The Wally iPhone Wallet by Distil Union is a stylish accessory for your iPhone. It sticks to the back of your phone (or your iPhone case for those that are smart enough to protect their accessories) easily and can be removed without leaving a mark. It does not wrap around the entire phone, rather only sticks to the back surface leaving a space for the camera lens. I had no problem adhering it to my rubber case and also exchanging into to a plastic case when I swapped iPhone cases.
The red fabric strap pulls out to reveal storage space for a few credit cards, hotel room keys, or ID cards. This is especially ideal for those that are traveling in big cities or at crowded events and would rather not have their entire wallet with them (watch out for pickpockets), but still need to have a credit card and their phone.
True, if you lose one thing, you lose everything, but it is better than losing an entire wallet. Also, I found myself more careful with my phone than ever before since it had my credit card inside the Wally pouch. I am not the best guard of my cell phone, so this gave me added incentive.
My favorite feature, however, is the soft leather exterior which gives it a hip, contemporary look. It is far more stylish than the rubber case I have on my phone. It comes in a cowboy brown or slick black color and is designed for iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 models.
Many might assume that it is easy for cards to slide out, but the purpose of the fabric tab is to secure them in the case until you tug on that tab to release them. The wallet remains slim and adds little bulk to your phone. I found that I could comfortably put four cards in the wallet without a problem.
Unfortunately this is one of those bootstrapped products short on funding, so it’s out of stock at Amazon and hard to find at retail. It is available on Distil Union’s website for $39.99.
The Response Fake TV Burglar Deterrent is a kitschy, yet surprisingly useful, security precaution that travelers can use when on the road. If you do not have a timer feature on your lighting system at home, this is the perfect device that is only a fraction of the cost of paying for a timer setting.
It essentially emits a flashing light mimicking the effect of someone watching TV. This is a great way to show that someone is at home, even if you are away to help in deterring thieves.
It uses very little power, but emits a bright enough light to appear as if someone is watching a large-screen, high-definition TV. It has random flashing lights so that there is no distinctive pattern, which truly makes it look as if the TV is on. I can even see this giving pets some comfort when people are away at work during the day.
Setting it up took just a few minutes, and for someone like me with little ability to construct anything successfully out of the box, this was a cinch.
I am often traveling to destinations where security issues can be a concern, and this would be a great item to tag along in my carry-on for those hotels where my room is on the first floor or where I do not want anyone entering while I am gone. For example, I had this with me when in West Africa, and I felt a bit more comfortable leaving the room since it always appeared as if someone were there.
The device has its own timer with seasonal settings that can adjust to the varying patterns of light in winter or summer. Disappointingly, the timer is sold separately, but is worth the extra cost. It is available for under $30 on Amazon.
I knew that headline would get your attention. But it’s technically true. Someone who bids $10 through Passports with Purpose is going to be getting a $350, guaranteed for life, rolling Exchange backpack from Briggs & Riley.
Yes, it really is that simple. You go bid $10 per entry and you could score this awesome bag. And they’ll even ship internationally.
If you don’t win, you’re still doing something with that money. One hundred percent of what’s collected each year goes to support a specific charity project where everyone who contributes can see the results. In the past, Passports with Purpose has built wells in Haiti, a school in Cambodia, libraries in Zambia, and a whole damn village in India. This is not some feel-good mission trip where people with matching t-shirts do something the locals could have done better at a fraction of the cost. This year the goal is to raise $115,000 for buildOn to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa. See more on where your money will go.
So that’s the worthy cause, but back to your great travel bag. We’re big fans of Briggs and Riley here at Practical Travel Gear as we know from experience that their products hold up for the long term and we instantly respect any company willing to back up what they sell with a lifetime guarantee. You’ll have a hard time finding another luggage company that offers that for everything they send out the door.
If you score this BRX Exchange Backpack, you’ll get something that allows you to speed through airports and hotels with ease, but when the going gets tough and you’ve got 100 stairs or a dirt path to navigate, you can do an abacadabra on this and you’ve got a backpack.
It’s a wheelie suitcase you can strap on your shoulders. Or a backpack you can roll behind you. Either way, your travels will be more versatile.
The Exchange Rolling Backpack weighs about seven pounds and is loaded with pockets and storage compartments to hold everything you need in your travels. It’s part of the BRX Collection, which is meant for hardier travelers doing more than going from the airport to a Hilton to a conference room and home.
You could go buy it direct from Briggs and Riley or at your local quality luggage store for several hundred dollars. Or you could put some money toward a good cause at Passports with Purpose and maybe get lucky too. Make the world a better place, and just maybe get a new bag.
Donate and win! (Bidding runs through December 9.)
P.S. – Also big thanks to the PwP sponsors, who kicked in a bunch of money to get this party started. Please support Expedia, DK Eyewitness Guides, Rough Guides; TBEX; HomeAway, HostelBookers, Go With Oh, and Eating London.
We’ve raved about super-comfy Sanuk shoes before, but unlike the others we’ve reviewed, these Schooner ones can go along for the ride to cold places in your travels.
Some travel shoes are serious, but Sanuks are for fun. It’s the essence of their brand, reinforced through their website, their packaging, and their smiling logo. In Thai the word roughly translates to “fun,” but in the manner of putting pleasure first and enjoying what you do, even if it’s work or chores. Land of Smiles and all that.
So of course these are shoes that make me smile. There’s nothing pretentious about them: they just look good with jeans or casual pants and they’re comfortable to walk around in. The construction is serious though. This starts with the leather laces, the padded cuffs, and the fabric lining. There’s a nice rubber sole that’s grippy, a midsole that’s stitched on, not glued, and inside is a very cushy EVA footbed with Aegis antimicrobial additive. So even if your feet are sweating up a storm, your Schooners won’t get stinky.
That’s a good thing too as these aren’t all that ventilated, like a summer shoe would be. The upper is waxed leather and waxed canvas: if you get caught in flurries or a drizzle, you’ve got some protection to keep your feet from getting wet.
I’ve done a lot of sidewalk surfing and stair climbing in these Sanuks and they feel like they’ll hold up for a really long time. They’re a bit too narrow for my wider feet, an issue that doesn’t come up with this brand normally, because these are designed more like Vans or Chuck Taylors in the sole construction. Once I rejiggered the way they laced up from how they came out of the box, that helped.
The Sanuk Schooner shoes come in two colors and whole sizes only. They’re lighter than they look and can squish down quite a bit for packing. They are $85 at the Sanuk website, or you can find them online at Moosejaw, Backcountry, and Zappos. And here’s a deal for our readers:
Hands down, Smartwool’s action bras are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. They’re designed for action–hiking, running, and other work outs–but I’ve been wearing my Seamless Strappy Bra every day it’s clean. It certainly always makes the traveling team, finding its way into my bag every time I leave town. What makes it great? It’s seamless, which means I skip any pinching or rubbing against my skin. It’s made of Merino wool throughout, which wicks away moisture like a boss and is equally comfortable in cold or hot weather. Pick between the Racerback model or the Strappy; both are comfortable enough to sleep in. They come in sizes S-XL in three colors for $60 at Smartwool or a few bucks less on Amazon. It’s also stocked at Backcountry.com. For a tougher bra with harder core control, upgrade to the PhD Racerback for $70, also at Backcountry.
Photo from left to right: Give and Go lacy bikini underwear, PhD Seamless Strappy bra, Gore Essential brief.
ExOfficio is a known authority on travel-ready clothes, so it only makes sense to trust them with your base layers, too. Let’s get real: underwear and bras need to last the distance while on the road more than any other item of clothing, right? Any frequent traveler would vote them ‘most likely to end up rinsed out and drying on a hotel bathroom sink’. ExOfficio is here to tell you those days are over, however. Their Give and Go underwear line is treated with a microbe shield which helps maintain freshness. In other words, they don’t smell. (Really.) They’re also extremely quick-drying, which means less sink-drying time, and highly breathable. I have it on good authority that river rafting guides the world over swear by Give and Go underwear, because they dry much faster than swim suit bottoms. The best news? They’re not ugly: travelers pick between no fewer than nine colors and nine styles, from boy shorts to lacy bikinis to full coverage. Not to over share, but I have the lacy bikini style and am a very satisfied customer. Pick up a pair for $22 at ExOfficio (I know, but they’ll last you!) or shave a few dollars off the price on Amazon.
If your travels include serious exercise, like all-day hiking or biking, Gore’s Base Layer Briefs will be your new best friend. These briefs are extremely lightweight (they’re described as ‘barely there’ and very breathable (made from polypropylene). Seams are present, but minimized, and the waist sports a soft elastic band. They stay put on your body and take up very little space in your bag. The cut is fairly high, without quite being bikini level. Pick up a pair in black or white for $29.99 or do yourself a favor and get them for as little as $17 on Amazon.