LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Soap
All LUSH products are hand-made and 100% vegetarian/cruelty free. They even have an ethical buying team to make sure the ingredients they buy are from local sources and harvested ethically from start to finish. When they package products, LUSH uses recycled, recyclable, reusable, or compostable materials such as aluminum tins like these (square, round, oval). But I think my favorite part about their products is that they come in solid bar form so you you’ll have enough product for ~80 washes but won’t have to worry about having 3.4 ounces or less of shampoo and conditioner in your carry on.
LUSH has a variety of “flavors.” These are my favorites:
- Seanik Shampoo Bar ($11.95)
- BIG and Jungle Conditioner Bars ($12.95 & $11.95)
- Outback Mate Body Soap ($6.95/3.5oz)
- Any size tin ($3.95)
If you’re shopping for a wander lusting, animal loving, eco-conscious human, LUSH is hard to beat.
Inflatable Travel/Backpacking Pillow
Inflatable pillows are one of the most convenient accessories any backpacker or traveler could have. So long are the days of rolling up socks and sweaters or sprawling out on germ-infested airplane tray tables. And whether you’re sleeping in a tent or airplane, inflatable backpacking/travel pillows make sleeping so much more comfortable. I used my Cocoon Sleeping Bag Hood Pillow ($26.95) on a redeye across the pond and when I woke up I felt well-rested and prepared for the grueling 16-hour travel day ahead of me. Plus, it’s lightweight and folds up small enough you can store it in your pocket or in your pack. If you don’t like the Cocoon there are plenty of options to choose from, depending on what kind of sleeper you are and the type of material you like to snuggle your face into while catching some ZZZZZZs. Here are a few others to get your search started:
- ONWEGO Soft-Top Inflatable Backpacking, Camping, Travel Pillow ($19.95)
- Trekology Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillow ($14.99)
- Therm-A-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow (prices vary)
- This one doesn’t pack down as small as inflatables, but Therm-a-Rest is a tried and true brand that never disappoints in the world of backpacking.
The Kelty Bestie Blanket
If you can’t justify forking up $100+ for the Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket then check out the Kelty Bestie Blanket. It’s less than a quarter of the price ($22.95 to be exact), water-resistant, beach proof, warm, and cozy; plus it packs down small enough to take with you almost anywhere but it’s large enough to snuggle up in. I use it as an extra blanket when I go to sleep at night and it’s great for sitting by the campfire on the beach. I also really like that it’s got a water-resistant outer shell which lets sand glide off easily and a soft liner on the inside to stay warm. I actually followed Kelty’s ad and bought a couple extra for friends!
Coleman Classic Propane Stove
Recently I went camping with some boujie friends who introduced me to the Coleman Classic Propane Stove ($28 – $42.88). And never again will I bring a backpacking stove on a car camping trip. The Coleman Stove has two burners and you can fit life-size pots and pans and literally cook for ten people like you would with your own home stove! I’m probably way more excited than I should be about a stove, but I’ve only had it a couple of weeks and already used it five times. It folds down small and for how much cooking power it provides, it’s pretty light. 10/10 would recommend.
Microfiber XL Towel
After my travel pillow, my REI Co-op XL Multi Towel Lite ($22.50) is one of my favorite multi-purpose items. I’m actually on my third one – not because it’s not durable – because Hurricane Harvey ate my first one, along with my car and a bunch of other camping gear, and I accidentally left my second one in a Dublin hostel.
Microfiber towels are lightweight; UBER absorbent, absorbing up to 8x their weight in water; quick drying; they don’t smell moldy – even after you know you’ve used it longer than you should without washing it; and they don’t get stuck with sand if you use it on the beach. And I’m telling you, during my last beach trip I used my towel to wash sand off EVERYTHING: pots, pans, hands, legs, my car… even the sandy condensation off my tent in the morning. Regardless of what I used it for, after a good shake all the sand was off and it could be used as a soft beach towel.
When backpacking, a lot of hostels charge you for towels. A microfiber towel takes up next to no space in your pack and can save you $3-5 every time you need a new shower towel.
Madera Outdoor Hammock
If you’re like me, you might have all the essentials for a weekend outdoors but rely on your friends for the not-really-but-should-be-essentials like hammocks. Then 3 months ago Instagram suggested I check out the @madera_outdoor and @hammocksneedtrees pages. I was searching for a quality hammock and the interwebs knew I’d love Madera. From the gear they sell to the causes they support, they’re all about the environment and supporting African farmers whose livelihoods have been effected by deforestation. They do that by partnering with companies like Trees for the Future to PLANT 2 TREES for every hammock purchased, since ya know, a hammock needs two trees AND trees are an essential part of pretty much everything in our lives.
Their hammocks aren’t cheap (nothing of high quality ever is) but they aren’t super expensive and the Madera Outdoor website is always running some kind of sale. Most of the time you can get a hammock with straps AND plant two trees for less than $50.
Hydro Flask Insulated Bottles
I’m not going to say how many Hydro Flasks I own because if my parents are reading this I don’t want them to know how much money I’ve spent on water bottles. But I swear by Hydro Flask. I’ve left ice in my 32oz Wide Mouth (that I got at a REI Garage Sale for $15, because of a slight dent) with the lid off overnight and there was still ice when I woke up the next morning and the bottles I filled with ice before 3 days in the Texas desert still had icy cold water on day 3.
Hydro Flask even has insulated food flasks, wine tumblers, beer pints, and growlers and almost every product they sell (except for the 64oz Growler) ranges in price from $25 to $50!
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, Leg Makeup
If you self-identify as a clutz this leg makeup will become your best friend. It’s water-resistant, comes in a bunch of different shades, has some kind of magic to hide your cellulite dimples, AND COVERS BRUISES. I repeat, it covers bruises. After a three day backpacking trip to Big Bend National Park where I fell at least a hundred times and acquired more bruises than I could count, this leg makeup kept my legs looking fine A F when I had to go to an outdoor wedding that involved hours of dancing (and sweating) in Houston heat this October.
You can buy Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs online or at your local Walgreens/CVS/Wal-Mart for $9.95 to $14.49.
Ultralight Backpacking Chair
No backpacker NEEDS an ultralight backpacking chair. At the end of a long day you can make yourself comfortable as long as your butt is on the ground. But having a chair to lean back in is one of those simple pleasures most backpackers find to be worth the extra pound or two. I found the REI Co-op Flexlite Chair on sale in 2016 but it usually retails for $79.95. However, the Trekology Portable Camping Chair ($39.99) is only a couple ounces more for half the price!
OtterBox Defender Series Phone Case
According to a 2015 Digital Trends report, at any given time 30% of U.S. smartphone users had a cracked phone screen and at least 34% had broken their phone screen at least once in their life. That means there’s a 1 in 3 chance you’ll break your phone screen eventually. And I’d be willing to bet if you’re an adventurer that chance is even higher. That’s why the OtterBox Defender case is so handy. It’s drop, shock, scratch, and dust proof and has a 1-year warranty. Personally, I’d rather spend the $40 on a phone case than $150+ for a refurbished phone.
Check out this post on Buzzfeed
Do you have any suggestions for the ultimate adventurer’s gift? What are your go-to backpacking/travel accessories that you think every 5 to 9 or 24/7 nomad should have? I want to hear your opinions in the comments below!