Here’s a challenge: Find a gift for a frequent traveler that’s very light weight and easy to pack. Make it something cool and creative. Only pick items that your gift recipient is extremely unlikely to already own. And, oh yeah, your gift can’t cost more than US$10.
Spot Cool Stuff recently went shopping with those exact criteria in mind. Here’s our review of five cool travel-related gifts we found. Each makes for a great stocking stuffer. But there’s no rule saying you can’t shop for yourself too.
If you had to spend an entire vacation wearing no other footwear besides a pair of flip-flops which model would you want to take?
Spot Cool Stuff has been busy lately researching this exact question. We’ve been testing more than two dozen pairs of flip-flops across several categories. But there’s one model we are already certain will make our final cut: the Sazzi Decimal Sandal.
One needn’t look at a Sazzi Decimal for more an instant to spot its two most pronounced features: the four toe posts and the footbed with individual toe cutouts.
Not many articles of clothing come with instructions on how to wear it. And even fewer come with instructions on how to wear it that you’d actually want to read. In fact, we can only think of one: The Scottevest Travel Vest.
Simply putting on the Travel Vest doesn’t require reading the instructions, of course. And you’ll probably be able to find all of the Travel Vest’s pockets, if you have enough time and patience to hunt them all down. But knowing what each pocket is designed for so you can make optimal use of them — until you do that you can’t realize just how cool a piece of travel clothing the Scottevest Travel Vest is.
So let’s delve into that by checking out the vest’s pocket maps:
Travelers spend big money on upgraded airline tickets and medium money on upgraded luggage. Yet, for only a few extra dollars (or pounds or euros or yen or somoni) an upgraded experience can be had on an arguably more significant piece of travel gear: socks.
Travel (save for the armchair variety) tends to involve a lot of standing and walking and being outside. And a surprising percentage of one’s physical comfort starts with one’s feet.
For the previous few months Spot Cool Stuff has been trying out different socks; some were provided to us and others we purchased ourselves. The central take-away from this sock testing frenzy: Don’t purchase generic socks, or at least not exclusively. There’s an impressive variety of socks on the market, produced by several dozen small- and medium-sized manufacturers. Spending a bit more on their socks is worth it, especially for travel.
As for specific sock suggestions, here’s a review of some of our favorites:
On the inside of an item of clothing made by Icebreaker—a wonderful manufacturer of activewear using a merino wool fiber layering system—you’ll find the usual tag with machine washing care instructions.
Below that you’ll find another tag that isn’t so usual, one that contains a unique nine digit code.
Using that code you can go to the internet and see exactly where the sheep live that provided the merino wool for that specific garment!
At Spot Cool Stuff, almost all our reviews cover products and places we love. Sometimes, though, a product can be so mind boggling terrible that, well, there’s something good about the horribleness of it.
With that attempted explanation we take a break from our usual routine of writing about genuinely cool things and present you with a collection of travel gear you would almost certainly never bring on your next trip—unless you lost a bet.
Spot Cool Stuff is freshly back from the Summer Outdoor Retailer convention in Salt Lake City where, along with approximately 20,999 others, we ooo-ed and ahhh-ed over the latest tents, backpacks, kayaks, shoes, bicycles, roof-top carriers, portable disposable toilets (yes, really), sunglasses, jackets, pocket knives, hammocks, energy bars, hiking GPS units and an assorted sundry of outdoor gear and gadgets.
Many products at the OR Show were newly released and several will not be available to the general public for several months. What were the coolest new items we discovered? Here’s a roundup of our 12 favorites—and a sneak peak at some products we’ll be reviewing more fully in the future: