Eleven Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Travelers
While holidays come and go, there’s nothing like giving a gift that will endure trip after trip. These 11 ideas prove that you don’t have to sacrifice quality and style for a little environmental responsibility (that goes a long way).
Travelers have enough to worry about without fussing over airport attire, so it’s a relief to find A Peace Treaty’s new Maia scarf ($375), which will easily add a touch of glamour to that tousled running-to-catch-a-flight look. Hand-woven in Peru from sustainable alpaca material, the Maia’s geometric pattern and swathes of bright color reflect the designer’s inspiration in the artist Alexander Calder. Wearable as a scarf, blanket, or shawl, the Maia still manages to tuck neatly into a handbag.
Regardless of your seat assignment, it’ll feel like you’re sitting in first class thanks to this pair of Eco-Micro Fleece Sweatpants ($64) that are perfect for long flights. Even better, the product stays true to Alternative Apparel’s heritage as a low impact brand, using organic cotton and non-toxic dyes.
Once you’ve unwrapped Nau’s Copenhagen Recycled Down Trench ($495) you can forget having to buy a new jacket every winter ever again. Made of 60% organic cotton and 40% recycled polyester, this coat is as stylish as it is practical, with a double-layer waterproof hard shell, 650-fill recycled down insulation, snap-off hood and enough streamlined pockets—including a hidden interior pouch—to make carrying a bag around obsolete. As a bonus, Nau donates 2% of every sale to one of six charities of your choice.
The Chasing Windmills companion blanket ($100) is made of 100% merino wool, a natural animal-friendly fiber sourced from New Zealand that wicks away moisture and resists odor. After noticing a scarcity in eco-conscious clothing for infants—and inspired by their new travel-happy twins—Sarah and JP Box launched Chasing Windmills this past summer. Amidst the growing Denver-based collection, which includes cozy rompers and air balloon-printed crib sheets, is this soft, lightweight blanket that babies will find absolutely drool-worthy.
Since the 1960s, adventure seekers in Sweden have been wearing Fjällräven. Consider the Eco-Shell ($499); not only is the jacket sustainable—layers are made from recycled polyester—but it’s also lightweight, waterproof, breathable and flexible, ensuring easy mobility. Plus, the hood has room for a helmet, side zippers offer ventilation, internal and external chest pockets provide ample storage, and the shell is comfortable when worn with a backpack hip belt or climbing harness.
Some people look at discarded fishing nets and see discarded fishing nets. Others, like the three friends-turned-founders of Bureo, see a company idea. By creating the Minnow Skateboard ($149), Bureo is helping rid the sea of old fishing nets—an estimated ten percent of the ocean’s plastic pollution, and funds from product sales (of skateboards and a new line of sunglasses) go towards supporting low-income coastal communities. Designed with long-lasting hardware and a fish scale pattern for grip, the Minnow is a high quality, travel-friendly board that kids and adults alike will enjoy shredding with sustainable style.
If you can’t get to the beach this winter, let the beach come to you. Sailor and reclaim queen Susan Hoff draws inspiration for bags like this Ocean Knotted Classic Tote ($260) from years spent at sea and on a Midwestern horse farm. Hence, the use of repurposed sailcloth and vintage horse tack in her products, which pull off a beautiful hard-to-strike balance between timeless and timeworn. Hoff donates one percent of the company’s revenue to environmental non-profits like 1% For The Planet and Pacific Wildlife Care.
By planting one tree for every watch sold, WeWood is redefining what it means to wear a statement piece. The company has already planted 300,000 trees around the world—from the Peruvian Coastal Belt to the Zambales Province in the Philippines to the San Bernardino Mountains in California—with the goal of planting one million trees by 2020. Made from 100% all natural reclaimed walnut wood, the Assunt Nut ($140) is a toxic-free, lightweight watch (less than two ounces) and a class act, just like its buyer.
Bikes don’t come better than this. From its incredibly low price tag to its eye-catching black-and-yellow design to its humanitarian purpose, the Yankee Bike ($329) is what the holidays are all about: a win-win. With every bike sold, Pure Fix Cycles will donate $100 to Charity: water, which sets up self-sustaining clean drinking operations in developing countries.
Designed by Brooklyn artist Hugo Guinness and benefiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, the Save More Elephants t-shirt ($40) shows that making a difference never goes out of style. 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of this limited-edition tee will go towards continuing efforts to rescue and protect orphaned elephants and rhinos from poachers in East Africa. If you’re shopping for a guy, Jimmy Fallon’s Pocket Dial ($48) at J.Crew also supports DSWT and makes for a great stocking stuffer.
Produced in a LEED-certified factory in Colorado, the Topo Designs Rover Pack ($139) is ideal for a day trip excursion, be it in the wilderness or the urban jungle. Available in a variety of colors, the bag has a laptop compartment, is lightweight, water resistant, and made with a simple yet highly functional design. The drawstring top and compression straps allow for a surprising amount of gear, but if you’re planning a longer trip, opt for the larger Klettersack.
For more travel gift ideas, head to the main Travel + Leisure Holiday Gift Guide.