Green Travel Products and Gear for the Eco-Conscious Backpacker

Posted by on Jul 16, 2016 in Eco Travel | 25 Comments

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In the last couple of years we’ve learnt lots about the importance of eco-travel. What with flying, the resulting need for chain restaurants and hotels and certain tourists who leave their footprint wherever they visit, travelling isn’t always the most eco-friendly of hobbies.

But there’s lots of ways to be a more eco-friendly traveller; you can enjoy local cuisine on a food trip, travel slowly using public transport and use companies that make conscious efforts to minimise their carbon footprint. Check out these awesome posts from Don’t Forget to Move and Chantae for some more great ideas!

But, before you begin your adventure, it’s important that you pack green. By this, I don’t mean that you only opt for one colour of clothing, but you select green travel products and gear that are going to leave minimum impact on the world around you. But how do I know which products are best for the environment? I hear you ask. Whether you’re packing for a summer holiday or a winter trip, you can make great sustainable choices to create a green backpack.

When I look for green travel products and gear, I ask myself the following questions
• What kind of material or ingredients is it made from?
• Does it help me cut my disposable material use?
• Is it lightweight?

Using the answers to these questions, I’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly travel products that I always carry with me. Most of these can be packed into your in flight bag, but here’s a full hand luggage packing list!

Green Travel Products

Your Toiletry Bag

You should definitely begin your green travel packing with an eco-friendly toiletries bag. I don’t tend to carry around much make-up with me; I’m far too impatient to faff around with the likes of contouring and primer. There’s loads of places where you can get environmentally friendly make up (unfortunately I can’t really advise on this, as I don’t even own a foundation…) but check out here and here for more information.

What I can advise on is good, nourishing, vegan skincare and toiletry products. To which Lush is the answer.

If you don’t know, Lush is a cosmetic shop which is dedicated to producing eco-friendly, natural and vegan products. It’s basically an eco-warrior’s heaven and it’s where I do all of my toiletry shopping.

Why are Lush products so eco-friendly?

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Photo Credit Mike Mozart

Firstly, as aforementioned, all of their products are made with vegan ingredients, so you can be sure that they are completely animal and environmentally friendly.

All except one of what I’m reviewing come in solid form without packaging.

The products also last for much longer than their liquid substitutes; meaning that for every solid product that you use, you can save the world from multiple plastic bottles.

They are much lighter in the first place, and the reduction in weight that these products offer ultimately means less weight in your bag, less weight loaded on whatever form of transport and less fuel emissions. Although this only makes a very small difference individually, if everyone did it we would be cutting emissions hugely!

Here’s the best items sold by Lush, that are perfect for your eco-friendly travel washbag:

Solid Shampoo

green travel products

Shampoo – in soap form. It’s a bit of a strange idea, but you just lather it as much as possible, like normal soap. Then you put on and wash off like normal shampoo. You can purchase it in all kinds of scents and will undoubtedly find one perfect for your hair type.

For some more information, take a look at this solid shampoo review by Alex in Wanderland. It’s worth noting that since I started using the solid shampoo, I have stopped using conditioner entirely (and I have long, thick hair!) but if you want to use a solid conditioner as well, check out her review of Creating Harmony Solid Conditioner.

Lush soap/ body gel
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The lush soaps double up as body gel and come in all sorts of forms, for whatever kind of washing experience you want. Choose a moisturising bar to soothe your skin, or perhaps one with exfoliating oats in – whatever your choice, you can be sure that it will contain vegan ingredients and be sold to you unpackaged, ideal for your eco-concious soul!

Lush Deodorant

green travel products solid deodorant

The deodorant was the Lush solid product that I was the most sceptical of, but actually turned out to be my favourite. Due to constantly running around everywhere and dashing from place to place, I have the tendency to get the tiniest bit sweaty, and I am quite fussy with my deodorant choices.

But then I used Lush’s deodorant – which again is sold in solid form – and you just rub it on like a roll-on deodorant – and went about my day. No odour. Dashed around the shops. No odour. Went to Body Pump gym class. Absolutely no odour. And I kicked myself for not trying it sooner!

I’d recommend Lush’s solid deodorant to anybody – I use it at home as well as when I’m away. I don’t know quite how they manage to completely prevent bad smells, but it sure as hell works. Just another example of plant power I guess!

Lush Toothy Tabs

green travel products

Say cheese! These toothy tabs come in all different types and are perfect for a non-liquid alternative to toothpaste. Every time I have used these, my teeth have been glistening and my mouth has felt like heaven. As they will run out the soonest, I also use a small tube of toothpaste, but they are a fantastic vegan product.

Mooncup (for girls only!)

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Mooncups are a fantastic tampon and sanitary towel substitute. Don’t shudder at the thought of a reusable cup – they’re actually a lot easier to use than you’d think, and are wonderful for travelling.

By using a Mooncup, you cut waste enormously, hugely helping out the planet.

And it’s perfect for travelling for more reasons:

  • The mooncup is also convenient and lightweight, ideal for travelling (you only have to carry around a lightweight cup rather than loads of tampons or towels).
  • It works out super cheap (a £17 one off price and it lasts for years).
  • Finally it’s there for use in countries where tampons aren’t readily accessible (which is a lot)!

If you’re a travelling girl and haven’t converted to a mooncup yet, I’d really recommend you take the switch.

Buy a Mooncup here

Green Travel Gear

Microfibre Towel

green travel gear

The days of lugging a super heavy wet towel around are behind us, thanks to this amazing microfibre towel! It’s ultra light and dries really quickly, making it ideal for travelling purposes. Despite its lightness, it functions perfectly and is a very efficient eco-friendly travelling item. And its lightness obviously means that the bag will weigh less and hence less fuel emissions will be produced.

Buy a Microfibre Towel here

Water to Go Bottle

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Constantly buying and throwing away plastic bottles really takes its toll on the environment, especially in less developed countries where the recycling system is not as sophisticated. Obviously, to avoid this, you can take a reusable bottle and refill it from clean water sources, but what about when you don’t have access to drinking water?

I bring you the ‘Water to Go’ bottle. This comes fitted with a device which filters water from any source and gives you clean drinking water.

I will be reviewing this bottle whilst I am in China, but from what I have read, they’re a great item that can help you save money and the world in the process!

Buy a Water to Go bottle

Material Bag

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In the UK there is now a charge of 5 pence for each plastic bag; this is so people are encouraged to bring reusable bags, and I think it’s a great incentive! You can carry this mentality with you while you’re travelling by packing a material bag into your backpack for when you go food or souvenir shopping. I bought a material bag in Chelsea Market in New York last year which I love and always squeeze into my backpack as a shopping bag!

Tupperware

green travel gear

Carrying around some Tupperware will encourage you to cook in hostel kitchens and take a packed lunch rather than buying food to go in shops or restaurants. This, again, is a great way to cut our plastic use (and saves some money in the process!). This great set that I use collapse to be half the size, which is perfect for backpack space saving!

Buy a set of Collapsible Tupperware

Portable Knife and Fork

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You’ll need something to eat your Tupperware food with, and this compact set of knife, fork, spoon and chopsticks is perfect. Not only does it stop you using disposable plastic cutlery, but it is so lightweight and compact that it won’t add anything to the weight of your baggage. Perfect!

Buy a portable cultery set

Portable Blender

eco friendly travel gear

Once again, this reusable product cuts down on your cup use and means that you can make use of local fruits and vegetables to make delicious smoothies and juices. The blender is charged through a USB charger, which saves batteries getting wasted.

Buy a portable blender

How Eco-Friendly is your Backpack?

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Any trip starts with packing, and if you’re conscious about eco-travel, make sure that your trip starts off on the best (green) foot by packing a backpack contains these items or similar. Remember, packing eco-friendly products and gear and generally being a responsible traveller means that you can save the world while exploring it!

I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase some of these products by clicking the links I have provided. This is just one of the ways I am able to travel and keep up this blog, so if you like the look of any of these items, please support Claire’s Footsteps and use my link!

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25 Comments

  1. Sarah Yekinni
    July 17, 2016

    Love this! I’m always open to eco-friendly options especially when it comes to beauty products, but they aren’t always easy to find! Thanks for highlighting some outlets for finding necessary items that are good for my body and the earth!

  2. Emma
    July 17, 2016

    We are huge Lush fans in our house, their products are great and the solid shampoo is brilliant for travelling! Lots of great tips here! 🙂

  3. Lisa
    July 17, 2016

    Thanks for all the tips and where to find some of theses items. I wasn’t aware of some of them. Always looking for a good balance.
    Lisa recently posted…The Twisted OliveMy Profile

  4. Kirstie
    July 17, 2016

    Useful list! My microfiber towel was one of the best things I owned while traveling, although unfortunately I lost it about a month ago! I’d definitely recommend those.
    Kirstie recently posted…Whirling Through Phnom Penh’s Nightlife by VespaMy Profile

  5. Heather C
    July 17, 2016

    Some great ideas here, and have to say I always think about packing light, but not eco. The lush shampoo sounds amazing if you don’t need conditioner (I have long hair too and can’t live without it normally), will have to give it a go!

  6. Carmen's Luxury Travel
    July 17, 2016

    I absolutely love Lush and most of their products, especially the travel friendly ones. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Carmen’s Luxury Travel recently posted…5 Luxury Destinations in Europe for a Romantic GetawayMy Profile

  7. Kerri
    July 17, 2016

    Some really great ideas here. I am seeing the hard shampoo pop up quite a bit lately. do they have a conditioner like this as well?
    Kerri recently posted…Frequent Flyer experience in the Emirates First Class lounge : DubaiMy Profile

  8. Calvin Green
    July 18, 2016

    What an insightful list.. And I need to visit Lush soon…
    Calvin Green recently posted…rocketlanguages.com – Rocket Hindi Premium: 2012 Edition LaunchMy Profile

  9. Ashleigh
    July 18, 2016

    Thanks for this list, I am also trying to be a bit more enviro-friendly. Love Lush and def need a microfibre towel wherever i go!

  10. Castaway with Crystal
    July 18, 2016

    I LOVE the idea for this post! I use a moon cup – and I love it. Sometimes it hurts a bit getting in and out if I let my nails grow too long though 🙁 But so good for travelling!

    Crystal recently posted… Budget Guide: Cuba

  11. Jessica
    July 18, 2016

    I love lush products! I am not into make up but essential shower kits I bought from them. I like the idea of tupperware. I want that portable blender!
    Jessica recently posted…Best Man’s Speech during our Wedding – Kach and Jonathan HoweMy Profile

  12. Nicole
    July 30, 2016

    You’re such a legend for writing this post! I’m trying so much harder to be a bit more green these days too, and it’s actually not that difficult with so many amazing new products on the market! I absolutely LOVE lush!!! Their shampoos are so amazing!
    Nicole recently posted…How to Spend a Day in SuwonMy Profile

  13. Claire
    July 30, 2016

    Haha, thanks! Yeah there’s a lot more gear around nowadays for the green traveller 🙂 I love lush too!

  14. Courtney
    August 20, 2016

    Great list! One other must-have for me is dry shampoo in case I don’t have access to a shower, and it looks like Lush does an eco-friendly and plane-travel friendly version. So excited to have found that today! https://www.lush.com.au/shop/product/product&product_id=1320

    Have you heard about sea sponges as an alternative to the moon cup? I tried to use a Diva Cup but I just don’t have the right shaped cervix for it– it only took a few awkward oh-crap-it’s-stuck moments for me to reluctantly turf it. But I’m really intrigued by the idea of a natural version of tampons. I’d love to hear from another traveller who has tried the sea sponge.
    Courtney recently posted…Mongolia in two weeks: our whirlwind itineraryMy Profile

  15. Claire
    August 22, 2016

    Thanks Courtney! I’m a *bit* gross when I go travelling and only wash my hair once or twice a week aha, but maybe I should look into this Lush dry shampoo and try and take care of myself a little better aha!

    No, I haven’t heard of sea sponges, they sound like a great alternative though! I’ll have to give them a research! Thanks for letting me know about them!

  16. Kim
    September 1, 2016

    Great tips! The towel is also on my travel list. If you want some eco cosmetics tips, I would love to write a guest blog for you :).
    Kim recently posted…Etsy UK rooftop event – I was there!My Profile

  17. Sheena
    September 6, 2016

    Hmm I really need to take stock of my environmental footprint… there are so many great recommendations here that I could easily switch to. Thanks so much for putting this together

  18. Betty
    September 6, 2016

    Nice post. I never thought to get dry shampoo before, but a friend also mentioned it to me. I’ll have to find a Lush store and check it out.

  19. Katrina
    September 8, 2016

    It’s becoming more and more important to take stock of our environmental footprint. Thanks for sharing your tips with us.

  20. Cristal
    September 10, 2016

    I keep meaning to try our a menstrual cup. It’s great to hear that you love yours.

  21. Alex Capper
    April 27, 2017

    It’s always good to see another green travel post! These things are a great start for an eco-conscious traveller.
    I use many of these, or similar, on a regular basis at home, so can say it’s a pretty good list. The toothpaste tabs are an especially great purchase. I tend to make my own deodorant, but will have to give Lush’s a try. They haven’t disappointed me yet!
    I don’t agree with microfibre products being on eco lists though, as fabric made from plastic – particularly microfibre – sheds thousands of tiny plastic fibres into the water supply with every wash. These end up in our drinks, the sea or animals/plants which we then eat. So I’m not a fan, but it is a useful material.
    I would also add bamboo toothbrushes, muslin bags for buying unpackaged food (bread, pastries and fruit) at markets, eco friendly shoes (such as Tred Again) and maybe things like stainless steel/bamboo versions of plastic products. Every little helps!

  22. Claire
    April 27, 2017

    Hey Alex, thanks a lot for your comments! That’s interesting, I’ll have to do some more research about microfibre towels as what I read previously hadn’t mentioned that. I’ll do some more reading into it and then maybe edit the list, I’m always keen to keep posts like this current!
    Great suggestions – I love the muslin bag suggestion! May have some more items to add to my green travel trolly 🙂

  23. Anne Betts
    May 8, 2017

    Thank you for such a refreshing post. I’ve a few more suggestions.
    – Natracare panty liners are plastic-free and made from organic cotton, and not individually wrapped in plastic.
    – EO hand sanitizing wipes are plastic-free bamboo wipes
    – Crystal deodorant from natural mineral salts in a travel size lasts for months. I took the brand CRYSTAL on my last trip of 2+ months and used no more than a third of a 40-g container.
    PS I love LUSH as well. My favourite shampoo bar is Honey I Washed my Hair, in their super lightweight tin. With my short hair I estimate it’s good for about 60 washes.

  24. Claire
    May 8, 2017

    Hey Anne! Thanks a lot for your comment. These are really good suggestions! I think I’m going to update this post soon as I’ve had a few great suggestions. I’ll let you know when I do – I’ve got your blog link there so I’ll reference you if I use any of your ideas 🙂

  25. stephanie
    May 13, 2017

    Solid shampoo…why didnt I think about that!
    Thanks for the tip!
    x

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