Give Less, Give Well
Welcome to our second annual ‘Give Less, Give Well’ Christmas gift guide. Our aim is to produce a gift guide that features outdoor focused brands, companies and individuals who do things a little differently, who attempt to be more sustainable, to protect the environment or encourage activism and social change. At this time of year, we are bombarded with messages encouraging us to buy more, telling us what we ‘must have’ along with seemingly endless sales and cheap prices. Many of our followers are outdoors people, adventurers and nature lovers, and as such we would encourage you to look beyond these messages and strive to buy less, buy better and support causes that help protect the outdoors, nature and the environment.
Give Less, Give Well: Things
Based in the Pacific North West of America, Arvin Goods are an apparel brand committed to sustainable production processes. Using recycled fabrics to create their line of socks and underwear, they don’t rely on cotton farms or the excess use of water or toxic dyes which in turn lowers CO2 emissions and landfill waste. You can see their full range including socks, underwear and hats, here.
Bergans of Norway was founded in 1908 and is one of the most well respected outdoor brands in Scandinavia. Recently, they have been making steps to reduce their impact and have launched a range of initiatives under the banner ‘Long Live the Product’. One such initiative, the ‘Redesign’ project takes products that no longer have functionality and aims to create something new from them. The collection includes a unique range of bags, laptop cases, clothing and more. Currently only available in Norway, we still thought it worthy of a mention here (plus, they are hoping to make the collection more widely available soon).
Based in Dorset, UK, Firepot use locally sourced ingredients to make a range of delicious and nutritious expedition meals. We used them on our recent trip to the Swedish High Coast and can’t recommend them enough. All of their meals are available to buy in fully compostable packaging. The only difference when using the eco packaging is that you’ll need to cook the meal in a stove when on the trail, something we think is a small price to pay for reducing your impact when enjoying the outdoors.
We’re big fans of Vicki’s work (in fact, she may have been featured in all our gift guides since 2014!) and this year she has a beautiful screen print available over in her store which features imagery from her ‘Hold me closer, tiny roller’ exhibition, held at Open Surf in St Agnes earlier this year. If you know someone who is a lover of nature, the ocean and lovely things to hang on the wall, this is the perfect gift.
A UK based, family run business, K-nit specialise in knitted headwear and also produce a range of wooden sunglasses, blankets and tees. We particularly like their ‘one of a kind’ beanies. Knitted by hand and completely unique! Have a look over on their store for their full range.
Oh, that’s us! As much as we love to champion the good work of others, we also think our own stuff is pretty good. As a team of just two, each order we receive genuinely makes our day and helps us spread our message far an wide. Made from natural materials, our wooden products are designed to last for many years and to return to nature at the end of their life. We hope they will become treasured possessions, travelling with you on every adventure, near and far, gathering stories along the way. You can see our full range over on our store here. work
Give Less, Give Well: Experiences, Subscriptions and Symbolic gifts
Inky and the Beast Letter Press Workshop:
Jen Wright, aka Inky, runs letterpress printing workshops from her Epsom garden studio. We were lucky enough to have a workshop of our own recently during which we printed our Christmas Cards. Jen is a great teacher, full of enthusiasm for what she does. Details of her workshops can be found here and vouchers can be bought in time for Christmas.
Arbo Surfboards Wooden Surf Board Making:
We met Paul of Arbo surfboards during a visit to Cornwall earlier this year. We also had the chance to look at one of his handmade wooden surfboards and were super impressed with the craftsmanship and beauty. Paul runs surfboard making workshops in Cornwall and beyond (if you have the space, he can come to you). More information on workshops can be found on their site here.
This Way 12 month Trail Mail Subscription:
This Way make maps to inspire adventure, focusing on the often unnoticed, less beaten track. They offer a subscription service, where a new map will be delivered to your door each month giving you a reason to get out an explore somewhere new every month of the year! They also stock individual and even custom made maps. Head over to their website to see more.
Another Escape Magazine:
Another mainstay of our Christmas Gift Guides over the years, Another Escape magazine continues to inspire and inform on sustainable travel, adventure, community and cultures around the world. Their eleventh edition - The Frozen Volume is out now and subscriptions are also available. An excellent gift that keeps on giving.
John Muir Trust, Adopt an Acre:
For something a little different, The John Muir Trust are offering the opportunity to ‘adopt an acre’. These symbolic adoptions will help protect areas of land on one of four Scottish mountains for one year, supporting conservation efforts including the planting of native woodland in these areas. More information on the specific conservation work can be found here and you can adopt your acre here.
Finally, the big guys. Whilst we wholeheartedly support independent makers, small brands and artists (after all that’s who we are) we also appreciate the bigger brands out there who are doing good things to inspire change and promote new methods of production that will help our planet and future. Here are our favourite few:
Millican: As part of Millican’s ‘tribe’ we are proud to support and represent them and use their products on every adventure we take. Millican are always looking for ways to improve sustainability, such as by using recycled plastic bottles to create fabrics for their bags (including our own Blank Canvas pack). They design products to last and offer a repairs service. They have a community based approach to building their brand and support makers, doers and thinkers, those they describe as having a ‘Maverick Streak’ through a range of films and stories.
Patagonia: Pioneers of sustainable outdoor clothing and supporters of environmental activism, Patagonia are constantly pushing for a better future for our planet. Although their outdoor gear is expensive, they offer repairs and have excellent resources on care and repair on their site. If something is cheap it’s worth asking why, chances are that somewhere along the line, something or someone (probably both) is being exploited. If you invest in good gear and look after it, you will only need to buy once.
KEEN Footwear: Another brand we are happy to represent, KEEN support a range of social and environmental projects and have a strong team of ambassadors, including people such as Charles Post, who are proud stewards of the outdoors. They too are looking at ways to make production more transparent and environmentally friendly and have ‘European made’ line of outdoor footwear available here.
Thank you for reading and we hope we’ve given you a few good ideas!
We’re also excited to be holding a Christmas giveaway featuring a select few products from some of those featured in the guide, so keep a look out on social media in December!