While we may not be jetting off to exotic locations at the moment, traveling is still one of my favourite ways to spend my time and money. After spending most of 2020 grounded in Vancouver, I anticipate having a lot of catching up to do in the new year and I suspect I’m not alone. That makes this the perfect time to put some travel tech gadgets and accessories on your holiday wish list or to pick some up for any globetrotters you might be shopping for. To help you on your mission, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite travel tech and gadgets.
The Hustle backpack from Solgaard is hands down one of my favourite travel tech accessories. It’s the perfect size, helping me keep my chronic tendency to overpack in check, and has a number of useful pockets and compartments. This includes a padded laptop compartment, two secret passport compartments, and two handy card-sized pockets on the straps. It’s also uniquely secure with a built-in anti-theft lock. An integrated USB port makes it easy for me to throw a powerbank into my bag and run the cable to my pocket, keeping my phone accessible while it’s charging.
Another thing I love about this backpack is that it’s made with pre-ocean plastics. As someone who cares deeply about health of our oceans, and the environment in general, this is a really big selling point for me. If you’d like to learn more about how these bags are made with sustainability in mind, check out our interview with founder, Adrian Solgaard.
Most importantly, this bag doesn’t compromise form for function. It’s been all over the world with me and I can’t remember taking a trip without receiving a compliment on it.
The perfect complement to my Solgaard Hustle backpack, this Herschel Anchor laptop sleeve is slim and durable. Despite its slim profile, it offers a lot of protection. I’m also impressed by how well it resists dirt and stains.
It goes without saying that a powerbank can be your most valuable tech gadget when you’re traveling, especially if, like me, you’re still rocking an iPhone 6S. Personally, I like to choose my powerbank depending on the type of trip I’m taking.
If I’m going to be settled in one place with a “home base” and don’t plan on doing a lot of walking (think all-inclusive trip to Mexico), then I’ll opt for a hefty but powerful solution that’s going to give me a lot of juice. In these cases, something like the Solgaard Solarbank or Solarbank Boombox is my go-to. These devices make great travel tech companions because they have a built-in solar panel, which means they can be recharged on the go.
For trips when I’m packing light, moving around a lot, or doing a lot of exploring, I prefer to bring something lightweight. These gadgets pack less power than their heftier counterparts, but they’ll help you save your back. In these cases, I really like the Piston Power 6000. The added bonus with this device is that it’s really affordable.
Like a lot of travelers, I enjoy taking photos but even a mirrorless camera can get heavy on long journeys. Not
to mention that these cameras are expensive and delicate, making them poorly suited to adventurous exploration. For these reasons, my Olympus Tough has become my weapon of choice when I’m traveling. This little point and shoot is light and rugged. It’s shockproof to 7 feet, waterproof to 50 feet, and crushproof to 220 lbs. It has lots of great shooting modes and even shoots in RAW, for photographers who enjoy post-processing.
Most notably, the Olympus Tough is a great little camera for divers. SCUBA diving is one of my passions and this camera performs just as well in the water as it does on land. While it’s waterproof to 50 feet, I prefer to put it in a waterproof housing. The housing makes it possible to go as deep as 145 feet and allows me to connect and trigger my INON S-2000 underwater strobes, which improve lighting drastically. With a number of useful underwater shooting modes, including macro and microscope mode, this camera makes it easy to capture creatures large and small.
Even when I’m traveling, I’m pretty particular about my coffee. As such, I prefer to travel with all the tools I need to make it just the way I like. While the manual nature of these devices may strike you as very low-tech, I can assure you that their designs are truly innovative.
Wacaco Nanopresso, for starters, helps me make espresso shots with just ground coffee and boiling water. It does require a bit of elbow grease, as it uses a hand pump mechanism, but the results are quite impressive. Once you get the hang of using this little device, you can create espresso shots complete with the perfect layer of crema.
If you’re not into espresso, the Espro P0 is an ultralight, portable French Press that makes grit-free coffee or tea on the go. It uses a double micro-filter system to ensure that your cup of joe is free from stray grounds. This one also has the advantage of being a travel mug that will keep your coffee hot for hours. While I love the coffee this makes, I’ve found another great use for it: paired with the Nanopresso, this makes the perfect latte. I use it to create perfectly frothy milk and stir in a shot of espresso from the Nanopresso.
When it comes to reading, I still prefer the analog experience. I love the feeling of having a book in my hands and the experience of turning the pages. That being said, traveling with books is pretty challenging—they’re not only heavy but they tend to be bulky too. An e-book reader is a tech gadget that not only solves these problems, but gives you access to countless titles in multiple languages. Personally, I like Amazon’s Kindle line of readers. They’re well designed and conveniently connected to the Kindle store, where you can find a dizzying number of titles. At the moment, I have the basic Kindle, which has a backlit 6” glare-free screen. On my wishlist for the future is the Kindle Oasis, which has the added benefit of being waterproof.
With these travel tech gadgets and accessories in hand, any globetrotter will be ready for new adventures when travel becomes possible.
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