We all know that the clothing industry has a detrimental effect on the planet. Everything from cotton to goose down has ethical and environmental implications in its production and when hunting for that organic winter jacket they are all things you have to bear in mind.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Eco Friendly Jackets
Something you might not have known is that the clothing industry is the second-largest pollution contributor after oil. This means that every consumer choice you make, where it’s choosing ethical winter coats, a fair trade jacket, or just picking something with sustainable down in it, makes a huge difference to the planet.
It’s hard to feel like you’re doing something good when shopping ethically as there is no one around to pat you on the back and you do end up spending more than something that is cheaply made with poor ethical and environmental policies. But the difference you’re making is huge and you should feel proud of it. Brag to your friends that your jeans are organic or fair trade, tell them the difference it’s making to the world, and feel smug about it, you have every right to.
In this article, we are going to make your ethical shopping a little easier by rounding up some of the best eco-friendly jackets on market and reviewing each one just for you. Happy Sustainable shopping!
Best Rain Jacket
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Best On A Budget
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Best Down Jacket
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Looking for an organic winter jacket? This isn’t quite it, but it is a 100% recycled rain jacket, will that do?
The Colombia OutDry Ex Eco Rain Jacket is made from a 100% recycled Eco-tech shell and its coating is PFC free too. This has saved the planet a huge amount of resources from the water for material production to the carbon cost of pulling it all together in the end.
While being made of recycled materials, it’s also quite good at being a rain jacket too. If you can excuse the futuristic looks (they do fade over time), you’ll find this jacket gives you exceptional weather protection even in heavy winds and torrential downpours.
It has a snug fit that sits softly against your skin and the breathability of the jacket means you won’t overheat or get that horrible clammy feeling we all hate when you’re damp and humid inside.
It comes with two pockets for storing your valuables and a well-fitting hood for extra protection when the rain really comes down.
Overall, this is an awesome eco-friendly jacket. It is a little expensive but it’s worth it for the quality and for the benefits to the planet.
If you have been looking for an ethical fleece to keep you warm and toasty this winter., then The North Face Denali 2 fleece jacket is just what you have been waiting for.
It’s made from 85% recycled materials, most of which is polyester. Polyester is a plastic-based fiber and is sourced from fossil fuels, did you know that? So, while you don’t need to grow it, you are adding to the oil industries’ wallet by buying it. But not when it’s recycled.
The Denali 2 is a thick and heavy fleece that is ideal for days out around town where warmth is key and activity quite low. It’s exceptionally tough and durable like most Borth Face products and comes with loads of little pockets for storing anything you might need on the go.
Once on, it’s soft against your skin and incredibly warm. The highly lofted, double-sided poly fleece does a great job of insulating while the hydrophobic synthetic fibers speed the passage of moisture vapors to maintain breathability, so you don’t overheat or sweat.
The Denali 2 is not waterproof but it does a good job of handling wind and rain thanks to the DWR (durable water repellent coating) on the outside. It also dries quickly once it’s wet, which is super useful.
Overall, this is an awesome eco-friendly jacket where warmth is a priority. It is a little expensive but it’s durable and will last a lifetime if looked after.
Another addition to the 100% recycled rain jacket gang is the Marmot Eclipse. Marmot has excellent ethical and environmental standards and used 100% recycled nylon to make this Eclipse jacket.
Nylon is similar to polyester as it’s synthetic, so it is also made from oil, and recycling it saves a lot of refining and extraction processes that in turn helps the environment.
The jacket is excellent at protecting you from rain and wind. It features Marmot’s EvoDry Technology which is meant to be able to shed water 5 times longer than normal waterproofing treatments. You’re going to stay dry in this jacket.
It’s made for active outdoor wear but it’s more suited to urban wear than for mountain pursuits due to its lack of breathability. It is breathable but it tends to clam up inside when you’re being active, and even though the pit zips do let you dump heat quickly, it’s a tad inconvenient to continue using them.
The jacket comes with 3 pockets, 1 chest pocket, and two hand pockets. All the pockets and the main zipper are water-resistant, to keep you and any of the contents dry.
Overall this is a great eco-friendly rain jacket but, it is pretty expensive, and the lack of breathability is an issue for active hobbies.
While ethical clothing often a tad more expensive, the Mountain Warehouse Urban Recycled 3 in 1 Waterproof Jacket is something everyone can afford, and it’s eco-friendly.
With this eco-jacket, you get two jackets in one that can be worn in 3 different ways. Just wear the fleece on dry cool days or the waterproof jacket on rainy days, and when it cold and rain, double them up for some toasty layering.
The waterproof jacket and fleece are made from 96% recycled polyester and 4% elastane. We have already talked about how recycling polyester helps the environment, and here is another one to add to that eco-bank.
This jacket is breathable, waterproof, offers excellent weather protection, and when they are both worn together, are warm enough for most winter pursuits. It has a waterproof rating of 10,000mm, which is pretty impenetrable and can handle some seriously heavy rain.
This eco-jacket does all of this while costing less than $100, what a bargain. Some people have had issues where the waterproof jacket fits and the fleece doesn’t, so just check up on the sizing before you order.
Anyone who lives somewhere cold or loves a winter expedition needs a down jacket. They are the best mid-layer you can go for whilst hiking in any kind of cold temperatures, so why not own an eco one?
Marmot has run the eco-bell again with their Highlander Down Hoody. While down isn’t the most sustainable material, it should be one that’s sourced responsibly from happy animals, and all or Marmots is.
It’s not just responsibly sourced down that makes the Highlander Down Hoody eco, it’s also made with a 100% recycled polyester shell, saving some of the planets once again.
The jacket is durable, well made, super comfy, and really warm. It does a great job of blocking wind and the down is treated to be water-resistant. Down loses its insulating properties when wet, and this down stays dryer 10 times longer than untreated down, keeping you warm even in some moist weather.
Overall, this is a great eco-friendly down jacket that’ll keep you warm all winter long but it is a little expensive.
The next eco-friendly jacket we are going to have a peek at is the Eddie Bauer Downlight Jacket. It’s not quite as eco as the Marmot Highlander above but it is $100 cheaper.
It’s made from a 100% 20D Ripstop polyester shell, 50% of which is recycled, and is full of 800 fill StormDown insulation that is responsibly sourced.
The shell being 20D is a little thin and would easily rip when catching a twig or a bish on the outdoors, so altogether it’s a good-looking eco-friendly jacket that’s ideal for an urban world.
The responsibly sourced down is treated with a DWR to ensure it retains its loft and therefore its insulating abilities even when a little wet. The outside of the jacket is also coated with a StormRepel DWR finish to help any light rain or snow bead off the jacket instead of going into the down insulation.
The jacket features 3 pockets, two for your hands, and one by your chest. You can even thread your headphone through to the chest pocket for easy listening on the go.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly down jacket, then this is one you shouldn’t ignore.
The North Face Thermoball Eco Triclimate Insulated Jacket is a one jacket solution to ski layers. It comes with a durable and weather protective outer shell that zips to an eco-synthetic-fill down jacket for super warmth.
The eco insulation is made from recycled materials and is a revolution in the insulation world. They developed it with PrimaLoft to provide a suitable alternative to down to save some geese from being plucked. The advantage of this eco-down is that it handles being wet a lot better than natural down, and therefore retains its insulating properties even when it gets moist.
You can choose to wear this jacket as the single outer layer, just the warm inner layer, or in combination with each other to get you a super warm and dry jacket that is ready for any winter adventure.
The outer layer uses a waterproof dry vent mechanical stretch fabric to block the rain and wind, while the underarm pit zips help you cool down quickly and the hood gives your great coverage for when the rain or snow really comes down.
The only downsides to this eco-friendly jacket are that it is heavy and a little restrictive. However, for the price, you really can’t complain.
See our full Thermoball review.
The Columbia Lone Fir Jacket isn’t that eco, it could be a lot more so, but it’s an example of how easy it is to make an eco-choice instead of a non-eco-choice.
This is an incredibly affordable down jacket, but it uses responsibly sourced down instead of cheaper, mean down, and to choose it, you just have to do a little reading and bag you’ve made a difference to the world with your buying power.
It’s a pretty solid down jacket for the price too. The shell is water-resistant to keep the rain out while the insulation is a mix of 550-fill power down, 100g synthetic insulation, and thermal-reflective lining to seal in heat that all together makes for one toasty but affordable jacket.
It also features handwarmer pockets and a lovely hood with great coverage to keep your head warm. Not to mention, it’s got style for rocking around town too.
This jacket could be a lot more eco by using recycled materials for the outer shell etc, but it’s still great that it uses responsibly sourced down.
The first ethical thing to do when buying any clothing is making sure you actually need it and if you really do, that it’s not available second hand. Once you have exhausted both these options, then you can look at new gear.
New hear, sometimes can’t be avoided for whatever reason, and when buying new here is what to do to be ethical about it.
So you’re trying to be eco-friendly, but how do you know if the product you’re looking at is actually eco or not? Here are some guidelines on how to find out.
Like you might have seen in the above review, a lot of brands now make clothing out of recycled materials. Some people worry that this has an impact on the quality and technology of the product but it really doesn’t, a jacket made from recycled materials is just as good as one that isn’t in terms of performance.
If you see any brands waving around PTFE-Free & PFC-Free in their spiel, then they are most likely referring to the chemicals used in their DWR (durable water repellent) coating. PFC’s and PTFE’s both have a huge negative environmental impact and you should always try and choose clothing that doesn’t use them
If you see a company labeled as a B-Corp’ then it’sone of the most environmentally responsible outdoor clothing companies. In order to become a B Corp, you have to“meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose“. You can find lists of them online, but we think you already know one. Heard of Patagonia? They have been a B Corp for a while.
Finding vegan-friendly products isn’t so easy but when they are vegan friendly it is usually stated. Vegan-friendly means that the items are free from any kind of animal cruelty and are an important part of the ethical outdoor world when you consider where a lot of the materials come from. If you look at down or merino wool, they will have to be harvested in the best way possible to be vegan friendly.
Marmot is Bluesign® certified, but what does this mean? To become Bluesign® certified a company has to work hard to prove that they emphasize their people, the environment, and the resources it takes to make their products. All stages of production are looked at in terms of the supply chain, process, labor, environment, and safety for the workers and customers. You’ll see a Bluesign® approved or Bluesign® certified badge along with the products that meet these standards.
The best eco-rain-jacket is the Colombia OutDry Ex Eco Rain Jacket. It’s durable, excellent at keeping you dry, protecting you from the wind, and it’s made from 100% recycled materials. That’s pretty hard beat as far as eco-standards go.
The best eco-fleece-jacket is The North Face Denali 2. This jacket is good looking, super thick, extra durable, and incredibly toasty warm to hang out in. It’s made from 85% recycled materials and is an ideal mid-layer for any kind of winter activities and it’s stylish enough to wear in town.
The best eco-friendly jacket on a budget is the Mountain Warehouse Urban Recycled 3 in 1 Waterproof Jacket. For under $100 you get 3 jackets in one. A weatherproof outer layer and a warm mid-layer that can be worn separately or together, covering all three outdoor needs. They are made from 96% recycled materials and are one of the best eco-bargains around.
The best eco-friendly down jacket is the Marmot Highlander Down Hoody. This is an exceptionally warm, weather-resistant, and durable down jacket that is made with a 100% recycled polyester shell and filled with responsibly sourced down. It’s pretty hard to beat when it comes to looking for an eco-down-jacket.