This Year’s Best New Travel Gear
It’s an exciting year for gadget and gear junkies. From solar chargers to private Wifi to battery-powered luggage trackers, here is some of the year’s best new travel equipment and technology.
Innex ElectroHUB: Wireless Multi-charger
This genius device is a wireless charger that lets you power up a half-dozen electronic gadgets at once. You simply plug ElectroHub into the wall, place up to six devices on the 6-by-9-inch surface and let them charge. It works with everything from mobile phones to e-readers, giving a full charge within standard time frames. The downside is that you have to put ElectroHUB batteries into your devices before they’ll work with the charger.
Price: $39, including a set of ElectroHUB batteries. Additional batteries cost $10 per set. For more information, visit http://www.innexinc.com.
ZAGGmate: Bluetooth Keyboard and Protective Case
This Bluetooth keyboard is one of the year’s best iPad accessories. The sleek protective case, which doubles as a keypad, is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which provides great protection and an attractive, glossy finish. The top section of the case doubles as a hinge stand for holding the iPad at a comfortable viewing angle. The case with keyboard weighs only 13 ounces and is about 1/4 inch thick.
Price: $99. For more information, visit http://www.zagg.com.
Earthmate: Handheld Satellite GPS and Text-Messaging
If you plan on journeying beyond the reach of civilization any time soon, you might want to consider the new Earthmate by Delorme. The palm-sized gadget has a sensitive GPS system and delivers one-way email messaging, both of which work via satellite, meaning you can use it where cell phone coverage is non-existent. Additional features include topographical maps, barometric altimeter readings, NOAA nautical charts and aerial imagery. The sun can power it when electricity is not available.
Prices start at $299. For more information visit http://www.delorme.com.
iPower: iPhone Solar Charger
The portable iPower3 (for iPhone 3 series) and iPower 4 chargers use solar energy to keep your iPhone powered up. Your iPhone slides into the hard shell case, which can be worn around the neck with the backside exposed to the sun. What sucks is that it takes about 8 hours to get a full charge.
Prices start at about $100. For more information visit http://www.misunygb.com.
Kodak’s PlaySport Video Camera
Kodak’s new PlaySport Video Camera can go practically anywhere you go. The rugged pocket-sized HD video camera is waterproof up to ten feet, can be dropped up to four feet, and features a full 1080p HD video and 5 MP still capture, all with autofocus. It also has electronic image stabilization and built-in software with a USB cable output that allows you to shoot, edit and share online quickly and easily. It records up to 10 hours of HD video and has an expandable SD/SDHC card slot.
Price: $179. For more information, visit http://www.kodak.com.
Pacsafe Prosafe 750 Key-Card Lock
No more broken locks or lost keys with this handy device. Made by the security experts at Pacsafe, this wallet-sized, key-card lock can only be opened by you or an agent of the TSA in the U.S. or HRSC in the U.K. Simply inserting either punched corner of the key-card into lock slot and Voila!
Price: $19.95, including two credit card-sized key-cards.
Trakdot is a small, battery-powered device that sits in your suitcase and tracks your luggage in real time, wherever it might end up. The device works using GSM and sends messages directly to as many cell phones as you assign to it.
London Fog Windguard Umbrella with LED
This umbrella is awesome. It automatically opens and closes with the touch of a button and boasts a built-in LED light in the handle, handy for illuminating your path as you walk. Its layering allows strong winds to vent through, and the steel and fiberglass frame keeps it from inverting.
Price: $40. Find it on eBags.com.
One-Ounce Prism Gloves from Montane
Be careless and these one-ounce wonders might blow away! Hold onto them and they’ll provide adequate warmth for many winter tasks, from ice climbing to skiing. The gloves are a combination of Pertex fabric outers stuffed with airy PrimaLoft Eco synthetic down and work great as an emergency backup.
Lite Water Dingy by Klymit
This tiny, one-person, packable raft folds down to a 32-ounce square about the size of a paperback book, and weighs less than your average pair of sneakers. It is designed to be carried in a daypack and inflated when a watery obstacle gets in the way. Comes with a collapsible paddle.
Sea to Summit’s SparkSpI Sleeping Bag
This new, uber-light sleeping bag packs up to the size of a large apple and weighs only 12.3 ounces. It uses 850 loft goose down with water-resistant treatment and a thin outer fabric. Rated 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) lower limit.
Price is to be decided. Release date: August 2013. For more information, visit http://www.seatosummit.com.
MicroFilter from Vapur
This may be the easiest water filter on the market. Built into the lid of the one-liter bag is a SureAqua filter. All you have to do is dip the sack into a creek or wherever, close the lid, and drink. It can filter 500 liters of water during its lifespan and comes with a spare bag and filter. It doesn’t eliminate viruses, but the company cites it is effective against 99.99% of the kind of bacteria and organic matter that can make you ill.
In any public WiFi hotspot the information you’re sending or accessing can be viewed by a hacker. Firewalls and antivirus software cannot stop this, but Private Wifi can. The service protects your identity and encrypts everything you send and receive, making it invisible to hackers on any public network in the world. It also masks your IP address. PC and Mac compatible. Available soon for iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire.
Price: $9.95/ month or $84.95/year. For more information, visit http://www.privatewifi.com.
Cocoon GRID-IT! Organizer
The GRID-IT! provides the perfect system to organize your digital devices and personal effects. The little pockets and straps hold headphones, spare batteries, chargers, pens, painkillers, memory cards, etc., all within easy reach. Comes in small, medium and large.
Price: $49.99 for set of all three sizes. For more information, visit http://www.cocooninnovations.com.
The Bheestie Bag
This ingenious invention removes moisture from your electronics and revives them. If you accidentally drop your digital camera into water, you can place it in the Bheestie Bag, seal it tight, leave it in there for one to three days, and when you take it out it should be completely resuscitated. The water-absorbing beads enclosed inside a pouch within the bag have apparently been able to revive cell phones, watches, iPods, pdas, cameras and other electronic devices.
Bags start at $20. For more information, visit http://www.bheestie.com.
If you like to fall asleep listening to music, but don’t like lying in the rigid posture required if you want to keep your earphones in your ears, then the SleepPhones are for you. The flat, removable speakers are built into a soft fleece headband, allowing you to fall asleep naturally in any position you like.
Price: $39.95. For more information, visit http://www.sleepphones.com.
Panasonic HX-A100 Action Camera
Panasonic calls it a ‘point-of-view active lifestyle camera.’ It comes equipped with an ‘earhook’ feature and remote processing unit, allowing you to attach the camera to your head right out of the box. It is waterproof, records at HD resolutions up to 1920 × 1080 at 60 fps, and has 140 minutes of battery life.
Google Nexus tablet
The new Google Nexus tablet is a more cost effective option when compared to the new iPad. It’s Google’s first tablet (though the hardware was built by Asus) and is a lot like the iPad, only is costs half as much and runs on Android. Its 7-inch form and 12-ounce weight makes it perfect for traveling.
Price: $200 for the 8GB version, $250 for the 16GB version.
Portable solar-charging Goal Zero Sherpa 50
Built for use in the wilderness, the Sherpa 50 kit comes with two small solar panels that fold together like a hardcover book. Combined they put out 13.5 watts of power. Beyond the solar panels, the kit comes with a portable battery pack with outputs such as USB and 12-volt on the back. In ideal bright sun, the power pack can be recharged by the solar panel in about 4 hours, but it can also be charged at home via a wall outlet. The Sherpa 50 is ideal for small electronics such as USB-compatible headlamps, iPods, a handheld GPS, cameras, and other gadgets. The whole package weighs about 3 pounds and can easily fit into a daypack.
Bootlegger 3-in-1 Adventure Bag
Called the “matryoshka doll” of daypacks, this new pack system is designed to be used as a single unit or in any one of three separate configurations, depending on what kind of trip you’re on. Bootlegger sums up the design as a “modular system enables the user to buy one pack rather then several different packs.” The system includes an 11-ounce, 30-liter bag made of tough triple ripstop nylon with an extra heavy duty bottom; a 28-liter ripstop nylon Hopper, also with a reinforced bottom; and a 13-liter Torpedo Hydration Bag with stretch-front panel pockets.
Price: $199 for all three.
GearPower Mobile Power Station
This handy, portable power pack from IOGEAR makes sure your handheld devices never run out of juice when you’re on the go. It allows you to recharge iPads, Kindles, tablets, smartphones, cameras and other USB-powered devices through it’s USB 5V 1A power port. It’s thin, weighs only 0.25 pounds, and includes adapter tips for devices from Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, as well as Micro USB and Mini USB connections. Unlike some other charging pads, there’s no threat of overheating connected devices thanks to the integrated short-circuit and overcharge protection and temperature control technology. You can charge up the GearPower Mobile Power Station in a wall outlet or via USB.
Price: $39.95. For more information, visit http://www.iogear.com.