Let me set the scene. You've got a trip coming up. You're excited. It's been awhile since you've been able to getaway and now the only thing standing between you and an exciting adventure is....an empty suitcase. 

Packing is not my favorite thing to do. However in the last 10 years my husband and I have had some adventures in far distant lands that forced me to improve my technique and since opening a virtually plastic free shop I have found my packing game has become a thing of beauty. ...Perhaps that's stretching it, but SO MANY OF OUR PLASTIC FREE SWAPS ARE PERFECT FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP.

Whether you're hopping on a plane or backpacking into the wilderness, one of the main concerns when packing is weight. There is nothing worse than hiking to a campsite or wandering around a new city lugging heavy bags and wondering if anything is leaking inside after a long journey.

That's where the sustainable swaps come in. A fun trick we have learned in the sustainable world is thinking long and hard about whether or not a product NEEDS water in it to be effective. Things like mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and more all have water listed as an ingredient that you pay for and then carry around on your trip. This water makes your products heavier of course but it also makes them squeeze out of a tube easily. This feature is nice once you get where you're going, but not so nice if it's been squeezed too hard before you arrive causing it to ruin your favorite pair of sneakers or that new dress you bought for the trip.  

So without further ado, Here are a list of waterless swaps I have made in my daily life that have made packing & travel simple and sweet.


1. Toothpaste and Mouthwash Tablets. Ditch the tiny plastic tubes and bottles that don't have enough in them for more than 5 days, and bring exactly the amount of toothpaste tablets you want. Using them is simple and mess free. Crush a tab with your teeth then brush with a wet toothbrush. For the mouthwash, crush a tab, take a sip of water, then swish. These are also extremely handy in airport for long layovers. If I'm being honest, I would say that I have even kept one in my pocket before and it was a great decision. (Don't judge me, the pocket lint was minimal)

2. Shampoo & Conditioner bars. If you have been following Marilla's for a while, you KNOW that I am a bar haircare believer. I'm going to qualify that statement by saying I'm still a bit of a bar haircare hater OVERALL but the brands we have found and the TWO (and only two) brands we work with are undeniably better than any liquid I have ever tried. Anyway. Back to travel. Bar haircare has changed my game on the road. These bars are totally water free, no muss no fuss, and they weigh less than a liquid bottle of shampoo & conditoner. Again, I used to pack full size products in my bags because the travel sizes were never enough, but these bars have saved me because I can take almost a YEARS worth of product with me without worrying about anything getting squashed and covered in slime. To pack them, all I do is designate a clean washcloth and bundle them up with a hairtie like a little haircare sachet. Easy-Peasy and I don't have to buy anything extra! I should also mention that we carry travel/sample sizes of both brands and those are perfect for travel being a quarter of the size of a full bar. Don't be fooled though, these tiny bars will last you months so take them on the weekend getaway or the three month adventure! (one more honorable mention goes to our shampoo powder. lightweight and packaged in aluminum bottles, these formulas are light as a feather and easy to use!)


3. Body Wash. Two words: Bar Soap. I'm not talking crusty dusty drying bar soap either. I'm talking nourishing, moisturizing, foamy sudsy handmade body soap in bar form. This is a classic "What goes around comes around" moment but while you're bundling up your shampoo and conditioner bars, throw in your favorite body wash bar from marillas and you've got it made! My personal favorite at the moment is our new DIP body wash in coconut almond scent. It smells like the vacation I don't have time to go on at the moment. 


4. Lotion Bars. Instead of a tube of lotion, grab a handmade healing lotion bar. Heat it with your hands and smooth it over your bod for silky soft skin!


5. Sunscreen. Instead of a tube, try our sunscreen cream in a tin which I love to use on my face and body. It has the added bonus of vitamin E and carrot seed oil which can help to reduce sunspots so it's a win-win for skincare girlies!


6. Laundry Detergent Sheets. I know we may not always be doing laundry on your trips but if you're staying in a rental or camping, these lightweight laundry detergent sheets are fantastic for handwashing in the sink (just tear off a small piece and get scrubbing) and safe for sensitive skin if you have a washing machine where you are headed! 


IF you choose to roll the dice and bring liquid anyway, I highly recommend our silicone smoothie pouches, (yes, you read that correctly.) I recently had a customer fill one with sunscreen and it was a PERFECT size for travel (less than 4oz) and a convenient way to dispense it with a squeeze top. BRILLIANT. I can't take credit for the idea but now I'm shouting it from the rooftops! 


So with warmer weather headed our way and (hopefully) some dream vacations and camping trips in the future for everyone, I hope you'll check out a few of these Ingenius items to make your trip a bit more sustainable and a LOT less messy! 


See you soon,



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April 16, 2024 — Marilla Gonzalez

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