The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Outdoor Apparel Brands in Northern Nevada

If you live in Northern Nevada you are in on a little secret: Reno, Sparks, Lake Tahoe, and beyond have some of the best outdoor adventures!

If you are an active, outdoors-loving family, you will find year-round activities at your doorstep. And even more so, you’ll find some awesome sustainable outdoor apparel brands and stores, here!

Activities include skiing, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, climbing, kayaking, golfing, and boating to name a few. Lake Tahoe, the largest Alpine Lake in North America, known for translucent water and endless trails and beaches, is a short drive away.

No doubt, you will need outdoor apparel, gear, and accessories for yourself and the whole family for your high desert, mountain, and lake adventures.

The outdoor industry is leading the way with sustainable practices. If you love spending time in nature– you can’t live without your breathable fabrics, microfleece, smartwool, and down puffer jacket.

I will share my favorite brands, sustainability certifications that are useful to know about, brick-and-mortar retail stores and online sites to visit, plus insider tips to make you a more selective shopper!

Top Outdoor Apparel Brands

It makes sense that outdoor apparel and gear companies are leading the way when it comes to taking responsibility for the products they make.

These are companies created by people who are passionate about protecting the environment, have lifelong reverence for nature, and refuse to follow the status quo.

You can go to any of these company websites and read about their sustainable practices, certifications, and goals. You can go to their corporate headquarters and retail stores to see sustainable practices in use.

If I had to pick favorites, these are the most innovative, socially and environmentally conscious companies out there. Their products are known worldwide for innovation, style, quality, and performance.

My Top Picks: Sustainable Outdoor Apparel

Each of these brands has excellent outdoor apparel for kids, too.

Textile Exchange, Creating Industry Standards

Outdoor apparel companies are leading the way with sustainable practices, as I mentioned, and have many worldwide recognized certifications they have earned.

Textile Exchange is important because it’s a global non-profit organization that works with companies (such as REI) to advise best practices in farming, animal welfare, materials used, production methods, and product end-of-life.

If you are an animal lover, you will be happy to know this organization developed industry standards for animal welfare. The Responsible Down Standard and the Responsible Wool Standard. (see next paragraph, Certifications to Look For)

Here is a full list of companies that are members of Textile Exchange.

Certifications to Look For

I’ve written about the benefits of organic fabric for your infant and certifications to look for in my past article Organic Clothing and Bedding for Baby and Kids. In outdoor apparel, there are a few more certifications to be on the lookout for.

As consumers we’re getting more interested in where products come from and how they are made. For the first time, information is at your fingertips, if you know where to look. Start with looking at the fabric content label and any additional certifications present.

It is possible to choose to buy products that are ethically sourced and made!

Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

Did you know that duck and geese down feathers are the filler for your favorite puffer jacket or sleeping bag? Textile Exchange has shed light on animal welfare and developed this standard for companies to follow.

This ensures the well-being of our feathered friends by banning inhumane practices.

Tip: If you’re looking to avoid animal-sourced down, PrimaLoft is an excellent, sustainable alternative. PrimaLoft is high-performance synthetic insulation.

Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)

As mentioned, Textile Exchange also developed this standard to protect our wooly friends. Did you know that sheep provide wool for many of your favorite sweaters, layering pieces and socks?

This standard aims to care for not only the sheep but the land on which they graze.

Fair Trade

This is the term for programs that promote safe working conditions for farmers and workers. Remember that the majority of textile products are produced overseas.

Organically Grown Cotton

I have written about organic cotton in my past article Organic Clothing and Bedding for Baby and Kids as mentioned.

When you buy certified organic fabric, you are purchasing fabric that has gone through rigorous testing. You can be sure there is no use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals in the growing and production process.

Additionally, organic fabrics use low-impact dyes (meaning less water is required). The entire process of organic farming (avoiding genetically modified seeds and heavy pesticides) is less damaging to land, waterways, workers’ health and the overall environment than conventional farming. It makes sense!

bluesign®

This system prevents harmful substances from entering the manufacturing process. The bluesign® team includes experts in chemistry and textile production, as well as factory auditing and certification.

Recycled Materials

Outdoor apparel companies use recycled plastic bottles to produce polyester for a wide range of clothing and gear.

You’ll find recycled polyesters in products ranging from base layers to outerwear to backpacks.

Where to Shop for Outdoor Apparel in Reno, My Top 4

Patagonia Outlet in Reno

This Southern California-based retailer’s factory store sells overstock items and out-of-season items at a savings of 40-50%!

It’s interesting to note that the Patagonia Distribution Center in West Reno employs almost 500 people locally and ships to customers all over the world.

If you haven’t visited the Outlet, you should! It is located at 130 South Center Street, in Downtown Reno. It is the original home of the Hudson Motor Car Company.

Patagonia has restored original details of the space: brick walls and cement floors have been refurbished and metal from the existing building is repurposed.

Reclaimed Douglas Fir wood was used for all interior trim elements. Lighting (internal and external) is all LED.

Tip: Patagonia Outlet in Reno is dog-friendly!

REI in Reno

REI is located at 2225 Harvard Way near Downtown. This Seattle-based retailer has lots of parking and is well-stocked, organized, and has great customer service.

My only gripe with this location is that it is not dog-friendly!

Scheels in Sparks

Scheels flagship store is located at 1200 Scheels Drive at the Legends at Sparks Marina. This Fargo, North Dakota-based retailer is worth a visit, it is an experience. It’s like a city in itself, in a 295,000 square-foot space. You may need a few hours for your visit!

Scheels has all the top outdoor apparel brands for men, women, and kids. Also there are several shops that feature Scheels Outfitters exclusive products. If there is an activity you need gear for, you will find it here.

Scheels has an excellent collection of Home Means Nevada apparel and accessories!

Tip: Scheels in Sparks is dog-friendly!

Cabela’s in Verdi

Cabela’s is located at 8650 Boomtown Garson Road in Verdi. This Nebraska-based retailer is a 10 minute drive West from downtown Reno. It is an experience. It has a huge 125,000 square-foot space packed with outdoor gear and apparel.

Although they are known for hunting and fishing specialty gear, they also provide all the top outdoor apparel brands for men, women, and kids.

Tip: Cabela’s is dog-friendly; they even provide a limited number of indoor/outdoor kennels available for customers to use. You may leave your dog there while you shop if you choose.

Where to Shop Online and Local to Reno for Outdoor Apparel

Aventura

Aventura is a Sparks, Nevada-based outdoor retailer for women’s and men’s apparel. This family owned company has been local to the Sierra Nevada since the 1970’s.

Aventura is a member of Textile Exchange. They produce outdoor apparel with sustainable fabrics and hold certifications I’ve mentioned such as Organically Grown Cotton and Fair Trade.

Where to Shop Online for Major Deals on Outdoor Apparel

REI Outlet

REI has a great online factory store. You can’t beat their Deal of the Day items for men, women, and kids.

Steep & Cheap

Owned by Backcountry, this site has limited quantity discounted gear from major brands like Patagonia, The North Face, and more. These are past-season items or colors but the deals are 30-60% off most products!

Sierra

Formerly Sierra Trading Post, Sierra specializes in discounts, closeouts, and overstocks on the full spectrum of outdoor gear and clothing.

Tip: There is a brick-and-mortar Sierra located in Reno at 6139 S. Virginia St. right next to Whole Foods!

Choose Ethically Sourced and Made, if you can

In Reno, Nevada, we love spending time in nature. Lake Tahoe is the number one getaway. No matter what activity you choose, there is outdoor apparel, gear and accessories you’ll need to outfit the whole family.

A few insider tips:

  • Buy high-quality items. Buy used items. Repair, Recycle or Donate when necessary.
  • Look for Down and Wool certifications that align with animal welfare standards.
  • Question terms like “Eco” or “Green” whenever you can’t find supporting details about a sustainability standard that underlies that claim.
  • Read the sustainability reports from outdoor brands (easily found online). Shop leading brands that care about the environment and workforce.
  • Shop local when you can, it benefits the local economy. It cuts down on packaging and travel distance for shipped items, so reduces the carbon footprint.

Are you an active, outdoors-loving family? What are your go-to sustainable outdoor apparel brands for your adventures?

Maureen Lowe
Maureen Lowe

Maureen Lowe is a Bay Area native that relocated to the high desert mountains of Southwest Reno with her family in 2017. Mama to her active pup and toddler boy, Maureen is a textile designer and graduate of CCA San Francisco. With a lifelong love of nature and the arts, Maureen has made it a mission to explore Reno’s scenic trails and cultural offerings to find kid and dog-friendly outings that work in all seasons.