There’s a lot to love about urban living: Easy access to arts and culture, a diverse bar-and-restaurant scene, and very few opportunities for boredom to take root. There’s no denying the downsides, though; pollution, noise, and crowds can drain the life-force out of you after a while. To combat the daily grind and rejuvenate this summer, I’ll be searching for rural respite in the great outdoors, where the antidote to stressful city life includes long hikes, swimming, yoga, and cozy nights camping beneath the stars.
While I’ve never appreciated the aesthetics of traditional active wear, after attempting a Tahoe trek in a pair of open-toe sandals, I’ve learned the value of a technical shoe. Sporting-goods purveyor REI offers a “vegan” product search filter on its website, which made it a breeze to find the Scarpa Spark trail-runners. Made from partially recycled materials, these comfy kicks are sturdy and water resistant, too. Coupled with Bamboosa’s thermal-regulated, organic bamboo socks, my feet are practically guaranteed a happy hiking experience.
The function-before-fashion maxim might not be instinctual just yet, but Prancing Leopard’s multipurpose active wear bridges the gap between utility and style. I’ll wear the soft organic cotton Xinga leggings on hikes, bike rides, and yoga, and pair them with We3’s super-silky V-neck Kimono Top. The bamboo and organic cotton fabric blend offers great breathability, and has anti-microbial (read: odor-resistant) properties, which makes it a camper’s best friend.
I stopped buying things made with feathers when I stopped eating chicken, so it makes sense that my sleeping bag is feather-free. My North Face Aleutian bag is filled with synthetic stuffing and is really built to last. I’ve had mine for years and it still keeps me warm and snuggly, even when my tent is accidentally flooded during a freak summer monsoon.
The mere thought of waking up and doing sun salutations surrounded by nature puts me in zen mode, and though a yoga mat isn’t the likeliest item to pack for a weekend of camping, they do double duty as sleeping mats, so I’ll roll up my lightweight travel mat made of sustainably harvested natural rubber by Jade. These yoga mats are cushy, slip-proof, and easy to clean, too.
Before setting off for my wilderness weekend, I’ll jam all my gear inside my bright and roomy Ella Vickers backpack. The bright, waterproof fabric comes from an unexpected source--reclaimed sailboat sails—and the entire collection gives eco-centric stylistas a functional alternative to the sporty standard.
Your Turn: How will you be enjoying the great outdoors this summer? And what will you be wearing? Please comment below.
Aurelia d’Andrea has devoted a disproportionately large part of her life to scouring thrift stores, vintage boutiques, and flea markets in search of sartorial treasures, and has a closet full of frocks to prove her passion for the hunt. Going veg taught her to sharpen her style skills, and confirmed what she’d suspected all along: It really is possible to develop a fashionable point of view and keep your ethics intact, too.