well as some non-gift options and shopping tips. After all, you can’t just buy one of our Gift Cards and send them glamping EVERY year, can you? 

1. Clothing

Clothing often seems like a good idea for a gift, but there’s always the worry of engaging with an industry famously fraught with ethical issues. Fortunately, there are outdoorsy types leading the way in sustainable fashion for adventurers. Most people have heard of eco champions Patagonia and Finisterre, but here are a couple of our lesser-known favourites to help you make good choices. We can’t help you with picking something that the recipient will actually like though.

Paramo

The favourite brand of many mountain rescue teams, this is gear that lasts for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, along with a recycling scheme and a manufacturing ethos as solid as their stitching. A chunk of what you spend goes to their work with the World Land Trust and the European Outdoor Conservation Association.

Silverstick

Another great shout for rugged, hard-wearing gear that’s made with the utmost care for both quality and the environment, by an adventurous team who put everything through its paces in the wild. Plus we just love that logo.

Ten Tree

The clue’s in the name. This certified B Corp plant ten trees for every purchase of their impeccably sourced and manufactured outdoor clothing, with the aim of getting a billion in the ground by 2030. They’re on 46 million already, have clothing collections dedicated to specific causes and also offer a non-purchase tree planting service called Climate+.

2. Books

Books are a great gifting option, but trust us, the wanderer in your life already has several copies of “The Best UK Hikes”. Here are few of our team’s favourite titles, to bring them a different kind of inspiration. 

Cooking - Food from the fire, Niklas Ekstedt

A Scandinavian spin on outdoor open-fire cookery that also contains tips on pickling and preserving. Helpfully, many of the recipes work just as well on a skillet over a hob, so you don't have to wait until you're out in the wild, although you'll lose a little of that smokey goodness.

Non-fiction - Feral, George Monbiot

The subversive thinker and writer offers a vision of a different way forward for our relationship with nature, in a meticulously researched and genuinely thought-provoking book about rewilding.

Fiction - Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver

Laugh, cry, learn a few cool things about coyotes and moths. What more do you want from a novel? A beautiful book that’s perfect for those fireside-lazing or hammock swinging afternoons.

3. Jewellery 

We all know the feeling of living wild for a few days, then dipping back into civilisation for a treat night out and finding yourself a little under dressed. Well-chosen, responsibly sourced accessories can help distract people from the fact that you’re wearing giant muddy boots to dinner. 

ReAdorn

ReAdorn not only offer a shop full of upcycled accessories, but ask you to send in your own forgotten bits and pieces. In return, they give you a voucher to spend on all the reworked stuff in the shop, making you part of the fight against our wasteful consumer habits.

Yala 

The award-winning jewellery brand was the first in the UK to become a certified B Corp. Their work builds communities, develops entrpreneurship and protects the environment and looks incredible.   

Kay Reed Silver 

Recycled, ethical and beautiful, Kay’s animal-themed work carries an educational message, reminding us to take care of nature, while 10% of profits are donated to The World Land Trust, Bite Back and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.  

4. Beauty and skincare          

Ahhh toiletry shopping. For some, a nuanced and scientific selection process, for others a desperate grab of something that smells a bit like the stuff in the bathroom cupboard. Whichever way you’re approaching the cosmetics aisle, here are a few brands that’ll keep your conscience clear, apart from the guilt of knowing that you clearly weren't listening when they told you what they used. 

 

Friendly 

The Hebden-based soap makers took years developing a process free from waste, cruelty, animal products and everything except cleaning power and lovely smells. Their travel soap is a backpacking must-have that washes, you, your hair and even your clothes. 

Living Naturally 

Did you know soap grows on trees? Well it does, and Living Naturally turn the harvested soap nuts (no, really) into their range of ethically sourced products, using the profits to support a range of charities.  

Bloomtown 

After living in Indonesia for a couple of years and witnessing massive deforestation first hand, the founders of Bloomtown set out to create a range of eco cosmetics, which now includes a rub on deodorant bar, perfect for stuffing into your day bag.

Our own Gift Cards

We just had to put these in here, but in our defence [readies own trumpet] we ARE pretty nice. We're part employee owned and part-owned by a charitable trust which we founded to put more of our profits into causes supporting environmental action. We plant a tree for every booking we take, as well as various other things, and we're aiming to plant a million by 2025. [Puts down trumpet, takes deep breath] The Gift Cards are made from recycled materials, printed with low-impact inks and can be for any amount and used on any place in our entire collection of great glamping spaces. Ok, that's enough about us. Carry on.          

Lost in the ethical maze? Good places to start

Here are a few tricks and tips for navigating the ethical potholes of shopping. Among others, we’ve found Ethical superstore and Sustainable Jungle to be particularly helpful for vetting and reviewing products, with the former making charitable donations for anything you purchase. You can go green before you’ve even visited a website too, by using Ecosia instead of google and planting a tree every time you search. We also recently came across The Vegan Filter, a browser plug in that screens products for you. 

And finally - don't buy anything!

The easiest way to limit the impact of your gift buying is not to buy anything at all. We work with Treesisters on our own tree planting mission, but there are a huge number of charities out there that you can donate to instead of getting actual gifts. The Woodland Trust and Tree Aid have planting initiatives, beehive building and more, while the WWF offers you the rare chance to get that special someone in your life the elephant they’ve always wanted.