Apparently footwear companies don’t like the term “flip-flops,” but that’s what I’d called this Climacool Boat Flip “sandals.” You get your typical webbing on top, with a rubber part that goes through the space between your big toe and the next one.
These are better quality than the ones you’ll pick up at a beach souvenir shop though, of course, and the holes in the bottom let the water flow right through if you wear these on a boat or some other place where you’ll get wet. I also found they kept the soles of my feet cooler too.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be away from the harsh winter that hit a lot of places the past four months and got to try these out on beach trips to Nicaragua and Zihuatanejo/Ixpata. Both great places to kick back in flip-flops for a while. These were comfortable enough that I could walk all day in them without getting sore feet. They’re the best in that respect since the Freewaters GPS ones I reviewed last year. They’ve got a serious footbed with some give to it, but contoured to provide some real support.
The non-marking sole has a reasonably sticky tread on it for when you actually are on a slippery boat or dock. The whole shoe dries quickly, including the lined strap. The weight is all of six ounces and they pack flat, so packing these for a beach trip won’t add much to your load. You can just rinse them off at one of those foot showers by the beach when it’s time to pack them up. With the ventilated holes, they also don’t seem to build up odor like a lot of sandals, the ease of cleaning making it even easier to keep them fresh.
The Climacool Boat Flip sandals come is seven colors—some more subdued than the ones pictured here—and max out at a list price of $45. So it’s not going to cost you a lot to have some traveling beach sandals that will treat your feet right and keep them cool. Get them online at Zappos, Amazon, or Sun & Ski.
Comfort is bliss when you’re camping or renting a vacation home or cabin! We were lucky enough to take a La Siesta Double Travel Hammock on a recent camping trip to the California desert in Death Valley National Park, and even luckier to find two mesquite trees to hang it from.
The La Siesta double hammock sits two adults comfortably in either a sitting position or lying down side-by-side. For sleeping, I’d say it really only fits one. My teen son slept all night in it, and found it quite roomy, even with a sleeping bag. (My little guy, shown above, could roll himself up like a burrito.) La Siesta describes their hammock as Latin-American style. As such, they’re designed to be used diagonally, so the hammock is opened up by the body. I’m not sure we used it quite like that (more like every which way) but definitely noticed the extra space and material.
Their travel hammocks are made of parachute silk, and utilize a safe, easy suspension pulley system. We had our hammock up between two trees within seconds, as the hooks slide along the ropes. No fraying of rope, straining, or swearing. Out of the box, you get their EasyAdjust system which includes 2 polyester ropes (3 m each) and two ultralight, UV-resistant hooks made of glass fiber reinforced polyamide.
The travel hammock was just as easy to take down when high winds necessitated it, and the whole double hammock easily stows in a stuff sack about half the size of a ultralight backpacking sleeping bag sack. Because it’s so easy to pack, we’ll be thinking outside the box and bringing our hammock on any vacation where we have our own space. First up: it’s coming to Hawaii when we rent a vacation home. It will fit in a carry-on bag without problem.
This tremendous SkyRoll wheeled spinner suitcase and garment bag comes with separate men’s and women’s versions featuring compartments designed for a suit or dress to gently wrap around the traditional rollaboard bag. It comes with spinner wheels for easy rolling without the need for tilting it, which is great for those with back issues.
Another huge benefit of this bag is the internal padded laptop sleeve that holds a 15″ laptop or a tablet. It allows you to separate some clothes from others keeping them wrinkle-free plus keeps electronics secure from bumps and bruises that come with navigating busy airports or train stations.
This best way to insure wrinkle-free clothes on arrival is to use the bag properly. Travelers should pack the suitcase and garment bag separately before rolling them up. Small mesh pockets keep accessories or ties tucked away and free from breaking loose.
Once SkyRoll is packed, you don’t need to remove the garment bag to get to the top compartment, just unzip the top compartment, which also holds space with a compact organizer for small items including keys, boarding passes, toiletry kits, or cell phones. SkyRoll even includes a specially designed toiletry kit for free with each suitcase purchase.
The female version of the garment bag is longer to accommodate evening dresses, but both versions are designed to fit easily into most aircraft overhead bins (with the exception of regional jets). And with the way those baggage handlers throw bags around, be sure to keep valuable or breakable items toward the center of the bag. Luckily, the fabric of the bag has a coating on the inside to resist water, which is a perk if your bag is stuck in the rain while handlers load it onto a regional jet.
Plenty of elements of travel are uncomfortable, especially bus, train, airplane and airport seats. Considering the amount of time you send in each of them, perhaps a little more luxe treatment is in order, like the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow.
This inflatable pillow comes in two sizes: regular and large. The regular pillow measures 14 x 10 x 5 inches and weighs 2.8 ounces. The large pillow measures 16.5 x 11.5 x 5.5 inches and weighs 3.7 ounces. Both pack into a tiny stuff sack, which is helpful when you have limited space in your carry-on bag.
The pillow’s fabric is a brushed 50D polyester knit, which has a soft feel—unlike many other inflatable pillows that end up sticking to your cheek. The curved internal baffles make the pillow contour, so it centers on your head and shoulders and makes for a comfortable place to rest your head.
The pillow inflates easily with a multifunctional valve. The wide-mouth part of the valve lets you inflate and deflate the pillow quickly. The smaller element of the valve allows you to fine-tune the amount of air inside—so you don’t lose it all and have to start over.
If you’re a super fan of the pillows that hug your neck, this may not be the one for you, as it fits behind your head and not around your neck. But then, you can always use it as a lumbar pillow and make things far more comfortable for yourself.
The Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow lists for $39.95 for the regular size and $44.95 for the large size at REI.
See more Sea to Summit product reviews.
I’m a reformed sun worshipper. After spending way too many hours in the direct sun, I’ve finally learned to care for my skin while enjoying the outdoors. Side note: I’m well into my 30s and should know better. But if a sun-oholic like me can not only get used to wearing sun hats but actually sing the praises of them, anyone can.
Tilley is the Rolls Royce of outdoor and sun hat wear. We’ve long been fans here at Practical Travel Gear, reviewing numerous Tilley products. In fact, you can access their site straight from ours, right at the top of the page. (Go ahead, give them some love.)
I think the Mash Up was designed specifically with people like me in mind; that is to say, people who tend to be rough on their gear, merciless on their clothes, and largely uncaring about their stuff while enjoying the outdoors. Why? You can’t ruin this hat. It rode along with me on a two week road trip through California, where the two of us enjoyed weather ranging from 90 degree sun to high wind to coastal rain. The Mash Up was tossed in the back seat, packed into duffels, stepped on, and trapped under a cooler. I squished it, bent it, and left it for dead more than once, and it always bounced back. Literally.
And it made me look way more sophisticated than I really am. The brim is flexible enough that you can adjust it the way you like it, and the chin straps are both cute and utilitarian. One goes behind your head and tightens in the case of wind (and yes, it works!) and the other goes in front. The inside rim is also adjustable (though you’ll want to get your correct hat size). The Mash Up is made from recycled yarns from hemp and organic cotton, and the brim slopes gently downward. It comes with a hat band that’s removable.
You can feel the quality of the hat when you hold it in your hand: there’s nothing flimsy or insubstantial about it. And since the bucket of the hat mashes down, you can stow it easily and not worry about it getting ruined. (Remember the days of hat boxes? What was that about?)
See Tim’s earlier review of the Tilley Mash-up Airflow Hat for Men.