What you bring on a trip can effect a travel experience almost as much as where you go. So over this past year Spot Cool Stuff has reviewed all manner of travel gear and gadgets from cameras to luggage to clothing. A look back on our favorite travel product review posts from the last 365 days:
Usually Spot Cool Stuff spots stuff that is cool. (Go figure). Though in one of our favorite posts over the past year we did the exact opposite: In our review of the world’s worst travel gear we examined a few powerfully putrid items to take along on a trip. Don’t leave home without your pre-stained underwear with a hidden money compartment. And no journey is complete without a wearable water bottle that makes you look pregnant.
When we weren’t laughing at the worst travel products we were reviewing our favorite items, including our selections for the best airplane blanket, best noise canceling headphones, best travel jacket and best wireless computer mouse.
In talking with other travelers we often found that people were packing ultra-cheap sunglasses for their trip under the assumption that that all sunglasses were pretty much the same. In our look at the world’s best sunglasses we explained how cheap sunglasses can cause more harm to your eyes than not wearing sunglasses at all. Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite sunglass brand is Maui Jim, though there are several other good ones too.
But our favorite travel gear post over the past year? Among them were:
The Amazon Kindle 2 vs The Kindle DX
The international version of the Kindle 2 gets our vote for the travel gadget of 2009. From virtually anywhere in the world where there’s 3G mobile phone access a Kindle 2 owner can download a variety of books, newspapers and magazines in 60 seconds (give or take).
Priority Pass: Go First Class At The Airport (Even Flying Economy)
Why anyone would frequently fly in economy class and not get a Priority Pass membership is a bit of a mystery to us. The opportunity to show up at the airport early and then hang out in a business class takes a huge amount of stress out of airline travel.
Waterproof iPod and iPhone Cases
To our surprise, SCS’s review of waterproof cases for Apple’s various phones and MP3 players has for months now been one of our most popular posts.
But if we must pick one 2009 travel gear post as our favorite we choose:
This review was literally the culmination of months of testing out different camera models, examining each for those qualities that are most important to travelers. In the end the Canon EOS-5D Mark II won our endorsement for the best overall travel camera. But recognizing that different travelers have different needs, budgets and levels of photography skills we included a review of eight other superlative travel cameras including the Nikon D90: The Best Value All-Around Travel SLR Camera With Video and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3: The Best Point-and-Shoot Compact Camera for Travel.
Coming in 2010
In the next month or two look for an update on our review of waterproof iPod & iPhone cases. In this update we’ll consider a few new cases that have come out since our last review.
With airport security becoming increasingly tight, and airlines cutting back even further on the few perks they still offer, we’ll be reviewing the best products for making airplane travel easier and more comfortable.
To stay updated on our gear reviews—and all other Spot Cool Stuff travel posts—please follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed, sign up to receive our posts by email (in the light blue box at the top right of every SCS travel page) or simply return back to our travel blog often.
Have a favorite piece of travel gear? Packy our suggestion into a comment, below: