Keeping cool with Coolcore Chill Sport Cooling Towel

Coolcore Chill Sport Cooling Towel

Hot weather can really take it out of you. Say you’ve planned a hike, or some sort of physical activity on your travels, but the oppressive heat has you reconsidering for an afternoon in the hammock instead of the great outdoors. Sometimes, you need to give in. Other times, you need a cooling towel.

Yes, that’s what I said. A cooling towel. Coolcore’s Chill Sport Cooling Towel, to be exact.

Cooling towels are more than merely a wet towel that you have tucked away in the cooler in your car. Many of them use chemicals, which isn’t really the direction you want to choose if you’re particular about what you put on your body, as well as the fact that those handy chemicals wash out over time.

The Coolcore Chill Sport Cooling Towel is 100-percent polyester, and made with a mechanically engineered (and chemical-free) cooling technology that lets the material cool to a 30 percent lower temperature than your body surface temperature.

Just wet the 15-inch by 36-inch towel, wring it, and snap it—then place it around your neck. I used this while hiking in Jordan’s Dana Biosphere Reserve, the country’s largest nature reserve, which was hot like an oven in May.

The instructions seem too good to be true, but while hiking through Wadi Ghwayr (which has a small stream running through it, at times), I dipped the towel in the water, and followed the instructions. It was more than wishful thinking—the towel was actually cooler once I finished. Just to be sure, I checked with all my hiking buddies, and they agreed. Through wicking, moisture circulation, and regulated evaporation, the towel kept me as cool as possible during the day-long hike.

It accompanies me all the time now, when I’m out on a sunny trail or traveling in a hot climate. The fact that it packs small, I can reuse it, and there’s nothing much to it for the towel to work, it’s an incredibly simple way to keep me cool.

Coolcore also has a few apparel items, as well, from shorts to tights to tanks to tees. The next time my travels take me to a place where the temperature kicks well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I may be kitted out in an entire cooling outfit.

The Coolcore Chill Sport Cooling Towel comes in a rainbow of colors: black, black quartz, brush ocean, day glo, digi splash blue, diva blue, electric blue lemonade, fuscia, geo camo, gestured floral, lime green, Mandarin red, orange, pixel ocean red, and raspberry. It lists for $14.99 on the Coolcore site, and is also available at Amazon.

KEEN Terradora women’s hiking boot

keen terradora

I’ve tried out a lot of hiking boots. Heavy ones, stiff ones, clunky ones, rugged ones…you get the idea. 90% of the time, I hike and explore in a trusty pair of trail runners, or my favorite Lowa travel shoe. But for that other 10%, we women need a strong, sturdy hiking boot that provides both protection and flexibility. It needs to be lightweight and soft, but also able to withstand boulders, creek crossings, and dusty trails.

keen terradora

The Keen Terradora waterproof boot proved its worth to me all spring, withstanding hikes on muddy Oregon trails and travels across the wet Pacific Northwest. It’s designed specifically for women (you won’t see a male equivalent) and is comfortable enough to become an all-around trekker shoe on your travels, if you don’t have room to pack two pairs of shoes.

While the Terradora boot provides ankle support, it’s not stiff, and it has a nice cushion around the ankle panel. You get natural odor control built into the material, multi-directional lugs, and the Keen-Dry waterproof membrane that is breathable even while keeping your feet dry. I love that the Terradora has a stylish finish to it with the weaved fabric look, and the girly side of me likes that it comes in a ton of fun colors, including the dark purple/sage I tested and six additional.

keen terradora

Pick up the Terradora boot on Keen’s website for $140, in women’s size 5-11, or look for it on Amazon for a few bucks less. If you don’t want or need the protection of ankle support, there’s also a Terradora shoe in both non-waterproof and waterproof for $120 and $130, respectively. They’re even more lightweight, and still give you the rugged sole protection of the boot. Whichever you try, enjoy summer hiking and trekking!

Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set

When I travel, I am gone for weeks at a time, and it all happens from two carry-on bags. That’s why organizing your clothes, especially for multiple temperatures, is especially important. And when you have dirty laundry that you’re not able to clean, you still want to keep it separated.

Eagle Creek has been a master at creative organizational tools that help frequent travelers. There are numerous products like the packing cubes that come in various sizes, which allow you to separate items like socks, underwear, or electronics. The packs are really thin and lightweight, which saves you from adding extra weight to your bag (every ounce counts!). Some of the laundry cubes have breathable fabric so that your clothes won’t smell when you open the zipper. The fabric is durable enough from keeping the smell from permeating your bag.

My favorite is the shoe box with a translucent white cover that allows me to pack a few pairs of shoes, and they don’t risk getting my other clothes dirty. The cover allows me to be able to see what’s inside in a hurry so I don’t have to open each thing to see if it’s the right travel cub. Most have handles too so that you can carry things easily.

The smallest of cubes keep jewelry, compact lenses, and batteries making these items easy to grab without having to rifle around in your bag pockets to find something. The style-conscious among us can choose among different colors, which can be important when security staff like to open your bag in public view to meander through your stuff.

Eagle Creek has a variety of these packing cubes available on their website for as little as $10. Believe me, these things can get addictive when you experience how they keep your bag organized and clean.


Old-school simplicity with Timbuk2 Tuck Pack

Timbuk2 Tuck Pack

Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple. You need a place to keep your gear, and tote it around in a comfortable way, right? Take a look at the Timbuk2 Tuck Pack.

Laptop protection? Check.

Variety of colors and reflective details for visibility? Check.

Straightforward closure and pockets? Check.

Relatively lightweight? Check.

The pack is made of lightweight polyester, and fits 15-inch laptops in a padded internal sleeve. Also inside the main compartment: two drop-in pockets and two pen pockets for organizing your stuff. Not tons of stuff, but the essentials. Seal it all up with the roll-top closure that has a simple (and secure) clip.

Outside, there are dual slip pockets for a water bottle, umbrella, or U-lock if you’re cycling. There’s also a front zip pocket, a stealth side zip pocket for top-secret items, and side zip access to the main compartment if you’re too exhausted to unclip and unroll the top access.

Cool extras on the Tuck Pack: reflective zipper pulls and a vista loop, so you have somewhere convenient to attach blinking lights if you’re cycling or just want some extra attention in disco fashion.

Oftentimes, simplicity in a pack is matched with simplicity in shoulder straps, and the pack becomes something you don’t want to carry around all day. Not so with the Tuck Pack. The shoulder straps are comfortably padded, so wear the pack around town all day, on a hike, on a bike, to the airport—it doesn’t really matter, you’ll be comfortable wearing it.

The Timbuk2 Tuck Pack comes in a rainbow of colors: nautical/bixi, black, concrete, concrete/acid, alert, bronze/black, army/acid, bixi/bronze, Pacific, tropidelic, acid/black, and blueberry/army. It lists for $79 on the Timbuk2 site, but prices are currently reduced, so check it out now. You can also find the Tuck Pack at Amazon.