Author: Zoë Smith

Gift Guide: 9 Gift Ideas for Eco-Conscious Travelers

Our “Sustainable Travel“ series is sponsored by Global Basecamps.  Global Basecamps is specialty travel company that helps independent travelers research and book locally owned boutique hotels, off-the-beaten path lodges and multi-day excursions all over the world. Whether hiking the Inca Trail, experiencing a traditional Japanese Ryokan, or relaxing on the beaches of Thailand, Global Basecamps specializes in designing completely customized itineraries to meet each travelers specific priorities and match their travel style.

It’s that time of year again, when the credit cards take a battering and the DVD boxsets and perfume gift-packs fly off the shelves, but Christmas can be a minefield for the green gifter – after all, finding practical, fun and eco-friendly presents can be a tough call.

Fear not, as there are now plenty of climate-friendly alternatives on offer for the fellow travelers in your life. From solar-powered phone chargers to eco-friendly footwear and all-natural cosmetics, these 9 gift ideas will fuel your inspiration and give you plenty to pile up under the Christmas tree or stuff into a stocking.

Reusable water solutions

No respectable eco-warrior can justify the purchase of daily bottled water on their travels and with a wide range of water purifiers and filter systems on the market there is little excuse for turning away from even the most dubious of natural water sources. Treat your eco buddies to a Katadyn ExStream Purifier Water bottle which uses a built in filtration system that kills 99.99% of bacteria, cysts and waterborne diseases and should give even the hardiest of off-the-beaten-track travelers peace of mind. If tap-water quality isn’t an issue, a toxin-free, 100% recyclable Klean Kanteeen water bottle provides a stylish solution to cutting down your plastic waste.

Solar charger

For the green gadget geek, a solar charger is a must for alleviating the guilt of power-consuming cell phones, ipods and digital cameras. There are numerous models on the market but for something that packs a bit of a punch, Solio’s Solar charger tops the customer reviews. Using energy from the sun to charge up a range of electronic devices and coming complete with a variety of detachable adaptors, it’s an invaluable accessory for campers, backpackers and anyone who fancies cutting down the electricity bill.

Hymini wind charger

Hymini’s range of wind chargers not only make cheap and cheerful stocking fillers but offer a perfect, lightweight option for emergency cell phone and ipod top-ups. The chargers harvest and store wind energy on the device’s internal battery, alongside a wind-up handle, DC input and optional solar panel attachment for those wind-free days. Not only that, but they fit into the palm of your hand.

Voltaic converter backpack

Taking the portable solar charger to a whole new level, Voltaic converter backpacks come in a range of sizes and styles, and use external solar panels to produce up to 15 V of power (enough to charge up a laptop, camera and cell phone) as you trek through the wilderness or laze around on the beach. To add to their green credentials, all Voltaic luggage is constructed from recycled plastics and are lightweight, durable and water-resistant. What’s not to like?

Wind up torch and radio

The wind-up torch has become a firm favorite for campers but for extra oomph why not add a self-powered AM/FM radio and cell phone charger? This all-in-one gadget by the American Red Cross does all three, making it one of the most multi-functional and compact items for the energy-saving backpacker. Plus, it runs off both wind-up and solar energy so it’s functional whatever the weather!

Eco-friendly toiletries

Toiletry and cosmetic gift boxes have long been the go-to items for those lacking present ideas and there are plenty of options available to treat your travel buddies. Try Ecotool’s Green, Clean, Go Travel set, an all-natural selection of body lotions and scrubs made from recycled and sustainable ingredients or opt for eco-favorite Burt’s Bees who offer a range of travel miniatures including a Travel Shower Kit and Sunscreen selection, all natural products produced by a company famed for it’s eco values. A hit with adventure travelers is the Burt’s Bees Natural Remedy Outdoor Survival Kit – a selection of natural oils and potions designed to ward off travel’s worst ailments – there’s a soothing after-sun, insect repellent and potions for cuts and sores.

Eco-friendly footwear

Splaff flip-flops, made from recycled tires, make a great edition to the eco-conscious holiday wardrobe or for something a little more robust, Timberland run a line of Earthkeepers waterproof boots fit for scaling the toughest of mountain trails and constructed from recycled rubber and organic cotton.

Solar oven

For the green camper that has everything, take campfire cooking to another level with a solar oven. The ultimate in electricity-free camping, this inspired contraption harnesses the suns rays and reflections to heat up your dinner. Bake bread, pizza, veggies or cook up a fresh catch of fish, all without striking a match or turning a switch!

Kiva Card

For those who already have a backpack full of gadgets, making a donation in their name can make a great alternative. Even better, purchase a Kiva Card allowing the recipient to choose exactly when, where and to whom their money will go. Kiva works on a micro-lending principle, meaning that the money put into their account can be lent, repaid and lent again, as many times as possible. Whether lending $20 to Nigerian farmer to buy some tools, or $100 to a group of Bolivian women to fund a handicrafts business, there are innumerable ways to make a difference to individuals all over the world.

Don’t buy someone a sweater they won’t wear, instead give the gift of travel this season.  Global Basecamps is offering BootsnAll readers $200 travel gift certificates for $100. Whether hiking the Inca Trail, experiencing a traditional Japanese Ryokan, or relaxing on the beaches of Thailand, Global Basecamps specializes in designing completely customized itineraries to meet each travelers specific priorities and match their travel style. to purchase your travel gift certificate.

Get more gift ideas or find inspiration for eco-friendly travel: