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Shaun Hunter | 11.15.2018

Those who find themselves traveling often, whether for work or personal enjoyment, understand that venturing to other locales can make it hard to stick to routines that are more environmentally sound. Things as simple as excessive consumption or plastic shopping bags become harder to manage, let alone traveling to places where recycling may not be readily available to those on the move—or may just not exist at all.

If you're like us, you've probably tried to keep up with waste-reduction habits when traveling. You may have felt like you have to let certain habits go for the sake of convenience or unavailability when you head out, whether it's a simple weekend road trip or an overseas vacation.

Luckily, we've found some products that can help alleviate that feeling of wastefulness or offer a more ecologically friendly alternative to the conventional products out there.

If you have a trip planned, or just find yourself out on the road frequently, check out some of these things that have helped our own trips go much more smoothly:


Sea To Summit's dinnerware sets are packable and made of an easily-washed silicone. Shaun Hunter.

Sea to Summit X-Set 3-Piece

$49.95 • Sea to Summit | Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry

Following a study, the city of San Francisco determined that food and beverage packaging makes up the majority of litter throughout the city. Sea To Summit's dinnerware set is made of food-grade flexible silicone that flattens for storage. When it telescopes open, it provides bowls, plates, and drinking cups, making it a reusable alternative to carry snacks or takeout food orders rather than single-use paper or plastic.


The RePEaT Utensil Set is responsibly sourced bamboo, easily washed, and eliminates the need for disposable plastic utensils. To-Go Ware.

To-Go Ware RePEaT Utensil Set

$12.95 • To-Go Ware | Amazon

To-Go Ware's bamboo utensils include a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks, and come packed in a small bag that can be thrown into a pack or purse quickly, and retrieved in lieu of using disposable plastic utensils. Easily cleaned, To-Go Ware also makes children-friendly sized utensil sets as well.


Greens Steel is surprisingly functional for backpackers. Shaun Hunter.

Greens Steel Stainless Steel Water Bottle

$15.00 • Greens Steel | Amazon

Greens Steel makes affordable stainless steel water bottles that seem to take a range of situations into account. Each bottle is vacuum insulated to keep cold liquids cold and hot liquids hot, and includes a leak-proof screw-on cap with a push-button feature for quick pouring. Each bottle also includes a carabiner ring to easily clip onto a backpack or belt loop.


Bamboo straws reduce plastic waste. Shaun Hunter.

Buluh Bamboo Drinking Straws

$12.88 • Buluh | Amazon

Based on numbers issued by plastic drinking straw manufacturers, Be Straw Free estimates that Americans use half a billion straws everyday. Consider that almost all of these are used only once and then end up in a landfill. A popular alternative are bamboo straws, which can be used repeatedly and are completely biodegradable. Buluh's bamboo straw sets include eight reusable straws and a cleaning brush that packs easily into almost any small bag.

Stainless steel is another alternative, like those sold by Greens Steel. Each set contains four stainless steel straws—two curved straws and two wide straws for you smoothie drinkers—as well as a cleaning brush for quick rinsing.


GSI Outdoors' nesting wine glasses pack easily, a classy reusable wine glass safe for even glass-free pool decks. Shaun Hunter.

GSI Outdoors Nesting Wine Glasses

$15.95 • GSI | Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry | REI

Everything looks classier in a wine glass. Eliminating the need for disposable cups, GSI Outdoors makes a copolyester glass that unscrews at the stem and packs into itself, allowing for more compact transport. This isn't only good for traveling, but also for those hot springs or pool decks that don't allow glass. They also have a stainless steel version. 


Taking Wilderness Wash on your travels is a clever way to avoid hotel plastic waste. Shaun Hunter.

Sea To Summit Wilderness Wash

$4.50 • Sea to Summit | Amazon | Moosejaw | REI

The world produces 300 million tons of plastic trash each year, and hotels and motels are notorious for their abundance of single-sized plastic-packaged amenities. Imagine all of the shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap bottles that get used once and thrown away daily.

While many hotels are switching to wall-mounted dispensers to help cut down on this waste, Sea To Summit offers their Wilderness Wash in a packable container that can be used for bathing, washing dishes or washing fabrics. Use it at hotels in place of the single-use offerings or on a camping trip to clean yourself and your gear. It's a step in the right direction.


With three sizes, the microfiber set from Wild Wolf Outfitters has many applications. Wild Wolf Outfitters.

Wild Wolf Outfitters Microfiber Travel Towel

$27.94 • Wild Wolf Outfitters | Amazon

Wild Wolf Outfitters has an advantage over other microfiber travel towels in that theirs come in a set with three sizes, which includes a hand towel, a medium towel, and a large beach or shower towel.

Each comes in its own compact carry bag with a carabiner to clip onto any pack. And each is much smaller, lighter, and dries more quickly than a comparable cotton towel. The range in size means that with one set you can have a towel for laying out in the sun, another for drying up after a quick swim, and a small sweat towel for those travel hikes.


Green-Sew's totes are small-craft made from upcycled materials. Green-Sew Bags.

Green-Sew Bags Recycled Beer Tote

$20.00 • Green-Sew Bags

Emphasizing the "craft" part of brewing, Green-Sew Bags are a great mix of crafty and functional. Handmade from recycled bags that held grains destined to become beer, these bags are turned into water-resistant totes great for carrying clothes or towels to the beach or swimming pool. 


Eliminate plastic use in your daily life, too, by switching from disposable grocery bags. Shaun Hunter.

ChicoBag Sling rePETe

$14.99 • ChicoBag | Amazon

This has been my go-to grocery bag for years now. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, ChicoBag's rePETe Sling bags are strong, durable, and can pack easily into their own compact carrying bag with a small clip to easily store when not in use.


Heavy on wireless functionality, My Passport is ideal for travelers on the go. Shaun Hunter.

WD My Passport Wireless SSD

$299.00 • Western Digital | Amazon

Built with the traveler in mind, the WD My Passport Wireless SSD greatly reduces the need for hauling a laptop around or forcing one to find access to a computer. With a built-in SD card reader, the My Passport Wireless carries its own Wi-Fi signal that can connect to share pictures, videos, or files directly to your phone or tablet. The solid-state drive and outer bumper were built to help withstand impact, and in addition to holding up to 2 terabytes of data, it can also stream 4K films wirelessly to your device or can be used as a power bank to help charge other devices. That's super useful for lengthy flights and drives.


The Platypod's unique strap feature that allows vertical camera mounts. Platypod.

Platypod Camera Support Kit

$59.00 • Platypod | Amazon

This one might be something that appeals more to the photographers amongst us, and while not strictly an eco-conscious device, I can tell you firsthand the FOMO-induced additional weight of hauling around a tripod for my camera and GoPro. The Platypod is a small adjustable platform that can be set down while it holds your camera in place, and when I say small, I mean it can easily clip onto a backpack or camera bag or even fit into a pocket. This has risen the ranks and become an essential travel item for me.

Fly Less, Adventure More

Flying is one of the biggest carbon emitters. While airlines like Virgin Atlantic experiment with fuel from recycled industrial waste, greenhouse gas emissions remain disproportionately larger through plane travel.

I know how educational, edifying, and cathartic travel across the U.S. and overseas has been for me. The fact remains that the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to fly less. All the more reason to look for challenges and destinations a little more locally.

To that end, Outdoor Project has you covered! Find your local suggestions!

Are there any products that you've relied on that make your traveling better while reducing product consumption or waste, let us all know by commenting below!


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