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Earth-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas for Outdoor Enthusiasts

(StatePoint) When holiday shopping for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, take the extra step of ensuring your loved ones only unwrap gifts that are earth-friendly. It all starts with reading the label on the goods you purchase.

While they’ve been around for decades, more consumers are becoming aware of a toxic class of chemicals called perfluorinated chemicals, often referred to as PFAS or PFCs. Because PFCs are good at resisting oil, stains, grease and water, they’ve become a go-to treatment for many manufacturers. In fact, PFCs are so widely used, they’re found on everything from shoes and jackets to couches and food wrappers -- including the many items designed for nature lovers!

The issue is that these chemicals find ways to enter the environment, the food chain and our water supply, which is bad for wildlife, the planet and human health. Because PFCs have a very hard time breaking down, they’re infamously known as “forever chemicals.”

Thanks to a heightened understanding of the health issues associated with PFCs, there has been a growing sense of urgency around removing them from consumer products. With a little care, you can holiday shop with brands that have taken earth-friendly steps, and in some cases, bounds, to try to avoid these so-called “forever chemicals.” Need some inspiration? The following gift guide includes some of the best outdoor gear designed to stand up to adventures of all kinds, and it’s all eco-friendly to boot!

Cozy Footwear

Give the gift of indoor comfort outdoors with the warm, cozy Howser collection from KEEN Footwear. A hygge-worthy, “sleeping bag for feet,” their fuzzy lining and PU cushioned insoles mean they’re as cozy as house slippers, and their grippy, sturdy rubber outsoles make them a solid choice for outdoor use. The collection includes slip-ons, ankle boots and high top choices for women, men and kids -- all of which are a natural fit for chilly evenings by the fire or rolling out of the tent in the morning to get the coffee brewing.

Not only is the entire collection PFC-free, options that contain leather are sourced from Leather Working Group-certified tanneries, which use processes to reduce chemical use and their impact on watersheds, creating an environmentally preferred leather.

“Eliminating PFCs from footwear is easier said than done,” says Erik Burbank, vice president of KEEN Effect, a team that guides the brand’s responsible manufacturing efforts. “We’ve spent years working to eliminate PFCs from our products and supply chain with safe alternatives while delivering the performance people expect from KEEN. In that time, we estimate we’ve saved over 50,000 KGs of fluorinated chemicals from being introduced into the environment. As part of our Detox the Planet initiative, we continue to push for ways to put the environment first.”

To learn more, visit keenfootwear.com.

Layer Up

Trekkers and campers know that weather is unpredictable and that makes layering essential. Now, they can do so with both performance and sustainability in mind. All of Houdini’s sportwear apparel is PFC-free. Plus, many of its garments are made from recycled materials, and are either recyclable or completely biodegradable. Keep your loved ones warm and prepared for anything by checking out the Swedish brand’s base layers, mid layers, outerwear and accessories.

Pack Smart

From snowshoe backpacks to hiking backpacks to packs designed specifically for trail runners, the full line-up of outdoor gear offered by Deuter is highly functional and contains no PFCs. Instead, the brand relies on Durable Water Repellent treatments that are not harmful to people or the planet.

The best outdoor gear protects the nature it celebrates. This holiday season, shop mindfully for outdoor enthusiasts.

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