You've probably been on picnics, or hikes, where the weather doesn't cooperate and you're left scrambling to collect leftovers in the rain. Then, you have to hump everything home. When you get back - you find that there are bits of cake in your clothes, salad in your socks and your pullover is soaked in wine.
Noatak believes it has a better way of rapid packing stuff that is meant to be kept separate. Their Wet & Dry bags do just that - pack stuff that is wet and dry... and keep them separate. Then, they keep everything waterproofed (nearly).
The bag itself is a thin, lightweight multi-layered PVC thingy (sorry, but I couldn't think of the technical term). Inside, there is another clear PVC divider. Pack wet stuff on one side, dry on the other. When I say 'pack', I actually mean 'stuff'... as the bag functions like a duffle bag.
You roll the top down, secure it with some clips and - voila! The bag is now water-resistant. I wanted to say waterproof but you wouldn't want this to fall into the ocean. It's meant primarily for getting caught in the rain or walking through a waterfall... that kind of thing.
Here's a video that shows you how it works - the clips and clasps - and it has some groovy jazz music (so adjust your speakers accordingly):
You know those things that go in your shirt collar to keep them stiff - collar stays? Well, why not swap those flimsy plastic ones for a titanium pair? Then, while you're at it, use a pair that can actually be used as tools!
The Exuvius Titanium Multi Tool Collar Stays can perform a variety of functions: keep your collar straight, open bottles, act as both flat and philips head screwdriver, cut thread and secure keys. Here's an illustration of all the functionality you get:
Presuming you don't ming having a titanium blade so close to your neck, you're sure to be the most popular man at beach parties and camping trips - so long as you wear collared shirts.
Just remember to take these out of your shirt before you pop them into the wash!
Belinda is a fashionista (that ISN'T HER in the photo by the way!)
She always has cutting edge couture and accessories in tow. I wouldn't say she's a slave to fashion, though. She prefers the 'classics' to what happens to be 'in the moment'. For example, her Kelly Birkin - which she never leaves home without. Although, she does have it in many colours, sizes and materials. So, in that regard, she is a slave to fashion.
Imagine my surprise, then, when she wore one of these exceedingly unflattering nightgowns to bed. I asked her if she was a 'Trekkie' - as I figured this was a set of fan-boy pyjamas more at home on the Star Ship Enterprise than in our glamorous suite at the Four Seasons.
Her reply was insensitive: since I was her only audience at the moment, she didn't see the need to be fashionable while we slept. I reminded her that we had some business to take care of before sleeping... but, nevertheless, I was disappointed that her costume couldn't have been more inspiring: like a French milking maid, or an Akihabara, cosplay waitress.
The fact of the matter was that they were very comfortable, she said. And then she rabbeted on about the negative ions used in the fabric, it's excellent wicking characteristics, it's wrinkle-free nature, and how easy it was to travel with, etc - all of which are supposedly designed to give you an incredibly comfortable night's sleep.
"What a load of tosh," I thought. Why would I want negative ions beneath the sheets? If anything, I'd like a positive lift. Nevertheless, she was all in favour of those negative ions. They were meant to neutralise stress, apparently.
"I have a much better method of stress neutralisation," I replied, before peeling off her panties.
Later on, I googled 'Goodnighties' out of curiosity. I was confronted by the same spiel as Belinda had given me - that this ultra-performance fabric is meant to neutralise stress ('smart fabric', they say). It also acts as an anti-bacterial barrier (against what, I don't know). Frankly, it seemed a lot of waffle but Belinda swore by them.
I certainly enjoyed slipping her out of them. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time playing horsey. I was the horse, in case you're wondering.
In retrospect, perhaps I would have benefitted from a pair, as I was drenched by our workout. I turned up the air-conditioning, while she threw her goodnighties back on. Also, her first class airline eye-patch. Hmmm. I guess this was going to be a long intermission. I had rather fancied playing missionary next. Oh well, tomorrow was new day.
If it's any compensation, Belinda, you definitely got the better night sleep. I couldn't get the damn air-conditioner to the correct setting and alternatively sweated and froze - while you woke up looking as refreshed as a daisy. Perhaps those pyjamas worked after all. Maybe I should get myself a pair. But I don't feel bold enough to wear them around anybody else!
At $250 USD, this just goes to show that fashion technology doesn't come cheap. Nevertheless, for those of you who like to travel extremely light, this might be of some use to you. In any case, it certainly is a conversation piece and quite literally turns your body into a 'hotspot' for others to share… in a slightly different way than a one-night stand.
One of the cufflinks is a WiFi dongle and the other a 2GB USB flash drive. Given that WiFi is built into most devices nowadays, the flash drive might be of more use. Why couldn't they have packed more storage than 2GB into it, though, for that price?
Still, beggars can't be choosers. As cufflinks go, they don't look half-bad and you can play 'James Bond' on your next business trip.
Just remember to remove them before you pop your shirt in the wash.
That's the manufacturer's tagline above, not mine. The only time I can recall breaking records when it comes to wearing the same pair of underpants was when I went camping as a teenager. I managed to go for 10 days in a row. I can't tell you what it was like peeling them off at the end. Imagine opening an air-lock on a mummified body that hadn't been properly preserved.
For this reason, I'm not sure that conserving underwear while on the road is such a good idea.
ExOfficio - makers of adventure underwear line, "Give-n-Go" - claim that their nylon mesh, Aegis Microbe Shield undies will not only keep you cool and dry by wicking moisture away, they will also kill odour creating bacteria in the fabric itself. Here's their press release heralding a new era in underwear conservation - because now you don't need to take more than one pair on your next trip. Wash them in the sink and they'll be air dry in a couple of hours.
What's wrong with this picture? The need to pack as few pairs of underwear as possible - that's the problem! Underwear takes up the least amount of space. What I need is some means of cutting down pairs of shoes, jackets and other mega-bulky items. But, underwear?! Give me a break. This is a lame spiel.
However, I would be interested in the odour-reducing qualities. Lets face it, testicles get funky when kept inside for too long. They like to enjoy the great outdoors, get outside and catch a bit of breeze. Being cooped up in a pair of tight briefs for 18 hours makes them sweat. The results are not nice. And since toiletry manufacturers have not yet caught on to the need for mens balls deodorant, the Give-n-Go might give us what we need.
It's worth pointing out that they have womens undies, too. And, better still, thongs (like in the picture) - although, this isn't exactly my image of a Thong. In fact, I can't think of anything better for women than an Aegis Microbe Shield Thong. The thought of a piece of string up someone's backside for half-a-day does not fill me with ardour. I know that some guys are going to call me asexual for saying this but let's be honest with ourselves - how sexy are thongs, really? When they are on the beach and that is all she is wearing - yes, that is sexy. Otherwise, when they appear in a plumber's crack poking out of a pair of jeans... not sexy. That is when I reach for my fungacidal spray.
Just because you CAN wash your underwear in the sink doesn't always mean you SHOULD. I met a very attractive lady on a business trip recently. We were both living out of carry-ons, while attending a convention. We ditched one particular seminar to grab a drink in the lobby bar, because the speaker was slowly anaesthetising us into a coma. The convenient thing about lobby bars is that when one thing leads to another, the elevator leads to your room. Or hers, as was the case this time around. She had long strawberry hair, fantastic physique and a mouth that I could watch eat fruit all day. Everything was in working order and I was randier than a reindeer in rutting season. And then I saw her pants in the sink. Actually, they were on the side of the sink, drying.
I know it shouldn't have killed the moment but it did. There's something about underwear on display that just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I told her I thought my colostomy bag was full and got the hell out of there.
There are hiking socks, running socks, walking socks - in different colours, thicknesses and materials - to suit different activities. Even makes a good travel clothing wear companion.
The principle behind the double layer sock is pretty straightforward. The inner sock is snug on your foot and allowed to move more freely within the outer sock, so that the friction takes place between the two sock layers - not between your foot and the sock. The inner sock is also designed to whick away moisture, so you don't end up with jungle foot at the end of your exertions.
Isn't it great how we spend gazillions on military technology and then benefit from these wonderful technological hand-me-downs like plastic-wrap, teflon coating and... fart pants?
I suppose that if you have a lot of important meetings during an extensive leave of absence and the local food is making your colon do summersaults, then this is one piece of travel clothing wear that could give you some insurance against spontaneous combustion.
By the way, there are ladies pants, too. I'm not sure she'll want to receive a pair as a gift, though - so proceed with caution. You might spend the holidays camping outside if you miscalculate.
UV Sanitizers are used in industrial settings - like research labs, factories and hospitals - in order to kill off germs, viruses and bacteria. The UV light bulbs radiate ultraviolet light that destroys their DNA.
A number of manufacturers have hit upon the bright idea of putting this technology into a compact, ultraportable form factor - UV Wands.
You might want to buy stock in these companies, as I'm sure that shares will rise after "Contagion" comes out!
Even if you aren't facing an apocalyptic, SARS epidemic of some kind - there are plenty of useful applications for a UV Wand. Imagine the peace of mind you'd have when forced to spend the night at a friend's house with dubious hygiene, or at a Motel 8 in Islamabad. You could UV Wand the pillow case and bed sheets with your portable UV Sanitizer and say goodbye to dust mites and other nasties.
Then, there's that Day Care Centre where you drop the kids. Just thinking about where all those other toys have been can give you the heebie-jeebies. UV Wand them!
In fact, when you think about it, there are lots of things you'd probably want to UV Wand: public doorknobs, public baby changing stations, cinema seats and airplane headrests, cutting boards, other people's hands when you shake them, the private parts of strangers... the list is endless, because germs are ALL AROUND US...
Paranoid now? Well, don't be. Germs are an everyday fact of life. These products are preying on our fears and it's easy to overhype the situation.
No doubt, these products are pretty cool - although, I'd hate to live in a world where people carry around their own disposable Hazmat suits and whip out portable UV Wands at a moment's notice to disinfect everything that they come into contact with.
Before we get carried away, let's do a reality check. First of all, how effective are these? Do UV Wands really work?
There are several different bands/frequencies of ultraviolet light. UV-C, which is used in these consumer units, is about the most benign form of UV there is. It's unlikely to do much damage to anything, let alone bacteria. However, used under the right conditions - in an ideal situation - and it could kill germs.
The key point here is "ideal situation". Any surface that has nooks, crannies or scratches (at a microscopic level) leave places for germs to hide - which means that they will escape death - so, you'll need to use the UV Wand on perfectly flat surfaces. Something that is very hard to find in real life.
Also, for safety reasons, these wands will only work when pointed downwards - because any form of UV light can damage your eyes. This makes them hard to use on anything other than a horizontal surface. So, they aren't going to kill germs that are out of reach, nor will they kill airborne germs - the primary source of colds and influenza contagion. The UV Sanitizers also tend to cut the light off after a period of time. This is because UV light can build up Ozone in the area, which is harmful to people's lungs and have other detrimental effects to health. Don't expose your skin to these lights either - that can be harmful. Look at what UV does to Pearl!
Given the above, you could kill germs and microbes on horizontal flat surfaces without blemishes and if you hold the light over the area in question for a really long time but not too long as to cause other side effects to yourself. Sheesh - this sounds like a lot to think about.
Even in ideal circumstances, it may not be enough. Manufacturers claim that their UV Wand products kill 99% (or, in some cases, 99.9%) of the microbes. As Scott says in this article, germs inhabit a small area in the millions. Even if you kill 99% of a million germs, that still leaves 10,000 that can infect you.
At the end of the day, the human immune system has learnt to respond to many kinds of infectious diseases caused by spores, germs, etc. We are probably making our lives worse - especially for our children - by over-sanitizing our environments and preventing ourselves from getting the immunities we need to protect ourselves. Even worse, as this article points out, the sanitizers we use aren't necessarily re-absorbed by nature and can even be toxic to ourselves and our children.
There are good germs and bad germs. We are wise not to kill the good ones and to let the body learn to deal with the bad ones. Otherwise, a little soap and water, vinegar, lemon - these are natural disinfectants that can go along way.
Still, if you have a compromised immune system, have mouldy smells that aren't washing out, or are just plain paranoid beyond consolation... here are a few UV Wands and portable UV Sanitizers that could bring you some peace of mind:
This unit has a rechargeable battery, so it is more portable. However, rechargeable UV Wands are reported to be pretty flaky. Batteries don't always hold their charge well and they can die shortly after purchase. Reviews for Verilux, though, are strong - making it one of the best of the bunch.
Call me a non-believer but this thing looks way too small to do any serious air purification, especially for anything larger than a closet or Harry Potter's bedroom. I think the Airfree product (below) would be more effective.
Okay, this isn't a UV Wand but I put it here because I think it's a good product and an alternative worth seriously considering - especially if you have a room to sanitise on a regular basis for an asthma sufferer, newborn, or a damp problem.
I bought one of the Platinum Airfree units and was a happy customer for many years. The Airfree unit uses convection to slowly draw in spores, microbes and other nasties from the air and then incinerates them at 400 degrees fahrenheit in the core of the unit. This is very good for combating mould.
Don't know why the Onix model says it's mobile... the Platinum model is meant to be kept in the same part of the room and not moved around.
The Onix claims to remove Ozone FROM the environment - apparently the reverse of what many of their competitors products do. This might factor into your decision, as Ozone is highly unhealthy.
Here's a pair of sandals that would make Inspector Gadget proud. You bought a six-pack to kick back and watch the sunset. Argh - but it's imported beer with non-twist, bottle caps. "No problem," Says your friend - taking off one of his flip flops and prying off the bottle cap with it. Classy.
For the sake of applauding innovation, let's not ponder for a moment on how grody it is to take off a shoe that's been all over town - walking in God know's what - and rubbing the soul of that shoe over something you are about to put in your mouth...
I didn't list this product just to make fun of it. The truth is, it could be very useful to college students who have to open up lots of beer at a moment's notice, or even catering crews in the Outback.
Thankfully, it's a pretty stylish flip flop that comes in a variety of colours and decorations. It's not bad looking. Frankly, the bottle opener in the sole is more of a sales gimmick. And, who knows, it just could be a lifesaver on a date.
In any case, this is clever. It ranks right up there with the WiFi Thong - although, somewhat less hygienic. At least the WiFi Thong doesn't really go in a plumber's crack.
You may have heard about those Japanese "Chindogu" - wonderfully weird inventions that life can easily do without, yet you can't help admire the ingenuity of making them into an actual product.
This could be the Western version of Chindogu - a pillow tie.
Judging from the photo, there is a tube concealed in the back that you can use to inflate the end of the tie. Then, you lay down on your tie and use it as a pillow. I hope the tie is water-resistant. Wouldn't want a big drool stain down the end of it...
If you've seen the "Sleeping Sickness" series, then you can imagine that this might be a very popular item in Japan. After you've had too much to drink, have no more money for train fare or a room for the night... you can simply 'pimp your tie' and catch some Z's on a tabletop.
A $20 tie already sounds like a bargain - let alone one that inflates. Unfortunately, this tie is a fashion disaster. It would be better if you could put the inflatable component into a tie that you already own.