It’s easy to get caught up in the spending frenzy that has become the modern American holiday season. There are messages everywhere telling you to SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! that can make it easy to lose track of what’s most important about the holidays.
So, this year we’re not going to tell you what to buy, but how to buy, to help you focus on what’s important, reduce your holiday carbon footprint and hopefully save you some money, too!
The holidays are, first and foremost, about spending time with your friends and family. And our guess is that if you’re reading this you share our belief that spending time is best done outside. So, go on a family hike, get a legal permit to cut down your own Christmas tree, plan a ski weekend with your cousins, head to the desert with your best friends. Just get out there!
We’re not saying to forgo of gift giving all together. Heck, who doesn’t like to both give and receive a thoughtful gift! But focus on the indispensable. Last year we put together a list of gift ideas that weren’t gear—from adventure sports lessons, Hipcamp gift cards to damaged gear repairs. See the whole list here.
Your daughter’s first camping trip, a year-long National Parks pass, your wife’s first hike up Half Dome, a night in an amazing treehouse—these are all experiential gifts that will keep on giving.
But let’s face it—thoughtful gear can lead you to some pretty amazing experiences.
? For that camping trip, your daughter will need a sleeping bag. She’ll also be able to use that on sleepovers, while making forts, and on camping trips to come. The sleeping bag will be her ticket for future adventures. The sleeping bag will keep on giving.
⛺️ A lightweight backpacking tent can be the first step into moving from car camping to the backcountry, opening up a whole world of off-the-beaten-path terrain to explore within national parks and beyond. The backpack will keep on giving.
? A nice pair of socks can make or break your next hike (and maybe even save a load of laundry). The socks will keep on giving. Get it?
✨ Lastly, we firmly believe that camping—nights spent outside, sleeping under the stars, huddled around campfires, snuggled cozy in a cabin—are experiences that keep on giving. Nature is good for the soul, and for your mind, and good for your health. So, encourage your loved ones to get outside this holiday season. (A Hipcamp gift card is a good way to start!)
Sure, online shopping is super convenient, and sometimes necessary. But remember how much plastic and packaging you threw out last time you ordered from Amazon Prime?
According to the EPA, industrial pollution is responsible for almost 50% of all pollution in the US. Buying from local stores rather than big-box retailers and online stores can dramatically cut down on the processing, packaging, transportation and ultimately the carbon footprint of your holidays.
Not to mention, buying local has far-reaching economic and social benefits. If you want to get all technical, look up the “multiplier effect of local independent businesses” in an economics journal. Summed up: supporting local businesses stimulates your local economy.
And lastly, supporting and engaging in your local economy brings your community tighter together. So instead of secretly ordering your gifts online from inside your cubicle, spend a day supporting your local artisan community at a crafts fair, the home goods store that just gets your hometown style, and of course, your mom-and-pop outdoor retailer that has been staving off the big guys for over a decade now.
For your holiday feasts? Head to your locals farmers market or use Local Harvest to find farmers and CSAs near you.
(Better yet, bring reusable shopping bags when you go!)
You would be surprised how much ‘used’ gear you can find out there that could pass as brand new. In fact, 80% of things sold on Ebay are still in their original packaging, so you can bet on some pretty good finds scouring resale sites and stores.
Don’t get us wrong, wrapping paper is shiny, festive and fun. But consider this: each year, the US uses 4 million tons of wrapping paper—pretty much all of which goes straight to a landfill. And no, burning the plastic coated paper is not a good way to “recycle” wrapping paper.
So, use newspaper, old scraps of paper, or reused wrapping paper instead.
Here are some other ways to have a greener holiday season:
Ironically, the outdoor industry has a huge problem with supporting brands that sell products that are harmful for our environment. Luckily, there are lots of companies who are leading the way in creating sustainable, responsible goods. You should support them.
Here are a few of our favorite companies who are doing things right:
Cover photo by Bryan Dalare at Saranac Lake Island Campground
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