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.

RAD Helix roller cover shot showing working on the hip

Although a wonderful thing, travel can still take its toll on your body with all of the twisting, bending, carrying, luggage-lifting and extended sitting, not to mention awkward beds, bad mattresses, and hard floors and concrete sidewalks. Getting to the big fun takes time. And there is no quicker way to take the pleasure out of travel (or a planned adventure) than with a muscle spasm, a contorted back, or tight muscles that may even clamp down on a nerve.

Stretching is a must in between it all. But rolling is what saves me. I’ve experienced plenty of past travel pain — episodes of begging my back to get better, of watching my other half – the She of HI Travel Tales – head off into the woods for fun while I was hunched over in pain, applying sundry cremes with names I couldn’t read from pharmacies in assorted countries. It got better when I packed along a basic foam roller despite its bulk.

RAD Helix works the kinks out of a tight back

All has changed. No more foam or other rollers for me: The RAD Helix roller ($49) weighs only one pound, and measures just three inches in diameter and a mere 12.5 inches in length, thus it is smaller, more compact and lighter than most others. The Rad Helix tucks easily into luggage or even a carry-on bag – although I’ve yet to get down on the floor of an airplane. My RAD Helix roller is a life- and travel-saver.

Made of a high-density foam polymer, the RAD Helix is soft enough for whole-muscle rolling yet firm enough for me to work out even the tightest muscle knot. It is my every-night-before-bed and sometimes every-morning routine to roll out my hamstrings, gluts, lower back and legs to keep me limber. The RAD Helix roller also works extremely well on tight calves, hips and quads and is WAY less painful to use than a hard foam roller.

The RAD Helix’s unique design with an indentation in the middle and two curved shapes on either side allows you to safely roll right up on your spine and onto your neck. She loves that part since her neck is her nemesis (although I get to carry the roller). The RAD Helix works so well (OK, you do actually have to use it, not just pack it along) that I haven’t pulled my lower back in over a year of traveling the world. And that’s many, many thousands of miles in planes, trains, buses, boats, automobiles, airport lounges and bad hotel beds, not to mention on foot.

Short trip or long trip, I now always pack the RAD Helix. Since I can’t do without it, it can’t do without earning our coveted HITT Seal of Approval for travel product excellence.

RAD Helix roller HITT Seal of Approval

More travel accessory reviews:

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.

Read More

Lander Cascade Powerbank charger review – Plenty of power on the go

Being mobile as a traveler these days mostly demands you carry a little juice to keep your devices functioning – camera, smartphone, tablet, you name it. The new 2016 Lander Cascade Powerbank charger line is sleek, durable and reliable for a traveler’s needs.

Read More

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z poles are lightweight travel buddies

Hiking poles are a nice accessory on hikes or longer treks in the mountains. But your friendly TSA agents may not take kindly to long pointy sticks. Thus, the necessity for lightweight, foldable travel companions, which is exactly what the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z poles are.

Read More

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.

Read More

Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat a comfy travel solution

The Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Mat is a superior solution that manages that fine balance between ultralight and comfort when you are traveling, by foot, by car, by plane, or however (P.S. Don’t forget the Air Stream Dry Sack Pump to inflate it, but more on that later).

Read More

GSI Commuter Javapress travel coffee mug

All-in-one press travel coffee mugs can sometimes be awkward with that press rod handle that sticks out of the top – or, after pressing, sits in the middle of the mug. “Intrusive,” as GSI calls it, and that is so right. Thanks to GSI for “perfecting” this press concept, making the Javapress Mug a great travel companion.

Read More

Nite Ize 3-in-1 LED Mini Travel Flashlight

A do-it-all mini travel flashlight is our kind of light! Especially a versatile travel flashlight that weighs only 2.7 ounces by Nite Ize called the 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight.

Read More

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.

Read More

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Ultralight review

Whether you are in transit on a plane or train, traveling with a tent as your abode, or just hate hotel pillows, the Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Ultralight will be your best friend on travel.

Read More

Soto WindMaster: Light and efficient travel stove

Soto has come up with a true winner of a stove in the WindMaster, a cooking powerhouse ideal for adventure travelers needing a compact, efficient and easy-to-operate stove for backpacking, remote travel, and backcountry use.

Read More

Kodak Pixpro SP360: fun travel camera

After playing with the Kodak Pixpro SP360 for six months, I can state it is a very cool, compact tool for the travel photographer. Not perfect but quite good.

Read More

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.

Read More
Follow Me

Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business ( built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
Follow Me