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STUFFITTS For Gear Odor-Killing Backpack

StuffitsI admit. I do not work out on a regular basis when on the road, but it is always a goal of mine to go for a quick jog in a new city or try out the hotel’s fancy fitness center or health club. It is tough to do that when traveling with a carry-on bag as there is limited space for workout apparel and tennis shoes.

The Stuffitts odor-killing backpack provided me with the perfect opportunity to get more exercise while on the road and minimized my previous excuses of not being able to carry gym gear. This is a lightweight bag that allows me to keep everything from dirty laundry to gym gear separated from the rest of my clothes.

Typically, I do not travel with backpacks, but wearing this bag on my shoulders was a bit liberating as I had less to lug behind me when strolling through airports and train stations. This bag was designed for athletes who may travel long distances to compete and often with wet or dirty gear.

Inside the main pouch is the largest compartment, which is perfect for shoes or a stash of laundry. The mesh top allows the contents to “breathe” without developing any internal odor. Smaller items can be placed inside separate pockets.

Lest you be concerned that the bag itself will eventually start to smell, even when empty, Stuffitts designed it with interior panels that can be removed and washed while also creating more space for bigger items.

Two side pockets hold small items that make this a convenient accessory for going to the gym. I used it to store my phone, keys, and wallet. There is a hidden bottom compartment sealed with a zipper, which is another good place to store valuables.

This is a great option for those that like to work out on the road, but prefer not to mix clean and dirty, smelly clothes (who does?!). It is available for around $100 from the Stuffitts website or on Amazon.

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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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SmartWool Women’s PhD SmartLoft Divide Vest

SmartWool insulated VestAs winter gives way to spring, it’s not as if the temperature magically changes and you can ditch all your cool-weather gear.  When it comes to traveling, it’s always good to have something for those in-between temperatures, whether you’re being active outdoors, or just looking for a warm layer when you walk around. An ideal piece for this very use is the SmartWool women’s PhD SmartLoft Divide Vest.

The vest has a wool-insulated nylon with DWR shell on the outside (for water repellency and warmth), and Merino lining on the inside (for warmth, breathability, and optimal efficiency in transferring sweat to the outer layer)—all perfect to keep your core warm.

All that put together results in a light and compressible piece that keeps you toasty in cool conditions. And with Merino wool, the vest can be worn multiple times without needing to be washed, which is always ideal when you’re traveling.

Even if you get warm when being active outdoors, you can easily adjust your outcome based on the weight of long-sleeved shirt you wear underneath. When you’re in winter conditions, add a layer on top to allow for more warmth and protection without overheating with all those layers.

The hand-warmer pockets stash items for quick access, and the zippered chest pocket with media routing allows you to listen to your tunes when out on the slopes, in the street, or on the trails.

SmartWool Women’s PhD SmartLoft Divide Vest lists for $170 on the SmartWool website or at Backcountry.com. At REI, it’s on sale for $118.93, so grab it quickly.

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Vibram FiveFingers Signa and Maiori Shoes

Vibram Signa water shoesWhen it comes to athletic water shoes, it’s hard to get things right. Depending on what you need them for, water socks don’t have enough traction, but serious soles can be too heavy. With the Vibram FiveFingers Signa and Maiori shoes, you can have both warm-water and cold-water versions of truly versatile water shoes.

They may look funny, but the Vibram FiveFingers shoes provide a far better grip performance than bare feet along—yet you can still move your foot as if you were barefoot. This is especially helpful if you’re walking in uneven riverbeds and slippery surfaces like boat decks, stand-up paddleboards, and other such things that make up a water-based vacation.

The Signa shoes are the lighter of the two. Ultra-thin and made for warmer water, or use in wet places that aren’t likely to make your feet cold, these shoes are easy to pack up small and stuff in a suitcase or other bag. These are great for tidepooling, protecting your feet when snorkeling or swimming, or even while stand-up paddling. The polyester mesh fabric on top allows your foot to breathe, and Vibram rubber sole includes drainage holes, added slip resistance, and abrasion-resistance fabric.

Vibram FiveFingers MaioriThe Maiori shoes are your serious, cold-water friends. The neoprene upper will help keep your feet warm, whether you’re kayaking or surfing. The antimicrobial sock liner helps keep the shoes from being too stinky after a few wears. This shoe uses Vibram TC-1 rubber in the sole, and has a different pattern than the Signa, in order to provide increased flex and traction on wet surfaces.

I’ve used mine as surf shoes, to keep my feet warm while swimming, as mud shoes when foraging for mushrooms, and plenty of other travel activities.

The Signa shoes list for $80 on the Vibram FiveFingers website. On Amazon, they’re priced from $56 to $80, depending on size. The Maiori shoes list for $54 (on sale!) on the Vibram FiveFingers website. On Amazon, they’re priced at $90. You can also find both at Zappos and get free shipping both ways.

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Ibex Men’s Kombi Loden Jacket

image_29725From the moment I unpacked this 100% Austrian wool Ibex Kombi Loden jacket, I knew I would like it. Upon first impression, it has the style and look of a North Face jacket albeit at a slightly more affordable price. It serves as a double jacket protecting against chilling wind, but it also resists water with its shell exterior on the shoulders, sleeves and collar where rain is most likely to hit you first. To me, it initially appeared to be a style decision to have the slick surface there. I admit, I thought it looked cool.

But, after wearing it in Iceland in the beating rain and chilling wind, I realized those are the first places to get wet and have your body noticeably feel the dampness. I had a lighter-weight jersey that I wore first, which immediately became drenched, heavy and chilly. When I switched to this jacket, the insulation proved invaluable. I noticed that the water-resistant top part dried quickly while the bottom part did not become wet on the inside of the jacket from a moderate rain. I appreciated the quick-dry texture, and there was no noticeable damp smell that remained following multiple exposures to the elements (important if always on the go and having to store outerwear in luggage).

It also boasts hand warming pockets and a chest pocket for other items like your iPhone, museum tickets, or cough drops. Yes, I used it for all three. Patriots will appreciate that the jacket was made in the USA as most Ibex products are.
Another nice feature was the stylish fit of the jacket. One thing that I cannot stand is wearing a balloon-type jacket no matter if it is for business or leisure. This Ibex jacket hugs your body where appropriate and has adjustable ties to bring it closer or more loose. It stretches just to the hip meaning that it is not too constraining, but certainly enough to keep you warm.
It retails for $300 on the Ibex website or on Amazon.

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