2009 – Travel Smart: Head to Toe

A British consumer group recently reported that 42 million bags were mishandled by airlines. Of those, over one million were never found. That’s motivation to pack light and keep your luggage nearby. No matter how much or little you take, here are my favorites head to toe.

Tilley produces quality headgear. My hat of choice is their model LT6B. It is made of water-repellent nylon, weighs only four ounces, floats, is shrink-proof, blocks 98 percent of harmful sunrays, packs easily and, of course, is good looking. Further, Tilley guarantees it for life. See all of their superior travel wear at www.tilley.com.


My Favorite Hat by Tilley

Oakley was created 30 years ago with world-class athletes in mind. Today, Oakley is the 800 pound gorilla in the high performance sports world. Over the years, they have been awarded more than 500 patents for their cutting-edge products which now include premium sunglasses, goggles, prescription eyewear, apparel, footwear and accessories. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that their sunglasses could be fitted with my difficult prescription. There is a lot more to Oakley than travelers realize. Check their entire inventory and sales items at www.Oakley.com.


Oakley Prescription Sunglasses and Carrying Case

Royal Robbins’ goal is to “create practical outdoor clothing, with the performance fabrics necessary in today’s high adventure sporting lifestyle.” My choices for travel wear from Royal Robbins are an all purpose wind-breaker, rugged cotton pants and a wrinkle resistant, quick dry shirt with UPF protection. All are lightweight and easy to pack. Go online to www.royalrobbins.com and look for their seasonal sales and outlet store; great quality and discounted prices for men and women – a hard to beat combination.


Royal Robbin’s Asher Plaid Men’s Shirt

Footwear, socks and underwear complete my travel wardrobe. Tilley’s “unholy” travel socks (guaranteed for three years) and travel boxers dry overnight and the underwear passes the “Tilley Challenge” that promises, “Two pairs are all you need to travel the world!”

Oakley’s “Basic Training” shoes are made of microfiber and synthetic leather for maximum lightweight comfort, easy fit, durability and support. They feature balanced traction and a low profile design for multi-terrain performance.


Oakley’s “Basic Training”

What we pack in are major considerations when my wife and I take a trip. The Sherpani Meridian Ultralight 22” expandable wheeled carry-on is my wife’s favorite. Launched in 2003, Sherpani manufactures luggage, handbags, shoulder, yoga and messenger bags, as well as urban totes and award-winning baby carriers. All of Sherpani travel products are made from recycled fabrics and come with a lifetime guarantee. Their entire inventory, including sale items, can be found at www.sherpani.us. Note: my daughter confiscated my Sherpani laptop bag featuring a unique “upside under carry system.” Need I say more?


Sherpani’s Meridien Ultralight

An all-purpose backpack is as important as a roll-on for packing wisely. My choice is the “Seoul” by Kipling. It features four zippered areas including a laptop pocket inside. It is lightweight, brightly colored and made from water resistant nylon. The adjustable padded straps make it comfortable to carry. Kipling is part of the VF Corporation family of outdoor names including North Face, Jansport and Eagle Creek; they understand travel. Their website is www.kipling-usa.com.


Mint Green Backpack, “Seoul” by Kipling

Taking out your laptop at the airport security checkpoint is an annoyance. Aerovation has created TSA approved computer luggage, as well as a sleeve, which alleviates the hassle. Both are checkpoint friendly; just place on the conveyor belt – no need to unpack, unzip, etc. Aerovation was mentioned in the March 2009 Consumer Reports Magazine which featured laptop friendly cases for road warriors. Take a look at www.aerovation.com for more information.


Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Sleeve by Aerovation

Automobile GPS systems feature several components including the monitor, power cords and memory cards. They are awkward to pack and invariably get tangled or misplaced. Case Logic’s Carrying Case solves that challenge with its solid zippered case with interior mesh pockets. They have been a leading innovator in organization solutions for consumer electronics for 25 years. Their entire product line can be found at www.caselogic.com.

Case Logic’s GPS Carrying Case

One last item: the Micro Clip Light from Mighty Bright is a clever, tiny LED flashlight that is a handy gadget. I keep it at my bedside when traveling. All of their lights and magnifiers are online at www.mightybright.com.


Micro Clip Light from Mighty Bright

Put it all together and this is what it looks like!


Confessions of a TGA Groupie

Members of the Travel Goods Association (TGA) include manufacturers, distributors, retailers and suppliers of travel products. I’m addicted to their annual pow-wow. It is the largest tradeshow for travel goods in the world and, in 2009, the emphasis was on eco-friendly and sustainable products. There are acres of items on display. Over 200 companies attend, featuring more than 2,000 product lines and more than 40,000 items. It is a dizzying array of all things related to travel, exhibited to attract institutional buyers. It’s not open to the public but, as a travel writer, I’m invited to look at all of the latest in travel gear, clothing, luggage, gizmos and gewgaws. While there, I was able to meet and interview the reps from the companies mentioned in this story.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey…

Howard Hian

Thanks to the various manufacturers for samples and information. Before you order please check details, prices, availability, etc.

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