Monthly Archives: January 2014

Five Benefits of Travel Towels

Travel towels are great for showering on the goTowels are simple objects, but surprisingly difficult to manage while traveling. You can travel without a towel and risk using the paper-thin sandpaper they provide at the hostel or hotel. Or you can bring a big, normal bath towel that takes up half your backpack. That’s where specially designed travel towels come in. They’re specifically designed to be ultra-absorbent while being compact, easy to pack and quick drying. Here are the five main reasons you should pack a travel towel:

Travel Towel

Travel Towels dry quickly, pack small and fight mildew and odors

First, they save space in your backpack and luggage. Regardless of which brand you choose, a good travel towel will fold to quite literally a fraction the size of a regular cotton towel. Every cubic inch of space matters when you’re backpacking and traveling. So don’t waste space packing a regular bath towel.

Second, they dry quickly. No matter how adventurous the traveler, it’s no fun drying off with a wet towel. Using just your hands to wring dry, you can get most of the water out of a travel towel with just a couple of hours necessary to evaporate the rest. This way, you’ll always have something nice, dry and comfortable to dry off with.

Third, they fight odors and mildew. Damp, dark and no air is not a good combo. Sticking any wet fabric back into the bottom of your backpack is a recipe for some nasty odors and mildew. These can also spread to the rest of your clothes in your bag. Packing a dry towel helps keep your backpack and your T-shirts dry, fresh and free of mildew.

travel towel people hanging on dockFourth, every ounce counts. These towels are much lighter in weight than normal. As any travel  backpacker can tell you, every ounce matters when you are carrying everything on your back. Some travel towels are up to three times lighter than regular. So lighten your load and save the weight for other things.

And fifth, they soak it all in. Travel towels are designed to soak up from 5 to 9 times their own weight in water. They are much more absorbent than cotton towels and can be used for multiple purposes.

So they are more than enough to keep you – and your stuff – dry. So whether you’re backpacking around Europe or volunteering in the Amazon rainforest, leave your big bulky cotton towel at home. Take along a specially designed quick-dry travel towel. You’ll save space, weight and you’ll always have a dry towel ready.

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Best Luggage Locks for Backpack Travel

Pacsafe Rectracta 250 Cable Luggage Lock

Pacsafe Rectracta 250 Cable Luggage Lock

Traveling is a good time and no matter where you go, the majority of people are honest. But, there’s always a small group that will steal your stuff if they can. And when you’re carrying everything you have in one bag, the consequences can be harsh. So it’s best to bring along a few lightweight luggage locks to keep your clothes and gear secure.

When and Why
Some people think luggage locks are just for airline checked baggage, but you’ll actually use them almost every day of your trip. One of the most common uses for luggage locks is any situation in which you’re separated from your bag. That could be as simple as putting it in the overhead bin a few seats back, throwing it on a pile of other backpacks at the back of a train or leaving it in a shared hostel or homestay room. In all these situations, you’ll want to make sure your bag and its pockets can’t be easily opened. But most thefts are crimes of opportunity, just a quick rifling through pockets and openings to see what they can grab. Travel locks make sure they don’t do that to your pack.

The other scenario where luggage locks are necessary is in any sort of crowded or chaotic space. If you’re dancing in the streets, exploring a crowded tourist attraction or waiting in a hectic bus station, you want to make sure your pack and its pockets are not easily accessible. Pickpocketing remains an art in many parts of the world and its practitioners are very good. Somebody asks you a quick question or “accidentally” bumps into you and the next thing you know your wallet, iPhone or cash are gone. Certain types of luggage locks also have flexible cables allowing you to secure your bag to a chair or railing so you don’t have to constantly think about it.

Types of Luggage Locks

 

Travelon Search Alert Luggage Lock

Conventional Travel Locks: Conventional luggage locks are small locks with a small, rigid U-shaped locking mechanism. These are best for securing day pack zippers when in a crowded space or separated from your bag. The best locks have an indicator to show you when it’s been unlocked by a TSA agent.

Flexible Cable Locks: It’s a good idea to bring at least one of these. Flexible Lewis N Clark TSA 80 Cable Luggage Lockcable locks feature flexible steel cables that allow you to reach and lock

multiple zippers on the same bag. They also allow you to lock your bag to a bedpost or railing to deter theft of the whole thing. Like conventional luggage locks, cable locks should have an indicator to let you know when it’s been unlocked.

Combination Versus Key Locks: This is a matter of preference, but we don’t recommend keyed locks. Keys just mean an extra thing to carry and keep track of. Better to keep the combination in your head, on a piece of paper or in an electronic device. Some say that a keyed lock is less likely to be picked. But all of these locks are meant to prevent quick crimes of opportunity. If someone has enough time and privacy to fiddle around with trying to pick your combination, they’re probably going to get the bag anyway.

We have bunches of the best travel locks, so check them out, take a few along and spend your time concentrating I’m good times.

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Ful Backpacks: Combining Design, Technology and Travel

Granted, calling a backpack functional art may be a stretch. It is just a backpack after all. But if there’s any company out there that pays as close attention to aesthetics as function, it’s Ful. In fact, their motto is “Create quality bags with a fashion edge.” And they succeed at both.

Ful was born in the gumbo of music, history and culture that is Memphis, Tennessee and is

Ful Venue Day Pack

Ful Venue Day Pack

run and designed by a small group of people who are almost as passionate about music and culture as they are about backpacks. And they use one to – forgive the pun – fuel the other. That’s evident by everyone from Justine Timberlake and Taylor Swift, to old-school Slash from Guns n Roses and Will.i.am turning to Ful for their bags. Ful breaks its bags into a few categories – day packs and backpacks, messengers and duffels. And each is designed to reflect both cutting-edge backpack design and aesthetics.

One area where Ful Backpacks shine is in accommodating your electronics and technology. So here are a few of our favorite Ful media/laptop/tablet/music-friendly day packs.

Ful Refugee Day PackFul Refugee: This is one sweet bag. It’s got an easy-access, side-opening laptop pouch in the back of the bag instead of the front for added protection. It’s got a separate front pouch with pockets to store all the stuff that normally drops to the bottom of your bag. And it’s tough, water-proof bottom keeps everything dry.

Ful Venue: If you’re just going to a coffee shop to read a few music blogs on your tablet, the Ful Venue Day Pack - Blackvenue is the one. It’s clean, geometric, rectangular design actually accommodates a 15.5-inch laptop and tablets. And it opens into two packable compartments. If you’re looking for a dependable, compact day pack that doesn’t look like every other bag out there, the Venue is it.

Ful Backpacks also offer a few larger-size, laptop backpacks that fall somewhere between day pack and travel backpack. So if you’re heading to a music festival for a few days and need to bring some clothes or gear in addition to your laptop, here are a couple of Ful’s best offerings:

Ful Treble maker Day PackFul Treble Maker: At 28.3 liters, the Treble Maker offers more than enough room for trips. Like the Refugee, its laptop compartment is in the back for added protection and it’s even got a sternum strap and water bottle pocket if you want to take it on a hike.

Ful Tennman: We’re not sure if the Tennman’s 32 liters of storage or its 16-inch laptopFul Tennman Day Packcompartment made Snoop Dog – now Snoop Lion – turn to the Tennman, but we dig it. This is a full-on backpack – water bottle pocket, sternum strap, large main compartment – that uses a sleek, narrow design to make it perfect for ever day use or travel.

Before we go, we have to mention two more of our favorites. They don’t fall into any particular category. They’re just cool bags.

Ful Heart Throb Wheeled BackpackFul Heart Throb Rolling Backpack: You’re young. You’re strong. But that doesn’t mean you want to haul stuff on your back when you don’t have to. The Heart Throb offers nearly 40-liters of storage, is super lightweight, and offers most of the features mentioned above. And it gives your back a break when you’re chasing a bus after dancing in Buenos Aires until 6 a.m.

Ful Tremelo Day Pack: We include the Tremolo simply for its cool factor. It looks like just a World Ful Tremolo BackpackWar II canvas pack, but is designed with all the laptop-compatible, cutting-edge features Ful is known for. Call it vintage modern. Either way it’s cool.

So whether you’re heading to the work, school or the Berlin Festival, Ful offers backpacks that capture the zeitgeist of culture, technology, music and design.

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Five Best Travel Accessories for Backpackers

5 Best Travel Accessories for Backpackers

Backpacking around the world is a good time, no matter what you bring or how you bring it. Nobody should stress too much over how to pack or what travel gear to bring. Unless you’re scaling Mount Everest chances are you’ll survive. But there are a few items that are designed help you stay light and mobile, which means you’ll spend less time dealing with life’s basics and more time making new friends and creating new adventures. So here are the five best travel accessories for backpack travelers:

First: A Travel Backpack

Deuter Transit 65 Travel Backpack

Deuter Transit 65

By far the best accessory you can bring is also the most basic – a backpack designed for travel. Of course, any backpack will due. But if you want to grab your stuff quickly and easily and keep everything organized, a travel backpack is the best way to go. The main advantage is travel backpacks open like a suitcase. Traditional backpacks open at the top with a drawstring. So if you need to grab something at the bottom of a traditional backpack, you have to take everything out first and then repack it. A complete hassle if you’re in the middle of a train station. With travel backpacks, you have all the same features, but you can open it from the top or side and have access to all your stuff quickly and easily.

Second: Quick-Dry Travel Underwear

Exofficio Men's Travel Boxer Briefs

Exofficio Boxer Briefs

Nothing can ruin a trip faster than a little fungus in your nether regions, if you know what I mean. Stuffing damp, cotton underwear in your pack is a recipe for mildew, fungus and odors. With quick-dry, anti-bacterial travel underwear, you can just wash it in the sink, hang it to dry and it’s ready to pack or wear by the time the next bus arrives. And it’s anti-bacterial coating helps fight fungus between washings.

Third: Packing Cubes

 Lewis N Clark Belle Hop 3-Piece Packing Cube Set

Lewis N Clark Packing Cubes

I didn’t even know what these were when I first started traveling. Now, I don’t pack even for a weekend without them. Packing cubes, or compression packers, are essentially mesh or nylon squares into which you pack all of your gear before putting the cubes in your backpack. Not only do they keep everything organized, but they allow you to pack way more stuff in the same space by compressing the materials before putting them in your pack.

Fourth: International Plug Adapters

Lewis N  Clark  4-Piece Plug Adapter Set

Lewis N Clark Plug Adapters

It’s a wired world and you have to stay plugged in. Each continent, essentially, has its own electrical wall outlet configuration, so you have to bring an adapter to fit it if you want to plug in your electronics. There are a couple of ways to do this. If you’re going for a worldwide trip, or aren’t sure where you’ll end up, bring an all-in-one universal plug adapter that will fit no matter where you go. If you’re going to be in only one continent, you can also buy an adapter set that includes individual pieces, so you can bring only what you need.

Fifth: Travel or Luggage Locks

Lewis N Clark 2-Pack Luggage Lock Set

Lewis N Clark
Luggage Locks

I hate to break the positive travel spirit by mentioning security, but you’re a long way from home and it can be a major hassle and time-eater to replace things that are stolen while traveling. So you want to take a few precautions. The best type of locks for backpackers are luggage cable locks that include flexible cables to reach multiple zippers. These locks allow you to secure your pack and exterior pockets while in crowded places prone to pick pocketing, or when you are separated from your pack. Some locks with longer cables also let you secure your pack to a chair or other fixed object. luggage locks, also called travel locks, are small and lightweight. They aren’t going to prevent every theft. But if someone has just a few seconds to pick through a few backpack pockets, luggage locks make sure they don’t pick through yours.

So, remember, travel should be low stress and great times. No need to get bogged down in too many how-to guides. You’ll have a blast no matter what you bring. But with a few key accessories you’ll stay light, mobile and have more time to spend exploring the world.