Traveling is one of the most beautiful and enlightening experiences, but unfortunately, it also carries a heavy environmental footprint, from the pollution created by air travel to the choice of fabrics you wear. If you are planning a trip, and are worrying about your footprint with your ethical clothing choices, the best place to start is to adopt minimalist packing, or taking only what is necessary and making sure that you use every item you bring with you. Here is how to create a minimal and sustainable travel wardrobe:
Use what you already have
Before you go on a shopping spree, have a look at your wardrobe and see if there are enough options to be included in your luggage. Opt for basic, everyday clothes that are versatile enough to be worn in several different ways and to almost any occasion, such as staple T-shirts and tank tops, jeans, a sarong or even a dress, all of which can easily be mixed and matched to create a capsule wardrobe. Even if you choose an eco-friendly option, buying new things you don’t necessarily need might not be the best way to reduce your footprint. You want to think about sustainable travel as a whole, including the environment, finances and the utility of your existing items.
Choose quality over quantity
If you do need to replace some staple wardrobe pieces, do yourself and the environment a favor and invest in good quality items. While cheaper items might be able to get you through a backpacking trip, the wear and tear will soon become visible in those clothes, and you will need to replace them with another item sooner rather than later. By investing in high-quality clothes, not only will you save money in the long run, but you will also do your small part to save the planet by opting out of supporting the destructive fast fashion industry.
Opt for natural materials
When buying clothes for traveling, it’s important to choose the most eco-friendly materials, opt for natural colors or low-impact dyes, and choose good quality items that will stay with you for a long time, far beyond your traveling endeavors. Apart from being highly beneficial for the environment, these natural options are also incredibly important for your personal health, especially when it comes to clothing items that come into direct contact with your skin, which is why it is crucial to opt for organic women’s socks and underwear.
Be mindful of the weather
As packing light is the key to eco-travel, being mindful of the weather conditions is always a good idea. If you’re traveling to a colder destination, choose long-sleeved tops and warmer fabrics, such as wool, and jeans and trousers over skirts and dresses. Opt for insulating materials and clothes that can easily be layered to offer more protection against the cold. If you’re traveling to a warmer climate, choose light colors and lightweight and breathable fabrics, such as linen or organic cotton. Skirts and dresses are a great option to allow your body to cool down, while T-shirts and jean shorts make for the ultimate versatile items.
Pay attention to color and style
In order to make it possible to mix and match all pieces and create a travel capsule wardrobe, you need to pay attention to the color and the style of your clothes. Choose solid colors for either your tops or your bottoms, if you want to be able to combine them effortlessly, and add a few patterned pieces that pair with your solids perfectly. Opt for one neutral color and a theme (light or dark) and ensure all of your items fall under those two categories, in order to create a coherent capsule. Also, make sure all of your tops go well with your bottoms, as well as your outer layers, in case you need to layer them up if the weather unexpectedly changes.
Pack for a week
Whether you are backpacking for several months, living as a digital nomad, or simply enjoying your yearly two-week vacation, the best idea would always be to pack as if you were traveling for a week. You can wear some pieces more than once, mix and match different items to come up with multiple different combinations, or even wash as you go with a bar of soap or a zero waste laundry detergent. Apart from durability and sustainability, minimal travel also requires versatility from your clothes, as well as the ability to dry quickly, so that you can use them for almost any activity, from sightseeing and hiking to nights out and even business meetings.
Constructing the ideal eco-friendly travel capsule wardrobe takes a lot of time and patience, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time around. Hopefully, these tips will help you pack a minimalist, sustainable backpack for all your traveling needs.