travel hats

Adidas Climacool Boat Flip Sandals

Adidas Climacool Boat FlipGet ready for summer cool with these Adidas water-ready sandals.

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.

Adidas boat flipI’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.

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SkyRoll Wheeled Suitcase, Garment Bag, and Laptop Bag in One

SkyrollThis 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.

The SkyRoll garment and rolling suitcase sell for just under $300 at on the SkyRoll website. You probably won’t find it anywhere else online.

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Mountain Hardwear Huxley Button-up Travel Shirt

Hardwear HuxleyA travel shirt that looks like a regular short-sleeve button shirt, this Huxley from Mountain Hardwear is good for traveling men who want to look decent in their quick-dry, wrinkle free clothing.

When I was backpacking around the world for years, I hardly carried anything that wasn’t a t-shirt or a polo shirt. Now I need to look a bit more respectable when I hit the road and am working, so I like to pack wrinkle-free shirts with a collar. I can wear this one tucked-in for dinner or hanging loose for casual times.

You get a 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend, which seems to be the best of both worlds in this case. It doesn’t dry as fast as a pure synthetic shirt, but definitely much faster than an all-cotton shirt: about half the time when this was side-by-side with a regular t-shirt.

It’s impressively wrinkle-free though, which is the big plus when traveling and trying not to look like a slob. No hotel iron needed: it looks fine coming right out of the suitcase or backpack and doesn’t get wrinkled when hung on a clothesline to dry. No hotel iron needed. Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of features to talk about: just two chest pockets you can button up to keep prying fingers at bay.

At $55, this isn’t going to break the bank. Based on how it has performed so far, including with a heavy pack on my shoulders a few times, it feels built to last. So far no fading, stains (even though I spilled some food with chili in it), or loose threads. This is expected based on our experience with Mountain Hardwear items in the past. It comes in three colors: this blue, “pesto,” and “shark.” Sizes go from S to XXL and aren’t too fitted.

You can get this Huxley short sleeve shirt direct from the Mountain Hardwear site, where they made us think this shirt was meant for us with this line: “Designed for the practical traveler who appreciates a bit of style…” You can also shop for it in three colors at REI or Zappos.

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Ibex OD Solo Short-sleeve Merino Button Shirt

Ibex short sleeve buttonsI’m a big fan of quick-drying synthetic clothing for travel, but when it’s time to be social and go out at night, it’s nice to have something a bit nicer that also feels soft against the skin. This OD Solo Shirt from Ibex is my favorite whenever I’m in a short-sleeve climate. For me that’s most of the time, so I’ve worn this shirt a lot.

Think of this as a short-sleeve version of the OD Heather one I reviewed a couple years back. It’s made from fine New Zealand merino wool and assembled in the USA. Considering it’s not from a Chinese sweatshop and is made well, you’re going to pay a good bit more, but this also feels like a superior piece of clothing the minute you put it on. The stitching is well -done, the fabric soft and fine, and the details are right. The buttons line up like they’re supposed to and the collar lies down where it should. This drapes on my body nicely and makes me look like I’m in better shape than I really am. Flattering and comfy.

Naturally you get all the great benefits of merino wool. You don’t have to be washing it every time you wear it for a few hours because it’s very odor resistant. It does dry quickly when you wash it though and stays surprisingly wrinkle-free after being on a clothesline. It feels great and wicks moisture, so even though it’s made of wool, it won’t make you hot and clammy in a hurry. You can wear it in warm weather and be fine, especially in a dry climate where your shirt won’t be soaked in five minutes.

Although I don’t recommend carrying a backpack with a nice merino wool shirt like this because of the pilling risk, it does have seams that are off the shoulder so they won’t rub if you’re carrying a light daypack or messenger bag.

You have to treat this a little carefully in that you probably shouldn’t put it on the heavy duty washer cycle and then put it in the hot dryer, but for me it has held up fine tossed into the washing machine with cold loads and hang drying. And like I said, I’ve worn this a lot, probably going on 10 months now, so it’s had some good real-world endurance testing.

The Ibex OD Solo Shirt for men comes in three colors and four sizes. You can get it direct from Ibex for $120 or check prices at Moosejaw.

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The Ish Smart Watch

The Ish WatchEver felt that your watch was too casual or lacked that sense of Wall Street professionalism that your colleagues had? Well, for those with a sense of humor and an eagerness to make a statement, The Ish watch is the perfect accessory. I tried it on a few business meetings, and it certainly earned me a laugh and some camaraderie with business associates.

This watch isn’t meant for the business traveler constantly checking his dial by the minute to make the next train or plane. It is meant for those making an important statement: I care about business, but I also care about my own personality.

The watch essentially shows only the 5 o’clock mark while the hands rotate around it based on the appropriate time. The message is that the wearer is interested in having a good time, but is also smart enough to tell time without the numbers imprinted on the watch. To add to that message of good fun is that the back of the watch features a clasp designed to serve as a bottle opener. Perfect for use at 5 o’clock!

The price tag of close to $150 is reflective of its quality rather than its playful vanity. With a brushed steel casing and black (or brown) leather band, the watch is quite fetching and certainly a keeper (not a gag gift).

It is water-resistant and features raised Arabic markers with a crystal frosted mineral window showcasing the face. This is a business-quality watch that only signals an entertainment focus if one were to look closely at it. It is definitely not for those that need a digital watch as it requires a teensy semblance of telling time, which is sadly not a quality that everyone possesses these days. The watch is available from manufacturer Happy Hour Timepieces or on Amazon.

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