My All-Star List of Travel Gifts

Packing and Travel Essentials – Perennial Favorites

Eagle Creek products live in my closet in the form of everything from rolling luggage to handy Pak-It Cubes. My latest find is the Slim Cube Set.  It is perfect for nooks and crannies in a suitcase. Another new item is the Ranger XE Waistpack 3L.  It easily holds my iPad, iPhone, passport, earbuds, etc., and was my carry-on for a recent trip to Iceland.  Eagle Creek has a full line of quality luggage, duffels, packs, and travel accessories.

Klean Kanteen, a pioneer in reusable products,sold their first BPA stainless steel bottle in 2004. This family-owned business leads the way in providing state-of-the-art reusable stainless steel water bottles, straws, cups, tumblers, and food containers.  My favorites include the TKPro insulated thermos with a pour-through cap, perfect for drinking hot coffee and/or cold water.  A morning essential for my coffee is the ergonomically designed 14oz. Camp Rise Mug. 

Chico Bag, an innovator in single-use products, makes stylish reusable bags for shopping, travel, snacks, storage, etc. Their face masks provided a layer of safety for me throughout Covid (and even now).  The Travel Pack is well designed for day trips and the Travel Zip three-pack (small, medium, and large) is perfect for air travel: one TSA sized compliant for toiletries, another for electronics, cords, etc., and a third for money, ID, and personal items.

What to Wear – Favorites Forever

Clothing Arts products were inspired by a road trip through Asia in 2009. The company features stylish products for men and women that keep pick-pockets at bay. I can attest that they work; I was “jostled” in the Paris Metro but the Business Traveler Pants passed the test.  Big plus; they are easy to wash and dry quickly. The Adventure Shirt, although 100% nylon, feels like top quality cotton.  I have no clue how they do it.

Teva is the revolutionary company that first created the sport sandal 40 years ago. My choice for every day wear is the Omnium sandal. They provide good support and are very comfortable. With a pair of dark socks, I cheat and use them for “dress.” But Teva is not all about sandals anymore. Now, footwear for trail, bike, and snow is available for the whole family.  Note: Teva is pronounced tehvah and is the Hebrew word for nature.

Outdoor Research is another of my favorite retailers. If you aren’t familiar with the company, its OR insignia may ring a bell.  Their products, all made in the USA, include a full range of clothing and gear for men and women. They also manufacture an exclusive OR Pro line of apparel, gloves, headwear, footwear, and gear designed for hard-core outdoor enthusiasts. Note: My OR jacket and cap kept me warm and comfortable on a recent trip to Iceland.

For Reader’s and Explorers 

The National Park System is our country’s crown jewel.  Stephanie Payne’s  book, 100 Things To See In The National Parks, is chock full of “…the most interesting, unique, and awe-inspiring things at each of the sixty-three national parks throughout the United States…” It guides readers through seven park regions: Alaska, Intermountain, Island Parks, Midwest, Northeast, Pacific West, and the Southeast.  Amazon has both the hardcover and Kindle versions.

Final Notes

There are only two types of luggage; carry-on and lost.  A recent 25-day long cruise made it necessary to check my baggage at the airport. To relieve my anxiety, I purchased air-tags.  Voilà! They gave me great peace of mind as I tracked the bags on and off the plane with my iPhone.  

Lots of sales at their websites.

Happy shopping and safe travels….

Howard Hian

Thanks to the various companies for samples, photos, etc.


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