The “official” definition of eco-fashion is a focus on clothing that takes into account not only the environment, but the health of the consumers who will be wearing the clothes and the working conditions of the people involved with making the clothes.
More specifically, eco-fashion encompasses:
Clothes made using raw materials such as cotton grown without the use of pesticides or silk made from worms raised on organic vegetation.
Garments and clothing made from recycled textiles, including creative use of materials such as recycled plastic.
Articles designed to be more durable so they last longer.
Clothes made without the use of certain harmful chemicals, dyes or bleaches.
Accessories and clothing made under conditions where workers are treated fairly and paid a fair wadge for their efforts. Eco-fashion incorporates some human rights elements, specifically how workers who make the fashion items are treated.
Fabrics made from organic fibers are grown without toxic pesticides.
In addition, farmers may rotate crops, weed by hand, and plant different crops together.
Vegan clothing is also considered eco-fashion.
Eco-friendly vegan clothing means it’s free from any type of animal products.
It’s only made with plant and man-made fibers.
These are typically sustainable as well.
Embracing a Rising Trend of Eco-Fashion
Once upon a time, eco-fashion focused more on practical items.
It was characterized by solid, neutral designs.
There were organic tee shirts and skirts as well as linen pants and other everyday items.
Thanks to the creative vision of up-and-coming designers, eco-fashion is now perceived as a hot, rising trend.
Using safe dyes, there are brighter colors and unique patterns.
It took a long time to overcome the initial reaction to eco-friendly fashion as a novel concept.
Now, eco-fashion clothing and accessories are attracting a wider range of consumers.
Some of the big names in the fashion industry began to realize the potential for going green when it comes to the clothes we wear.
Anne Salvatore Epstein was one of the first designers to embrace the idea of eco-friendly fashion when she was pregnant.
Epstein wanted to embrace a more organic lifestyle for the sake of her child.
Epstein collaborated with Marc Jacobs to figure out a way to make organic fashion trendy.
Organic cotton, bamboo and recycled leather trims were incorporated into existing fashion lines to ease into the trend.
While green living has become second nature in many ways, sometimes we want convenience. Other times, we don’t know there are sustainable options or earth-friendly products available. And as much as we want to use what we have, we still shop. We are consumers.
The great news is we can shop and still be environmentally conscious. We can buy products which will minimize our impact. There are some purchases which eliminate the need to buy other products. Others extend the life of products.
We will continue adding to this list as we find more innovative eco-friendly products. There are many things we can do to live green. Here are our favorite eco-friendly products for home. Some will be good for traveling as well.
Sustainable paper towels
Bambooee The unPaper Towel
Many of us use paper towels — a lot! While we love the idea of dish towels and cleaning rags, it is often more convenient to grab a paper towel. They are handy for spills, to clean counters and floors, to clean bathrooms and to dry hands.
We tuck them into our kids’ lunch boxes in place of napkins. Sometimes we use them at the dinner table. It’s sometimes more sanitary to use a paper towel than a regular towel.
They’re typically inexpensive so it’s easy to grab one, use it, and toss it… without giving much thought to what goes into making a roll of paper towels.
Unfortunately, we don’t love the waste and the materials and how most of us use them once and then throw them away.
Bambooee makes washable, rayon from bamboo, paper towels. Each roll comes with 20 sheets.
Because you can wash and reuse them, a roll with the 20 unpaper towels is the equivalent of 286 paper towel ROLLS!
Wow! We were happy to find this product and anxious to try them. This is what we learned:
Each sheet is 11.5″ x 11″.
Bambooee makes them from a certified organic bamboo source.
They are soft, absorbent and durable.
With every roll you purchase, they plant a tree.
Bambooee was featured on Shark Tank.
Reusable paper towels
It’s remarkable you can wash each sheet up to 100 times. What does this equate to?
This small roll of unpaper towels is the equivalent of 2,000 paper towels.
What does that really mean? If you use up a typical paper towel roll each week, replacing them with Bambooee will equal almost 5.5 years.
We’ve used them to clean our kitchen counters, stove top, windows, and bathrooms.
In addition, we’ve found them to be ideal to bring on trips. They are easy to wash, hang to dry, and reuse. These reusable paper towels take very little space in the suitcase and are handy to have for whatever comes up. When you want to travel green, it helps to have some easy habits in place. Packing these is easy!
They are sturdy and strong, even after washing. The only downside to these is you have to remember to air dry. So if you put them in your washing machine, be sure to remember how many to find and air dry before putting the items in the clothes dryer.
The other negative is they are made in China. While it’s rare to find products made in the USA, it’s always our preference.
However, these paper towels are innovative and eco-friendly. In addition to being reusable, what makes Bambooee earth-friendly is the rayon from bamboo is grown without fertilizer and pesticides.
Eco-friendly floor cleaner
Bambooee also makes sweeps with scrubbing dots. Put one on a floor sweeper and you have a reusable floor mop to use wet or dry.
Just like their Unpaper Towels, these sweeper pads are machine washable. In addition, the rayon is made from a certified organic bamboo source.
Each roll includes 15 Bambooee Sweeps. What’s great is these 15 sweeper pads can replace up to 1,500 of the disposable floor wipes and sheets. They are versatile as well. You can use them dry — they do an excellent job of picking up dust and hair — or wet (run one under the faucet and ring it out so it’s damp) — like you use other wet wipes for mopping.
You can wash each sheet up to 100 times in the washing machine. You have to pull them out so you don’t put them in the dryer. They measure 11.5″ x 10.1″ which fits well on regular floor sweepers that use disposable pads and wipes.
In addition, for every roll you purchase, they plant a tree.
We don’t like the disposable, one-time use floor pads because they aren’t sustainable. Plus, they are filled with chemicals. Instead, we were using microfiber cloths on our floor sweeper in an effort to be more environmentally-aware.
However, now that we have Bambooee Sweeps, we are only using these on our floors.
Soap holder extends life of bar soap
We mostly use bar soap in our home because of the chemicals in liquid soaps. We have found bar soap with safer ingredients but we want it to last as long as possible.
We also like being able to use less soap. In the past, when we used liquid soap, we were using a lot more than necessary which was drying out our skin.
In addition, liquid soap comes in plastic containers which we try to avoid. When we heard about SOAPSTANDLE, we were excited to try it out.
Other soap holders
In the past, we used a soap stand but it mostly served as a placeholder for the soap. It didn’t help circulate air around it.
Also, it was often a gooey mess to clean. It was rather unappealing to pick up the bar of soap from the holder.
After that, we found another soap holder and bought several for our showers. There was a suction cup which stuck to the wall. You put a magnetic disk into the soap and it would hang from the wall. They worked well except you had to really gauge the soap with the holder so it would stay in place.
It helped to dry out the soap which is what we wanted. However, the soap would often fall down if it wasn’t wedged in the soap enough. Other times, the suction would loosen from the wall and everything would fall into the tub. We did like the concept of them because it worked to air dry the soap.
Extending the life of your bar soap
We have bar soaps and shampoo bars in our showers. Before using SOAPSTANDLE, in addition to trying the above holders, we would do a lot of different things to dry them out.
We want our soap to last as long as possible and not waste away because it’s sitting in water. We would tip the soap on its side, prop the bar on a cup, or prop it on one side and leave it on a towel.
For our soap bars in the shower, this would mean we would need to take it out of the shower stall/tub and move it to the counter by the sink.
SOAPSTANDLE is a practical and eco-friendly solution. These soap holders help extend the life of your bar soap.
You won’t need to buy liquid soaps which come in plastic — even if you refill them, it still comes in plastic containers. Much of it is water which is heavy and takes up extra room during transport from the manufacturers to the stores.
Eliminates the soap mess
We use SOAPSTANDLE for each bar of soap and for our shampoo bar and conditioner bar. These soap holders prevent the soap scum and goo and extend the life of your soap.
You won’t need to clean the soap holder like you do with other soaps. When you finish the bar, you use SOAPSTANDLE again.
This soap stand makes it much more convenient to use bar soap and will hopefully encourage consumers to not buy liquid soaps which come in plastic containers.
SOAPSTANDLE is made in the USA.
We are very pleased with this simple solution for your soap.
Clothing to help homeless youth
This Minneapolis-based company supports homeless individuals in many ways. Hippy Feet helps homeless youth by using a portion from each sale to provide transitional employment through their Pop-Up Employment Program.
Hippy Feet’s program gives its participants the opportunity to do all the embroidery, screen printing, and packaging for their products. In so doing, they earn a wage as well as learn skills and basic job training. Hippy Feet has a goal to get homeless youth into stable housing and eventually into full-time employment at other companies.
In addition to all of what they do to help homeless youth, all of Hippy Feet’s products are made in the United States using environmentally friendly materials.
Hippy Feet long-sleeve tees for adults
Let Love Grow in green and blue
They sent us a large Let Love Grow long-sleeve tee shirt in the light blue. It’s made with 100% organic cotton.
We machine washed and dried it in the dryer without it shrinking. The organic cotton is very comfortable. It’s fun and easy to wear and runs true to size. This shirt has three small flowers embroidered on the front and “let love grow” is screen printed on the back up near the collar.
Vintage Hippy Tee
This short sleeve t-shirt is made with 100% organic cotton. Homeless youth do the screen printing for each shirt. Check it out on their website — it looks to have a flattering cut and the colors are neutral yet retro and bold at the same time.
Hippy Feet socks for adults and youth
Check their website for all of their fun patterns and solids. Hippy Feet makes their socks with eco-friendly materials. Their adult socks include recycled cotton. They make their youth socks with recycled cotton and recycled polyester.
Hippy Feet socks with signature from person who packaged them.
We asked to try their solid black and white socks. They sent an adult pair in S-M and a children’s pair in S-M. We’ve never tried eco-friendly socks before and have been using them for active pursuits. They wick away moisture well. We love them.
It was also interesting to see the company gives their employees additional opportunities to feel proud of their work. On each sock, there is a “Packaged by:” area, and the person who packaged it signs it.
Also, there is minimal packaging made with eco-friendly materials.
Hippy Feet hats
Green twill cap
They sent us the green twill cap which has a great fit and feel. It’s adjustable as well. It’s lightweight and also made with environmentally-friendly materials. The embroidery on it is through a nonprofit that provides job training to youth who are dealing with homelessness.
Homeless youth do the embroidery on Hippy Feet’s products.
This is really a perfect example of an eco-friendly company: Hippy Feet provides transitional employment to homeless youth; they use eco-friendly materials and packaging; and they make everything in the United States.
Sustainable option for beverages
Our family isn’t one for gadgets. We don’t want to have to store extra appliances nor do we have room on our counters to leave them out. That said, we do own a few so that we can make things from scratch, like our bread maker.
Until we learned about SodaStream, we didn’t know you could make soda and carbonated water at home. We don’t buy soda often. Much to our kids’ dismay, we only buy it — mostly in 2 liter bottles — when we have parties.
However, we do regularly purchase sparkling flavored water. We go through a case of 24 cans every three weeks.
After hearing about SodaStream and how it could be an environmentally-friendly option, we did the math. We buy and use approximately 417 aluminum cans a year just from flavored water.
That adds up to a lot of one-time use cans as well as the cost of buying the drinks and the hassle of carrying them home from the store.
SodaStream eliminates plastic bottles and aluminum cans
Sure, cans and bottles can be recycled; however, recycling is expensive and taxing on the environment.
It also takes costly steps and materials to make the cans and bottles. They use a lot of raw materials. It also is a burden on the environment to get the drinks from the manufacturing plants and distributors to the stores. It all adds up.
Also, once you finish the drink from a canned beverage and one-time use plastic bottles, there’s not much you can do with it to reuse or re-purpose them. So at best, you recycle it.
The SodaStream machine lets you make drinks right at home — eliminating the demand for aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles. They sent us their SodaStream Fizzi One Touch Electric sparkling water maker. We are reviewing the Starter Pack.
SodaStream One Touch Electric
We were happily surprised with how narrow and streamlined the SodaStream is. We can store it easily in one of our taller cabinets.
Also interesting is there are three carbonation — aka fizz — levels. We didn’t realize that would be something that you could customize.
The Fizzi One Touch comes with a one liter plastic bottle which is customized to use with the machine. It also includes a 14.5 oz carbonating cylinder. There is enough CO2 to make 60 liters. For our purposes, this means we can use one CO2 cylinder to make and replace 169 cans of the sparkling water we were buying.
We learned we can bring our empty cylinder to a SodaStream retailer and get a full one for a discounted price. On their website, there is also an easy way to exchange them with a delivery person. You return the empty cylinder, and they trade you for a filled one for what-seems-to-be half the price of a filled one at a store.
The SodaStream is really easy to use. It’s fast too. You just fill the bottle with tap water, place it in the machine, and press the button.
Fun to make drinks at home
It’s also been something fun to do with our kids. We made carbonated water with the SodaStream and added lemons and raspberries to our glasses. Another time we used lime. And the third time we used lime and fresh mint.
We have only made carbonated water so far with it. The next time we go to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond, we will look for the Drink Mixes to make soda. Each small bottle of their soda mix makes up to nine liters. This small bottle will be a lot less wasted plastic than the 2-liter bottles we usually buy. We hope to find their root beer and ginger ale. (They also sell bottles of Fruit Drops in lemon, orange, cucumber, watermelon, etc., but we plan to use whatever fruits we have on hand.)
We are looking forward to our kids using it as something to do with their friends when they have play dates. We are also thinking it will be a hit when we have parties. Our friends and family will really enjoy making their own drinks.
Already we are planning to have it out for our Summer Solstice party with our neighbors and will include a lineup of fruits so they can customize their beverages. And we know our kids will be proud their friends will be able to make their own soda as well. (We will update in June!) We plan to have a “bar” set up with cucumbers, mint, rosemary, lemon, lime, pineapple, berries, oranges, etc. It will be perfect for the summer.
Instructions for SodaStream
Again, it’s really easy to set up and easy to use. It was interesting there wasn’t a written instruction manual but rather an easy-to-follow insert with illustrations.
Sparkling water maker choices
We have the “middle model” which is the One Touch Electric. It comes with a one liter plastic bottle.
There is also the Fizzi Classic which is more compact and also cordless. It comes with a one liter plastic bottle as well.
The Aqua Fizz comes with dishwasher-safe glass carafes. We really love they are glass instead of plastic. However, according to the website, these carafes are .62 liters (620 ml) instead of the liter the other two models come with.
Sustainable option for beverages
Think of the cans and bottles of specialty drinks you buy. For the most part, these 2 liters of soda, and 12 and 24 packs of soda are used once — you drink it — hopefully recycle the bottle or can — and that’s it.
The waste from these receptacles — even if you recycle — really adds up as far as the raw materials used to make them and the cost to transport them and then to deal with them in the landfills or the costs involved with recycling them.
We love our SodaStream and how it will eliminate us buying one-time use bottles and cans.
Sustainable undergarments from a company that gives back
Here’s a perfect example of eco-fashion — underwear!
Did you know you can buy sustainable underwear using organic Pima cotton and water bottles? The elastic from every pair of Marc Skid underwear is made from one plastic, recyclable water bottle.
Also, each pair of Marc Skid underwear is made with organic Pima cotton. It’s grown on family farms and is non-GMO. According to their website, less than 2% of the world’s cotton is Pima cotton. And just .0005% is organic Pima cotton.
In addition to being made with environmentally-friendly materials, this eco-unders company supports non-profits.
Marc Skid donates $4 from each sale of underwear to a charity. Depending on which pair you purchase, there are three non-profits you can choose to support. These charities are in three groups: feeding, curing, or saving. They support nine non-profits in total. And just by going to their website and entering your email address, they will donate $1 to a medical clinic in Honduras.
Cure the World Joan Bikini
Marc Skid sent us their Cure the World Joan Bikini underwear. They are soft, comfortable and hip in a bright orange/red. They held their color and shape after washing them and putting them in the dryer. In addition, they are true to size. They seem like they will wear well and last a long time.
Marc Skid supports charities
You will be able to choose to support the charity based on the color of underwear you purchase.
Feed the World
Choose green and will get to choose to Feed the World. You will be able to support one of these charities: Action Against Hunger; feedONE; or The Hunger Project.
Cure the World
Orange/red is Cure the World. You can choose to support one of these organizations: Catholic Medical Mission Board; Concern Foundation; or Project C.U.R.E.
Save the World
Blue is Save the World. By choosing blue, you will get to select to donate to: Amazon Conservation Association; Carbon Fund; or Water.org.
White is Open World. When you choose underwear in white, you get to select to donate $4 from the purchase price to any one of the nine charities.
Donating $4 from each pair
Something different about Marc Skid is that not only are they donating from every pair you buy, they tell you how much they are donating.
Many companies who donate often state they are donating “a percentage” from every sale. But what does that mean? How much is it? You won’t have any way of knowing how much that amounts to. Even if they state they are giving “1% of the profit” to a cause, how much is that?
In addition, the nine charities Marc Skid supports are fully vetted by Charity Navigator. In this way, you know they are responsible charities who are making a huge impact in the areas they serve.
They offer three styles — Joan Bikini, Laurinda Hipster, and Philip Boxer Brief — in green, orange/red, blue, and white. Their John Boxer pair is available only in white.
Organic, sustainable underwear
As you learn more about environmentally-friendly clothing, you may learn how manufacturing clothing uses many man-made resources which contribute to burdening our environment.
Choosing organic cotton underwear — even better: organic Pima cotton underwear — becomes an easy choice.
Best earth-friendly products
Be aware of companies who make green claims. Dig a little deeper to find out in what ways their products are sustainable, low impact, etc.
There are many ways to think about eco-friendly products.
Sometimes they are products you can use again and again. They use sustainable materials and often eliminate the need for consumers to buy replacements. Other times, environmental products may extend the life of a product you use and cut down on waste.
In addition, environmentally-friendly companies may make a difference in their communities and contribute to non-profits.
This is important to remember even when you travel. If you enjoy buying souvenirs, try to buy something that is made locally and supports the local economy. Also, depending on where you are, you will want to be sure whatever you buy is sustainable.
We have choices in how we want to shop. Likely, there is a company who is offering a better solution, making less of an impact, and making a difference in the world.
Overall, consumers have become really good at recycling and reusing. Now it’s time to think of other ways to lessen our impact and to do good. These product are among the best earth-friendly products available.
Smell Proof Backpacks – When you’re enjoying the great outdoors with a young child, it’s all-but-inevitable that you’ll have to pack some stinky items.
After all, most babies and toddlers will need a diaper change if you’re spending more than an hour on the trail.
Additionally, you never know when some kind of diaper emergency may arise.
Since it’s vital that you pack out everything that you pack into the wilderness, you may be stuck with carrying a stinky diaper.
That’s why smell-proof backpacks are the ideal solution for adventurous parents and little ones who are on the go.
Smell Proof Backpacks When Hiking With Kids
These even come in handy when you’re in any public place and don’t have immediate access to a garbage can.
Many companies are manufacturing smell proof backpacks.
Used to transport sweaty gym clothes, recreational marijuana and anything else that might cause an annoying odor, these backpacks are the perfect accessory for the hiking parent who’s on the trail with young kids.
Not only will you not be troubled by an unpleasant smell but also you won’t be attracting wildlife that would be interested in the odor.
How has modern science and technology influenced travel hair dryers?
What’s great is they are now small enough for you to justify taking one with you.
Especially if you have long hair, as you pack for your vacation, you decide you want to bring a travel hair dryer.
It is as important as the other things you are organizing for your trip and for your daily hair styling routine.
If possible, you want to bring your favorite hairbrush, shampoo, and conditioner.
Luckily, unless you are backpacking or going somewhere remote, you can most likely tuck one in your bag.
There are dozens of travel blow dryers available.
Most of them promise something unique: “40% faster drying time,” “Ionic Technology,” or “Best for Extra-Fine Hair!” The advertising and marketing is endless.
Well, in reality, there is such a great variety of hair dryers today that it may be hard to know which one to choose.
We wanted to make it easy to choose a travel hair dryer for your longed-for dream vacation so it’s one thing you can easily cross off your to-do list.
Best travel hair dryer
Let’s take a look at some of the dryer tech that is currently impacting the style market.
Afterward, we will take a time-saving trip through the top five best travel models so that you can spend more time planning your vacation activities and less time planning how you’re going to get ready to do them!
Materials and Technology in Travel Hair Dryers
The most common technologies and materials used in the manufacture of blow dryers are metal, clay, gemstones, and Chemistry 101.
That seems a bit alarming on the surface, however, what this translates to is: titanium, ceramics, tourmaline, nano technology and ions.
It all seems a bit gimmicky, however, there is something to it.
Titanium: Friend of Doctors and Hair Stylists.
Titanium is an amazing metal. It resists oxidization and corrosion and is incredibly lightweight for its strength.
Titanium has been used in the manufacture of fighter jets, bone screws, and hip replacements since the 1950’s.
It is unique in the biomedical field because the human body rarely rejects it, allowing the metal to be used to replace bones, including in the skull.
Now you’re surely wondering what this has to do with drying and styling hair?
Titanium is used in the manufacture of the internal parts of blow dryers to give them some useful characteristics.
First, titanium warms quickly and cools down slowly.
This means that you should always be careful not to aim it at one spot in your hair too long to prevent burning.
On the other hand, it also means that your hair will dry very quickly and ultimately have less damage from blow drying it.
Titanium dryers also help prevent bacterial growth due to their high heat production, thereby helping maintain a healthy scalp.
Titanium blow dryers tend to run on the expensive side, but they are especially prevalent at professional styling salons.
Ceramic, Isn’t that what dishes are made of?
Yes, it is!
Ceramic, also referred to as “porcelain” in some circles, is a material that started out its life as clay and may have ended up on your shelf in the guise of a vase or even in your kitchen cabinet as your favorite serving bowl.
However, in a blow dryer, ceramic may be used in the heating element, as a coating on the inside parts of the machine, or in the body of the dryer.
Ceramic is favored by professional stylists because it heats quickly and evenly.
It produces infrared heat that penetrates hair shafts, helping maintain natural shine.
As a bonus, infrared heat does not remove all the moisture from hair at the same time it dries, preventing it from becoming over-dry and brittle.
It is very difficult to burn hair with a ceramic dryer.
Here are some questions to consider before taking a look at our travel jacket recommendations below:
Before Buying a Travel Jackets Ask Yourself
What Type of Climate Are You Traveling To?
Before you find the best travel jackets you should first consider the type of climate you’re visiting – is it warm or cold, wet or dry?
This may seem obvious but visiting the hot and humid rain forests of Belize will require a different type of rain jacket (i.e. lightweight and breathable) than the kind you’ll want on a chilly, rainy, early spring day in the Pacific Northwest.
The best travel jackets will be adaptable for many types of weather, but before you make a purchase think about where you’ll wear the jacket the most.
How Long Will You Be Gone?
If you’re going to be going on an extended multi-month trip you’ll want a lightweight jacket that you can layer with a fleece that you can layer with a raincoat as it will presumably change seasons while you’re gone.
If you’ll just be gone a week you only need to find something that will meet your needs for one season and one climate.
What Type of Traveler Are You?
If you’re an adventurous traveler on study abroad.
You’ll want something that’s more informal and all-weather, if you’re a person traveling with your spouse and will mainly stay in hotels and not venture out of museums on rainy days.
You’ll want a jacket that is nicer looking.
So think about what kind of traveler you are.
Will Travel Jackets You Already Own Suffice?
Before you go buy a new jacket just for an upcoming trip, first make sure you don’t have a travel jackets tucked away in the back of a closet that will work just as well as a new jack.
If you do, save your money and take an awesome excursion or have a fabulous meal on your vacation.
Is this a Jacket You Will Continue to Wear?
Make sure that you buy a travel jacket that you will continue to wear around after you’ve returned.
Maybe you’ll only need it when you go on hikes or walking the dog or in a crisp fall day, but buy a quality jacket that will last and be practical for other occasions.
Best Travel Jackets by Category
If you’re on your way to a destination notorious for rain, I highly recommend investing in a good rain jacket – with a hood.
Find a lightweight rain jacket that you can wear on a daily basis (black coats always blend in well) will be critical to your happiness and comfort.
Places like Ireland, anywhere with a rain forest, the Pacific Northwest all come to mind as places I would want to bring a good rain jacket.
Remember, you can always buy a cheap rain poncho if you’re somewhere and it rains unexpectedly, but for places where it usually rains for a least part of the day you’ll want a raincoat.
Here are the best six rain jackets I’ve come across for men and women travelers:
Lightweight jackets for travel fall into several categories.
Formal and informal and rain proof or water resistant.
Which category you need goes back to the questions I posed for consideration in the beginning.
If you a twenty something traveler backpacking around Eastern Europe you’re probably going to go for a less formal jacket than you would if you’re a middle aged retired couple taking a river cruise down the Danube and stopping off at fancy restaurants in cities in Europe.
Here are the best lightweight jackets I’ve found based on reviews and personal experience.
It’s great that you’re going to travel, and if you want your belongings with you all the time then you’ll need a travel backpack instead of the usual luggage bags.
Travel backpacks may enable you to go on short hikes and camping trips, and you can decide to go to another city or country on a whim without too much preparation.
So the question is, how do you choose the right backpack for you?
Here are some backpack guidelines you need to consider:
Travel Backpack Reviews
Before you buy any type of backpack, check out the travel backpack reviews from verified customers.
This is especially crucial when you’re buying it online and you can’t personally check it out yourself.
Of course, you’re going to read the specs of the backpack you’re going to get.
You’ll need to look for features such as made from waterproof material, so that your belongings don’t get wet when there’s a drizzle.
You also should get an internal-frame backpack, meaning that the frame and the support rods are already built in and hidden, instead of having separate rods that stick out.
Internal-frame backpacks are slimmer so you can move around more easily, and usually the rods are made from tough plastic or carbon fiber that’s lighter and more durable.
You may also want to get lockable zippers so that you can have some piece of mind regarding the security of your belongings or of your bag itself.
While there’s not much of a risk that people on the road will pickpocket your dirty clothes, there’s always a chance that some baggage handler at the airport may take a liking for some of your things.
A bigger risk is if you’re in a country where there’s a chance a police official can plant some drugs in your bag so that you’re going to have to pay up big time to avoid prison.
You also need to see that there are enough compartments for your things.
A separate compartment for your shoes is always a good idea, and if you’re bringing your laptop with you then that also needs a compartment of its own.
You’ll also need to check that there’s padding on the shoulder straps so there’s less pressure on your shoulders and on the adjustable hip belt so that it’s more comfortable for you to support the weight.
Most of the weight you’ll carry will be supported by your hips.
Reputable Brand of Backpack
One of the things you need to check out is the brand, of course.
This isn’t about brand snobbery, but about going for the brands with the best reputation for producing durable backpacks that don’t break down soon after you buy them.
This is where the travel backpack reviews come in.
You can check out the long-term reviews and see that the straps are durable, the buckles aren’t flimsy, and the metal zippers are not prone to locking up.
Some backpacks also have ventilation systems that keep the load off your lower back so your clothes don’t sweat through.
However, you may have to sacrifice some durability in the material in exchange, because backpacks with ventilation may be more likely to get torn.
Then finally there’s the size of the backpack.
Some manufacturers have sizes such as small, medium, and large, but what’s large for one manufacturer may be considered medium by another.
So first you need to measure your torso length (not your height) from the prominent bone at the base of your neck to the top of your hip bone.
Then you can check the backpack specs that correspond to your measurements.
The overall size of your backpack may also correspond to the length of your trip.
The longer your trip is, the more things you’ll likely bring with you.
Smaller is always better if you have a choice, so for a weekend trip a light backpack with a 35 to 50 liter capacity will be fine.
For 3 to 5 day trips you may want a capacity ranging from 50 to 80 liters, and for extended periods you’ll need a minimum of 70 liters.
Choosing the Right Travel Backpack for Women
There are some special considerations to factor in when buying a travel backpack for women, aside from the usual considerations.
One crucial factor is of course style.
It has to look good, and appearance is not something that most women will consider inconsequential.
Men are also concerned about how “cool” a backpack is of course (most men don’t choose canary yellow backpacks, for example) but the standards of what’s cool may be different for women.
Now one of the most important considerations is size, because women are on average smaller than men.
It’s for that reason why most women choose backpacks in a size “medium” while most men go for the “large size” instead.
Many manufacturers simply make a smaller size of backpack and call it a women’s version, but your best bet is to choose a backpack tailored specifically for women.
They have to be designed specifically for the frame of a woman, which is different from a man’s frame in more than just size.
The torso dimensions are on average shorter and also narrower.
But the hip belts and the shoulder straps should be contoured with the woman’s form in mind.
But the size must also be enough not just for the woman’s belongings, but also enough for her future belongings.
In other words, it must anticipate the likelihood of shopping adventures, and these purchases must be accommodated.
Of course, if a woman wants to avoid the temptation of shopping then a smaller backpack may be the best option.
It’s much easier to decide not to shop when there’s not much space begging to be filled with various new items.
Compartments are crucial too.
A separate compartment for the shoes is important, and also a special compartment for umbrellas.
Many guys are too cool to bring umbrellas, but most women have more sense than that.
And also, a special compartment for makeup would be nice.
Now let’s consider the straps.
It must be adjustable, and not just padded for your comfort.
When the straps are adjustable, the bag won’t sag down low like you’re some kind of teenager.
Instead, you can tighten the shoulder straps so the bag can ride higher on your back.
This prevents the backpack from pulling on your shoulders and causing you lots of discomfort and pain.
A padded hip belt is also essential.
Again, a lot of guys don’t go for this because they want the coolness factor of easily removing the backpack whenever they want.
And again, women usually have more sense than that.
The hip belt is crucial in making sure that the weight is properly distributed.
The weight of the backpack is loaded more on your hips, as it was properly meant to do.
When the hips are carrying the load, you have your most stable and strongest part carrying the biggest burden.
This will greatly reduce the pain you’ll experience on your neck, shoulders, and back.
Backpack Carry strap
Some people may also want an additional carry strap so that they can carry the backpack like a shoulder bag.
You may also want a strap that connects across your chest between the 2 shoulder straps.
This also helps in a more even distribution of the weight, and the strap doesn’t have to be padded because it’s not resting on you.
You may also want to consider a front-loading backpack, especially when you think you may have to dig through your bag often to get what you need.
A front-loading backpack can open as if it is a suitcase, so you can easily get the things that have fallen to the bottom of the backpack.
I did some research into greener options and was surprised by the lack of backpacks made of eco-friendly materials.
After all, backpackers and hikers are very much outdoorsy types who care about the environment.
So I was psyched when I found Mountainsmith’s line of recycled packs.
The folks at Mountainsmith were kind enough to send me a Lily backpack made of recycled PET.
I love it.
It’s the perfect size for extended travel if you pack light, though it’s designed for shorter trips.
And it’s carry-on size, which was a huge selling point for me.
Its 31.5 liters hold more than you’d think and at just 2 lbs 8 oz, carrying it is a breeze.
It works well as a day pack, too.
My favorite part is the pockets.
The pockets on either side are big, and the front compartment has lots of smaller pockets to help you stay organized.
There are even two water bottle pockets large enough to hold my 24 ounce water bottles.
The shoulder and abdomen straps are extra padded for added comfort.
The Lily recycled backpack by Mountainsmith pack is designed for women and it fits me better than most unisex pack do.
It even has a safety whistle, which I’ve fortunately never had to use, and can hold trekking poles, a sleeping bag, and an ice axe.
All in all, the recycled Lily recycled backpack by Mountainsmith is a great pack for anyone who’s looking for a small pack for extended travel, or a large daypack, and I applaud Mountainsmith for leading the way with eco-friendly backpacks.
I would definitely recommend the Lily to any green traveler.
But don’t rely purely on GPS as there are a number of things that could go wrong – especially in the poorly mapped wilderness.
Instead, take back-up in the form of an old-school map and compass, things that don’t rely on power or connectivity.
And never assume that you know the terrain.
Make sure to time your trip, so you know when to turn around and head back.
Tell someone else where you’re going before you leave so they’ll know to raise the alarm should you be late.
Take a whistle with you so you can signal for help should the need arise.
If you do get lost, stay calm.
Make your way to higher ground if possible, which will hopefully offer you a fresh perspective on what’s around you.
Maybe revealing a familiar landmark that you previously passed, and to which you can retrace your steps.
But if this doesn’t work, and there’s no immediate danger, it’s best to stay put.
Wandering further on can just make you even more lost, guide you towards potential dangers, and make the trail harder for rescuers to trace.
Tips if You Get Lost While Hiking or Backpacking
Make yourself a shelter, be it against the sun or the rain, and build a fire to maintain your energy and as a signal to rescuers.
When you do hear a helicopter tracing the area, lay down flat on the floor (outside of the shelter!) so that you are easier to spot.
Wear your brightest clothes, and if possible make a flag out of your most colorful item.
All that said, with the right preparation and a responsible attitude, disaster is highly unlikely.
Most of your energies should be focused on looking after yourself, and nature around you.
Be sure to eat regularly – a carb-packed oatmeal breakfast, a high-calorie lunch, and plenty of snacks in between – and drink plenty of water.
You’ll want to take a water filter or purification tablets to ensure that even when your own supply runs out, you can make a healthy resource of any spring you should find.
Remember to wrap up your trash and take it with you, and leave your souvenirs behind.
Nature belongs where you found it!
Fine wilderness will remain an enticing challenge for generations to come.
These tips and more have been gathered into a great new infographic, an easy reference check-list for the aspiring backpacker.
Be sure to study it closely and run through it ahead of your next big trip, like Best UK Walking Cycling Holiday, take care out there, and have fun.
Best Duffel Bags with Wheels is the Rolling Duffel Bags
Whether you are packing your kids off to summer camp, getting ready to pack them off to college, or packing yourself off to a much deserved vacation, the rolling duffel bag is your new best friend.
The perfect pairing between the flexibility of a duffel bag and the ease of movement of roller bags can be found with just the click of a mouse.
These bags are big enough to act as a footlocker but their collapsible nature makes them easier to store than traditional suitcases and their flexible exterior can be squished or squashed down if space is at a premium.
To help you get packing, here are the best rolling duffel bags according to Amazon’s reviews and ratings.
Briggs & Riley Transcend 26″ Wheeled Duffle
Leading the pack is this super-sleek duffle that looks like the kind of luggage James Bond would use.
With side panels that collapse for easy storage and a super strong exterior made from TuffLite™ fabric, you truly get the best of both worlds.
Inside you will find more than 5,000 cubic inches of capacity, zippered dividers, pockets, and zippered pouches, providing all the space and organizational assistance you need to pack for a 10-12 day trip.
In addition to wheels specifically designed to roll smooth and quiet, this bag features tilt-resistant front feet which means no more awkward balancing act at the airport counter while you try to keep your suitcase from toppling over onto your feet during check-in.
This bag is available in sunset (dark red) and rain forest (deep green), and is on Best of the Best List.
Nautica Luggage Seaside 26″ Pop Up Wheeled Duffel Bag
It doesn’t matter if you are headed for the sea, the shore, or the slopes, this bag will have you covered.
Constructed from a durable polyester blend, it has a pop-up feature that keeps the body of the bag upright while you are packing which saves time and maximizes how much the bag can hold.
This duffel comes in three sporty color combinations, black/red, black/orange, and black/yellow, and collapses for easy storage under a bed or on a closet shelf.
Tommy Bahama Luggage Nassau 26″ Wheeled Duffel Bag
The most traditional of the three bags, the Tommy Bahama Nassau duffel (see it here) is a high quality piece made from durable two tone bird’s eye material.
It provides numerous inside storage pockets and pouches and smooth running wheels for ease in moving around the airport or hotel.
Designed to give you an island feel and get you in the mood for rest and relaxation, this is the perfect duffel for a lengthy cruise or trip to the Caribbean.
Available in black and deceptively roomy, this bag can find a place in any vacation destination.
Donna Sharp Rolling Duffel Bag
Although smaller than the other featured duffel bags, this bag has a personality all its own.
Made from cotton featuring the Lighthouse design, this duffel would be as easy to carry as it is to pull.
The traditional black styling says you mean business and the inline skate wheels make it easy to pull behind you on the streets of the city or the terminal at the airport.
An accordion file in one pocket provides a great way to organize files and paperwork and an accessory organizer with special pockets for pens, business cards, and keys will help keep you on top of everything no matter where you are.
The main compartment will hold most laptops up to 17” and provides a padded pocket for safekeeping.
This bag received top rankings and is reasonably priced, Weighing in at barely a pound, this bag is the perfect companion for any type of business travel.
It’s super cute and it has a unique cushioning system that uses a quilted pocket specifically designed to protect laptops up to 15.4 inches.
This bag, made from water-resistant material, is designed for comfort, portability, and ease of use.
Lightweight and easy to maneuver into small spaces on planes, trains and automobiles, it is equipped with an external pocket to store accessories and paperwork.
The hidden wheels and contour grip handles make this bag the perfect partner for a weekend away.
Plus, it’s less with free shipping.
Travel Bags for Everyday and Everything
Looking for a great bag that is spacious enough to stow all your carry-on items in but still stylish enough to make a statement?
The Saltbox GEO Getaway Bag – Tote from SaltboxGEO Getaway Bag from Saltbox is the perfect mix of form and function.
Designed to look like a slouch bag, the roomy interior converts to a flat tote and has more than a foot square of interior storage space.
Voted Best of the Best on eBags.com, this bag comes in three colors pool (blue), lychee (pink), and kiwi (green) and can be found on the site.
To maximize functionality, the GEO has straps that can be reconfigured based on how you are using it.
It is constructed of heavy weight canvas that is both water and stain resistant, making it perfect for a trip to the beach or to Bali.
Travel Bags for Long Stays
For longer trips and for those times when packing light is not an option, the Athalon 15-Pocket 34″ Wheeling Duffel from Athalon offers a roomy interior, rugged construction, and three in-line skate wheels to help with even the heaviest loads.
Nearly 3’ long, this bag is built for durability from water-resistant polyester and includes several features to reinforce the structure of the bag and protect your belongings.
Another Best of the Best bag, the Athalon duffel got high marks from customers in every category.
This carry-all is accessibly and the distinctive rust color makes a statement without needing any words.
It gives you easy access to all of your valuables and has is comfortable to wear under your clothing against your skin.
This creates the ideal way to protect your belongings when traveling.
As you consider your options in travel wallets, remember that security and organizations are the two most important things to look for.
These options are the perfect fit for just about any activity you plan to take on.
Travel Jewelry Case: Jewelry Cases for Travel
Whether you are heading to a five-star resort or to hike the Himalayas, investing in a good travel jewelry case to hold your jewelry while you travel is a wise decision.
This type of case is designed to protect watches, rings, necklaces, pendants, and other adornments from loss or damage while you are in transit.
It provides a single place for storage which also makes it easy to protect your valuables once you arrive at your destination.
Just slip the case into the hotel safe and you will never have to worry about this bracelet or that watch being left on the bathroom sink and disappearing into someone’s pocket.
Best Travel Jewelry Case
A good jewelry case for traveling will provide different types of storage for the variety of items you decide to bring.
For ease of use once you arrive at your destination, look for a case that provides see-through pockets and pouches so you can see all of your items without having to dig through each pocket to find what you want.
Travel Jewelry Portable Roll Case from Household Essentials
You also want to look for a case that is built from a durable material and offers custom storage for the jewelry you travel with the most often.
ATJ’s Anti-Tarnish Jewelry Roll offers a soft padded home for your precious jewelry including a secure strip for earrings, pouches for housing necklaces and a ring roll that detaches at one end.
Silk Brocade Jewelry Roll from Red Blossom
If you are looking for something a little more luxurious, the Silk Brocade Jewelry Roll from Red Blossom is made from soft silk and rayon brocade fabric and provides several pouches for storage and a roll carrier for rings.
You might also like the Silk Brocade Coin Pouch Set from Dahlia which features a set of 10 small oriental fan shaped pouches perfect for storing jewelry at home or while traveling.
Because they are separate pouches, they make packing a breeze, just select the items you want and they are pre-packed in their own pouch.
Red Travel Jewelry Box
If space is not an issue and you want something more solid, there are several jewelry cases that might suit your needs.
The Red Travel Jewelry Box from Richards Homewares features a red faux leather exterior filled with a soft cream bed for all your valuables.
A make-up mirror in the lid provides the perfect place for putting in earrings or applying lipstick.
It provides multiple snap fixtures for securing chains and necklaces, space for 24 rings, and a built-in combination lock allowing you to lock the case and keep your valuables secure while your luggage is out of your control.
With a faux leather exterior, this case is durable enough to weather your most extreme adventures.
Never spend another minute of vacation trying to untangle the jumble of necklaces or searching for the other earring that matches your dress.
By investing in the right jewelry travel case, you can protect, store, and secure your bracelets, earrings, and rings no matter where your travels take you.
Note: This post on travel jewelry case contains affiliate links.
When you click on the links in this post and make a purchase, Go Green Travel Green receives a portion of the proceeds, which allows us to continue producing high-quality, free content.
Weekender Bags: Best for a Weekend Getaway
When it comes to a weekend away, packing should be the least of your concerns.
Take a few tips from the pros and start your getaway stress-free.
First, don’t bring too much.
Over-packing is very common and only leads to more stress and more stuff.
Think about what you need to take with you, add a few things you want to bring, and then try and cut the end result by one third.
Second, don’t over-schedule.
Make sure that your getaway is actually a time that you can get away from the demands, pressure, and stress of your normal life.
Put the blackberry away and make your laptop part of the third you decide not to bring.
Lastly, take a great bag.
Only shoes have a more immediate and positive effect on how carefree and fantastic we feel.
To help you find just the right one, here is a breakdown of the highest rated weekender bags.
Vera Bradley Weekender Bags
Part of the infinitely popular line of Vera Bradley bags, this weekender comes in a gorgeous colors and patterns.
With a large interior space that opens wide for easy packing, this bag can easily hold everything you need for a weekend away from home.
A variety of interior pockets provide places to stash the little bits and bobs you don’t want to lose and the removal strap makes it easy to carry, no matter how much you pack.
Voted a Best of the Best selection, this weekender has just enough space and just enough flair to get your getaway off to a great start.
The North Face Isla Weekender Bag
Available in black/white plaid, fuchsia, and straight black, this bag provides more than 2000 cubic inches in available packing space, which should be sufficient for any weekend away.
Another of the Best of the Best recipients, the North Face weekender is made in part from recycled poly and offers zippered pockets inside and out to keep you organized throughout your trip.
The bag has standard carry-handles and a detachable strap making it easy to grab and go when it’s time to get out of town.
As part of eBags.com “Pick Pink” campaign, when you purchase this bag a 10% donation is made to the Susan G. Komen for a Cure Foundation.
The Sak Artist Circle Convertible Weekender Bag
Trendier in appearance than the other bags, this weekender looks like it belongs on the streets of New York City, perched on the shoulder of someone beautiful who is heading off to the Hamptons.
Constructed of nylon and available in four color/pattern combinations, it has about the same capacity as the North Face bag with the personality and flair of the Vera Bradley.
Loaded with pockets and zippered pouches, you won’t have a problem finding a place for everything in this Best of the Best bag as you head out of town, Sak Artist Circle Convertible Weekender Bag.
Alla Leather Art Tarantella Weekender Shoulder Bag
This gorgeous leather shoulder bag looks more like a fashionista’s purse than everything she might need for a weekend away.
Available in a variety of colors, it won’t fit quite as much as the other bags, but who needs more clothes when you have such a great bag.
Nooks and crannies for storing your odds and ends are featured throughout the bag and it’s Best of the Best list.