Travel Essentials : What’s in my eco-friendly travel bag?

eco-friendly travel essentials

Being eco-friendly at home is part of your lifestyle? Why would it be any different when you travel. If you pay attention to what you eat, buy, reuse, recycle on your day to day life, being a responsible traveller is taking those good habits along with you.

In our ten zero waste travel hacks, we mentioned packing light and avoiding using single use products along the way. We are starting a series of articles pointing out eco-friendly products or brands that can make packing easier for responsible travellers around the world.

Ecofriendly reusables to pack

best reusable bottleWhether you are heading for a three hours trek in the mountains or doing a cycling tour around the Loire Valley,  we all know that staying hydrated wherever you are in the world is essential.

You ditched buying plastic bottles at home, like us, and you’re filtering your tap water. And you’re desperate in advance to buy plastic bottles while travelling? Simple, bring your reusable water bottle with you.

Where water is safe to drink

Refill your bottle almost everywhere in the world. Just don’t forget to empty it before passing security if you are flying.  There are many options out there, in stainless steel or BPA free, keeping your drinks cold or warm.

We like the ones from Tree Tribe and we recently read an article about the Closca one, which is handy because you can attach it easily anywhere

When you need to filter water

If you’re heading to a place where tap water is not safe to drink, the challenge is a little more difficult. You can take filtering systems with you. They don’t take that much space in a bag. Some water purifying systems work thanks to UV like Steripen, some work with chemicals, and other filters are non-chemical and use ceramic or charcoal based filters.

To make it easier, you can find reusable bottles that have an integrated filtering system. We found two great options, that seem to be very much in use around the world:  Watertogo and Lifestraw


If you are a straw addict or you simply want to make sure you’re using an eco-friendly straw to drink that coconut water on the beach (ever tried without?) bring your own. Paper ones will probably be a hassle to travel with, but stainless-steel ones and bamboo ones will be solid enough. One option that we discovered recently is the straw proposed by the final straw. They are launching the product during the autumn and the fact that it folds and can be placed on a key ring makes it a great option for travellers.

And to be sure you can refuse the single use cutlery, when you eat on the go you can easily, pack a little bamboo spork in your bag like the ones from bambu home

Keep your electronics safe

eco-friendly phone case

If you want to protect your phone, did you know that you can make a worthy action by choosing a case made from bioplastic that is compostable? We love the ones from Pela Case, that makes really nice collections.

Some cases also exist in bamboo and can be a good pick too.

At the time of this post, we did not find waterproof cases made out of bioplastics. But it could be handy in highly humid regions or if you’re planning water adventures. Lifeproof seems like a good option, although not in ecomaterial, if you are not planning on changing you phone every 20 months (that’s the average!) you should be able to keep it and reuse it for a while.

Reef safe sun lotion

reef safe lotion

As we said in our article on sunscreens damaging the oceans, if you are heading for a sunny retreat, don’t forget to pack eco-friendly sunscreen and to bring your favourite UV protecting gear if you’re thinking of snorkelling.

Here are some reef safe sunscreens we found and that were already stated in our previous article: Waterlover Range of Biotherm, Avene Sunscreens, EQ BIO, UV BIO, Green People

Green toileteries

eco-friendly travel amenities
More and more hotels and guest houses are not offering single use shampoo or shower gels, but refillable bottles. Some of them even offer organic products which is nice to have.

If you don’t have the chance to have that, or you want to use products you are used to and happy with, you can bring your favourite solid shampoo and toothpaste with you. Some come in stainless steel containers and are really easy to use, like Pachmamai, this is a French brand but equivalent brands probably exist all around the world.

To avoid bringing your make up cleanser, and to save space, you can use microfiber make-up cloths which work only with water; like the makeuperaser  or the one from GLOV, we tried that one and it really works.

You can swap your heavy electric toothbrush while you’re on the go, and opt for a bamboo toothbrush, they are light weight and some of them are already infused with charcoal on their fiber, to whiten your teeth. Here’s the brands we found the bam and boo and Smiloh.

Fair fashion, ethical and eco-friendly travel gear

slow fashion travel gear

Some brands have put sustainability and ethics at a very high level in their product strategy and that’s specifically true for the fashion industry that is hardly working on offering us ethical and conscious products.

For everyday clothing, you can easily find ethical brands offering organic cotton or recycled hemp teeshirts and other clothing. Tell us what your favourite ones are?

For technical gear, Patagonia is quite recognized for their sustainability and eco-friendly positioning. So  anything coming from Patagonia when it comes to bags, shoes, or tech gear for travellers would be a great pic.

For bags, doing our research we found this new French brand that is offering sustainably made bags and for those doing watersports we found that Aquapac are working on sustainable fabrics for their waterproof bags

Want to walk green?

Did you know that nowadays a few brands are working on eco-friendly shoes and gears made from bioplastic or recycled plastic and even recycled ocean plastic? It’s the case for numerous shoe styles, whether you are looking for flip-flops or trekking shoes.

Here’s a few examples:

Vaude who are reknown for their sustainability practices, made shoes with bioplastic parts, they also offer a whole range of ecofriendly tech gear, Indosole make their flip flops from recycled material and recently Adidas launched a range of running shoes made with ocean plastic soles

It’s sure to say more and more eco-friendly products are coming out extending the possibilities for responsible travellers, we’ll update these series of articles regularly with new findings and reviews if we find some nice things to pack.

What’s your favourite eco-friendly travel essential? What can’t you travel without? Tell us in the comments.


Holiable is an eco-friendly travel planner helping you find sustainable hotels, green restaurants and ethical tourism activities around the world. Holiable was developed to share experiences, advice and reviews on sustainable travel, making it easier to prepare your next eco-friendly holiday.
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