Best Sustainable Summer Items for the Traveler 2021

I don’t know about you, but I’m almost out of practice with packing let alone gearing up for a sustainable summer of traveling!

cover image for summer traveler

But as we start to think about traveling again, we must also think about doing it with sustainability in mind. So here are some of my favorite items for a sustainable summer packing list.

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Let’s dive in!

Sustainable Summer Shoes

Durable and sustainable summer shoes from Allbirds

Committed to creating a comfortable, durable shoe that will reduce the need for any other shoe in your closet due to durability and versatility, the folks at Allbirds are trailblazers in the sustainable shoe category.

Made from wool and TENCEL™ Lyocell, with laces made of recycled plastic bottles and insoles made of castor bean oil, these shoes are sustainable through and through.

Sustainable summer shoes

My favorite Allbirds kicks for the summer are the Tree Piper in white. These comfy sneakers run for $95 (see what I did there). These are the shoes that you will grab when you can choose just one for your carry-on.

Earthwise shoes from TOMS

You may be familiar with the TOMS’ mission to provide shoes to people in need around the globe. Today TOMS donates one-third of its profits to organizations supporting grassroots change in local communities. So you can feel good shopping here!

Plus the shoes are comfy AND stylish! Shop TOMS’ Earthwise collection to add extra sustainability to your wardrobe. I am digging the Albargata Rope shoe, which is 100-percent vegan, made from organic cotton and jute (a flowering plant), and super comfy.

sustainable shoes from TOMS

Sells for $60 at TOMS or you can try to snag a sale on Amazon where certain Alpargata womens’ shoes are on sale right now for $30 and mens’ for $54. (Note: sales are subject to change at a moment’s notice!)

Beach sandals for a sustainable summer

I haven’t tried these beach slip-on kicks from Fralosha, but for $11 on Amazon, you can’t beat the price. They are made from flax, which is a plant that many linens are made out of. So now the material that makes up your sheets are on your feet!

sustainable beach sandals

Sustainable Weekender Bags

Solgaard’s closet backpack makes for a sustainable summer that is organized!

I love Solgaard bags for their commitment to removing plastic from our waterways both by using materials like ocean-bound plastic to make their bags and by financially supporting initiatives that employ people in China, Indonesia, and the Philippines to physically remove plastic pollution from waterways. Dig it.

I also dig the bags like the Lifepack Endeavor because it has a literal closet inside of it! This sustainable backpack that’s perfect for a summer weekend away sells for $225.

sustainable summer backpack

Banda Bag’s embroidered collection are handmade by women in need of fair pay

The sustainable weekender from Banda Bag is cruelty-free and handmade by female artisans around the globe who want to learn a trade. Committed to fair trade, fair pay, and female empowerment, the handmade bags are also made from recycled nylon and stitched with thread made from plastic waste.

Did I mention the bags are beautiful? They run for $365 for a full-sized weekender and $245 for a mini.

Sustainable Summer Weekender Bag from Banda Bag

Check out Herschel’s new eco collection

Herschel Supply Co. came out with a new eco collection, reimaging the classic duffel with 100 percent recycled materials. Sells for $99.99.

Eco Collection Bag that's made from recycled material
Eco Duffel Perfect for Summer

Pre-loved designer bags for a fashionable sustainble summer at Vestiaire

Looking for a designer bag but on a budget? Keep your eye on Vestiaire’s collection of pre-loved handbags. The inventory changes all of the time, so check back often. You might be able to find a weekender for a quick trip that is full of fun and style on the cheap!

designer travel bags pre-loved for sustainability
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Printable, eco-friendly festival packing list

Sustainable Summer Swimsuits

Londre’s end-to-end swimwear solution

Sustainable swimsuits by Londre come with a recycling program so that suits are made into new materials at the end of their season. There is also a repair program so that the suits are guaranteed to last longer than one season. I love that all shipping materials are compostable too.

The suits are adorable, made for all bodies, and super affordable. You can also buy just the top or just the bottom or mix and match. Follow Londre on Instagram. They are fun and pretty sassy.

sustainable summer swimwear with attitude

Paper’s sustainable swimwear made from plastic bottles

Paper sustainable swimwear is made from recycled plastic water bottles! Plus for every purchase made, Paper pays for the planting of five trees in Madagascar, Mozambique, or Kenya. You can track your reforestation efforts after your purchase, and you can sleep well knowing you are planting, recycling, and providing employment (in Madagascar, Mozambique, or Kenya) just by buying your sustainable summer suit!

Summer sustsainable swimwear

Beautiful sustainable swimwear (and more!) at Bohemian Mama

Bohemian Mama’s collection of curated sustainable brands makes shopping easy. All the brands with a fashionable bohemian look AND a love for the planet in one place. Yes, please!

And…no, you don’t have to be a mama to enjoy these brands like the collection of beautiful swimsuits for a sustainable summer.

sustainable summer swimwear

I also featured Bohemian Mama in my roundup of badass ethical brands owned by women.

prAna’s recycled polyester boardshorts

Hey, fellas, I didn’t forget about you. Sustainable outdoor outfitter prAna sells these On the Rocks boardshorts made from recycled polyester and spandex for $65.

recycled polyester boardshorts for a sustainable summer

I love PrAna for its commitment to creating clothing for positive change. From the materials and chemicals used in the creation of clothes to the packaging used to ship them, PrAna is thinking about the impact on the Earth.

Sustainable packing list opt-in for men

Bamboo Sunglasses

We’re always in the market for new sunglasses in the summer, right? Well…that’s because we lose the darn things all of the time, making it all that much more important to buy a sustainable pair of sunglasses so that if (OK, when) you do misplace them, you can rest easy knowing they won’t be clogging the landfill of whatever sunny location you are visiting.

WearPanda’s bamboo sunglasses

My very favorite pair of sustainable sunglasses are by WearPanda. They are made from 100-percent, FSC-certified bamboo. They are also super lightweight and they float! So if you drop them while doing your SUP yoga, all good.

bamboo sunglasses for a sustainable summer

Plus they look great. I get a ton of compliments when I wear them. Oh, these guys give back, too. They are a 1% for the Planet company, so they give one percent of profits back to organizations helping Mama Earth.

wearing WearPanda bamboo sunglasses
Rocking my WearPanda sunglasses at a vineyard

Sustainable Summer Dresses

Who doesn’t love a flowy summer dress when it’s hot outside? Even better when that dress is sustainable, right?!

Beautiful flowy dresses from TAMGA Designs

TAMGA Designs fits that description perfectly. Perfect for those Instagram posts, these beautiful, affordable dresses by TAMGA are “field to fashion” perfection, using safe dyes, and employing workers who make a living wage in an ethical factory in Bali. My favorite part? Garments are packaged in a biodegradable bag made from vegetable starch – no plastic!

sustainable summer dresses

Travel collection from sustainable outfitter prAa

prAna makes another appearance in this post because they are just seriously awesome when it comes to both travel and sustainability. The sustainable travel collection for women and for men contain clothing meant for rolling into your suitcase without wrinkling, including this Opal travel dress on sale right now for $51.

sustainable travel dress

Honoring sustainable agriculture with style at Patagonia

The print in this strappy dress is an homage to ka loa‘a pono, the Hawaiian tradition of harvesting with care for the Earth. Made from sustainable materials and made for breezy comfort in the summer heat, this dress is a win for the planet! Sells for $129 from Patagonia.

sustainable summer dress

Outdoor gear for a sustainable summer in the wild

There is no doubt that outdoor gear is EXPENSIVE. So why not buy it gently used to save your wallet and the planet?

Check out REI’s used gear program where you can also trade in your own used outdoor items if you’re a member of the co-op.

REI Sustainable Ad

Or GearTrade’s program for selling and buying gently love gear.

GearTrade sustainable advert

Sustainable Toiletries for Your Carry-On

Summer sustainable kit from Humankind

I’m a member of the hand sanitizer and toothpaste subscription program at Humankind, meaning you sign up and they automatically send you refills in sustainable packaging. Easy!

The toothpaste is in the form of chewable tablets and comes in a glass jar and the hand sanitizer is in recyclable aluminum. In this sustainable summer kit, you’ll get the deodorant, too, which comes in a compostable, refillable container.

summer sustainable kit from Humankind

All shipments, including those automatic ones with your refills, are carbon offset by Humankind. They invest in forest preservation projects as an offset.

Utensils and cups for sustainable summer picnics

I think these items make it into just about every post I write about sustainability because I think they are the single most important thing you can do to consistently avoid plastic every single day of your life, whether you’re on the road or not.

Tuck the following items into your carry-on bag, though, and you’re sure to spare your destination from unnecessary single-use plastic while you enjoy the local fare.

For more items for a sustainable summer picnic, check out my plastic-free picnic kit here.

Sustainable packing list freebie

Reef-safe and sustainable sunscreen

I am obsessed with Raw Elements sunscreen. I put the tinted 30-SPF moisturizer on my face and the regular Raw Elements 30-SPF on my neck and chest every day. I use that one on my whole body if I’m at the beach or pool. Neither sunscreen is greasy and, though those reusable, recyclable tins look tiny, they last forever! Both are about $17 on Amazon.

sustainable sunscreen is a must for the summer months!
Me with my Raw Elements sustainable sunscreen

Sustainable Hip Bags for a traveling summer

Am I saving the best for last? Maybe? Because it isn’t a traveling summer without a hip bag, bum bag, or – as they call them in the states – fanny packs. Now take that image of a dad bod at Disneyland out of your mind. These things are so dang fashionable now (for both men and women) that it was hard to find sustainable fanny packs for less than $200!

Bohemian Mama brings it with this hip belt

I’m headed back to my go-to for fashion. The sustainable brand curator Bohemian Mama nails it with this trendy hip belt and bag from Ashbury. Currently on sale for $75.

sustainable hip belt for summer

Parker Clay’s fashional, handmade fanny pack

I love Parker Clay. This is a company committed to employing at-risk women in Ethiopia, providing fair wages and vocational training. This is a big deal considering that 26 percent of women are unemployed in Addis Ababa.

The Desta Belt Bag made from goat leather is stylish, and it doubles as both a hip bag and a crossbody. Your purchase provides ten hours of employment to women in Ethiopia. Sells for $188.

sustainable fanny pack from Parker Clay

Patagonia’s sturdy unisex hip bag

Patagonia has a unisex belt bag made from organic cotton for $79. Shop with confidence knowing that Patagonia is the founding member of the 1% for the Planet club, meaning one percent of profits go back to organizations supporting the Earth.

Patagonia hip bag

If you liked this post, you’ll love my sustainable travel tips and tricks. Or for more on sustainable living and gift-giving, visit here. Thanks for your commitment to the environment! Please consider subscribing to my newsletter for tips in your inbox!

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12 Comments on “Best Sustainable Summer Items for the Traveler 2021”

  1. Great list of sustainable items. My favorite would be the reef-safe sunscreen! As someone who lives on an island, I’m always looking for the “Reef Safe” Spf! And I love that most of your pics are either recycled or environmentally friendly. Who knew swimsuits are made of plastic!

  2. I know what you mean about being out of practice for packing. Even my packing list is not helping. I love the variety of sustainable products you have highlighted to re-pack my bags!

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I’m always looking for companies that support sustainability. The Solgaard’s closet backpack is AMAZING! That very well may be my next backpack purchase.

    • Right? I think that backpack solves all the packing issues! Thanks for reading, Chelsea! And thanks for your commitment to sustainability!

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