This blog post about my Ethical Backpack has last been updated on 31/01/2020.
Hello ladies! Today I am talking about Eco travel and Ethical Backpack. I am indeed backpacking the world, starting with South America from where I will go with the flow.
As you know, Attitude Organic is all about sustainability so of course, one of my main concerns while packing was to be as ethical and eco-friendly as possible. In this article I will prove that we can “ECO-PACK”. Keep reading to discover what products I purchased (or not) and why.
LIFE UPDATE: I flew back to France in June 2019 and moved to Singapore for work in August. Almost one year later, I returned to Mexico with my ethical backpack with a lot more experience about how to prepare it. So, I decided to share with you what I learnt.
Clothing For An Ethical Backpack
If you plan on traveling up to 6 monts in a 14kg ethical backpack, there is not much space for a full wardrobe. As a result, I opted for a capsule closet. I mean, isn’it already one of the most sustainable fashion option?
Also, I did not buy extra pieces so I reuse what I had. Here again, I do not waste, I make it last and I definitely don’t go for fast fashion.
Ok, to be 100% honest, I had to buy ONE item: a small purse to carry my money, pasport and phone chargor around. In order to respect my ethical mantra, I headed to a second hand shop to buy it. Guess what? I found exactly what I was looking for: a small cross body bag for only 12 euro! In leather (please note that as a transitioning vegan, I will never buy brand new leather again), made in Spain.
My Portable Eco Closet
Below is what I decided to pack and what seemed necessary for my trip.
- 4 dresses (1 tailor made in Vietnam, 1 bought from a small boutique in Bali, 1 from Kowtow, which is an ethical brand and 1 from a fast fashion brand that does not worth mentioning. However, I bought it almost 3 years ago, before started Learning about ethical fashion and at least I made it last.
Thinking back, 4 dresses were too many, especially as they were long. From now on, I will take 3 max!
- 4 short sleeves tops + 3 long sleeves shirts (Fast fashion bought 3 years ago)
- 2 kimonos (1 tailor made in Vietnam, 1 bought from an ethical brand called ASOS made in Kenya)
This year, I took only one kimono as I realised that I was basically only wearing one of them. However, I added a new rain jacket that I bought second hand. (I still can’t believe I had none the first time I went. Silly me!)
- 1 jumpsuit tailor made in Vietnam
- 4 swimsuits because I am super excited about going to the beach!
I only took 2 this year… As you probably would have guessed, I never used four swimsuits! Two is more than enough. I would not go for less though as you Always wan to have a dry and clean one.
- 2 leggings. I am waiting for them to die before I purchase new ethical ones. One of them was my mum’s bought 25 years ago. That is high quality and long lasting, isnt’it?
I decided to go for only one in 2020. It is enough! Although I replaced one of them by a skinny sporty short. Ideal for an easy hike when it’s hot and sunny. Careful, do not wear it if you go for a tricky hike because if you fall, you want your legs to be protected.
- Underwear (6 panties, 3 bras, 3 high socks, 3 low socks) not ethical yet but I will make sure the next ones I are. I am keeping an eye on Organic Basics which is an awsome brand that I can’t wait to try.
In terms of shoes, I went for flip flops (only for the beach), my veja snickers that look cute while being comfortable. I recently invested in hiking shoes. I bought them for 150 – 200 euros which might seem a lot but it is a game changer. I advise you to not compromise on those, they must be good quality for your own comfort and to avoid falls and injuries.
Organic, Zerowaste & Vegan Skincare For An Eco Friendly Backpack
My passion for natural and ethical products started with Skincare 7 years ago so nothing surprising that most of my cosmetics are natural, organic, bio, vegan…
The real “innovation” in my beauty routine that is related to my trip is that I opted for solid products as much as I could. Indeed, not only I try to go zero waste but there is also no doubt that this format is ideal for backpacker. They are smaller, they last longer and there is no chance that they leak in your bag. What could be better than this? You save money (while travelling you are obviously on budget) and you carry less.
My Travel Beauty Products
- 1 solid shampoo from Lamazuna. You can refer to my previous post to discover more about the brand and why I love it so much. This time, I wanted to try the dry hair shampoo bar.
- 1 solid moisturizer because I 100% adopted it when I first bought it.
- 1 solid toothpaste. I have not tried it yet but I trust it will be as good as the rest of the range.
I tried the solid toothpaste as soon as I reached Colombia and I must admit I was disapointed. The taste was bad and it was not so convenient to use. You are supposed to wet your toothbrush and the “toothpaste soap”, rub the brush against the soap and then brush yur teeth. I found that in practice, it is hard to get enough product on your brush when you rub. I ended up biting in the soap… Instead, in 2020, I made my own toothpaste using a Kit from Aromazone and so far, I am glad I switched!
- 1 soap. I prefer using them as they are softer to my skin and last much longer.
- A pack of 5 reusable cotton pads. I wanted to buy them ages ago to avoid waste. I stopped using traditional ones to stop wasting but never had time to actually buy reusable alternatives so that trip was the perfect occasion. Indeed, I would have had no spare space in my bag to cary them around and I assume it woud be an absolute necessity to have some during a trip.
- 2 sunscreens
- 2 mosquito repellent. A natural one bought in a small boutique in Bali. And another one from Claire’s.
- Coconut oil. It is so versatile, I use it for moisturising both my hair and my body. My skin is sensitive and my hair dry due to its curly nature. I found a good coco oil mask to be the best alternative. It is natural, cheap and eco-friendly!
- Jojoba oil because it is the perfect makeup remover and that you can use it as a moisturiser if you run out of your other oils.
- Nigel oil as a night moisturiser. It is perfect for my acne prone skin because it does not clog the pores.
- I also bring a bunch of essential oils. I am a big fan of those as beauty treatments and as a cure if I get a cold. I have many at home but I tend to take only the essentials when I travel: lavender and tea tree. I use lavender to relax, to prepare some mosquito repelent, to grow my hair, to help my skin recover from a sunbath and to sooth it. Tea tree is very helpful used locally to fight acne, to clean a cut, a wound or my infected piercings. I also use it when I got a soar throat.
- Aloe vera. This one is an absolute must! I apply it as a serum to hydrate my face while protecting it from pollution and treating my acne thans to its antibacterial property It is a also a staple when you got sunburnt!
Bonus Tips for Your Ethical Backpack
As I will travel on my own for a little while, I will surely take some time to read. In order to not have to carry pages and pages of litterature, I decided to get a tablet. It is ideal for an ethical backpack because not only it allows me to dowload ebooks which is convenient and eco friendly but it also gives me the chance to produce more content for you without bringing an extra laptop!
After using my tablet and my iPhone to read on the road, I can tell it is not the best option. The screens of those usual devices are not adapted to the sun so you can’t really use them on the beach. If you want a tool comfortable, convenient and easy to carry around, invest as little as 100 euro in a Kobo (or its famous competitor, a Kindle.) I chose to go for the first because it features a night mode setting without blue lights. Read more about why you should avoid blue light at night.
I hope that article will help if you need to prepare your ethical backpack like me. By the way, any backpackers out here? Comment with your next destination and maybe we could meet up on the road XX
Written by Marine Leclerc, founder of Attitude Organic