The environmental cost of traveling is seemingly on everyone’s mind. Luckily, there are ways to reduce footprints and increase sustainability without buying carbon offset credits or resolving to stay home. More and more travelers are concerned about the consequences of what they carry with them, as well as the amount of resources they’ll consume once at their destination.
Though you won’t save the world from rising sea levels, you can do your part to travel mindfully and reduce your individual carbon footprint. To help, we’ve found 10 gadgets and accessories that minimize the use of new resources in favor of recycled or reclaimed materials or provide power and clean water with what’s naturally available.
Eagle Creek Luggage – Sturdy luggage is always a must, and it’s even better when it’s made sustainably. Eagle Creek excels at both. Its luggage product lines are made with minimal waste and responsibly sourced materials. They’re also designed with travelers’ needs in mind, offering features such as shoe compartments and multiple handles to make grabbing at baggage claim easier.
ReSource Series by Osprey Packs – A comfortable and well-built daypack is a necessity for travelers, and Osprey, long known for its commitment to ethical manufacturing and renewable energy, has a line of shoulder packs and backpacks made from nearly 100 percent recycled materials, designed and built with rugged travel in mind.
PB Travel Bamboo Travel Blanket Set – For most travelers, a flight means time to sleep. With airlines charging for almost every amenity these days, including blankets, it makes sense to bring your own. Made from 100 percent bamboo fiber cloth, the soft blanket and eye mask are naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial. Best of all, bamboo grows and replenishes quickly, without pesticides or nearly the amount of water that cotton requires.
Eco Speakers by Merkury Innovations – There’s absolutely no flat sound coming from these cardboard – yes, cardboard – travel speakers from Merkury Innovations. Offering universal compatibility for any device and made from 70 percent recycled materials, they come in a variety designs, including one in plain brown that can be customized with included colored pencils. Coolest of all, they fold flat for easy packing.
Bag of Rhythm Portable Audio System by House of Marley – If you really want to make your party portable wherever you go, this all-in-one docking station will fit the bill. Part shoulder bag, part stereo system with twin tweeters, woofers and an amplifier, it’s made from sustainable birch wood and reclaimed canvas. Plus, proceeds support 1love.org, Bob Marley’s family’s charitable foundation, aimed at spreading love and harmony through youth, the planet and peace.
Bedol Water Alarm Clock – A reliable alarm clock is a basic travel accessory, and Bedol has built one that runs on water; something every traveler – unless they’re part camel – has with them. Each refill lasts an incredible six months, so the only way you’ll sleep through your alarm is if you drink it dry during the night.
Solio BOLT Charger – With the many rechargeable gadgets we take with us, having a reliable way to power them up can be a hassle in the middle of the jungle, Grand Canyon or anywhere else not connected to the grid. Solio’s BOLT charger has rotating solar panels to maximize collection and quickly charges any USB-compatible device with no carbon required. There’s also a battery that is handy for charging when the sun goes down.
Revolution Apparel – Founded by a pair of nomadic friends who wanted to make women’s travel-ready clothes with a green footprint, Revolution only uses pesticide-free, organic, sustainable and fair-labor manufacturing. Its initial collection of 10 versatile pieces can be combined to make 100 separate looks. The start-up’s online store is set to launch soon, and we’re waiting with credit cards in hand.
Steripen Traveler – Nothing is more essential than clean, safe water or worse for the environment or your back than lugging around store-bought bottles. The Steripen Traveler makes it easy and reliable to provide your own constant supply of clean and refreshing water. Powered by four AA batteries, and using ultraviolet light to purify water, it can clean a small bottle’s worth in under a minute, and up to 200 liters on one set of batteries.
Earth Doggy Eco-Friendly Pet Carriers – For when you want to travel green and bring Rover the (small breed) Dog, or Fluffy the Cat along, Earth Doggy has a line of pet carriers made from organic denim, recycled nylon or hemp. They come in a shoulder-bag style, as well as a conventional duffel bag, and even include a blanket, fleece pad and water bowl.