But what about green gear?
Check out these twelve items to pack that will help make your environmental footprint a size smaller while traveling.
1. Mountainsmith Recycled Backpacks
One of the best ways to ease your impact on the environment is to buy products made from recycled materials.
When it comes to backpacks, Mountainsmith has a line of bags made from recycled plastics ranging from small daypacks to large alpine packs.
2. Solio Solar Charger
This compact gadget uses the sun’s energy to power up a wide variety of electronic devices.
It comes with detachable adapters making it compatible with iPods, digital cameras, and cell phones.
The charger works best in direct sunlight so let it catch some rays with you while on the beach.
Many of Solio’s chargers are hybrids which means you can plug them into electrical outlets if you need to recharge very quickly.
3. New Balance Bamboo Biocool Shirts
Want some new clothes for your upcoming vacation?
Shopping at secondhand stores is a great way to go. However, if you’d prefer new threads, try to choose fabrics made from sustainable materials like hemp and organic cotton.
You might not think of bamboo when choosing travel wear but New Balance is trying to get you to rethink that idea.
They have constructed a Bamboo Biocool shirt using bamboo yarn which blocks UV rays, is anti-bacterial, and dries fast.
4. Solar Oven
Ah, the great outdoors! You’re off on your camping trip, getting back to nature.
But when you cook food, I’ll bet you burn firewood or use a gas stove. Those days of environmental neglect can now be over!
Try using the portable Solar Oven when camping or trekking to cook just about anything.
You can roast veggies, cook the day’s catch, even bake bread in this little oven, all using free, renewable solar power.
5. Envirosax Reusable Shopping Bags
Envirosax has a line of stylish, ultra compact bags that are perfect for travelers.
They come in a myriad of colors to suit every taste.
Great for souvenir shopping, they can also be used as beach and day bags when you don’t want to cart your pack around with you.
6. Recycled Shoes
Cover your trotters in sustainable wear by buying shoes made from recycled materials.
Timberland has created their Earthkeepers’ line of waterproof boots using recycled rubber and organic cotton.
For beachwear, strap on a pair of Splaff flops which are made from old tires.
7. Katadyn ExStream Purifier Water Bottle
According to the Clean Air Council, Americans throw away an astonishing 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
Yes, every hour.
You can do your part not add to that number by using your own water filter.
Katadyn makes a handy sports bottle with a built-in purifier perfect for traveling.
It’s great for camping in places where water faucets aren’t readily available, as well as questionable places when they are available.
The filter has three stages to keep the nasties in the water from reaching your mouth.Not only does it reduce waste, it’s a money saver.
After only a few dozen uses, the water bottle has paid for itself.
8. Lightload Beach Towels
Made from 100% environmentally-friendly viscose, these towels can be squished down to the size of a hockey puck, making them uber-compact.
They are also quick drying and big enough to use at the beach.
The towels themselves are not super durable, but I have used mine on my last three vacations and it still has life left in it.
Lightload towels are completely biodegradable. The towels also come in a smaller hand towel. While they were slightly more absorbent than the larger ones, they did fall apart after one wash.
9. Burt’s Bees Natural Sun Care
Back in January 2008, National Geographic reported that many sunscreens used by beach bunnies could be killing coral.
Some scientists refute this, but with so many chemicals swimming around in sun lotions, it’s no surprise that they might have an environmental impact.
Earth-friendly company Burt’s Bees has an all-natural sun screen that is a great alternative to many chemical-laden ones.
The Bees’ sunscreen uses titanium dioxide to deflect harmful UV rays.
10. Necky Manitou Recycled Kayak
Sports that involve big equipment purchases can have a big impact on the environment.
Think of how much Fiberglass and plastic is needed for just one new kayak.
Make your next trip down the river guilt-free with Necky’s super durable kayak made from 100% recycled industrial plastic.
11. pb Travel Bamboo Blanket and Eyemask
Some airlines have started charging for pillows and blankets, so it’s time to start carrying your own.
While investing in your personal sleeping accessories, why not go green with your choices?
pb Travel has a blanket (and eyemask) made from 100% bamboo fabric, which is touted as being softer than cashmere.
12. Bucky’s Fuzzy Wuzzy Travel Pillow
For a pillow, try Bucky’s Fuzzy Wuzzy Travel pillow which contains an organic millet hull filling.
Ease your impact when traveling by making environmentally-conscious choices.
Reduce your waste. Choose to tour with eco companies.
And make your gear a shade greener.
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Rachel Turner’s articles have appeared in Japanzine, The Kansai Scene, Weekender Magazine, and The Kyoto Journal. After years spent writing textbooks in the United States, she packed up and moved to a far-flung island in Japan. In her spare time she enjoys exploring her new home and butchering her new language. Check out her blog at www.amateurfatalist.com
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