5 Earth-Friendly Products for Camping, Beach Days, and Road Trips
We’re strongly in favor of getting out there and exploring the world. But we want to do that in a way that ensures there’s still a world left to explore in the future. Here are five products Frommer’s editors recommend for improving your travels while reducing waste and supporting sustainable practices. Our assessments are independent—we were neither influenced nor compensated by the makers of the items below.
Worldwide, an estimated 500 billion single-use cups are thrown out each year, according to Pirani Life, the makers of an appealing solution to all that waste piling up in landfills and oceans. The Florida-based company’s 16-ounce stainless-steel tumblers ($24.95) are designed to be the “last party cup you will ever need” for barbecues, camping trips, beach shindigs, and other forms of recreation requiring libations. The vacuum-insulated interior keeps cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot for hours. Dishwasher-safe and capped with a reusable lid, the design recalls the sort of colorful plastic party cup hymned by Toby Keith, but Pirani’s version is better for the earth and more durable for beer pong.
Pirani’s tumblers stack easily for travel, but another reusable alternative that’s simple to pack is Stojo’s 16-ounce cup ($20) made of lightweight silicone that collapses to fit into tight spaces. The materials are BPA-free and contain no phthalates, leads, or glues.
Discarded single-use water bottles and ocean-clogging marine plastic become chic bags and shoes at Rothy’s, a company dedicated to making customers as well as the planet look better. Two of the brand’s best creations for travelers are the Rope Tote ($275) and the Pail ($225), a pair of light yet durable bags ideal for beach days. The roomy Rope has enough space for a change of clothes, reading material, sunscreen, and a towel, while the smaller Pail is for more low-key jaunts to the sand. Both bags have nautical-style rope handles and, best of all, drawstring closures (pictured below) to prevent the contents from spilling out during transit.
(Image courtesy of Rothy's)
Another big source of waste during outdoor vacations and road trips are the accoutrements of picnic meals. Reduce your dependency on disposable plastic bags and utensils, paper plates, and foam to-go boxes with ECOlunchbox’s line of reusable, leak-free, stainless-steel containers. Products (starting at $9.99) come in a range of sizes suitable for dips, snacks, sandwiches, salads, and other provisions for the trail or the backseat. Non-toxic silicone lids are free of BPA and phthalates, and all items are safe for use in dishwashers. Accessories such as bamboo sporks and handmade cotton lunch bags likewise fit in with the mission of company founder Sandra Ann Harris, summed up in the title of her book: Say Goodbye to Plastic.
The stretchy synthetic fabric used to make a lot of swimwear will linger in landfills for decades after that bikini has had its day in the sun. The biodegradable suits from Hawaii’s Indigo Wild, on the other hand, will decompose, the company says, less than five years after hitting the landfill. That doesn’t mean the line’s tops, bottoms, and one-pieces will wear out earlier than other clothes in your closet—only that the materials are organic (hemp, bamboo, and so on) rather than cooked up in a chemistry lab. Swimwear (starting at $65) is dyed by hand to get the right boho-surfer-islander look.
For an eco-splurge, there’s the Kalk AP from Cake, a Swedish company specializing in electric dirt bikes that get raves for on- and off-road performance as well as their lack of reliance on earth-polluting fossil fuels. The Kalk AP goes a step further toward protecting the natural environment: For every purchase of the bike, Cake is donating a twin to the Southern African Wildlife College, along with a solar charging station and panels to give the bike juice. The purpose is to aid in anti-poaching efforts. Gas-fueled motorbikes are so noisy that poachers easily hear patrols coming and flee, but Cake’s electric rides run in stealthy silence. The charitable facet accounts for the Kalk AP’s hefty price tag of $25,000. The smaller, moped-like Ösa Lite is also electric and costs a more reasonable $7,500, with financing plans available.