5 Eco travel accessories for your backpack

Travel accessories are getting smarter – and ‘greener’ – by the day. If you want to enjoy an eco-friendly trip, make sure the essentials packed in your suitcase or backpack are eco-friendly too. Here are a few green suggestions to add to your packing list…(click on the images to shop direct from the page)

‘Maasai Treads’ Eco-friendly Flip-Flops by Fresh Cargo – £22

Yes, you read that right – you can now make sure your feet are clad in eco-friendly footwear! These eco-friendly flip-flops (‘Maasai Treads’ for women) are made from natural hemp with soles made from recycled tyres. Cheerful colours and comfortable.

Weleda Organic Body Wash Travel Pack – £9.95

A little too fussy and indulgent for a backpacking trip? No! A basic, no-frills overseas trip (with all the sweat, sand, saltwater and rarely washed clothing) is exactly the time to bring out a much needed ‘luxury’ pampering moment! Organic beauty leaders Weleda have created this handy travel set containing five 20ml bottles of their gorgeous smelling body washes – citrus, lavender, sea buckthorn, wild rose, and pomegranate. Suitable for vegans.

Eton Solarlink AM/FM/Shortwave Solar Crank Radio – £49.95

This rugged, splash-proof Eton portable radio is powered via the sun or a few turns on the wind-up handle. Ideal for tuning in to radio stations (to catch a glimpse of local life on-air) to while away the evenings. Its handy USB socket allows you to charge your mobile phone or mp3 player while on the go. Also has an alarm function to get you up in time for that early flight…

EarthLust Water Bottle – £19.95

A sturdy reusable water bottle, to help reduce the huge numbers of plastic bottles littering streets and filling landfill, is a travel essential. The eco-chic stainless steel versions by EarthLust are some of the most stylish we’ve seen. Available in 400ml, 600ml and 1l sizes, EarthLust bottles come in an imaginative range of nature-inspired designs (‘fish’ pictured). Each bottle is made from food grade stainless steel, designed using non-toxic paint, and comes with a BPA-free cap to ensure nothing harmful gets into your drinking water (you should still boil water or use purifying tablets in areas where it is advised). A sturdy clip allows your bottle to be attached to your belt or rucksack when on the move.

CIAK DUO Medium Notebook – £16.99

Never underestimate the value of a decent notebook on your travels. You may think it’s best to jot all your notes down on to your smartphone or laptop, but a good old fashioned paper journal will never run out of power and allows you to write, sketch and doddle all the thoughts, information and memories you collect as your trip unfurls. This very stylish duo-cover notebook is one half lined paper, one half plain with a central pocket for storing scraps of paper and receipts etc. CIAK is committed to being socially responsible and all notebooks contain eco-friendly, acid-free, recycled paper. No wonder it won an award for best notebook at the London Stationery Awards 2011 (yes, they really do have them!).

All of the Amazon links in this article link to the Goodtrippers Amazon Affiliates site – this is at no additional cost to you (prices are the same as going direct to Amazon) but Goodtrippers receives a small percentage from sales when you purchase using these links. Many thanks for your support.

The Goodtrippers Christmas Gift Guide 2013 – Part 1

Wondering what great Christmas gifts to get friends and family this year? We’ve picked some of the best ideas for travel enthusiasts, backpackers, weekenders, globe trotters and lovers of the great outdoors. Time to get shopping!

FOR STYLE_SAVVY TRAVELLERSE-SIDE - Proof Wooden Sunglasses in bamboo polarized - £120

Sustainable wooden sunglasses by Proof: These stylish shades, designed by Proof, are individually handcrafted and rendered in beautiful eco-friendly wood such as ebony and bamboo. We like the classic, unisex style, and that for every pair you buy a portion of the sale price goes to supporting charitable causes worldwide, including an eye clinic in rural India.

Price: £120. Available from www.e-side.co.uk

Oxfam Monsoon wash bag

Monsoon for Oxfam large wash bag: This special Monsoon collection for Oxfam includes hand embroidered items are made by SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), a community cooperative in India committed to empowering female artisans. This beautifully patterned textile washbag is a stylish way to carry your travel accessories.

Price: £9.99. Available from www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/local-shops/monsoon


trapper-wrist-warmer-turquoise-blue Snugbug hat and wrist warmers: Snugbug create some the most Cable Floppy Pom Pom Whitesnugly winter woollies around! Made with 100% New Zealand wool, this top quality lanoline repels rain and snow making them great for winter outdoor activities. We love the on-trend chunky cable-knit designs and tribal-style patterns of the wrist warmers. But best of all, Snugbug works with ethical and fairtrade suppliers in Nepal where they are hand knitted – this ensures the money goes directly to the Nepalese villages involved.

Price: Cable floppy pompom hat – £22; Trapper wrist warmers – £20. Available from www.snug-bug.co.uk


TEKO EVAPOR8 socks: Every Christmas list needs a pair of socks and, would you believe it, Teko Evapor8 socksthese socks are actually made from recycled drinks bottles! The high-tech lightweight fabric ensures that your feet will stay dry, comfortable and odour-free as the EVAPOR8 fibre dries incredibly fast and is very durable making them perfect for high intensity activities or for wearing in hot, humid conditions.

Price: from approx. £8.50. Available from www.tekosocks.com or Amazon


Reflexion photography cases: For the wannabe David Bailey in your life who’s always lugging their camera (and Reflexion casescamera equipment) on their trips, the Reflexion photography case collection could be just the thing. The range, by Case Logic, includes two messenger-style cross-body bags which feature a removable camera pod to store your camera, lens and accessories, as well as offering good padded protection.

Price: various, from £45. Available from Amazon


FOR GADGET FANSTrakdot device

Trakdot luggage tracking device: Never fear lost luggage again! Once you register on the Trakdot website, place the device inside your suitcase or bag. Trakdot will deliver location information directly to your mobile phone or SMS device via text or email. An additional app even alerts passengers as their baggage approaches on the carousel…smart.

Price: £44.99 (plus annual service fee of £13.65). Available from www.trakdot.com


E-SIDE - Handmade wooden compass - £15


Wooden compass: For trekkers who prefer the classic forms of navigation, get them this stylish, hand carved wooden compass by Singgih Susilo. It’s tactile and attractive enough to keep them away from battery-draining GPS devices.

Price: £15. Available from www.e-side.co.uk



House of Marley watch, Transport light wood House of Marley watch, Billet Fabric greenHouse of Marley Watches: We love these eco-friendly watches designed and crafted by House of Marley (yes, of Bob Marley family fame). Choose a design with either salvaged leather, REWIND fabric, cotton and canvas straps; recycled steel or FSC-certified wood dials; and casing and buckles created with low impact ion plating. And to make them extra lovely, a percentage of proceeds from each sale goes to support 1Love.org, a non-profit which aims to make lives better around the world.

Price: various, ‘Billet’ with fabric strap – £89.99; ‘Transport’ with leather strap – £109.99. Available from www.watchshop.com


Lifeproof NUUD S3 case

Lifeproof waterproof cases: Smartphones and tablets can take a battering on your travels, but the award-winning Lifeproof creates a great range of shock-proof cases that protect your precious gadgets from water, dirt, mud and snow. The LifeJacket case even makes your tablet or smartphone completely buoyant allowing you to take it out on the water, and even take photos underwater. Cases available for iPhone 5, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad mini, Samsung S3 and S4.

Price: various, from £59.99. Available from www.lifeproof.com or Amazon


FOR OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTSDraper Tools Folding Stool_Backpack

Draper Tools folding stool backpack: Lighten the load on a long hike – no need to carry a backpack and a separate chair, this durable, water-resistant backpack has a lightweight steel tube attached (1.6kg) that forms into a comfy seat. Ideal for camping or hiking.

Price: £16.50. Available from national outdoor stores or Amazon


Zap-It: Being in the great outdoors is wonderful – but not so wonderful if you find yourself a meal for the local Zap it in greenmosquitoes! Zap-It is a cute little device that is perfect to soothing itchy insect bites. Just place over the offending itch and click a few times – the mild and harmless (no stronger than a gentle pinch, honestly!) electrical impulse is created by crystals, delivering little zaps that soon stops you scratching. Its tiny size means you can even carry it around in your pocket.

Price: £5.95. Available from various health stores, garden centres, pharmacies and online at www.ecobrands.co.uk


JML Flexi torch: This slimline, bendable torch helps you illuminate awkward, hard-to-reach areas with its 360° JML FlexiTorchflexible head. But as a bonus, the head extends up to 57cm and is magnetised allowing you to retrieve lost or trapped metal items – you’ll realise how useful this is when you drop your keys down a tiny hole! It can lift objects of up to 1kg. The three LED lights have a good life expectancy and batteries are included.

Price: from £9.99. Available from www.jmldirect.com or Amazon


H2Onya 350ml purpleH2-Onya-750ml-Emerald-Green

H2Onya steel bottles: Perfect for hiking or cycling trips, these reusable stainless steel bottles are lightweight but sturdy enough to survive regular knocks. Made from 100% foodsafe material and bisphenol A-free, they won’t leach any nasties into your drinking water. We like the funky metallic colours and attractive ergonomic design.

Price: £11 (1l); £9.50 (350ml). Available from www.onyabags.co.uk


Coming soon…The Goodtrippers Christmas Gift Guide: Part 2 (last minute gifts to buy online!)

All of the Amazon links in this article link to the Goodtrippers Amazon Affiliates site – this is at no additional cost to you (prices are the same as going direct to Amazon) but Goodtrippers receives a small percentage from sales when you purchase using these links. Many thanks for your support.


8 eco ‘must haves’ for your travel bag

Guest blogger Erin Steiner gives us her checklist of eco-friendly travel bag essentials

1. Water Bottle with Filter

Carry a reusable water bottle that has a filter in it. You won’t be able to fill it up until after you get through security, but that’s okay—pack it empty. This bottle keeps you from having to buy a bottle of water while you wait for your flight. It also makes it easy for you to get (free) drinkable water pretty much anywhere you go, saving you money and keeping quite a few beverage containers out of landfills. (One of our personal favourites is the Bobble, but even with a filter, please be aware that tap water may not be safe to drink in the country you’re travelling in – Editor)

2. Travel Blanket and Pillow

Make sure these are constructed from organic materials like bamboo. They’ll keep you warm on your flight, and you won’t have to worry about using a pillow that hundreds of other people have coughed on!

Make use of solar power as you travel
Make use of solar power as you travel

3. Solar Charger

Solar chargers are smaller now and incredibly useful while travelling, especially internationally. With a solar charger, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your chargers will fit into the outlets wherever you are, and you can use it even if you don’t have access to A/C power. (Nigel’s Eco Store sells a good range of solar chargers for travel -Ed)

4. Snacks

Airplane food is notoriously expensive and sometimes just bad. You can make your own snack packs at home for a fraction of the price and can even use herbs and salads you’ve grown yourself. Save the plastic bags to use for snack packs to make before you fly home (and to keep them out of landfills).

5. Water Alarm Clock

You want to have a reliable alarm clock with you. Sure, there’s an alarm on your phone, but what if you don’t hear it or if your phone dies? The water alarm clock is exactly what it sounds like: an alarm clock that runs on water. One fill keeps the clock running for six months (which is way better for the environment than a clock that requires batteries), but make sure it’s empty before you go through security!

6. Sanitising Wipes

Germs are bad. You don’t want to get sick on your trip (or as soon as you get back)! Look for wipes created by green companies like Seventh Generation.

7. Change of Clothes

A company called Revolution Apparel makes clothing that is travel-ready and has almost no carbon footprint (organic and sustainable materials, fair labour manufacturing). Just a few items can be combined and turned into a bunch of different looks. This way, even if the rest of your luggage gets lost, you’ll have enough variety in your hand luggage to last for your entire vacation. If you’ve got room you may want to also take some compression socks, a sleep aid… but when space is limited, though, stick with what you absolutely need. Remember, you still need to be able to carry the bag you’re packing.

8. Eco-Friendly Personal Care Products

Tom’s toothpaste (travel-sized of course) and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (the kind of bars that double as body soap and shampoo) are a must-have in any travel bag. This will keep you from having to buy the products when you get there and can give you a quick “freshen up” in the airport (or even plane) bathroom. They’re environmentally friendly, so you won’t have to worry about using products provided by hotels or hosts who aren’t as green as you are.

About the author: Erin Steiner is a freelance writer and blogger from Portland, Oregon, who writes about a variety of topics including business, being environmentally-friendly, and the price of gold and silver.