Travel Gear Reviews

3 Cool Ways To Share Photos WHILE You Travel

You are on vacation, on a remote beach, and take a photo of yourself. A minute later, on the other side of the world, your mother is walking around her house and sees that same photo of you smiling back at her from the digital picture frame in her living room.

That’s the world we live in today. Photos can be shared across geography in all sorts of cool and creative ways.

Previously, Spot Cool Stuff reviewed the best travel cameras. But how to share your trip photos once you’ve taken them? Here are three creative sharing options that you can use while you are still traveling. None require use of a computer (either your own or one in an internet cafe) through you will need to be traveling with either a smartphone or a tablet.

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5 Cool Camping Trailers

Spot Cool Stuff is a huge fan of glamping. The word is a conjunctive of “glamorous” and “camping” and can describe pretty much any travel experience that is more luxurious than staying in a typical tent but more outdoorsy than an ordinary hotel. A glamping experience might involve sleeping in a portable treehouse, staying in a human-sized bird nest, making an espresso in the middle of nowhere—or touring in a cool camping trailer.

The number of unusual, creatively-designed campers currently on the market is truly amazing. Clearly neither the upward trend in road traffic or fuel prices are deterring some people from taking a mini-home with them on an adventure. Here’s our rundown of five especially cool caravan camping trailers:

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Crumpled City Maps

Maps look great when they are brand new. Not so much a few days into a trip.

After multiple unfoldings and refoldings (perhaps along the pre-folded map creases but more likely not), after exposure to wind, rain, the curious hands of children, the clumsy hands of adults, the bottom of a jostling bag and/or coffee spills, a nice paper map can become a mangled monstrosity. Crumpled City Maps are different.

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The Best Socks for Travel
(and the time between trips)

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:

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The Portable Treehouse

They call it a “portable suspended habitation unit.” It functions like a hybrid between a tent and a hammock. We think of it as a portable treehouse apartment.

It’s the Tentsile.

Suspend one between trees and the Tentsile provides a cocoon-like sleeping and living area above the forest floor. It might not be “the world’s most versatile tent” that the manufacturer claims it to be. But it is one of the coolest glamping (glamorous + camping) products we’ve seen.

Three models of Tentsile are available:

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Gear For Stealthy Photography

Taking photographs of people can be an uncomfortably self-conscious experience, both for the photographer and his subject. With that in mind, here are three items you can pair with your camera that will help you take photos on-the-fly. Each is inexpensive and makes for a great gift of a photographer.

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Have Bag Will Charge Gadgets

A handful of companies have been working on bags with built-in batteries capable of charging gadgets on-the-go. Most of those efforts have relied on slow and fussy solar panels to charge the bag. A few others are either very expensive or don’t work well. One very promising battery bag from Quirky, a cool online store of crowdsourced products, spent a year available for pre-order but never went into production.

Which is why Spot Cool Stuff is thrilled that there’s one company is getting the bag-with-built-in-battery right: Powerbag.

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Best Tablet Computers for Travel

There are few better items to travel with than a tablet computer. A tablet can be your map, your guidebook and your reading library, your entertainment system, your photo storage and editing device and your means of communicating with friends back home—all in one highly portable package.

The qualities that make for a tablet good for travel are generally the same as those that make a tablet good for other purposes too. When you are on the road, though, weight and build-quality become especially important. Travelers tend to use their tablet for longer between charges and so there’s a premium on battery life. Camera quality is important, partly for taking photos, partly for making Skype video calls. Other qualities to consider in your tablet travel companion include the availability of expansion ports, the quality of the screen (especially for use in direct sunlight), the selection of travel apps and, of course, the price.

With that, here’s Spot Cool Stuff’s take on the best tablet computer to take traveling. Read on, your click on the category that most interests you:

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