I’m amazed at the variety of travel gear, gizmos, and services that make life on the road easier, more secure, and generally awesome. Here is some of the cool stuff I’ve discovered in 2014.
Note: While this post was published in 2014, it has since been updated for accuracy of links and product info.
Editor’s Note: Some of these products and services were provided to me for free or at discounted rates. There are also some affiliate links in this post. All opinions are my own, and I practice what I preach.
Ultralight Water Bottle with Filter
In spending three months in Peru, I had not one, but two gut-wrenching bouts of parasites and bacterial infections. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say it’s debilitating, and incurable without medication. One of the leading causes of this yucky-ness? Water. In retrospect, I suspect even the “drinkable” water in my hotel in Lima was the cause of my second illness.
So, I went out and found an ultralight water bottle with a filter that removes 99.9999% of water-borne bacteria and parasites – the Vapur Microfilter Water Bottle. I already have a Vapur water bottle and love it since it collapses and is light as air when empty, holding a formidable litre of water when full. This particular model also has a straw-like filter that ensures I never suffer a parasite again. It’s perfect for everyday drinking, as well as any future treks I do in the wilds of Peru – where I plan to return soon (more on that in another post).
2020 NOTE: Vapur has discontinued this product. For a water bottle with a built in filter similar to this, I would recommend the Lifestraw (available at REI or Amazon). They carry a range of options from just the filter, to filters built into bottles, and more.
Katadyn also makes a collapsible water bottle with a built-in filter (REI, Amazon) that I really like the look of. The Vapur wasn’t really collapsible because of the size of the filter, and the Lifestraw isn’t collapsible at all. Katadyn has that solved.
For more ways to treat unclean water, check out: Dealing with Parasites – a Full Guide to Getting Clean Water Around the World
Now with clean innards, it’s time to have a clean computer. I wouldn’t want to travel and live without a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt my internet activities and protect my computer from hackers. (See also: How to Travel Securely and use a VPN).
2019 Update: Over the years, I’ve used a lot of VPN services, but none of have measured up to NordVPN for me. Here’s why:
- Access to 5,716 servers worldwide
- Strict no logs policy
- Connect 6 devices at the same time
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- DNS leak protection
- Kill Switch (super important for security)
- Auto Connect (also super important, and not super common in the VPN world)
Get started with Nord VPN here, for as little as a few dollars a month.
Evolve Top by Encircled
Since getting Encircled’s Chrysalis Cardi last year (more on that here), every single time I wear it without fail, at least one person (usually a complete stranger) compliments me on it. So when Encircled came out with their next super-comfy and chic design, the Evolve Top, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s not quite as multi-functional as the Chrysalis Cardi, but there are still about 10 ways to style this very flattering shirt. Check out this video to see the Evolve Top in action.
When I fly, my feet swell, often for days. It’s uncomfortable and ugly (and evidently I’m vain). So when Dr. Segal’s (a family-owned Canadian company) approached me, I knew it was time to get these compression socks I’d often heard of but never tried.
Apparently compression therapy socks reduce blood clots, ankle and foot swelling, leg pain, and increase energy. I was skeptical that a pair of socks could do all that, but then again they’re not particularly cheap, so it’s reasonable to assume they’ll to more than keep your feet warm.
The acid test was a 24 hour journey, including a 10.5 hour flight followed shortly thereafter by a 4.5 hour flight. Before I even arrived at the airport I was doing a little jig in them – they really do energize your feet and legs. After the first flight I was free of swelling (but then again I was feet-up in first class); the second flight (no bed) tested the socks more, and although I was a wee bit swollen, it was markedly better than usual and totally gone the following morning. I’ve also used them working out to add a spring to my step, and I look forward to using them for hiking.
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