The 10 Best Travel Products of the Year
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The best travel products are the ones you don’t think about, whose features and convenience allow you to be present. This year, Airstream and AeroPress downsized crowd-favorite products for portability, Fujifilm made a relevant travel camera in the smartphone era (no easy feat) and Seiko’s GPS smartwatch took the pain out of tracking time zones. When products are well-designed and their features are intuitive, you’re primed to concentrate on the journey ahead.
Products are listed alphabetically.
The AeroPress was a revolutionary design, allowing one to brew delicious coffee on the go without much of the accoutrement typically used at home. However, AeroPress inventor Alan Adler knew it could be more portable, and to that end he designed a more compact version for the die-hard traveller. The AeroPress Go retains the concept and mechanics of the original system but folds down into a self-contained travel mug that can brew up to 15 ounces of American-style coffee at a time. And much like its big brother, the AeroPress Go costs less than $40 and can be cleaned in seconds.
Weight (including accessories): 11.4 ounces
Mug Capacity: 15 ounces
Packed Dimensions: 3.7 x 5.3 inches
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The four Bambi models may be Airstream’s cheapest traditional aluminum-sided trailers, but they lack for little compared with their larger, pricier siblings. In spite of the diminutive footprint — barely larger than an average parking spot — there’s room for all the comforts of home: a two-burner gas stove, a stainless steel sink, a refrigerator and freezer, a memory foam mattress, even a shower and a flushing toilet. And while towing can seem intimidating for those who’ve never tried it, a Bambi is small and light enough to be towed by family crossovers without concern.
Lengths: 16 feet, 19 feet, 20 feet, 22 feet
Weight: 3,000-3,900 lbs.
Sleeping Capacity: Up to four people
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Atoms Model 000
Brooklyn startup Atoms has created an everyday sneaker that’s both TSA and office friendly. Inspired by iconic tennis shoes, the Model 000 has a minimalist lace-up upper and comfortable foam midsole. It’s designed to be slipped on (the laces are stretchy) and worn without socks (an antimicrobial copper-lined insole kills bacteria). And to insure these lightweight kicks fit perfectly, customers can order quarter sizes for each foot.
Upper Material: Durable coated yarn blend
Insole: Antimicrobial, copper-lined
Sizes: Quarter sizes from 5.5 to 15
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The idea of a “travel camera” is a confusing one in 2019. Just about everyone who’s traveling already has one on their phone, and odds are, it’s pretty good. So what makes a good travel camera, and why is this one so well-suited for the task? Outrageously high image quality is a must (gotta justify using it over your phone, after all) and the X-T30 has that in spades. That’s in part thanks to the excellent sensor, but it’s Fujifilm’s suite of lenses — especially its fast and compact prime lenses — that make the biggest difference. No portrait mode in the world can get close to the pure optical perfection of Fuji’s 35mm f/1.4.
Sensor Size: 26.1 megapixels
ISO Range: 160 – 12,800
Max Continuous Shooting: 8 frames per second
Price: $899 (body)
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Mophie Powerstation Hub
On the road, trusted plugs are hard to find. Hence the appeal of Mophie’s Powerstation Hub. With two USB-A ports and one fast-charging USB-C on the side and a wireless Qi charger up top mean it can fuel smartphones, tablets, cameras and laptops on the go, either using the internal battery or through an outlet via the integrated fold-out AC plugs. It’s about twice the size of a deck of cards, so it’s easy to slide into even the most crowded of carry-ons.
Battery Size: 6000-mAh
Dimensions: 3.31 inches by 3.3 inches by 1.16 inches
Weight: 0.56 pounds
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Nite Ize RunOff
The latest bags from Nite Ize ensure your travel essentials stay dry, no matter the weather. The RunOff collection includes two packing cubes, a wallet, a phone pocket, a tech pouch and a toiletry bag, all of which utilize flexible plastic panels that have welded seams and toothless, waterproof zippers. They’re translucent, so you can easily locate your gear, and they’ll withstand full immersion in water for up to 30 minutes.
Material: Waterproof and dustproof TPU
Construction: Welded seams, waterproof zippers
Different Sizes: Six
Price: $25 – $55
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PacSafe Vibe Econyl Sling Pack
Pickpockets run rampant in many parts of the world, preying on visitors and making off with their possessions. PacSafe’s new Vibe Econyl Sling Pack is designed to fend off any Artful Dodgers. The recycled nylon exterior is secretly armored with stainless steel mesh beneath the skin; RFID-blocking materials keep thieves from stealing your data if they can’t snag your physical property. The pièce de résistance: the interconnected locking zippers, which are practically impossible to open surreptitiously.
Volume: 10 liters
Weight: 1.25 pounds
Dimensions: 15.8 in by 9.1 in by 3.2 in
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Peak Designs Travel Tripod
Anyone can snap a halfway decent shot with a smartphone, but some photographs just require the help of a tripod — problem is, traveling with one can be a hassle, given their weight and size. Peak Designs offers up a novel solution with its Travel Tripod. Constructed from either carbon fiber or an aluminum alloy, both models weigh less than four pounds but can handle up to 20 pounds of camera. And they fold up so tightly, you might forget you packed one.
Weight: 2.81 pounds (carbon); 3.44 pounds (aluminum alloy)
Weight Capacity: 20 pounds
Dimensions (Collapsed): 15.4 x 3.1 inches
Price: $350 – $600
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Seiko Astron GPS Solar 5X
Automatic GMT watches may have the allure of Jet Age design and mechanical movements, but modern technology can make a timepiece far more useful for the modern-day traveler. Seiko’s Astron GPS Solar 5X is the world’s smallest, thinnest solar-powered GPS watch, and it features mind-boggling functionality: by synching with satellites twice a day, it can track itself across 39 time zones and update automatically, even accounting for Daylight Savings Time.
Case Diameter: 42.9mm
Winding: Solar-powered quartz
Time Zones: 39
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Cohérence Ruiz Packable Coat
The Armoury — a tailoring emporium with locations in Hong Kong and New York — was one of the first stockists to carry high-end Japanese outerwear brand Cohérence. Regular conversations between the Armoury cofounder Mark Cho and Cohérence founder Kentaro Nakagomi led to the creation of the Ruiz coat, an elegant, travel-friendly raincoat released this year. Inspired by a packable French army raincoat, Nakagomi transformed the functional jacket to complement the Armoury’s assortment of traditional bespoke suits.
Material: High-density stretch-jersey polyester
Colors: Navy and tan
Pairing: A hand-tailored suit or jeans and tee