I'm a picky packer but these items have earned a place in my pack.
Maybe my years of travel have made me a very discerning consumer - or maybe I'm just getting old and don't want to be bothered hauling around gear that's not 100% up to par. Either way, lately I've been more likely to delete items from my packing list, not add to it. But these following items were the exception. They survived the purge and fought their way to the top of the list to secure a place in the pack.
I originally picked up the PackTowl Nano at my local sports store because, well, it was just so tiny and cute! (And, yes, "cute" does seem to play a big factor in my gear selection.) I had vague ideas that it might be useful as an emergency washcloth while traveling on the train but I had no idea just how handy it would be. Happily, this teensy little towel punches well above its weight!
I loved that the PackTowl Nano came attached to its own stuff sack with a wee little clip and that the sack was mesh on one side, allowing for some extra ventilation. (However, if you do get the material saturated, I'd advise you to quickly rinse it out in the sink with a tiny drop of soap and let it air dry - it should be ready to pack in about an hour.) There's also a caribiner clip to attach it to your day bag. Ultra tiny, ultra light, ultra cute - and happily it's ultra handy as well. PackTowl Nano - you've earned a permanent spot in my pack!
Sunglasses from SmartBuyGlasses
It's been nearly 6 years since I've had a new pair of sunglasses. And I've long abandoned my old ones - they were perfectly good but once I updated the prescription in my regular glasses, it was just too off-putting to keep switching back and forth. But I knew I had to protect my eyes - and Ryan was getting tired to retaking otherwise perfectly good shots!
I love that the sunglasses were carefully protected for their trip through the mail. They were shipped in a sunglasses case, and placed in a hard cardboard box with spare, non-prescription lenses, and then wrapped in bubble wrap. It was great peace of mind to know that such an important purchase was protected and I loved all the deluxe designer touches in the packaging. It felt like I was unwrapping a package on Christmas morning!
The collapse-a-bill hat.
But hats can be finicky. I needed something that could accommodate a ponytail and also something that could be squished up so it took next to no room. And I found it in Outdoor Research's Switchback Cap - but I think a much better name would be "The collapse-a-bill!"
(Collapse-a-bill -> collapsible -> the front bill of the cap can collapse. Sometimes I just crack myself up!)
The hat has a tiny zippered pocket (for a key or some emergency money) and can easily be hand washed. If I were to make my purchase all over again, I might chose another color over the pink. That is one bright hat! But, to each their own for color selection. While I still don't really enjoy having to wear a ball cap, I am getting better at recognizing how important it is to do so and I'm glad to have found a product that's so pack friendly.
A spork that really "lights my fire".
The Light My Fire spork has been the exception. While I don't use my spork ("spoon-fork") on every single trip, it usually makes at least one appearance. I love the Light My Fire brand for their lightweight, durable, easy-to-sterilize plastic that comes in bright, cheerful colors. I also like that one edge of the fork end has a serrated tine. It's not quite a knife but it does come in handy. I also like that the spoon is on one end and the fork is on the other. It's been an nifty tool to have on hand for late night leftovers and assembling light meals based on market finds and I never regret having it in my pack. Not too shabby for a $3 item!
Picky packing has paid off for me.
- Do you love fashion AND packing? My friend Alex runs Travel Fashion Girl, quite possibly the most stylish and pragmatic blog around. You'll love it.
- Sun protection is serious business, no matter your skin type or how you travel. Here's a good source of information on skin cancer protection, including protective clothing.
- Love light packing? The term "carry on" can be misleading, especially when it applies to a suitcase. This awesome article from Consumer Reports is extremely helpful and informative.
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Travel Gear Review: GoToobs
Why I'll Always Travel With A Headlamp
Do You Need To Pack A Travel Towel?
I received a pair of SmartBuy Glasses at no cost in support of this post. All research, writing, and opinions remain my own.