Category: Gear

What you wear or use can make or break travel. So we offer you advice on all that travel gear – from choosing the best travel luggage or apparel, to the travel security gear and small items we won’t travel without. If we use it, we’ll recommend it and tell you why. Our most recent posts are below.

Flying in comfort: What to pack and wear

Your ticket is booked, your seat is selected, and you’re packing your bags for upcoming travels. But will you be flying in comfort? That doesn’t mean a premium class. Here are a few things we do and pack to help make flying and arriving more comfortable.

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Cozy travel comfort gear: Pillows, eye shades, clothes

Travel doesn't have to be overly uncomfortable, as long as you assemble a packable travel comfort gear kit. Being frequent flyers and in airplanes and trains way too often, we have explored many ways to stay comfortable. Because airlines in particular continue to cut...

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Best travel pants – What we wear and why

Since a lot of travel also involves sitting and walking, what you pull on over your legs makes a big difference in how comfortable you will be. So what makes the best travel pants? There are a few must-have features: Comfort (otherwise kill the deal now). Travel pants...

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Gift guide for traveling kids (and their parents)

Kids are travelers – as are their parents – and sometimes a little safety, education, or entertainment for little ones on the road can be a great choice when you are looking for holiday gifts. Here are a few picks of gifts for traveling kids from HI Travel Tales and our traveling friends.

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Travel essentials we always pack in our luggage

Packing a bag for upcoming travels can be a bit stressful, no matter how experienced you are. You know weather is going to change, you aren’t sure how often you’ll get to do laundry, and you want to pack light and multifunctional. Into the “go” stack you...

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Six last-minute gifts for travelers

As the countdown to your holiday celebrations continues, have you gotten all those little gifts for travelers in your life yet? HI Travel Tales has a few suggestions for quick, cool, practical travel gifts.

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Holiday Travel Gift Guide 2015: 10 perfect picks

From stocking stuffers to more elegant gift selections or even for those wacky athletic folks, you will be sure to find something in our holiday travel gift guide that will delight even the most selective and picky traveling friend or family member. Now, here are our winning suggestions for your Holiday Travel Gift Guide.

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Travel fitness advice: Packing, clothes and gear

What you pack along will have a huge impact on whether you workout or how comfortable you are when you do. A friend of mine used to always have a just-in-case workout bag in his trunk “just in case a workout broke out,” he’d say. And that’s our travel fitness advice too. If you aren’t prepared, you won’t get your healthy fix in.

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Perfect travel gifts for under 35 dollars

The experienced global travel team at HI Travel Tales knows what every business or holiday traveler wants and needs when it comes to receiving perfect travel gifts from family and friends. Little things — often items priced under $35 – can provide convenience and comfort. Or may even help save a little money. With that in mind, here are 10 perfect travel gifts (+ one for good measure), all under $35, that are sure to become a must-pack of your favorite traveler in the year ahead — the best gifts for people who love to travel.

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Travel Packs: A perfect choice for adventurous travel

If you are off to New Zealand, the Ardennes Mountains or South America and you’re going to be gone for a while hopping on and off planes, trains, automobiles, donkeys and boats, chances are you might want to look at buying into the category of travel packs, rather than schlepping wheeled luggage or a duffel with straps.

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 Below are a few of our recommended products for traveling. Each has been rigorously tested by our team. Clothing, footwear, outerwear, travel accessories, luggage, travel packs, wheeled duffels, computer bags, and carry-on luggage.

spAIRtray scores window seat flyers extra space, comfort

Let’s face it, airlines continue to nibble away at personal space and comfort for airline passengers. But if you are window seat flyer, you can regain some of that coveted space with the spAIRtray travel shelf. The spAIRtray ($24.95) is a surprisingly simple and...

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Eagle Creek Gear Warrior AWD luggage review

With the trend these days being toward four-wheeled luggage (Eagle Creek calls it “AWD” for “all-wheel drive,” tapping into that adventure je ne sais quoi), we decided to give one of the company’s four-wheel “spinner” bags, the Gear Warrior AWD, a whirl on several trips, both on domestic trips by car and train, and on international travel by plane, train and bus.

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Rab MeCo 120 a versatile travel shirt

Every traveler needs a good, solid, versatile t-shirt. One you can hand wash or machine wash without too much worry and one that works just as well on a city street as it does on a mountain trail, day after day after day. The Rab MeCo 120 short sleeve tee is such a beast.

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Katadyn BeFree a compact travel water filter system

Unless you are planning to buy bottled water every time you travel (not always practical, cost-effective or environmentally sound) packing along a compact water filter may be an alternative. Enter the lightweight Katadyn BeFree water filter in a soft flask (approximately 2.4 ounces total) as the perfect solution to maintaining your gastrointestinal health.

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Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat a comfy travel solution

Backpacking anywhere in the world is a great way to escape the everyday life on your travels. But these days there are parts of everyday life I don’t want to leave behind – like a little sleeping comfort with as little carrying weight as possible. The Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat is a superior solution that manages that fine balance between ultralight and comfort when you are traveling.

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GSI Commuter Javapress travel coffee mug

The GSI Javapress is a pretty nifty, lightweight (less than 10 ounces), multifunctional travel coffee mug … that also does tea or even serves as a multi-purpose beverage mug since you don’t have that nasty ol’ plunger to get in the way.

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Mammut Comfort Low GTX Surround multifunctional travel shoe

With so many multifunctional travel shoes on the market, it is sometimes difficult to determine what may make one better than another. Heck, what does “better” mean? In the case of the Mammut Comfort Low GTX Surround ($169, men’s and women’s), we enlisted an experienced hiker and traveler as our wear-tester to give it a real-world beating.

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Pacsafe Travelsafe X15 anti-theft portable safe

As an increasing number of electronic devices, computers and cameras get toted along on our travels, the more we have come to see the value in packing along a little extra security for our valuables. Security that comes in the form of a Pacsafe Travelsafe X15 anti-theft portable safe.

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Knixwear Evolution one amazing travel bra

For many women, choosing a travel bra can be a challenge. An excellent, versatile, easy-wash-n-dry travel bra that provides needed support and mandatory comfort isn’t easy to find. Then I discovered the Knixwear Evolution Bra. Go buy one now. You will not regret it.

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Arborwear Canopy pants perfect for adventure travel

I was sitting a chair at the dentist’s office, pretty comfy in my Arborwear Canopy pants, which have also become a go-to everyday wear. Then my dental hygienist walks in and immediately exclaims, “Those pants look amazing, I have to get a pair for my husband!” You know your pants are scoring when even your dental hygienist notices them.

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GSI Ultralight Java Drip & Infinity Mug Review

Admittedly, I am a lover of a good cuppa which is why I fell in love with the GSI Ultralight Java Drip and quite like its companion Infinity Backpacker Mug. Don’t be misled by the “backpacker” in the mug’s name. You can take it on any kind of travel where lightweight and versatile are king.

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Houdini Motion Light Houdi travel jacket

Breathable, ultralight, weather resistant, stretchy, soft, stuffable, recycled, recyclable – what else can you ask for in a great lightweight softshell jacket to take on your travels, stuff in your pack, or wrap around your waist? Sweden’s Houdini Sportswear Motion Light Houdi is in its line of Motion Light products, and I love it as a superb travel jacket.

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Stonewear Designs Rockin Pants review

The Rockin Pant isn’t new, but for those in the know, it’s a true classic and ideal do-it-all travel pant. Stonewear Designs has had it in the line since 2007. Bet there’d be a riot if it were taken out. And at HI Travel Tales, we’ve long believed in recognizing what is good, not just what is new. With that in mind, we felt a review that recognized this pant’s long-lasting excellence for travel was due.

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Gore-Tex running jacket: great travel jacket

When adventures call you far afield when you’re on the road, your streetwear travel jacket may not be up to snuff. In those cases, a versatile travel jacket for active adventures is a must – a great travel jacket like the Gore-Tex Running Wear Essential that protects in all kinds of weather.

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RAD Helix roller releases travel-tight muscles

Discovering the RAD Helix roller was a beautiful moment. Packing along workout or therapy gear when you are on the road isn’t the easiest. In fact, it is often impossible with size, bulk or weight. But because it is so compact, the RAD Helix has become my own portable physical therapy kit whenever traveling.

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ExOfficio Ometto Blazer: ideal men’s travel jacket

Dressing classy yet staying functional while traveling is easier with the ExOfficio Ometto Blazer. Since there is no doubt that presenting a clean and stylish image commands respect, the Ometto Blazer could even up your chances of that unexpected upgrade (we can be hopeful, can’t we?).

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L.L. Bean DuraReader glasses a lifesaver

L.L. Bean DuraReader glasses are a lifesaver. When you don’t wear glasses all of the time, it’s all too easy to forget to pack along a pair when out traveling. So what happens when you suddenly come across a sign or need to recheck your location on a map, be it paper or electronic? Yup, guesswork and frustration. HI Travel Tales has reviewed take-along travel readers before (see our review of the Thin Optics), but L.L. Bean has a new entry to the no-break, pack-along travel readers: DuraReaders.

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Simple but brilliant Exotac FREEKey a travel essential

Keys are a fact of life, even when you travel. Keys to rental cars, hotels, friend’s houses and other places – often on clunky, hard-to-manage key rings. Say no to bricks some inn wants you to schlepp around or a myriad of loose keys you need for the VRBO … one for the gate, one for the front door, one for the laundry. The solution is packing along a simple, lightweight, key ring that isn’t a battle to get keys on and off, like the Exotac FREEKey.

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Ahnu Noe Leather: Comfy all-round great travel shoe

Your feet are your best friends on the road. And you better treat them right and make sure they are comfortable. What you need is one great travel shoe that goes from all-day city touring to back-road sauntering to a casual dinner with a skirt. Like the Ahnu Noe Leather does.

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Powermonkey Extreme Review: power-to-go with solar recharge

Traveling with an array of mobile devices these days is the norm, and all are hungry little buggers, incessantly begging for energy feedings. And that requires ready access to plugs or, if on the go, external batteries. There are many choices out there, but if your needs take you far away from electrical outlets – meaning you’ll need solar power to recharge a battery pack — the Powermonkey Extreme is one option to consider.

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ExOfficio Sport Mesh travel underwear

If there is one thing you are going to wear nearly everyday when on the road (well, most of us), it’s your undies. Thus, travel underwear is vital. Wait, rewind: The RIGHT travel underwear is what’s vital. That means undies that are so comfortable you could live in them 24-hours a day, every day. Undies that dry so fast you only need one (maybe two for that veritable just-in-case).

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Beeline case with tether prevents phone fumbles

Hands cold, wind whipping and the ship rolling in heavy seas during a gorgeous sunrise. To get the photos I wanted, I had to hold my mobile out over the railing – nothing preventing my phone from dropping into the ocean below other than my tenuous grip. I might have relaxed a bit and been able to get better photos had I been using the Beeline Case then.

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Ahnu Cruz Vegan: Nearly perfect travel shoes

Of course, there is no such thing as perfect travel shoes that will be all things and all will love. Nonetheless, the Ahnu Cruz Vegan slip-on is now my fave travel shoe when I want to give my other one or two pairs a rest – the ones I wear running, scrambling, trekking, urban wandering, or for a casual evening out.

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Brooks JustRight Racer sports bra travels great

If you plan on being active when you are traveling, then a sports bra is a must. But, ladies, what a pain to have to pack a couple of sports bras AND a couple of additional everyday bras. Or more. Is my dream of a perfect all-around bras possible? With the Brooks JustRight Racer sports bra, the dream is inching closer.

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Outdoor Research HighCamp Mitts ensure toasty digits

Loving the Outdoor Research HighCamp Mitts! Being a stereotypical woman, my hands are frequently cold. It could be 55 degrees and I’m wearing gloves. Some women have shoe collections? I have a glove collection! Which means when preparing to travel to colder climes I find myself staring at piles of fleece gloves, soft shell gloves, windproof or insulated mitts and wondering which one will work.

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Kahtoola Nanospikes: winter running traction

Kahtoola has long been known for traction devices, that is, crampons and spikes that add grip for staying upright when traversing snow or ice. We love the less, well, spikey traction devices geared for runners (and walkers too who desire something with fewer sharp points) – the Kahtoola Nanospikes.

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Prana Stretch Zion pants functional style perfect for travel

A perfect travel pant sounds easy, but it’s not. Too many are durable and functional enough for outdoor adventure yet they also leave me looking like should be heading out on safari rather than a night out in Paris. And those that offer urban style are rarely stain-resistant, water-resistant and abrasion resistant enough to handle anything but the mildest of outdoor activity. The Prana Stretch Zion pants ($80), however, comes as close to travel pant perfection as any.

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Eagle Creek Activate Wheeled Duffel Review

There is good reason why the Eagle Creek Activate Wheeled Duffel 30 made us smile. We’re always looking to save ounces and pack less. There are times, though, when the demands of a trip require larger luggage – for gear for planned adventures or on-site winter weather, for example.

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