With fall comes that inevitable back-to-school feeling, when we’re expected to be snappier, more efficient and way more productive than on summer dog days. That’s why these travel products are so handy – they’re not only good value, each in its own way is a clever solution to a problem most travelers will face in any season.
Tropical Footwear for Comfort and Aloha Vibes
“The Olukai Pehua is a very comfortable shoe; I wore it on two of the hottest summer days in NYC and was surprised my feet were not super sweaty and hot by the end of the day,” says Maria Urbaez, our reviewer. The front mesh keeps Olukai shoes breathable during warm weather travels, and the sole is well-cushioned for comfortable walking all day. The back of the shoe is imitation leather in keeping with the brand’s mostly vegan approach to footwear. Maria reported that there were no “breaking in” sores, perhaps due to the drop-in heel, a design feature which enables the wearer to flatten the heel cup and wear the shoes like slide-in mules without destroying the shoe’s structure. School-goers will be pleased that Olukai’s fall line includes many styles for men, women and children in the leather look fabric, so they can work for sporty and casual occasions. Additionally, every OluKai sold supports the Ama OluKai Foundation. “Knowing the purchase of these shoes supports a foundation caring for and preserving beautiful Hawaii,” says Maria, “makes me feel better about supporting the brand.” Definitely recommend this shoe to anyone who does a lot of walking. Retails from $40-$80.
Rain Busters from Oboz
The Oboz Sawtooth is a very solid low boot/shoe, good for trail hiking or city walking… perhaps on your first day of school. Narrow in the heel and wide in the toe, this stylish walker offers solid support and stability, comfortable cushioning and is waterproof, making it ideal for travel in all climates. “An added bonus,” writes reviewer Ron Bozman, “Oboz Footwear, based in Bozeman, Montana and surrounded by 13 million acres of Yellowstone wilderness, plants a tree for every pair of shoes or boots sold. To date, the company has planted over 1.3 million trees in Africa’s Sub-Saharan communities,” he adds, “replenishing degraded lands and providing sustainable futures for families.” Retails for $110-$150.
Going Pure on Water
The GoPure Pod is a new, lightweight take on purifying drinking water, making it safer to drink and easier to access. “Picture a white plastic filter about the size of a compact tampon that can purify up to 2,000 plastic bottles’ worth of water using the patented PuriBloc technology,” writes tester Kyle McCarthy. It’s great for kids’ water bottles so they can be refilled in the school restroom. The catch here for travelers is that the little capsule filter can only be used with potable water. That means you can use it to get rid of common contaminates found in tap water (not river water by the trail), and use it at hotels and resorts overseas where management has reassured you that the water is drinkable, but you’re not especially confident in that. As spokesperson Ally Hopper notes, “You can take this when you travel, refill from a hotel sink and then carry it around with you. The GoPure Pod has proven to remove over 99.7% of lead in water.” We are now using GoPure in our water bottles at the office since they’re not cleaned regularly, and are excited to see how this product evolves as it undergoes more testing. And yes, there’s a version for your pet’s water bowl too. Retails for $24.95.
Keeping your Dog Happy and Illuminated
Just because school’s begun doesn’t mean you should ignore your pets. We really like the Nitehowl LED Dog Necklace because Snowy didn’t mind wearing it out at night when he was off leash, and our kids liked to borrow it after his nighttime walks were done. Do you worry about letting your dog roam at night and losing her in the dark? This LED dog necklace will allow you to track them and adds a little sparkle to your daily chores. The light can be set to a steady on or to a regular blink – more blingy – and is quickly rechargeable with a USB cable. Retails for $9.99.
Chill or Heat and Carry
Travelers often look for the lightest products to carry with them, so it’s fun to be contradictory and recommend the heaviest water bottle ever: Hydroflask. What makes it a worthwhile burden for both travelers and students (and those who are both) is that it’s really an insulated flask that can be filled with water, a cocktail from your favorite mixologist, or a Starbucks Latte on a whim. “It works!” writes Kyle McCarthy, “Our flask of tap water remained cold after 7 hours of hiking in the Swiss Alps; our English Breakfast Tea remained steaming hot after 3 hours in weekend traffic.” Even the standard mouth flasks are easy to clean, ensuring your beverage tastes fresh every time. Models are also totally customizable, allowing website customers to choose a wide or narrow mouth jar, different lid options, sizes and colors. Kids will love choosing their own smaller bottles and adding different colors for screw tops, carry handles, outer rubber ‘bowls’ and more. Retails for $24.95 and up depending on size and style.
A Lantern to Light Your Way
This is a real gem of a travel light, good for the patio at home, or in your tent in the mountains. The Niteize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern is a light with three levels of illumination, from very bright down to pale glow. Plus it has a fourth red LED mode, to preserve night vision. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery, with USB connection in and out, so that you can charge your phone from it, as well. “At its highest brightness, it’s good for five hours, and for 110 hours (I didn’t wait to test it) at the lowest,” writes Ron Bozman. It’s super portable (8.9 oz), impact resistant (drop proof to 1 meter) and weather resistant. Best yet, it comes with a blousy white nylon carry bag that serves as a romance diffuser if slipped over the light. Radiant 300 is fitted with a carabiner clip for easy carrying on night hikes, or hanging on a bunk bed if you don’t want to disturb a roommate by working late into the night. “We happily dine by its lovely light on our New York City terrace when at home,” Bozman adds. Retails for website: $44.99.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.