Keep gear dry with OtterBox Drybox 3250

OtterBox Drybox 3250

Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate with your plans. You might think the forecast is all clear for that hiking trip, or that the boat ride will be smooth sailing. But taking the risk with your electronics isn’t worth it if you’re not sure.

Why not protect your small electronics with the OtterBox Drybox 3250?

Yes, there are waterproof and water-resistant phone cases. This isn’t that. It’s a straight-up drybox that protects your gear (whether you ‘ve got electronics, money, love notes, or whatever in it) from water and dirt, and keeps it secure.

The box gives you 55 cubic inches of storage space, meets IP68 requirements, and seals your goods up to 90 feet underwater for 30 minutes. The latches use a stainless-steel hinge and latch pins, which last far longer than many other metals or plastic. On top of that, there are holes two holes for you to add additional security in the form of locks.

The integrated feet are useful if you’re stacking a few of these boxes, and utility mounts let you attach a tether or carabiner for even more security.

I first used my OtterBox Drybox 3250 while winter camping in Ladakh a few months ago. I needed a place to keep my phone, camera batteries, and battery rechargers dry while I wasn’t using them. The Drybox did the trick, and I still use it when in wet environments, whether that’s on the trail or on the water.

One consideration if you’re flying with the Drybox 3250, or making major altitude changes: Make sure you leave it unlatched and open for those changes, otherwise you’ll have to pry the box open.

The OtterBox Drybox 3250 comes in four color combos: hudson (white/blue), ridgeline (tan/green), trail side (RealTree), and basic black. Three of the color combos (hudson, ridgeline, black) list for $39.99 on the OtterBox site, while the trail side version lists for $49.99. The Drybox 3250 is also available at Amazon.


Adventure Medical Kit Mountain Series


I’ve long been a fan of Adventure Medical Kits, which makes specialized first aid kits for a variety of travel styles. Their World Traveler kit came with me to Peru, Costa Rica, and Panama, and their Mountain Series kits have come on all our backpacking trips since about 2012.

I’m excited to see that they’ve revamped their Mountain Series this year, with a whole new look, but more importantly, even easier-to-use features. I checked out their Mountain Hiker kit, which I’ve used in the past in the older version. Here’s what I learned:


This Mountain Series kit serves two people for two days, which is why it works best as a day kit for hikes and trekking. Like the older version, there’s a place for everything, but Adventure Medical Kits has really improved upon this feature with their Easy Care First Aid System. Now, all supplies are stashed in injury-specific pockets, instead of grouped by category. This means that instead of digging through the medications pocket for the pain reliever you need, you can go straight to the ‘cuts and scrapes’ pocket. This takes some user error out of the equation, which results in faster care.

While the organization of an AMK Mountain Series kit is by far the best feature, they’ve changed up a few other details, too. Now, the kit is trapezoidal in shape, which means more room for gear inside without taking up extra room in your pack. The pockets inside are all secure, and all transparent. AMK has also streamlined the supplies to the basics you absolutely need: products that stop bleeding fast, wound care supplies, pain and medical supplies, and blister management (which frankly, you’ll use the most). You get hospital-quality tools, and of course, you still get the first aid pocket book.

You can see a complete supply list here for the Mountain Hiker Kit, and if you need something bigger, for more people or longer hiking or backpacking, there are four additional kits in the Mountain Series that go all the way up to mountaineering supplies. The Mountain Hiker hits the sweet spot for us, with just the supplies we need and nothing more, for $25. Since we’re usually hiking with more than two people, we just add a few extra supplies of our own, such as extra bandages and medications.

Remember, you can also re-order supplies for your kit directly at AMK. Yes, you can just go to your local pharmacy, but sometimes, this is easier.


Thule Subterra Luggage 55cm/22″ Rolling Duffel Bag

This Thule Subterra bag is great for those that alternate travel plans between longer trips where you need to check bags with quick weekend hops where a carry-on bag is enough. The way this bag works is that it can convert between a larger checked duffel, but part of the bag separates if you just want to use it as two smaller carry-ons.

The large interior is similar to many sports bags with wide space and a soft nylon shell that allows you to stuff it quite full. When using it as a carry-on, there’s a handle that retracts from the back of the bag so you can roll it on its two, oversized wheels. Since the bag has a soft shell, you come to appreciate the larger wheels since smaller ones can get caught on pebbles and drag. The back panel is crafted from polycarbonate, which adds to the sturdy structure.

There’s also a hook that allows you to add another smaller bag to the top and drag it around. Even if you don’t add another bag, there’s a small pocket for keys or coins, but be careful about checking your bag with valuables in there. Another great feature of the soft shell is that it fits easily into car trunks or overhead bins since it can squeeze in places.

I liked that there were straps that reach across the zipper for added protection to keep the bag together in case the zipper snags; it also keeps the contents tight and protected. Another feature that I liked is that it is more lightweight than a hard-shell bag, which is important when airlines start weighing bags to charge extra fees. There’s a separate compartment where you can separate shoes or dirty clothes from everything else.

This is a great bag for durability and flexibility and retails for $370 on the Thule website.


Best Travel Pants: 34 Heritage Charisma Pants, Shorts and Dish Denim

Finding a pair of pants that travel well is incredibly difficult.  Most of the “travel” pants have lots of pockets, zippers and such but frankly, they just aren’t very comfortable

Charisma Pant

34Heritage sent me their new relaxed thigh twill Charisma pants.  The second I put them on I realized they were going to be one of my favorite pants.  The fabric is an amazing blended twill with a soft velvety feel (I know not manly, but darn is it comfortable)
I recently wore the Charisma’s on a cross-country flight and the only way I could have been more conformable is if I had been in sweat pants.
The pants look great, far better than most of the travel pants I review.  The ones I got were the Horizon Twill color and my wife loves the look of them.  They dress up great with a blazer but still look good with sneakers and a t-shirt.

Nevada Shorts

I love the Nevada shorts as well, they are constructed of the same great fabric and I can say from experience they are fairly stain resistant (thank you 4 year old)  Now that the weather is finally getting nice here in Idaho I have found myself grabbing these shorts for neighborhood events since they look a lot nicer than my standard issue dad cargo shorts.
In all, I have to say I love the 34Heritage collection, they aren’t cheap but they will last you a long time and are worth the investment.

Dish Denim

Ladies, two words: Dish Denim. Personally, I would rather try on bathing suits or explain the birds and the bees to my children than try on jeans. Then, Dish Denim arrived. The color we tried is a silvery grey, skinny pant. Don’t let the skinny jean scare you, they are so comfortable and have quickly become a staple in my wardrobe.

The Dish Denim pants have a decent amount of stretch in the fabric. I would suggest ordering a size smaller than you normally wear to ensure the best fit. The pockets are an interesting net fabric that doesn’t compete with the fabric of the jean allowing them to stay in place. The fabric is also specially constructed to prevent travel stench. I tested this out by wearing them on my travel day to New Orleans, to one of the conference days where we walked about 2 miles around the convention center and about 3 in town. I can happily report that the pants held their shape, were easily spot cleaned and did not have any weird smells following their adventures.

I was worried about the Dish Denim skinny fit on the airplane as I am one who swells when traveling for long flights. The stretchy fabric provided enough compression from the swelling without given me the sausage casing look.

For styling, I rolled the tapered leg up to wear with my Timberland Chelsea Booties and paired them with a little black blazer. During site seeing adventures, I unrolled the leg, put on my converse and a loose tank top. Dish Denim is a great pant in various colors and styles that can be dressed down or dressed up for any trip or meeting.

At the time of publication, you can receive a 10% discount on their website.

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