18 Gifts to Make Mom (and Mother Nature) Happy

Happy Mother’s Day from Sierra

By Blane Bachelor

May 7, 2019


Courtesy of Grand Trunk

Sure, flowers and chocolate are fine. But for a Mother’s Day gift that will last longer than a few days, consider one that offers lasting benefits without too much negative impact on Mother Earth. Whether the rockstar mother figure(s) in your life is craving a hard-charging summit hike, a breezy bike ride with her kiddos, or just some much-needed downtime, we’ve got just the gift to help her indulge in a little self-care this Mother’s Day and beyond. Here are some ideas to get you inspired.

Mom will get a kick out of telling people her Girlfriend Collective leggings ($68) are made from 25 recycled bottles. This forward-thinking company has a fully transparent sustainability initiative, sourcing plastic for its clothing (including sports bras and shorts) from a government-certified recycling facility in Taiwan. Leggings come in two lines: Compressive and Lite (the latter is made with recycled fishing nets) and are snazzy enough for a Mother’s Day brunch). They fit perfectly too. The Compressive high-rise style stayed on firmly during a test-run through the neighborhood—zero slippage—despite the fact that there’s no drawstring. We also love the fact that the company uses a diverse array of models who represent what women really look like.

It’s a challenge that can vex even the savviest of travelers: choosing which pair(s) of shoes to fit into a suitcase and multitask for the itinerary. That’s where this nifty footwear from Plae, which is pronounced “Play,” comes to the rescue. You can’t go wrong with any styles from the Packables line (from $80), which come in a reusable compression bag made from recycled materials and are designed to lay flat, with grippy soles inspired by bike tread. The kicky Ecols are waterproof, while ballet flats lend a dressier note. And Mom will be stepping out in sustainable, socially responsible style, as all Plae shoes are made in a fair-labor, solar-powered factory.

River and Birch’s “Sprout” necklace ($43) makes for a fitting gift for mom from her little (or not-so-little) sprout. The lovely, lightweight piece is made with pure reclaimed silver and imprinted with a delicate leaf design. Its small size makes it a perfect choice for a chill hike or yoga session, and it comes in a small, ecofriendly box, beautifully gussied up with a ribbon, so you don’t even have to worry about wrapping it. 

We’d be willing to bet it’s physically (and physiologically) impossible to be stressed while swaying in a hammock, which is why giving Mom one is such a genius way to make sure she gets the downtime she deserves. Grand Trunk’s new line of beautiful hammocks (from $69) are small and lightweight (less than 15 ounces) and come in gorgeous colors and designs (we really love the Baja line). In addition, the hammocks are a cinch to set up, with a starter rope kit included. What’s more, they hold two people and up to 400 pounds (but you might just want to let Mom savor her solo time). Grand Trunk also donates to the National Forest Foundation and has helped thousands of trees get planted.

A good night’s sleep is essential to overall well-being, especially for on-the-go mothers, but quality zzz’s are elusive for so many of us. Which is why weighted blankets have become increasingly popular as of late: Proponents say the extra weight (about 15 to 20 pounds) feels like a comforting, full-body hug that facilitates better sleep. Colorado-based Holden & Hay has taken the trend to sustainable new levels by using recycled denim as filler for its weighted blankets (from $299, shipping included); covers are made with soft Merino wool and come in gorgeous patterns. We can’t think of a better way to make good use of those infamous “mom jeans."

OtterBox’s sturdy backpack cooler, the LT Trooper 30, is a genius piece of gear that any adventure-loving mama will love adding to her outdoor stash. Its 30-liter capacity keeps a backcountry feast—and adult beverages—cold for up to three days, and it comes with helpful features like a built-in bottle opener and a large mouth opening. And for big-time bonus points on your next adventure, take the initiative to pack this bad boy (see the below idea for a complementary addition) so Mom doesn’t have to.

Toast to your mother’s awesomeness with these nifty vinos from West + Wilder, whose tasty wines come in cans (easier on the environment and easier to pack for any kind of adventure). The classy, slender cans are adorned in gorgeous illustrations from the 1897 tome The Wild Flowers of California: Their Names, Haunts, and Habits, by Mary Elizabeth Parsons and illustrated by Margaret Warriner Buck—both of whom are Bay Area artists who hiked around California in the late 1800s to research the book. The wines themselves (from $17 for a 750-ml three-pack) are also inspired by the West Coast, with a white blend, a rose, and sparkling—perfect for popping open after a hike on a warm day. Another toast-worthy plus? West + Wilder has a partnership with 1% for The Planet to protect public lands in wine country. (Definitely toss a few of these into whatever cooler you’re carrying.)

Taking a bike ride with a little one—which requires a stop-and-start pace and constant prodding to ride carefully—isn’t nearly the same as taking your little one for a bike ride (i.e., a fun way to get outside and/or drop your kiddo at school or elsewhere). For the mama craving the latter, Sweden-based manufacturer Thule’s Yepp Next Maxi model ($230) is an all-around winner. This rear-mounted seat is waterproof, lightweight (5.8 pounds, to be exact), and a cinch to set up (it takes mere minutes), and it has footrests that grow with your cyclist-in-training. It’s also made with the same material as a bike helmet interior and locks to the rack, offering extra peace of mind while you pedal.

Your mom is a bright spot in your life. So it’s fitting that her backpack should be a bright spot in her adventures. Whether these outings involve a relaxed hike or a crazed sprint through the airport, Cotopaxi’s 16L Tasra backpack ($80) fits the bill. This eye-catching pack features panels of colorful repurposed nylon, a full-wrap zippered opening, and spacious compartments, as well as a padded laptop sleeve and external zippered sections that keep devices and other small items neatly organized. And it’s part of Cotopaxi’s Del Día product line, made with remnant materials—ensuring that each item is unique while helping to keep unnecessary waste out of landfills. (Our only gripe? There’s no water bottle holder. But the pack is otherwise so awesome, we’re willing to overlook it.)


A pioneer in repurposing materials for fashion, Sanuk recently launched its Yoga Sling III ($48), a certified vegan sandal. Its straps are made with recycled materials, and the footbeds are signature Sanuk: Made with yoga mats, they’re deliciously soft yet supportive, with nice arch support (and if anything needs some extra love, it’s Mom’s constantly moving feet). Once she gets the hang of sliding the straps on, we’ll bet these beauties quickly become her top-choice footwear.

Mom looks great, of course. But if she’s like most mothers, she’s probably looking for an easy, natural way to make sure her skin stays as youthful as possible. Enter the dynamo duo of argan and rosehip facial oils by InstaNatural ($26), which are certified organic, unrefined, and free of icky stuff like fillers and preservatives. Instead, they’re rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, and work together to support the skin’s natural barrier and reduce the signs of being a parent, er, aging. At one ounce each, the bottles are convenient for travel, and because you apply the oils with your fingers, no cotton balls or makeup pads are necessary.

Massachusetts-based artist Laura Jaklitsch works her magic with cut-offs from woodworkers, adding in sterling silver accents to create eye-catching, one-of-a-kind earrings, rings, and necklaces that are lovely yet lightweight enough for Mom to wear on her adventures. We’re especially partial to the oval-shaped, stud-style earrings (which also happen to look a bit like surfboards; $90).

Your mom will certainly savor lounging in these absurdly comfortable sweatpants (from $60), but she’ll also love the fact that the Canada-based company that makes them, tentree, is hard at work planting trees all over the world. Planting 10 for each item purchased, the company has contributed more than 30 million worldwide to date and is aiming for a whopping 1 billion trees planted by the year 2030. All items are made with a blend of sustainable fabrics and materials, including cotton, cork, and even coconut—which will make relaxing in them even more sumptuous for eco-conscious mamas.

Any runner mama is sure to get serious miles out of her high-roller BOB Gear jogging stroller. Big, air-filled tires and a mountain-bike-style suspension system enable a remarkably smooth run for Mom (and ride for her sidekick), even on unstable terrain like gravel and dirt trails. The Revolution FLEX 3.0 in Lunar Black ($470), the brand’s newest model, also comes with highly reflective fabric on the cover and basket, boosting visibility on early morning or late afternoon runs. Multitasking moms (and let’s be honest—is there any other kind?) will love the roomy basket, which lends itself to (literal) runs to the farmers' market, among other errands that are much more fun to knock out when you’re not driving.

Just like Mom herself, the Adventurista ($99) is a hardworking multitasker that can rise to any occasion—from swimsuit cover-up to tunic-tossed-over-leggings to fun dress for a casual dinner out (or just by the campfire). Add in thoughtful extras like wrinkle-free fabric and zippered side pockets, and this little number may just become a wardrobe staple for mom. And the company that makes the dress—Title Nine, a female owned and operated apparel brand, is pretty awesome in itself. 

For fashion-forward mamas, this vegan Pret-a-Porter belt bag ($68) by Lulu Dharma offers a fun pop of color—and a serious shot of style—without the guilt that can come with buying leather. An adjustable strap means you can wear it as a cross-body bag, chic hip pack, or over-the-shoulder purse. Whatever option Mom goes with, she can count on being complimented. 

These handmade woven pouches from Minna ($38) are perfect for mom to stash toiletries and makeup (not that she needs any, right?). They’re made from production scraps from pillowcase fabric that’s originally handwoven from a family co-op in Chiapas, Mexico. Minna partners with artisan collectives in Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, and Uruguay to craft its ethically made, socially responsible goods (including gorgeous handwoven throws and other textiles).

Nothing conveys style and adventure quite like a full-brim Panamanian fedora. New from the climate-conscious hat-makers behind Coal Headwear, The Wimbledom ($35) may be woven from lightweight paper straw, but it’s anything but delicate. With subtle metal branding, a pinch front crown that conjures the days when brimmy hats were warm-weather staples, and contrasting woven paper tape edging, this hat is as substantial as it is comely. Plus, it’s comfortable, travels well, will protect Mom’s face and ears from UV rays, and looks as good in a vineyard as it does on a hiking trail.