This Season’s Hottest Gift? Giving Back.

Not sure what to buy for your friend the gearhead? Tired of exchanging meaningless gifts with relatives? This year, give them the opportunity to give back. Since 2017, through its Parks For All philanthropic arm, Hydro Flask has donated nearly $2 million to 122 nonprofits that in turn have recruited more than 5,000 volunteers to build and maintain trails, pick up garbage (14,000 pounds and counting), and help introduce 41,000 people from marginalized communities to the outdoors. That’s why we teamed up with the brand to help you make this the season of giving back.

Make a Donation for a Friend 

A map of Parks For All grantees can be found here, but the opportunities to give back to the outdoors are practically endless. The Trust for Public Land is currently running a donation-matching campaign up to $250,000. In the Pacific Northwest the Vamos Outdoor Project is introducing the Latinx and English-as-a-second-language communities to the outdoors. Back east, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy—a beneficiary of a $30,000 grant from Parks For All for its immersive intern program—continues its mission to “protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.” Need more ideas? From backcountry skiing to rock climbing to mountain biking, nearly every outdoor sport has a conservation and access nonprofit supporting it. Bottom line: look for organizations or causes you know will resonate with your recipients—and make donations in their names. 

Get Your Loved One’s Hands Dirty

Groundwork USA works to break down barriers to the outdoors for young people of color age 14 to 18. They get hands-on with their Green Teams, which do environmental restoration work while exploring new career paths. In Northern California, the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods offer a range of volunteer opportunities, from helping to protect and preserve redwood forests to cleaning up Russian River–area state parks. Giving to someone with more time? Sign them up for the Steward’s Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps. In Alaska, the National Forest Foundation is taking Tlingit youth out to connect with their ancestral lands—and renovating campgrounds, maintaining trails, and picking up trash from the coast while they’re at it. 

Volunteer Locally for a Sport Your Loved One Loves

In the past two years, trail activity among all kinds of people has skyrocketed. But sadly, volunteering has not kept pace. If there is a trail near you, there is likely a local mountain-biking, hiking, conservation, nordic-skiing, or equestrian group nearby that would love your help building berms, installing water bars, cutting back brush, blocking off braided detours, and improving trailhead parking. For ocean lovers, the Surfrider Foundation, which Hydro Flask partners with on its Refill For Good initiative, has a volunteer network that hosts cleanups on both coasts, the Great Lakes, and even in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Can’t make it out with the Pulaski and the work gloves? Donate to the club and support its retail and restaurant sponsors. 

Organize a Cold-Weather Clothes Drive

As outdoorsy people, we tend to have bins full of wool socks, closets overflowing with insulated layers, and drawers teeming with knit hats. We also probably know big posses of other outdoorsy types with the same abundance. Put that excess and networking to good work by organizing a cold-weather clothing drive. (The needy need more than just coats.) Begin by reaching out to a nonprofit: maybe it’s the local homeless shelter; maybe it’s a distant Native American reservation on the high plains, maybe it’s an inner-city Boys & Girls Club, or it could be your neighborhood school, where administrators will know exactly how to get clean, warm clothing to the right kids without shame. Once you identify the needs, tap into the outdoor community with specific requests. Ask everyone to launder the goods first—and remind them to donate only clothing of a quality that a secondhand store would purchase; no ratty stuff. Then it’s time to market the drive. Here’s a handy checklist to get started. 

Buy Consciously

But what about those giftees who expect (read: demand) a gift they can hold? The solution is simple: give them a product whose maker gives back. Beyond the wildly successful Parks For All initiative, the Hydro Flask Refill For Good campaign has resulted in the removal of 7,600 pounds of trash from oceans and beaches, a cause you can support doubly with a single purchase. When you give a limited-edition Refill For Good bottle, you’re not only opting for a vessel that can replace a mountain of single-use plastic over its lifetime, but you’re helping Hydro Flask send $100,000 from the bottle’s proceeds to the Surfrider Foundation

Since 2009, Hydro Flask has designed gear that happily goes where you do and stays the perfect temp til the outdoor adventure is over. Today is wide open. And we’re up for anything. #HeyLetsGo

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