Dirtbag Tips for Being Eco-Friendly

Dirtbag Tips and Tricks for being more Eco-Friendly and Sustainable


Written by Dirtbag Runners Co-Founder Crista Tappan

Being a dirtbag is one of the most environmentally-friendly (and affordable!) things you could do these days.

If you’re a dirtbag, chances are you many of the following: wash your clothes less often and / or wear them until they are falling apart, you buy used gear or products when you can (so your money can go to fund epic adventures), run or bike to work instead of drive / generally use your own two feet as a method of transportation whenever possible, live minimally (i.e., live out of your car to save money on rent or live in a studio in comparison to a large house), conserve water (less showers!), appreciate nature (so you’re more likely to take care of it) and are a part of a community that gives back to the environment and does trail work.

Below is an example of my Honda Element, which I built a bed into. My husband (& Creative Director here at Dirtbag Runners) save a ton of money camping instead of staying in hotels.


While we are in the process of transitioning our apparel line to being as eco-friendly as possible, we are also aiming to further the conversation about being environmentally conscious and sustainable.

There are countless ways that being less driven by societal standards can benefit the environment.

Here are a few more dirtbag tips for being eco-friendly and save money:

  1. Skip your next haircut (or two, or three).
  2. Patch holes in your clothes rather than throwing them away and replacing with new ones, get zippers replaced – take care of your clothing and make the most out of what you have. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program is a fantastic example of placing value in the gear we already own.
  3. Minimize your closet. Donate your good-condition leftover clothes to either Goodwill, and your worn-out clothing should be taken to a recycling station designated for textiles. This ensures the unsellable clothing will not just be dumped into the trash (which is what many thrift and goodwill stores do). If you set an intention to have less clothing, you’re less likely to purchase new clothing in stores which contributes to the overproduction of clothing each year.
  4. Embrace your natural side (skip dying your hair, minimize the amount of products you use).
  5. Skip the expensive hair products and use something like Dr.Bronner’s 18-in-One soap that’s good for literally everything from washing your dishes to your hair to washing your clothes (…in the sink of a 7-11 midway through your road trip).
  6. Don’t stay in hotels unless it’s necessary. I have saved thousands and thousands of dollars by camping, sleeping in my car, or on a friend’s couch during my travels. Not only is this better on my bank account, I’ve also made some amazing friends through hostels, at campgrounds, and while visiting with other friends.
  7. Get innovative. I once used a pair of crocs as snow shoes because I couldn’t afford actual waterproof hiking shoes. Our DBR founding member Bobby Walpole once made handhelds out of duct tape and a beer koozie. I once traveled across the Western US for a month and only spent $150 total, most of which was for gas. Sometimes significantly cheaper solutions are there – you just need to get creative and think outside the box.

If everyone lived much more within their means, our environmental impact would reduce significantly. There are many ways that we can actively work to reduce our environmental footprint.

Here are some tips for being more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious in 2018:

  1. Recycle whenever possible. Here are the top ten ways to recycle.
  2. Support environmentally friendly businesses. Choose eco-friendly products.
  3. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
  4. Have a reusable coffee mug, water bottle, straw, portable utensils, shopping bag, etc.
  5. Walk, ride your bike or run to do your errands if you can. Saves you money, gas, and miles on your car!
  6. Plant trees. Here are ten huge reasons why we should plant more trees.
  7. Join a conservation group and volunteer or donate money. Conservation Alliance is one of our favorites. Since inception in 1989, Conservation Alliance funding has helped save more than 51 million acres of wildlands; protect 3,102 miles of rivers; stop or remove 30 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 13 climbing areas.
  8. Conserve water.
  9. Buy locally grown & organic produce.
  10. Stop littering & pick up trash when you see it.
  11. Encourage others to live more sustainably and eco-friendly.
  12. Volunteer at your next trail maintenance sessions.
  13. Plan a trail or beach clean up with your friends.

What are other ways that you can be more eco-friendly and sustainable? What dirtbag tips / tricks have you learned along the way? Let us know in the comments below!