The Most Efficient Material For Cold Weather: Merino Wool

Smartwool Zip Midlayer Sweater

Merino wool is the most efficient material for cold weather. Merino wool is softer than regular wool, and it feels more like cotton against the skin. Merino wool resists wind and warms better than synthetic materials. It doesn’t absorb odors and it regulates body temperature. It is also produced in a sustainable manner. The jacket pictured here is the Smartwool …

Electric Mountain Bikes

There are only a few electric mountain bikes on the market, but electric motors can certainly assist with  off-road riding. You can also build you own electric mountain bike by installing an electric motor kit onto an existing mountain bike. There’s also the Biontague, which is a mountain bike that has a electric kit pre-installed. The best value for an …

Furoshiki: Traditional Japanese Cloth Wrapping

A “Furoshiki” is a traditional Japanese cloth used to wrap gifts, clothes, and other goods. Recently this practice has been revived in Japan. The appeal of this form of wrapping is that the cloth is reused for other purposes, and it is an eco-effective technique in this regard. Furoshiki means “bath spread” and it derives from the practice of bundling …

Crayons Made With Soybean Oil

Today, virtually all crayons are made with petroleum wax. An optimal alternative, however, is to make crayons with pure soybean oil. One company, Prang, manufactures the soy crayons seen here. They are much less toxic, and they also write smoother and brighter without waxy flaking. Available from Blick Art Materials or eBay

Efficient Lubricant: Jojoba Oil

You’ve probably heard of Jojoba oil being used in cosmetics, but it’s also a great substitute for petroleum-based lubricants, which tend to be strong smelling and polluting. Jojoba is the best alternative because it is a natrual liquid wax that never goes rancid. Use it as you would a petroleum lubricating oil, such as for stuck doors, squeaky hinges and …

Corelle: Durable and Inexpensive

Corelle dinnerware is efficient because it is highly durable — it doesn’t break, and the designs on the plates cannot be scratched by knives. Corelle is actually made out of glass, but it is created like a sandwich with a glass core that’s thermally bonded to an outer glass glaze. The lamination creates a finished product that is much stronger …

Efficient Moisturizer: Unrefined Shea Butter

Shea Butter is one of the most efficient skin moisturizers available. It is an organic product that protects against dry skin and sunburn. Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the Shea Karite tree, found in the tropical regions of West Africa. It is a sustainable resource and it requires no pesticides to grow.

LED Lights: Efficient Indoor Growing

LED grow lights are a good choice if you are interested in growing indoors without a lot of hassle. Traditional grow lights generate a lot of heat and use large amounts of electricity, which raises your monthly electric bill by noticeable amounts. These LED grow lights stay cool, and use only a minuscule amount of energy.

New Bamboo Fiber Goods

We’ve detailed the benefits of bamboo fiber previously, noting the excellent softness and anti-bacterial qualities of this fiber. For those who wanted to try out bamboo fiber, you can do so inexpensively, since bamboo washcloths are being sold for $2 each on eBay in white and pink. Also, Bamboosa, a major bamboo clothing manufacturer in the U.S., has released bamboo …

Organic Cotton Shirts by Prana

Prana makes clothing out of 100% organic cotton, mostly activewear for climbing and yoga, but they also produce casual clothing like this “Cabana Stripe” shirt. Their web site doesn’t tell you much about how the shirts are made. But we did discover from another source that they are produced in the US. It’s available from Northern Mountain Supply for $45 …