When it comes to ecofriendly travel gear, great strides have been made in recent decades, with well-known brands like Columbia, the North Face, Osprey, Patagonia, and REI leading the charge. Responsibility and sustainability are not just for the major players, though. Here, we take a look at 13 lesser-known brands that are making it easy to invest in the Earth’s future with their sustainable products.
A note on upcycling and how it can factor into your sustainable shopping strategy: Before you purchase new items or toss your old stuff, consider buying secondhand clothing and gear, swapping items with a clothes swap group, or starting a swap yourself. Geartrade makes it easy to get started: The organization encourages outdoor adventurers to upcycle their gear so that it lives on to see new adventures. Search the site for clothing and all kinds of gear, including ski and snowboard, hiking, and paddling.
Sustainable travel gear and luggage
Buy now: Cabana tote, $165–$185, tourparavel.com
Last year Paravel made a commitment to being the first 100 percent sustainable travel brand by the end of 2021 and met its goal: The luggage brand was Climate Neutral Certified in July 2021. In addition to being made with upcycled water bottles and recycled vegan leather, the Cabana Tote is completely carbon-neutral in that Paravel offsets all of the CO2 emissions generated from sourcing, manufacturing, freight, delivery, and their customers’ average first trip associated with its luggage. To date, the travel brand has offset more than 2,200 first trips.
Buy now: Cubos travel cubes, from $15, cotopaxi.com
This Climate Neutral Certified company is committed to making all of its products with repurposed, recycled, and responsible materials by 2025, as well as ensuring that human rights are maintained throughout its supply chain. You can make packing a breeze and feel good about it with the Cubos Travel Cubes. Available in three sizes—2L, 3L, and 10L—the cubes are made from 100 percent remnant materials, keeping them out of landfills and in your carry-on.
3. Urban Originals
Based in Sydney and Los Angeles, Urban Originals designs and produces 100 percent cruelty-free vegan bags, including clutches, beach bags, totes, and backpacks. When you’re on the go, toss everything you need into the canvas Astro Tote and be confident that you look stylish, while at the same time feeling secure that the tote is waterproof and has zippers and snaps to ensure everything stays safely inside. Urban Originals donates 10 percent of all online sales to organizations that are working to prevent slavery and human trafficking in the modern world.
Buy now: Recycled ripstop outdoor camping blanket, $115, voited.com
As a company, Voited is dedicated to striving for zero waste and zero environmental impact by using recycled materials to create all of its lightweight, packable products. Sleep soundly under the stars knowing that the fabric of your Voited blanket is made from recycled plastic bottles; it’s not only durable but water and stain resistant, too. The blanket snaps into a sleeping bag and folds back up into a pillow, perfect for camping, hiking, picnics, and days at the beach.
Buy now: Travel yoga mat, $98, ananday.com
A Climate Neutral Certified brand, Ananday makes plastic-free yoga products that are 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable. Take your downward dog on the road with its travel yoga mat that easily folds up to fit into your bag. Made with jute and natural tree rubber, it’s nonslip and sweat resistant. For every mat sold, the company plants 10 trees through Trees for the Future.
Buy now: All-Day Adventure Flask, from $85, hibearoutdoors.com
Swapping single-use plastic bottles for a reusable bottle is one of the easiest ways to make your travels more sustainable. Hibear, which is Climate Neutral Certified and a 1% for the Planet member, calls its insulated All-Day Adventure Flask the “Swiss Army tool of insulated bottles.” Not only does it hold 32 ounces of liquid, but it also comes with a cocktail shaker, filter, and thermal core that help you make pour-over coffee, cold brew, and cocktails. Plus, you can even decant red wine right in the flask.
Sustainable travel clothing and apparel
7. Jack Wolfskin
Buy now: Women’s Pack & Go Windshell, $80, jackwolfskin.com
German outdoor brand Jack Wolfskin recently launched in the United States, bringing with it a 40-year-plus history and a number of pioneering sustainable achievements in nearly all of its apparel collection. Over the past decade, the brand began making all of its backpacks and clothing 100 percent PFC free; using Responsible Down Standard–certified down and 100 percent organic cotton for all cotton products; and joined bluesign, the Fair Wear Foundation, and ZDHC to ensure the highest level of social and environmental responsibility. The brand is transparent in its efforts and urges customers to track the manufacturing facilities used to make each item using the code found on the items’ white tags.
Jack Wolfskin has also committed to remove PFCs from its footwear line by 2025. To that end, this spring the brand released the Terraventure Texapore ($180), a nearly 100 percent recycled hiking shoe that is PFC free, breathable, and waterproof. Additionally, items like the Pack & Go Windshell are made of recycled polyester.
8. Revvv Swim
Buy now: The One Piece, $160, revvvswim.com
Dive into sustainability with this flattering one-piece bathing suit from Revvv Swim. Designed by lifelong swimmer Cristina Aguayo, the swimsuit is cute and stylish while being sustainable at the same time. Instead of virgin plastic-based materials like nylon, polyester, and spandex, the bathing suits are designed and made in New York City using 100 percent recycled Italian nylon that is machine washable, chlorine resistant, and has quick-dry technology.
9. Crap Eyewear
Buy now: The Dropout Boogie sunglasses, $99, crapeyewear.com
Though its name may make you giggle, Crap Eyewear is serious about caring for the environment and maintaining its Climate Neutral Certified status. Designed and tested at Los Angeles’s beaches by surfers, skaters, musicians, and artists, these sunglasses are not only fun and stylish but also& made of bioacetate, a biodegradable and plant-based frame material. The brand is currently working on more upcycled packaging and new lens materials.
Sustainable travel toiletries
Buy now: Shampoo and conditioner bars, $17 each, jack59hairco.com
Eliminate the need for plastic bottles and worrying about TSA’s liquid limits when you pack Jack59’s shampoo and conditioner bars. The sulfate-free shampoo bars are pH balanced, 100 percent vegan, silicone free, and provide more than 80 washes. Based in Alberta, Canada, Jack59 makes its products locally with ethically sourced ingredients and a zero waste production process. Since its inception, the company estimates it has kept more than 500,000 plastic bottles out of landfills. To carry the solid bars, we recommend Matador’s Flatpack soap bar case ($13), which is made with waterproof material that lets moisture evaporate through the fabric.
Buy now: #Thisiseverything skincare kit, $174 (was $252), baesix.com
Take your vegan, organic, cruelty-free, and ecoresponsible skincare routine with you with Baesix’s #Thisiseverything kit. All six skincare products—including face wash, sunscreen, and more—come in biodegradable or 100 percent recyclable packaging. Bottles are made of corn starch and bamboo, the tins are aluminum, and the refill sachets are made of sugarcane. The company also supports wildlife and forest conservation, along with social equality organizations.
12. By Humankind
Buy now: Hand sanitizer, $15, byhumankind.com
Hand sanitizers aren’t going away anytime soon, so why not choose one that’s good for your skin and the environment? By Humankind’s pocket-sized aluminum bottles reduce single-use plastic waste, and they are filled with moisturizing sanitizing gels—available in eucalyptus, grapefruit, and unscented—that will keep you safe and your hands soft. The company offsets 100 percent of its carbon footprint, including all customers’ orders, by investing in forest preservation projects. By Humankind also partners with Plastic Bank with a program that invites customers to offset their plastic footprint—about 22 pounds of ocean-bound waste a month—for $8 per month.
13. Sun Patch
Beach and pool days just got easier with under eye and nose UV protection from Sun Patch. The waterproof patches stay put even when swimming and feature UPF 50+ infused silicone that blocks 99 percent of UVA/UVB rays to keep you protected while having fun, even if you have sensitive skin. Not only are the patches reusable, they’re nontoxic to the oceans, too.
>> Next: The Best New Sustainable Hotels