Posts Tagged packing light
Great as shoes for kayaking or paddleboarding, these Zuuk mesh shoes are also good general travel shoes. They pack down small and weigh next to nothing, but provide good support.
Judging by what shoe companies are hitting us up with this year, barefoot running is out, having fun in the water is in. We’re seeing all kinds of shoes with a mesh upper, meant to be used in water sports or boating, but also good for walking around with cool feet.
I’ll be reviewing a few of these in the coming months, but am starting out with a pair I just took to Panama with me this month, the Hi-tec Zuuk shoes. These come off as a rather simple affair, with a white silicone bottom, mesh upper, and a handy adjustable lace system that doesn’t require tying. Unlike a lot of the lightweight, flat-packing shoes I’ve tried out though, these have far more support than a pair of slippers.
Unlike the Adidas Shandal water shoes I reviewed last year, the mesh on these is soft and comfortable against your bare feet. The lace system works well to make them snug around your feet for water sports or more loose for kicking back beachside with a beer. The softer mesh seems to take a little longer to dry, plus I learned the hard way that you need to remove the insoles and put them out to dry to speed things up. The fact they have good insoles though means you can walk around town in them without your feet killing you after a while. Good for the water, but good on land.
One big plus for shoes getting wet and drying on a regular basis: the insole is treated with anti-odor and anti-microbial properties. So far I’ve taken these on a few boat trips where we had to wade over rocks to get to the boat and they’ve been out in my inflatable kayak with me. They performed well in these circumstances, plus when I just wore them around to run errands after.
These mesh shoes come in four colors, from the flashy yellow ones at the top to plain black. Get more details at the Hi-tec website.
Rarely have we seen shoes so squarely aimed at light-packing travelers as these Radler Trail Camping shoes from Timberland. They actually zip up smaller to go into a corner of your bag when it’s time to hit the road or trail.
We’ve been happy to see this whole minimalist shoe trend take off, not because we think running barefoot is a great idea, but because it means lots more choices for easy-to-pack sneakers for traveling.
These camp shoes are different though because they fold into themselves and zip shut. So they can fit into smaller spaces in your bag or can even be hung off the side of a pack with a hook or carabiner. I once stuffed them into the same daypack holding my laptop, book, and camera and they were easy to take along.
When you’re ready to wear them, you unzip them, slip them on, and tighten up the integrated laces—no tying. When it’s time to go loosen the clip and then, zip them back up again. On or off, they look pretty cool and are real attention-getters.
Naturally, there’s a trade-off. Any shoe that can be folded in half is not going to have much going for it in terms of support. The thin replaceable insole is like a drugstore cheapie one, with no arch. This is a shoe for lounging around and padding from the room to the pool, not five-hour stints in a museum. The way Timberland pictures it, you’re taking these along on a hike and putting them on at the end of the day as you shed your boots. As long as you don’t try to get them to over-perform, they’re quite comfortable. Like a good pair of slippers but with a better sole for finding a bathroom in the dark by flashlight.
The Timberland Radler Trail shoe comes in a variety of colors and I can’t get a handle on how many there actually are—every website I visit seems to have a different array and there’s only one left on the Timberland site. There are at least 11 colors floating around, going by what’s on Amazon. They max out at $65, which seems a bit high, but no worries as they’re discounted all over the place to as little as half that amount if you’re not set on a certain color. Besides Amazon, check prices at Altrec, Sunny Sports, Planet Shoes, and Backcountry. See the outlet section of those sites for discontinued colors.
See more travel shoes reviews here.
Invented by necessity (as all the best outdoor gear is), the Hoboroll is an entirely new way to store, organize, and transport gear while on the go. Made by adventure gear newcomer Gobi Gear and designed by an in-the-field botanist, the Hoboroll uses a combination of compression and design to make carrying items (and finding them again) easier.
I took my Hoboroll on a field run on our four-day backpack trip from Tuolemne Meadows to Yosemite Valley last July. We were short on pack space (three adults and three kids in your backpacking party will do that to you), so it was the perfect opportunity to put Hoboroll’s claim of reducing pack volume by 50% to the test. I packed my Hoboroll with all my clothing for my four day trek, including my camp shoes and base layer. In total, I packed three pairs of lightweight shorts, three t-shirts, a swim suit, three pairs of heavy-duty hiking socks, base layer bottoms and top, an extra long-sleeve outer-wear shirt, and the underwear and sports bras I’d need.
The Hoboroll is designed in the shape of a tube, with five compartments. Both ends are cinched with a drawstring. I cinched one end, then loaded my clothing, designating a different compartment for the various clothing categories. I put my next day’s clothing in last, and cinched the other end. Finally, I tightened the Hoboroll’s compression straps. My clothing load was significantly smaller in space than my hiking companions’. I placed my Hoboroll inside my backpack (though it can travel alone as well…more on that later), where it fit just as easily as any other filled compression sack. Here’s my Hoboroll in use:
My verdict: I loved that when I needed clothes, I didn’t have to dump everything out into the dirt of our night’s camp. The Hoboroll keeps everything clean, and to keep things that way, I simply loaded my dirty clothes into the opposite end. Clean clothing from one side, dirty into the other…simple as that.
The downside: My only complaint about the Hoboroll has been addressed by Gobi Gear: when I pulled the compression straps very hard, one of the plastic buckles broke. Gobi Gear immediately sent me a replacement Hoboroll, and I’ve been told that the company’s second run of product includes stronger buckles.
Not just for backpackers: In the time since my backpacking trip, I’ve used the Hoboroll when flying carry-on only (which is almost every flight). I’ve used it to pack shoes, and it’s especially useful if you need to pack a variety of outerwear that needs to compress small. Because the Hoboroll includes an outer carrying strap, it can travel with you solo, though I’ve never packed that light. My kids have used it for overnight trips to friends’ houses, however, and it’s traveled with us to the beach and the lake to store smaller towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, and the like. In this capacity, the Hoboroll is like bringing an extremely well-organized tote bag.
The details: The Hoboroll is made of an 840D nylon exterior and is 15″ long by 10″ diameter. It weighs 3.5 ounces and can hold 1160 cubic inches. It comes in blue, green, and yellow (I have blue, and it’s a nice powder blue shade.) It can certainly stand some abrasion and hard travel, but is soft enough that it gives easily to pack into something larger.
Pick up a Hoboroll at Gobi Gear for $28.00 or for the same price at Amazon.
We review a lot of travel shoes on this blog since they’re both key wardrobe items but can also be the items causing the most problems when trying to pack everything into a carry-on. Like a lot of women, my travel partner has a lot of trouble with that whole concept of going with just two or three pairs of shoes. Lately she’s become a fan of Ahnu shoes, however, finding these cute, comfortable, and multi-functional.
The Ahnu Jackie shoes are no secret. This popular model is a favorite with women in the workplace, on the convention floor, on the road, and around town. The marketing tag says this line is for the “Jackie of all trades,” which is ideal for a travel shoe that needs to pull double-duty to earn its suitcase space.
It’s got a rubber sole, polyurethane midsole with heel stabilizer, and cushioned insole with odor-fighting treatment. The bottom line is, this is a comfortable all-day shoe that can take you through several outfits. It’s well-made and comes with a one-year warranty.
The Jackie shoes come in two distinct styles: rather subdued solid ones in leather and the zanier striped ones like you see pictured at the top. There are seven colors in all, so shop to find the one you like at PlanetShoes, Zappos, or direct from Ahnu with free shipping.
Ahnu’s Zen model is a summer slip-on with some umph. Unlike a lot of slip-ons you probably have in your closet, this shoe will still feel good at the end of the day. My in-house tester has taken these on the road and worn them around all day shopping at the mall to make sure. Thumbs up.
The rubber sole, EVA footbed, and supple leather upper ensure your comfort, while the anti-microbiological treatment ensure you can slip these off before yoga class without leaving a stinky pair of shoes in the corner. The stitched accents add a bit of style when you want to wear them out.
After using this Granite Creek travel shirt for three weeks in Europe and three weeks in Asia, I’m ready to make it a wardrobe staple.
When most people think of the Mountain Khakis brand, they think of heavy-duty clothing for cold weather, the kind of shirts and pants that cowboys and cowgirls might wear as they gallop along in the Rocky Mountains.
There’s that, yes, but the company has been warming up as fast as our planet, putting out respectable summer travel clothing that’s lightweight and well designed. This short-sleeve Granite Creek shirt is a great example. It is quick-drying, wicking, lightweight, and wrinkle free, ticking off all the important boxes for packing light. It’s also got two chest pockets that are handy and secure, with an additional hidden zipper compartment underneath them—a great place to stash cash or a credit card.
I felt cooler in this shirt than I with most pure synthetics, partly because of the venting in the back and under the armpits. What I really like about this shirt though is it doesn’t completely change colors when you start sweating as so many do when you hit the tropics. When it was 100 degrees and super-humid on a regular basis on my recent trip to Southeast Asia, this is the shirt I would wear when I didn’t want to advertise the fact I’d sweat out a gallon of water in 30 minutes. As soon as I’d hit a good fan or air conditioning, it would dry faster than most of the others as well. Then the couple times I sink-washed it, a few hours later it would be dry.
The touted 50+ sun protection seemed to be on the mark as I had a bonafide farmer’s tan after wearing this around Ankor Wat all day. It also weighs in at just 3.7 ounces, which sure made packing it a pleasure.
This Mountain Khakis Granite Creek short-sleeve shirt just came out this year, so you probably won’t yet find it discounted much off the hefty $85 list price. It comes in three colors and five sizes. It’s designed to be “casual fit” – loose enough to breathe in the heat. For women, there’s a long-sleeve version of this shirt that Amy reviewed recently. There’s also a men’s version for $10 more than the short-sleeve one.