Written by Prachi Ahmed
If you’re a regular traveller, you’ll more than likely have been asked at some point on your travels: “What would you never travel without?” No doubt everyone will have a different answer, but time and time again you’ll hear the usual suspects creep into the conversation. Here we give you the green alternative to some of the most popular travel ‘must-haves’.
1. Day Pack
The Warp, from Osprey’s ReSource Series, is a day bag made from recycled PET. It fits comfortably over one shoulder, and has room for money and a cell phone, as well as a clip for keys and a webbed hip strap for added security. The recycled PET material for these bags is sourced from plastic soda and water bottles, keeping thousands of them out of landfills and waterways. These bags are available in several different colors, and are an attractive, efficient, and environmentally-responsible way to carry your gear on a short trip.
2. Water Bottle
Klean Kanteen reusable water bottles are great for everything from a quick jog to a camping trip, and they’re made from BPA-free, non-leaching stainless steel. They help keep cold things cold, won’t break like glass can, and are easy to pack along. They also come in a variety of sizes from 12 ounces to 64 ounces, with a variety of different caps. Campers can choose a flat cap, while joggers can choose a looped one with a carabiner.
3. Sterilizing Pen
For travellers who won’t be packing their own water on their trip, the SteriPEN is an essential. Water systems in other countries can harbour bacteria that messes with your system, often resulting in gastric distress – to put it politely! The SteriPEN comes in a regular and a mini size, and uses safe ultraviolet light to help kill water-borne microbes in contaminated sources. These tiny devices use the same technology that large water companies use to make their products safe, with the added advantage of running off battery power and being easily packable. Once you’ve used one you’ll be hooked. They’re great.
4. Flip Flops
You may be loathe to chuck your precious Havianas, but maybe you’ll be tempted to buy some newbies when you see what’s on offer. Ethletic, the Fairtrade footwear company, have biodegradable latex flip flops that are sure to keep travellers’ feet cool and comfortable, without increasing their carbon footprint. These flip flops are also 100% FSC certified, contain no animal-derived glues, no PVC, and no EVA. They are inexpensive, durable, and very, very comfy. They’re sure to be a must-have among all travellers, eco-conscious or not.
With the number of portable gadgets that everyone seems to have these days, including cell phones, E-readers, mp3 players, and laptops, keeping things charged on the go is a necessity. With the Freeloader Globetrotter Kit, it’s never been easier. This kit includes several different jacks for charging many types of devices, and a powerful little solar panel for harvesting clean, green energy from the sun, no matter what the weather is like.
Sometimes travelling can take you off the beaten path, which is rarely lined with reams of lamps, so it’s a good idea to carry a flashlight. It’s generally an essential when camping, especially for those mid-night trips to the spider infested loos! Normal battery-charged flashlights can often die out at the most inopportune moments, and extra batteries take up space in your luggage, are heavy, and can explode or leak. With the Dynamo Illuminator wind-up flashlight, however, batteries aren’t required. These flashlights are powered by a few turns of the hand crank on the side, and provide hours of brilliant, battery-free illumination. The only problem with them is they’re a bit noisy, but you get used to it.
7. Shopping Bag
OK, so not everyone will think of taking a shopping bag with them on their travels… but you should! Flip & Tumble do a great range that are small enough to fit into any bag. These ripstop nylon bags fit into their own peach-sized pouches and unfold to quite spacious carry-alls. They’re not only good for shopping, but you can use them for beach trips, laundry bags, anything really, and because they take up so little room they’re totally worth the packing effort. There are, of course, lots of other similar reusable bags available, so keep a look out for them in your local shops.
For travellers who need to haul all of their gear, including their electronics, in comfort and style, Sun-Plugged makes the Max Solar Backpack, which should be plenty big enough to hold your clothes and equipment for short journeys – some people prefer bigger pack that can hold more, though. Not only does this bag feature three spacious compartments for all of your belongings, it has a waterproof, scratch-resistant solar panel build right in, so you can charge your gear on the go. Every hour these bags spend in the sun provides enough power for an hour and a half long cell phone call.
9. Travel Journal
Travelling wouldn’t be complete without a way to record your adventures. Photographs are good; great for when your memory leaves you, but there’s nothing like re-reading your travel adventures years down the line. EcoPaper do a line of tree-free paper journals, with plenty of space to write and draw to your heart’s content. Instead of using tree pulp that contributes to deforestation, these journals are made form agricultural bio-products that work just as well, leaving the planet greener and healthier.
Sunburn isn’t pretty, or clever, so to prevent the lobster-look packing some form of sunscreen is as important as not forgetting your toothbrush. Of course, these days you can usually buy sunscreen no matter where you go, but you can’t always get the good stuff. Regular sunscreens are often chock full of chemicals, including preservatives, fragrances, artificial colors, thickeners, and other questionable ingredients that can cause breakouts, irritate sensitive skin, and worse. Soleo Organics SPF 30 sunscreen is a light, non-greasy, totally natural formula that provides just as much protection as chemical-filled alternatives, without any of their unwanted side effects. It’s also suitable for children, and adults with sensitive skin.
What’s your favourite travel essential?
What do you always recommend to friends who are about to set off on their travels? And do you know of a good green alternative? If so, do share your knowledge and leave the info in our comments section. Thanks!