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Pimp my trip: Amazing yet simple travel gears

Yes, we have been travelling even before they were vague strokes on the drawing board. And yes, we will continue to travel even if we do not get to lay our hands on them. Then it doesn’t hurt to get to know some of the gears that have caught the recent fancy of the pleasure and the professional traveller – gears conceived out of sheer necessity and born of streetsmart ingenuity. Or you can actually go on and get them and make more of your next trip – more comfort, more convenience and hence more productivity. The only nag that trawled my mind was ‘whether Ibn Battuta or Marco Polo would have travelled any farther or longer if they had any of these.’ Probably you can help me out here: fly me a review or comment if you have/buy any of these. You can also write to me if you are just worried – like me – for past travellers even.

Almirah in a box

Pack your shelf

Like most great stuff, this one too has a great story behind it. Rise and Hang founder Lee Renshaw had to travel an hour-and-a-half each way from home to college making him either stay with his girlfriend or on the campus itself. Wrinkled shirts and difficulty of finding stuff from the crammed, cramped bag made him develop the first prototype of the hanging duffle bag – a bag with a portable shelving system sewn within. As you hang up this Rise creation, the shelves sort of dangle down making it a carry-anywhere almirah but fitted into a box. Lee today has two products which are runaway hits with all kinds of travellers – a duffle bag which can carry enough stuff for weekend getaways and a suitcase organiser for longer trips.

These hugely functional mobility solutions are made with best quality materials by workmanship of the finest order: Lee personally guarantees lifetime warranties for each of his products against material or manufacturing defects.

Wear your suitcase

Luggage? What luggage?

‘Pocketus Maximus’ is what travellers call this Scottevest product fondly, albeit pointedly, considering the 37 pockets of varying sizes that array it on the inside. For those of us who have to rummage through all the half-dozen cargo pockets each time, the number might be a bit daunting. Nevertheless this is a boon if you are taking off into the wilderness for months altogether; its like your own personal pack mule next to you, er, wrapped around you. In addition to the standard pockets, there are specially built pockets to carry iPads, maps, iPods (clear touch pockets through which you can see and control the screen through the jacket material). The trademarked Zip-PIP or zippered pocket-in-pocket – basically a variety of vertical and horizontal zippered pockets thoughtfully placed – is another unique feature. Tailor-made carriers for water bottles, magnetic closures, a removable hood and an adjustable drawcord cord make this an ideal all-weather expedition gear.

Laundry on-the-go

Pack your dhobi

Mounting laundry is a nightmare for any traveller; more so if you are a cost-conscious backpacker. This nightmare takes on nasty proportions especially if the laundry in question is essential underwear and tee shirts. Here comes Scrubba to the rescue.

The lightweight ‘wash bag’ Scrubba does not require any electricity – allowing you washing practically for free. The manufacturer claims that Scrubba is twice as effective as handwashing and delivers the performance of a washing machine – in just three minutes! You do not have to be a budget traveller to pack a Scrubba; business travellers travelling light will also find it immensely useful. Also a great way to clean up your gear after a workout session at the gym or any activity like cycling or trekking. It is also mild on kids’ clothes – making it quite handy with those travelling with toddlers. And no, the Scrubba is no earthshattering secret: it is just a highly flexible washboard on the inside made of a unique material.

Deadline friendly

Carry your workstation

Deadlines are overshot by professionals of every hue – those in creative fields do so with impunity. The Tripad is an on-the-go desk/workstation designed with the creative professional on mind which also protects your expensive equipments at the same time enhance efficiency. This one too, like any invention of serious everyday functionality, is too simple to be given a serious ‘accessory’ tag: this is just a stand with a handle on which you can place your laptop or any other gadget. The product was an immediate success that it found a place among tech-heavy products on the iconic ‘Today Show’ on ABC. Buy this if you are serious about meeting deadlines. If you are not, make sure your boss doesn’t even hear about this.

Duding the drab

This Fog's good

Drizzle or downpour, however sudden, need no longer take you by surprise. London Fog’s umbrellas are legendary in their own right – and might. A must-have in a stormy night, this one opens – and closes! – with the touch of a button. Showing the way ahead on a dark street is an LED light fitted snugly into the handle. These sturdy ones are made with steel and fibreglass frames; also ensuring that you are not caught with an inside-out canopy is a unique design and layering which allows really strong winds to vent through. Because it is ‘London Fog’ doesn’t mean you cannot have playful colours – in addition to the standard black, there is also the fun leopard and snake-inspired patterns.

Kiddy cool

Cool kids, cool head

Most kids kind of thrive on making impossible demands at the most improbable circumstances: I just saw my little nephew refusing to have his lunch unless his mother got him ice cubes to cool his water – and there was no power since the previous night. So maybe the Obersee Kids All-in-one Backpack with cooler may not be an amazing invention but a necessary one. Fitted on the front pocket of the backpack itself is an insulated container which doubles up as the cooler. And no, this does not add up to any additional weight for your tiny one to tote about either as the back features a padded, breathable lumbar section with the straps made of the same breathable mesh. Carefully designed for regular – mostly school – use, this one is large enough to be used also as a travel bag: the front part has a pocket for easy storage access and the main compartment has an organiser with pockets for additional storage. For keeping drinks, there is an additional side drink pocket. The Obersee Kids bags come in funky and cool colours and designs.

If you can’t give them ice, there is at least cold water.

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