Eco Tips: Hiking Gear You Can Make Yourself

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a man's hands using a knife to carve designs into a wooden stick on a table

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Though heading down to your local camping and outdoors store is the easiest way to get new gear, that can be expensive and contribute to wasteful consumerism. If you’re an avid hiker who spends days on end in the wilderness, then we recommend you invest in professionally made, ergonomic gear that will last you a lifetime.

However, if you’re a more casual hiker who wants to reduce their environmental impact on and off the trails, check out the following hiking gear you can make yourself.


With some basic sewing skills, you can repurpose old materials like jeans, canvas, or even retired tarps into a functional backpack. Incorporate pockets from your old clothing for organization and personalize it with patches or embroidery. This DIY approach ensures that materials that might have ended up in a landfill find new life on the trails. Plus, it’s a fun, creative project to work on!

Water Bottle Insulators

While buying a reusable water bottle is already a step toward sustainability, crafting an insulating sleeve for it can further enhance its utility and lifespan. Using old neoprene sleeves from outdated electronics or repurposed wool sweaters, you can sew a custom cover to keep your water cool in summer and prevent freezing in winter. This reduces waste and provides a soft, protective layer to prevent dents and scratches on the bottle during your hike.

Walking Sticks

Among the simplest yet most effective pieces of hiking gear you can make yourself are walking sticks. Instead of cutting fresh branches, seek out fallen wood during your hikes or repurpose old broom handles or similar items.

Sand down any rough edges for a comfortable grip and personalize your stick with carvings or paint. Then, finish the walking stick with a stain to protect it from the elements and improve its aesthetics. Soon, you’ll have a unique personal aid for your hiking adventures.

Snack Bags

Leaving no trace is central to eco-friendly hiking principles, and bringing as little plastic as possible with you on the trails can help support this endeavor. One great way to reduce your plastic usage is by making reusable snack bags.

Using beeswax-coated fabric or upcycled cotton, you can create sealable bags perfect for nuts, fruits, or sandwiches. These washable alternatives to single-use plastic bags are eco-friendly and add a splash of character to your hiking kit.

Hiking Apparel

Creating your own hiking apparel is another fantastic way to be environmentally friendly while ensuring you’re well-prepared for any weather conditions. You can transform old, breathable cotton T-shirts into lightweight hiking tops with some simple modifications for better ventilation.

If you’re more adept with a sewing machine, you can make a waterproof jacket from old raincoats or shower curtains. Making your own hiking gear not only reduces waste but also allows for the creation of custom gear tailored to your body and needs.

Investing in DIY hiking gear benefits the planet by repurposing materials and reducing waste, and it enriches your hiking experience with a personal touch. From backpacks and water bottle sleeves to walking sticks and snack bags, these DIY projects invite you to tread lightly on the earth while exploring its wonders.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

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