I never expected to be the town crier for national parks merch, but here we are. But it’s not just any national parks merch, it’s Parks Project specifically, an apparel company founded in 2014 that makes stellar tees, sweatshirts, and outdoor gear—and donates money to the very national parks it celebrates. In the last seven years, the Parks Project has raised nearly $1.5 million that it has given back to groups like the National Parks Foundation, Zion National Park Forever’s Junior Rangers program, and Glacier National Park Conservancy’s Native America Speaks Program, which educates visitors on Indigenous culture and history in the area.
The mission—trackable on this interactive map that shows where those funds have gone—is great, but so are the goodies. Think tie-dye national park tees that could easily find a home at a music festival merch table, groovy printed Nalgene bottles, and bucket hats from the ongoing National Geographic collaboration. It’s hardly the “my grandma went to Old Faithful, and all they got me was this lousy T-shirt” fare you’d find in the national park gift shops of yore.
Parks Project now sells more than just its own park-specific apparel, too—you can snag Redwoods National Park–inspired soaps from a collaboration with Ursa Major, an in-depth coffee table book from Standards Manual, candles, prints, portable games, and more. It’s a one-stop shop for what clothes to wear and fun accessories to bring when visiting the parks themselves.
I get overwhelmed by what to buy (the latest drop, which features Brooklyn’s beloved Prospect Park, is currently calling my name), so I can understand if you don’t know where to start. Here are a few ideas:
Parks Tie Dye Tee
$42.00, Parks Project
You can’t go wrong with a classic Parks Project tie-dye T-shirt, especially one that lists out all 63 of the national parks (including West Virginia’s New River Gorge, which was made a national park in January), tour-style. A portion of the proceeds goes toward the National Parks Foundation’s Open for Outdoors program, which helps connect kids to classroom and outdoor nature experiences.
Parks Project Gift Box
$60.00, Parks Project
If you’re looking to buy a gift for your favorite outdoorsperson or want a sampler for yourself, this gift box has it all. It includes a Parks Project journal, a pair of Trail crew socks, minimalist National Park playing cards, a “Take Me to a National Park” keychain, and a National Parks of The USA checklist postcard, so you can start ticking parks off your pocket-sized bucket list. Gift box purchases support the National Parks Conservation Association.
HK x Parks Project Bird’s-eye Rocky Mountain Kerchief
$34.00, Parks Project
Part of Parks Project’s collaboration with Hanks Kerchiefs, this bright blue, 100 percent cotton square is the perfect sweat mopper, sun protector, and dust mask on the trail. Decorated with an illustrated map of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and some of the flora and fauna you might encounter, the kerchief is one of a collection of five that supports the National Parks Conservation Association; other kerchiefs feature parks like Acadia and Joshua Tree.
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