We believe that responsible travel is a force for good – and taking responsibility as a traveller begins right at the start of the planning process, when you're choosing where to go and what equipment to take. In our latest gear reviews, we look at products designed to have less impact on the environment in the manufacturing process or out on the road.
Safe water and low impact wherever you go with the Steripen Quantum UV water purifier © David Else / Lonely Planet
Steripen Quantum UV water purifier
If travel takes you to areas where water isn’t safe to drink, bottled water is often the answer, but disposed plastic in landfill sites and the world’s seas is a major environmental issue. With the Quantum UV water purifier from specialist outfit Steripen, you simply fill your own multi-use bottle from local taps, then use ultra-violet light to treat the water so you stay safe and do your bit as a responsible traveller. If filling from streams carrying larger particles, go for Steripen extras: the Fitsall filter cup and RapidUV 4L reservoir, also available with the purifier as a complete kit.
- Plus points: small, light, quick (1L in 90 seconds), no chemicals so no aftertaste
- Worth noting: uses AA batteries; enhance your eco-credentials with a solar recharger
- Cost: UK£54.95, US$49.95
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 9/10
- More info: steripen.com
Safe skin and unharmed seas with Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion © David Else / Lonely Planet
Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion
Travel often means sunshine, on the beach or up a mountain. If you want to protect your skin and avoid leaving chemicals in the natural environment, try Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion. Ingredients are mostly organic, such as cinnamon and edelweiss, and the formula avoids gluten, lanolin, propylene glycol and synthetic perfumes. Also available is a children’s version, previously reviewed by Lonely Planet here.
- Plus points: ideal for sensitive skin, leaves no chemicals or greasy slicks in the sea
- Worth noting: 78% organic, SPF15 and SPF30 available
- Cost: UK£22, €29.70
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
- More info: greenpeople.co.uk
Travelling, hiking, lounging – do it all in comfort with the BAM racerback vest © Emma Sparks / Lonely Planet
BAM racerback vest
Clothing made from bamboo fabric has many advantages (soft to touch, kind to skin) and it’s good for the environment too (no irrigation or fertilizers). The slim fit racerback vest for women from bamboo exponent BAM includes subtle ruching at the waist and a curved hem, with length and stretch so the vest doesn’t ride up, making it suitable for yoga, hiking and all things adventurous. It’s also antibacterial and offers UV protection (UPF 40+), an extra bonus when travelling.
- Plus points: Soft fabric, comfortable fit, various sizes and colours available
- Worth noting: Not as quick-drying as other materials such as polyester
- Cost: UK£28
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 8/10
- More info: bambooclothing.co.uk
Period care on the road sorted with the Lunette menstrual cup © Emma Sparks / Lonely Planet
Lunette menstrual cup
Finally, a sanitary product that saves you money, is better for the planet and convenient to use – even on the road. The Lunette menstrual cup is made from medical grade silicone and can be used for up to 12 hours at a time, so great for long journeys and action-packed days. Initially daunting, after a couple of tries it became our go-to tool for ‘that time of the month’, although it’s maybe not for the squeamish. The cups come in two size options to suit your body, and multiple colours just for fun.
- Plus points: Long-lasting (three years minimum)
- Worth noting: Companion products such as cleaning wipes are handy while travelling
- Cost: UK£24.90, €31.89, US$39.99
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 9/10
- More info: lunette.com
Classic style and cleaner planet; the Fjallraven Re-kanken backpack © David Else / Lonely Planet
Based on the classic Kanken bag, the Re-Kanken backpack has just one main ingredient: recycled plastic bottles. Venerable manufacturer Fjallraven says this saves waste and energy consumption. The result is a neat and cheerful piece of travel kit, ideal for city sightseeing, picnic hikes or cabin baggage.
- Plus points: main compartment, front pocket and two side pockets keep stuff organised
- Worth noting: two shoulder straps plus two top handles for easier carrying
- Cost: UK£75, €89.95, US$90
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 8/10; value 7/10
- More info: fjallraven.com
From tropics to tundra, keep bugs at bay with Pyramid Trek natural insect repellent © Peter Bennett / Lonely Planet
Pyramid Trek natural insect repellent
In the tropics, malaria-carrying mosquitos are a danger, while other biting insects are irritants in the tundra and other high-latitude zones. All such beasties can be kept at bay, without harming the surrounding environment, thanks to Trek natural repellent from protection specialist Pyramid. Instead of the commonly used chemical DEET, the main ingredient is naturally refined from eucalyptus citriodora trees. Always consult a medical professional before travelling to malarial zones.
- Plus points: pungent, effective, long-lasting
- Worth noting: ideal for family travel, safe for children over six months old
- Cost: UK£8.95, €12.50
- Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value /10
- More info: pyramidtravelproducts.co.uk
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How we review products
Our opinions are by definition subjective. Our testers (male, female, young, old) trial products in the real world, then give their honest opinion and scores for quality, practicality and value: 5/10 = mediocre; 6/10 = fair; 7/10 = good; 8/10 = very good; 9/10 = excellent; 10/10 = perfect. We don’t include anything that scores less than 5/10.
We aim for gender balance, and over a year cover an equal number of male- and female-specific items. We state where kit is available in male and female versions, or for everyone, unless it’s obvious.
Prices are quoted in at least one major currency. Where possible we include other currencies. We take prices from manufacturers’ websites; information was correct at the time of publication, but you may find different prices online or in specialist stores, particularly after a period of time when products are discounted.
Manufacturers supply Lonely Planet with test products for review. We do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.