If you’re heading somewhere extremely cold and want to pack socks that are warmer than Thorlos, buy Smartwools.
For both men and women Smartwools are the best travel socks for winter that you can find.
They are insanely warm, cute, durable, and comfortable.
Disposable Underwear: this may be the most un-green traveler thing I have come across in a long time.
And it’s just a little too ridiculous not to post about.
I wish I had found them in time for April Fool’s Day (and the joke would have been that they are real.)
That’s right – they make disposable underwear for travel.
Perhaps the commentator /reviewer with the most helpful disposable underwear review said this:
These are a life-saver for people going on extended trips. They can be washed and dried several times if you choose to be economical and environmentally conscious. They dry much faster than conventional underwear. Since they are lighter than conventional panties, they save a small but useful amount of energy by making your suitcase lighter. I also find them comfortable. I often find conventional panties chafing; these are very kind to my body. If you are going somewhere just overnight, you might be able to save the inconvenience of carrying a suitcase simply by tucking a pair in your purse — not a discreet option with conventional underwear. They look like a little cotton roll and are wrapped in plastic.
Other reviewers also noted how light they are and that they are better because there are no dyes in them.
Besides for travel, it seems people also buy disposable underwear for maternity and hospital stays.
And men have the option of disposable briefs or disposable boxers.
They are relatively inexpensive – $20 for 30 pairs of panties or briefs or $7 for 10 pairs.
The cost of the men’s boxers are $20 for 18 pairs.
Given that they are washable, it makes them perhaps an understandable choice for for extended travel.
When we recently went to New Zealand my rolling carry-on didn’t meet the weight limits for carry on.
This wasn’t only because of what it contained, but because it was just a heavy bag, even empty.
When everyone’s empty bag weighs a few pounds, the result is too much energy being used just to transport the luggage.
When searching for green luggage, try to the bag that weighs less.
Size of Bag
The first rule of luggage size is to buy a bag that’s the right size for your purpose.
While we prefer that everyone pack light, we’d rather you buy a bigger bag that you’ll actually use.
Otherwise you’ll have to buy another bag.
The second rule of luggage size is to buy a smaller bag.
Why? Because the more space you have the more likely you’ll be to fill it with stuff you don’t need.
I prefer carry on sized luggage because it saves the environment because I’m transporting less, and it save me the bag checking fee.
I honestly don’t know time I packed my stuff in a non carry-on size bag.
Even when we went to Argentina for three months (or New Zealand for 10 days) I still just brought a carry on.
Buying an expandable bag may seem to contradict my last recommended feature.
But, I have found that an expandable carry-on bag means that you actually have to own fewer pieces of luggage.
When you end up buying too many souvenirs or get an extra large holiday gift, expandable luggage comes in handy.
You can carry-on one way and check the bag on your return trip.
If you can, buy a bag that’s PVC free and/or made from recyclable materials. Hemp or organic cotton are also great choices.
As I alluded to in my intro, cheap luggage often falls apart.
Buy a bag with good reviews, a good warranty, or a well known brand.
Make sure it feels sturdy.
You might pay a little bit more now, but you will save the earth and some money down the road by not having to buy new luggage every few years.
Last but not least, if you are in the market for some new green luggage, first ask yourself whether or not you can repair your current luggage. If it’s just a broken zipper or wheel you can likely get your luggage repaired.
Luggage and bags are wonderful.
One of my favorite places to browse in a department store is the luggage section.
There are always new styles with fun compartments and nifty pockets.
But, I know the best tips for buying green luggage isn’t a tip at all.
Given the popularity of our Stainless Steel Water Bottle: Smackdown and our recent commitment to covering green home issues, I wanted to write about a surprising and scary issue in the home: nonstick pans – so this post is about the best stainless steel cookware.
I used to be an avid lover of nonstick pans.
I adore eggs and nonstick coated cookware made my kitchen pans incredibly easy to clean.
But, nonstick coatings are unbelievably bad for you and the environment.
So bad that the fumes can kill birds.
Check out this article and the references in it if you want to learn the specifics.
For instance, according to the article, “although an accurate national accounting of deaths is not available, in a single year [a]Chicago veterinarian documented 296 bird deaths in 105 cases involving non-stick cookware.
The problem with nonstick pans is something called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE.
The most well known brand is Teflon®.
The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
Now, I’m not one to be an alarmist, but I take my personal health very seriously.
At first, when Kimberly tried to convince me to throw out our nonstick Teflon pans I insisted that they were fine.
But I did a lot of research and eventually realized that nonstick is terrible.
The fact that the fumes can kill birds makes me think that nonstick may be even worse for you than BPA (the bad stuff in plastics and the reason to use stainless steel water bottles).
So, when we decided to purchase a new cookware set we researched different types of cookware.
Most professional chefs use copper or stainless steel cookware sets.
If they use these materials, why not us too?
But, our first stainless steel cookware set quickly broke.
The handles came loose and food didn’t cook easily.
The worst part about them was that the pans heated unevenly and were difficult to clean.
Luckily, for a wedding present we received an extremely nice stainless steel cookware set – All-Clad.
They pans have held up exceptionally well.
But more on that later.
Stainless Steel Cookware Set Comparison
To conduct our Stainless Steel Cookware comparison we have several different contenders.
We’ll discuss each one and the importance of their features
For 2) (beach, if lots of walking) and 3) (someplace warm), you’ll want a comfy pair of walking sandals.
Walking sandals with wrap around straps (forcing your foot to press against your foot, unlike a flip flop) are a better choice.
Depending on your dress style you may want something fancy in travel sandals.
Here are the best sandals for walking that we’ve found:
In terms of brands, I used to recommend Birkenstocks but have had some terrible quality and customer service issues.
I had the strap fail and separate from the sandal after just 6 months of light wear.
I do not recommend anymore; and Kimberly prefers Tevas and Chaco sandals, which are known for their durability and comfort.
If I were going to buy a pair of walking sandals today it would be either Chacos or one of the following brands: Keen, Uggs, Clarks, Born, Mephisto, Hush Puppies all have good comfortable dress sandals that will also be good for walking.
Best Travel Walking Shoes
If your destination isn’t 90 degrees and hot, you’d probably prefer a pair of close toed extra comfortable travel walking shoes (like the Propet Women’s Travelwalker II).
Depending on your travel plans and amount of luggage, you may want walking shoes that double as hiking boots or travel walking shoes that double as dress shoes.
That said, your best best might be to invest in a good pair of hiking boots (like the Keen Targhee II or the Moab Ventilator) and a small cute pair of flats (like the Bloch London) Arabian Ballet Flats that don’t take up much room in your suitcase.
Best Travel Shoes: Hiking and Walking Shoes for Traveling
If you’re looking for walking shoes that double as hiking boots, look for a pair of low cut hiking boots.
For Argentina I purchased these Merrills (the Moab Ventilator) and love them.
Kimberly bought some Keens and loved those.
We wore these shoes regularly for both hiking and city walking.
There are a number of great brands of hiking/walking shoes, the trick is to find a pair that fit well.
Best Travel Shoes: Walking and Dress Shoes
If you want travel walking shoes that can double as dress shoes, there are a few brands that turn up comfortable walking shoes that look nice enough for a fancy restaurant.
Check out: Ecco, Mephisto, New Balance, Rockport (men) as they all get good reviews for fancy, yet comfortable, walking shoes.
Shoes are difficult to buy online because you can’t try them on.
But, you can get better prices.
There are a lot of reasons to buy shoes online and a lot of reasons not to.
Here’s an experience I had trying to buy hiking shoes just a week before we left for Argentina.
A previously written but unpublished post.
I knew I had a pair of hiking boots. Somewhere. They served me well during a 3-week backpacking trip in Poland years ago. After digging around for them, I found my trusty Merrells tucked away in my parents’ garage. A few seeds in them. And what else… chewed up padding. Apparently a mouse had found the hiking boots before me.
With only 3 weeks until my departure (and 1.5 until my move) and 45 minutes from the nearest REI, I knew I had to act fast. After pouring through hiking boot reviews online I still couldn’t decide which pair to buy.
I knew I wanted Merrells. Mostly because I knew what size I wore in them.
But there are probably 50+ Merrell hiking boot options. So I slowly but surely narrowed the choices down.
While this takes its toll on the environment because of shipping, the stress it saves me (plus the long drive to REI) certainly pays off. But then there’s the problem of costs. Shipping costs a lot of money.
Thank goodness for Zappos. I ordered all three pairs of shoes on Tuesday. Free 4-6 day shipping was included. Lucky for me they upgraded me to free overnight shipping. Woo-hoo!
Wednesday I received all three pairs. I tried them on.
The $90 pair slipped off my feet. They were sort of elasticy.
The $115 pair was really heavy. Plus, they are made of Gore-Tex which, for environmental reasons, I’m on the fence about.
The $80 were very comfortable. They were soft to the step. Plus I think they are the best color.
I’d heard good things about Zappos (like this story about Zappos sending someone flowers which I still am so impressed by).
But now I’ve experienced it for myself. I will definitely shop there again since it makes my life so much easier.
So there you have it.
Everything you needed to know (and more) about the best travel shoes, travel sandals, walking shoes, and hiking boots, plus where to buy them online.
Update: I have also heard good things about Endless, which also offers free shipping.