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If you’re making a shift towards travelling sustainably, the first things to invest in are eco-friendly travel products. Here’s the thing: I have always been interested in the topic of sustainability even before I knew what it was all about. I’ve preferred travelling overland by buses and trains whenever possible and hated the idea of elephant riding with those heavy seats attached to them. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I was embracing the idea of sustainable travel. Now that I am more educated and aware of it, I am making a conscious decision to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Hence I’ve come up with a list of eco-friendly travel products that I know and love and won’t break your bank either.
Travelling the world is a life-changing experience but it is also largely unsustainable. Plane travel has become quite affordable in the past decade. However, it is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately for a lot of us, flying is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to get to another part of the globe. But the road to living sustainably starts with you. And to support responsible travel, you can start by investing in eco-friendly travel products.
Unisex Travel Bag
Truth be told, travel bags are not the cheapest in the market. I was looking for a lightweight and functional bag that’s also both carry-on and check-in friendly especially now we’re in a pandemic and things can change at the last moment. Gosh, there are so many out there but they aren’t exactly affordable. However, investing in high-quality, eco-friendly travel products can serve you well in the long run.
Vaude makes highly durable and functional backpacks that will last years. The bags are excellent for hiking, camping and backpacking travels. They are also made of sustainable materials that can withstand harsh weather. Vaude is also committed to fair wages and living conditions for the people who make their products. They have backpacks for various functions and all ages including children.
Travel Bag for Women
The Brenta features a 36l main backpack + 6l detachable daypack that I personally love because it’s technically 2 bags in 1! You can use the daypack for extra storage, or detach it and use it for day trips without the need to carry an additional bag. Comfort is essential when you’re backpacking, and the bag comes with comfortable cushion straps that won’t dig into your shoulders. The Brenta also has an integrated rain cover – a great find in a bag in this price range- so that you can keep your belongings safe and dry. The bag is suitable for hikers with a holder for trekking poles and an opening for a hydration system so you need not fumble for your water bottle.
Not all backpacks are made equal, so my dear ladies, when presented with an option for a women-sized backpack – TAKE IT. It’s adapted to the female anatomy so you’ll get the hip straps where they should be instead of it hanging higher or lower than where your hips are. This lightweight hiking backpack does not have a detachable day pack, but it does have a sleeping bag compartment. The compartment is collapsible; it can be converted to additional backpack space when you fold the sleeping bag space out of the way.
I had deuter as my very first backpack and absolutely loved it. It’s been with me through the roughest and most beautiful trips. Its ergonomic design balances the weight evenly across my back and the large mesh central air channel helps ventilate your back. This means, no back sweat stains when you finally get the pack off your back! deuter is also part of the “Textilbündnis” (textile alliance) – an initiative established by the German government in 2014. It pledges to improve the social, ecological and economical conditions within the entire supply chain, from sourcing of materials to production and distribution. The company is also one of the founding members of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) supporting conservation initiatives globally.
Bonus Eco-friendly Travel Bag
People who know me can attest that I am never anywhere without my Fjällraven Kånken backpack. I was introduced to it in 2012 and so far, I’ve gone through 4 different Kanken bags. I buy new ones not because they’ve worn out, but because I like having different colours of the bag that I absolutely love. My precious Kanken no. 2 in black was stolen during my Myanmar trip and I was heartbroken.
The material is Polyester, so it isn’t exactly waterproof, but it’s big enough to stash my laptop, carry-on essentials and then some. It’s a no-frills day pack with a slot and padding to store your laptop and a small zipper compartment in the front to keep your keys and spare change. It is highly durable and even now that I am way past my 20s, the Kanken is still my favourite eco-friendly travel product.
Fjällraven is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) where they commit to working towards reducing the environmental and social impacts of the textile industry. In terms of production, the company’s goal is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020 and become entirely carbon neutral by 2025.
ECO-FRIENDLY Packing Cubes
Ziplock bags have always been my choice to store items as they are easily compressed and reusable. I switched to eco-friendly packing cubes because it’s more sustainable, keeps my things organised in the luggage, plus they look better.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube comes in a set of 3 and in a variety of colours. You can fit shirts, dresses, pants and towels in different sized bags to help save space and keep them neat and organised in your luggage. The cubes come with windows to easily see what you have inside. I carry the smallest one in my carry on for my charging cables and travel adapters. They are highly durable, water-resistant and made to last a long time.
Eco-friendly Travel Bottles
It is important to keep yourself hydrated throughout your journey. Travel pro tip: Carry an empty water bottle with you and then fill it up when you pass security! Some airports have security checks right at the boarding gate, but almost always have a water fountain located within the waiting area.
The Zorri eco-friendly water bottles are made from 100% BPA and toxin-free co-polyester plastic. This means that they are durable, eco-friendly and safe for your body. It is an excellent eco-friendly travel product because it’s lightweight and leak-proof. So you won’t have to worry about dealing with a swimming pool in your bag. It comes in a variety of vibrant colours too, and different sizes to suit your needs.
Not into plastic bottles? No worries, here’s a stainless steel water bottle that is guaranteed to last you forever, or until you find a replacement or… it gets stolen. The minimalistic design is really aesthetically pleasing. The lid is made of bamboo and the surface of the bottle is made of high quality scratch-free stainless steel that insulates heat well enough for you to enjoy hot water any time during your flight.
Little travel-sized bottles to keep your shampoos and conditioners are convenient, but they do generate a lot of waste once you’re through with them. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with solid shampoos and body lotion, and natural deodorant just to see if they work for me. Perhaps I’ll be making the switch real soon!
I’ve been a long-time lover of Lush. My favourite time of the year is during Christmas time when they release my favourite Snow Fairy. For months, I’ll smell like cotton candy after coming out from the shower. They are vegan-friendly and against animal testing too. Reasons I love these eco-friendly travel products even more.
Eco-friendly Solid Shampoo Bar
Lush solid shampoo bars are really popular and come in a variety of scents for different types of hair. They don’t come in packaging too. Though you can always purchase the Lush can (€3) to store your solid bars. I chose this particular shampoo bar because it smells like toffee. I like anything that smells like candy. It also has orange and bergamot oils to cleanse and moisturise hair, plus make it shiny too. A little goes a long way as it lathers up nicely, and smells really good. It did a good job cleansing my hair, but I didn’t particularly like how it makes my hair feel dry and rather waxy. Maybe it’s not for my hair type, but it worked for almost everyone else. So try it at your own discretion.
Eco-friendly moisturiser cum massage bar
The Wiccy Magic Massage bar is a solid massage bar with virgin coconut oil that moisturises your skin, with azuki beans (red beans) that helps to relieve tension, especially on your neck and shoulders at the same time. This product comes plastic free too. Ensure you keep it in a cool and dry place or it’ll melt. I love how luxurious this bar feels, and my skin feels soft and smooth. I use it on my legs during dry, winter months and after a long flight – flaky skin, begone!
Now, I am guilty of using store-bought deodorant for years and I hate what it does to my skin. Some clog up my pores, increases ingrown hairs, and some just cause my pits to itch. I am very intrigued when my friend Nat talked about Coconut Matter natural deodorant and how it works so well for her.
The Coconut Matters Natural deodorant isn’t an antiperspirant like many of the deos we are used to. Antiperspirants typically contain aluminium, which can block sweat glands resulting in those unsightly bumps, rashes and dark underarm skin. Natural deodorant contains ingredients that prevent the growth of bacteria and promotes a healthier skin environment. This means, over time, when you sweat, your pits will smell less and eventually not at all.
The deodorant sticks come in compostable packaging, which I am really excited about. ZERO WASTE! It features 4 different scents + 1 unscented natural deodorant for those who prefer the OG. It claims proven protection in hot and humid weather. Nat, who lives in hot and humid Singapore seems to love it, hence I’ll see if it works for me when I go home in the summer. Plus, it is an eco-friendly travel product and something I’d like to use in my journey to become more sustainable.
Eco-friendly Bamboo toothbrush + floss
This toothbrush + travel case + charcoal dental floss set is probably the most value-for-money eco-friendly travel products on this list. I mean, 7 products for €9.99, what’s the catch?
The bamboo toothbrushes are made from sustainably sourced materials. The charcoal fibre bristles are soft and gentle on the gums and claim to help remove stains from teeth and keep them sparkling. The dental floss is made of “coalmint”, and can be stored in the little glass bottle that came with it. It does what good dental floss does.
Eco-friendly teeth cleaning tablets
This brings me to the last item on my list of affordable eco-friendly travel products. When Lush came up with their “Toothy Tabs” years ago, I was sceptical. Can those things really clean my teeth? The tooth tabs were pretty expensive too – 55g for €11. One day when I was rather bored, I went on Amazon and started looking for random things to buy. I came across a product similar to the Lush tabs and gave it a try.
These tooth cleaning tablets are fluoride-free and come in a pack of 130. Costs a fraction of the price of the Toothy Tabs and still does its job. However, do note that fluoride-free toothpaste might not protect your teeth against tooth decay. I keep these around because they make my breath smell minty fresh and are pretty effective in cleaning my teeth. They’re easy to travel with too; pour some in a travel-sized container and you’re good to go!
There are so, so many eco-friendly travel products out there that I would love to share with you, but will save it for next time. What are some of the sustainable products that you use? Do recommend me some in the comments below! I’d love to check out the products you love too!
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