Travel Gear Reviews

Keen Springer Backseat Pack

outdoor gear guide s Keen Springer Backseat Pack follow me on pinterest button Keen Springer Backseat Pack It might be the ultimate outdoor concert backpack. That’s because Keen Springer Backseat Pack doubles as a lawn chair.

Basically, a rear panel of the backpack flips down. Side straps form the rest of the chair.

The idea is ingeniously simple; so much so that we are surprised that it took Keen, more a cool manufacturer of active footwear, to think of it.

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Noggs Sunglasses

When we asked a Noogs representative what the most distinctive feature was of the company’s sunglasses, he removed a pair from his head, bent the frames outward such that they formed a wide arch and asked “Could you do this with other sunglasses?”

outdoor gear guide s Noggs Sunglasses follow me on pinterest button Noggs Sunglasses Um, not more than once.

The parent company of Noggs has been making specialty protective eye wear for two decades. Much of that experience ended up in the Noogs sunglasses for consumers.

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The Beach Towel With Built-In Speakers
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The Italian company hi-Fun specializes in adding speakers to items that aren’t necessarily improved by their addition. (They also seem expert at added a “hi-” prefix to their product names). The company makes the hi-Sleep, which is a pillow with built-in speakers. There’s the hi-Head, a hat with built-in speakers. And the hi-George is a teddy bear that can both hug an iPod and blast tunes out of its feet.

The hi-product that most caught our attention? The hi-Sun—a beach towel with built-in speakers.

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Use Your Smartphone, Guidepal
To Find Cool City Experiences

Travel publishers finally are starting to produce electronic editions of their guidebooks for devices like the Kindle, iPad and Nook. About time! says Spot Cool Stuff. E-book readers are ideal for travel content—they are lighter and thinner than paper guidebooks and can be updated much more quickly (and cheaply).

While the mainstream travel guidebook companies play catch-up, a host of new publishers are out in front producing high-quality travel content for smartphones. One that’s of special note is Guidepal, whose city guides are available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

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The Best Wheeled Convertible Backpack (Still)
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In one of our first travel posts, Spot Cool Stuff took a look at the best wheeled convertible backpacks.

Wheeled convertible backpacks are hybrids between an overnight hiker’s backpack and a rolling suitcase like so many travelers wheel through airports. Having such luggage versatility can be hugely helpful on trips that mix luxury and outdoor travel.

Heading to Thailand, for example, you may well want a backpack for roaming across beaches and through mountain jungles but wish for a wheeled bag to navigate the airport and for when you arrive at your luxury Bangkok hotel at the end of your trip.

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Luggage That Moves You

What do you get when you cross a travel bag with a kid’s scooter?

That question isn’t the set-up for a (likely terrible) joke. It’s what Samsonite, a century-old luggage company, and Micro Mobility, a European scooter specialist, asked themselves when they sought to develop a carry-on bag with built-in mobility.

The result of the companies’ three-year collaboration: the Samsonite Micro Suitcase Scooter.

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Have Chopsticks Will Travel

Chopsticks have been used as eating utensils for some 4,000 years now (before that we suppose people used regular sticks). Today they can still among the smallest, most eco-friendly and useful pieces of travel gear around. Travel with your own pair of chopsticks and you’ll help save the 25 million (!) tress that are cut down each year for the sole purpose of making disposable chopsticks. (The environmental impact of disposable chopsticks has even caused China to implement a special tax on them). You’ll also insure that you always have sanitary utensils to eat with; in many parts of the world that is no small thing.

Spot Cool Stuff gave numerous travel chopsticks a try. For our purposes we only considered chopsticks that folded up or collapsed down in size in some way. Regular chopsticks that came in a travel case were excluded.

Here’s a rundown of our favorites in our order of preference:

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The Aerobed Pakmat Inflatable Mattress

For a long multi-day backpacking trip, you need a highly portable sleeping mat, like the new ultra-lightweight Klymit Inertia X-Frame.

When a guest sleeps at your home, a full inflatable mattress works well.

But what if you are looking for a middle ground sleeping mattress? Pakmat beckons as your answer.

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