Earlier this year, we made a commitment to pursue a more sustainable travel lifestyle. For us, that meant becoming more conscious about the way we travel and a commitment to making a positive impact on the destinations and communities we visit.
After evaluating all the elements of our travel lifestyle we realized that this commitment goes beyond the hotels we stay at, restaurants we eat at, and tour providers we use along the way. As we looked at what we carried in our backpacks, we realized that the clothes we were wearing and products we were using while on the road weren’t doing the planet any good. So we set out on a mission to find some great eco-friendly brands that we can proudly wear and use no matter where our travels might take us.
After months of research and a few more months of testing on the road, we are ready to share our findings.
Most of these brands, you have probably never heard of, but if you keep an opened mind, we promise that you will love them as much as we do!
At a first glance, Ably Apparel may not strike you as anything special, their t-shirts and sweaters are made from 100% cotton, but the “Ably difference” lies in the manufacturing process. Their clothes are activated with Filium®, an eco-friendly technology that makes any natural fabric repel liquid and resist odour without sacrificing softness or breathability. The technology doesn’t use nanoparticles or harmful chemicals that break down and leach into your skin or the environment, so the clothes that you wear are 100% safe for you and the planet.
We have tested our Ably products in some harsh environments ranging from windy, cold and rainy weather in Chilean Patagonia where we practically lived in our Ably hoodies, to the hot, humid and sweat inducing climate in Ecuador where our t-shirts became staple hiking attire.
The clothes stayed dry, resisted stains and odour, allowing us to reduce the number of times we’ve had to do laundry. We can’t wait for them to add more items to their online shop!
Prana offers a huge selection of clothing for both men and women ranging from hiking to yoga and everyday attire. Their clothing is made from responsible materials like organic cotton, recycled wool, hemp, recycled polyester (PET bottles), or responsible down using fair trade standards. By using materials and partnering with companies and factories that adhere to strict guidelines for safety and efficacy, they are able to manufacture great fitting and functional products that we can all feel good about.
We are big fans on their hiking pants. Max owns a pair of Zion Convertible Pants and I have their Sage Convertible Pant. You can shop for their products on Amazon and find many of their product lines at your local sporting goods store.
Lululemon has long been a leader in the sustainable fashion movement, focusing on responsible supply chain and taking steps to measure and reduce the carbon footprint across their business. While they do not manufacture all of their clothes in North America, they partner with vendors that commit to upholding legal, humane, and ethical standards of production, while caring for the environment.
Aside from being manufactured in a responsible manner, Lululemon clothing is functional, comfortable and durable enough to survive many years of travel in our backpacks. We particularly recommend their Silverscent® Technology items, which inhibits the growth of odour-causing bacteria and allows you to wear the items longer without a need to wash them daily!
A fairly new player in the men’s apparel space, Unbound is committed to promoting reduced consumption and is a great brand for the minimalist traveler. Their simple product line up of basics consists of t-shirts, boxers, and socks made from organic biodegradable merino (mulesing free/woolmark certified high-quality wool) that doesn’t contain chemicals and provides natural resistance to odour.
Their clothes are not made to be disposable, they last longer, need to be washed less and are perfect for just about any travel occasion. Max has worn his Unbound boxers, socks, and t-shirt in warm and cold climates, urban settings, and remote outdoor destinations and thanks to the unique properties of Unbound Merino, he’s been able to wear them for days without any washing.
Bluffworks is another great brand that offers versatile pants and travel-friendly blazers that are free of toxins, harmful chemicals, and allergens. Their products are made in the US with soft wrinkle free materials that look good and feel good no matter where in the world you might be headed.
Max has used his Bluffworks pants while hiking, exploring the city, and even going out on the town. Combined with the blazer, it’s a perfect outfit for when he needs to look a little bit more professional.
Y Athletics (YA) started out as a small Kickstarter campaign, born from the vision to make high-tech gear that simplifies your wardrobe. The company manufactures t-shirts, socks, and boxers using high-performance fabrics infused with their SilverAir technology for the best anti-stink performance. Everything is made in the US with ethically sourced materials in collaboration with partners who share YA’s vision towards quality and sustainability.
Max is particularly fond of his YA boxer briefs, which are made with Merino Wool & Silver fabric that’s comfortable, durable and does not stink, even after 4-5 days of continuous use (yes, he tested them!).
Teeki is a brand of yoga inspired clothing that is on a mission to change the way the fashion industry does business to be more ethical and meaningful. Their shorts, leggings, and crop tops are all made from recycled (BPA-free) water bottles and 100% organic cotton and are manufactured using fair trade practices in the US. Every Teeki is hand sewn and embellished use Teeki’s own eco printing process that uses 90% less water than the standard fabric printing process and does not result in polluted water waste or ground contamination.
Their products are easy to take care of on the road. They dry fast, keep their shape, and are some of the most comfortable items of clothing I own.
Eco Swim™ and Eco Peace™ are swimsuit brands by Aqua Green, a sustainable swim company. All of its products are made from sustainable materials, designed, sourced and produced in sunny southern California or Pennsylvania. The parent company not only hopes to preserve the environment through their sustainable swimwear lines, but it also participates in beach and waterway cleanups to remove trash from our oceans.
Their Eco Swim™ line is suitable for women with various body shapes and sizes. Their bathing suits are a bit more modest and perfect for those who don’t really want to “flaunt it all”. Eco Peace™, on the other hand, offers trendier bohemian inspired designs that are perfect for those looking for a bit of glam in their conscious swimwear.
Their 2 piece Rash Guard piece is now my go to for any water activities, while the Indio bathing suit is my choice for everyday beach hangouts.
SHOP ECO PEACE/ECO SWIM
COSMETICS & ACCESSORIES
Lush Cosmetics is a brilliant eco-conscious line of handmade bath, body, and cosmetics that are 100% natural, vegetarian, and toxin free. Their products are never tested on animals and are often sold without any packaging, further reducing the environmental impact of their business.
While they do have an incredible selection of products ranging from makeup to hair treatments, they have amazing items that are a must for any traveler. These include solid shampoo & conditioner (say goodbye to leaking bottles in your toiletry bag!), toothy tabs, charcoal wash (for those extra dirty days), natural soap (ask for a size that’s ideal for the length of your trip), and solid moisturizer.
Be warned, though, Lush products smell amazing, work great, and can result in a serious Lush addition. I can’t get enough of their products!
And last, but certainly not least, is Hydro Flask! Our recommendation of this socially responsible brand of high-performance reusable water bottle won’t surprise our regular readers. We’ve been raving about our love for Hydro Flask for years now.
Hydro Flask bottles are designed in Bend, Oregon and produced at meticulously chosen factories that practice social responsibility, fair labor, and strong ethics. It’s TempShield™, Hydro Flask’s unique double wall vacuum insulated technology, that guards the temperature of your drink technology that sets these bottles apart from other reusable water bottles. The technology allows cold liquids to stay cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours, turning Hydro Flask into the only bottle you need on the road
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