Hiking and Camping Gear + Eco-Friendly Outdoors Tips for Your Next Adventure

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All it takes is for someone to say, “Let’s go for a hike!” Cue the living room gear explosion.

But what do you really need for a day’s (or night’s) adventure?

With the help of SAIL, we’ll take you through some tips and recommendations for necessary gear items that will get you outside faster, safer and for longer. Whatever your hiking or camping destination, you can find all the gear below at SAIL.

Hiking and Camping Necessities


Eliminating excess gear, especially on a day-hike, makes your adventure more comfortable and enjoyable. All it takes is a few functional, intentional items to get you up and down the trail comfortably and safely.

One thing you can’t overlook is a comfortable backpack to stuff the other necessities in.

Specifically designed with women in mind, the VAUDE Skomer bag with the new Aeroflex 3D back system is on my list. It can fit everything you need for a hiking trip, plus it lets your back breathe. When I think about the hikes I have planned for this summer, that sounds like a sigh of relief for my back.

From there, it’s a matter of intentionally choosing what to weigh that pack down with.

A few first-aid items, a fire starter, a pair of wool gloves and a bag to seal trash, diapers and sanitary pads live in my pack permanently.

Hiking poles, a full water bottle, snacks, a toque and an extra layer—a puffy jacket in the winter or sweater in the summer—are items that always make it in. Same with bear spray and a map of the area (if we have one).

Depending on which one of us is carrying the baby, my husband and I also usually strap on a pair of binoculars to spy on bighorn sheep, deer and other wildlife. A phone or my camera serve to take memories (rather than fossils or wildflowers) off the trail with us.

Packing for a camping trip results in a larger gear explosion than a day hike. The first obvious addition to the pack is the MSR tent we bought on our first trip to SAIL five years ago. The tent is easy to set up, stands up well against the wind and, even with the addition of a baby camper, it fits us. Our hound, packs and boots stay dry in the roomy vestibules.

A stove and some utensils to cook and eat with, sleeping bag and mat, and an extra pair of socks to wear at night are stuffed into the pack, too.

We often pack oatmeal and brown sugar for breakfast, a combination of hard-boiled eggs, apples and granola bars for lunches and dehydrated pouch meals for supper. When it comes to meal pouches, everyone has different preferences. I love anything cheesy and noodle-y, especially on frigid winter camp outs, but my husband prefers bowls and meat-heavy options. Experiment with different brands and meal types to find what it is that you’ll look forward to eating after soaking in fresh air all day.

Eco-Friendly Gear


Not only is buying what you need and using what you bought easy on your wallet and shoulders, but it is also more eco-friendly than buying a lot of low-quality, extra gear you’ll never need and that will eventually hit the landfill.

You’ve probably noticed the eco-friendly buzzword on many different products, from shampoo bottles to hiking pants. But unless the tag includes details on how or why it is eco-friendly, which my shampoo bottle does not, you may wonder: what does it really mean?

The term is literal. The producers of eco-friendly items have, in some way, attempted to minimize their impact on the environment, whether it was during the material sourcing stage, the manufacturing stage or some type of commitment for when you pick it off the shelf.

For example, SAIL carries several brands with the Bluesign® label, which ensures the product was made by a brand committed to reducing water, energy, carbon dioxide emissions and hazardous chemical use during production. For instance, the dyeing and finishing stage of clothing production uses a lot of energy and fresh water, so companies partnering with Bluesign® are actively reducing their processes to minimize this waste.

Some brands found in SAIL stores and online use recycled products. Certain VAUDE packs are made from recycled PET bottles, and BUFF® uses Repreve® recycled fabrics. Other companies such as OBOZ and tentree commit to planting trees.

You can personally reduce your impact by buying local and avoiding fast fashion, single-use and low-quality items. Instead, purchase durable items and clothing in a timeless style so you won’t need to replace it for years. Properly maintain the gear you do buy to make it last. That might mean washing wools only when necessary, drying out the tent well after a camping trip, cleaning your boots of dirt after a hike and not storing your sleeping bag in its stuff sack.

Eco-Friendly Hiking and Camping Tips


If you are buying eco-friendly gear to reduce your footprint, it only makes sense to do your best to have as little impact on the world you explore as possible while you’re out there too.

It makes a difference what your impact is if you’re out for a day-hike or planning to camp for a few days, but both situations call for intentional footsteps. Be mindful of the nature you’re enjoying so that it will be just as beautiful the next time you get outdoors!

Some examples of ways you can reduce your impact include:

  • Stay on trail to allow the plants to regenerate off trail. Some of the ecosystems we pass through are fragile, sensitive and finite
  • If you aren’t camping in a designated campsite, choose an area that is durable, such as on sand, dry grass or snow, not on delicate plants
  • Pack out what you pack in, including trash and, in some very sensitive areas, poo (including your dogs’)
  • Avoid adding synthetic or unnatural materials to the environment you’re hiking or camping in. For example, if you plan on having a fire, try to start it without fire-starting products, and if you want to light some candles, opt for beeswax. Avoid soaps and shampoos if possible or only use biodegradable products, including sunscreen
  • Leave wildlife alone. Flying drones intentionally at or after animals, getting too close or feeding them are not only disturbing and dangerous for the wildlife, but could put you and other hikers in danger as well
  • Follow the Leave No Trace principles

Now that you’re ready, get geared up at SAIL and hit the trails!

This article was sponsored by SAIL


The outdoors is our passion. Wide open spaces, rugged terrain, the thrill of exploring the unknown… Shopping at SAIL is choosing to begin your expedition at a Canadian company that lives for nature adventures.