eBags, the ever-growing site for travel needs, has put together a group of products they are calling WanderLove³. All packed up in an Ultralight Packing Cube is a set of travel essentials, some of which I wouldn’t even think to get, but would be extremely helpful on a trip. They’re all going with me on my next vacation. (Get it? WanderLove-cubed? And packed in a cube?)
You can’t plunk WanderLove³ in your shopping cart just yet, but you can recreate it yourself, piece by piece. The advantage of that is that you could swap out products for other models or colors. Check out the eBags site for options.
To create your own WanderLove³, pick out a large (or other size—no judging here) eBags brand Ultralight Packing Cube to hold your things. Made of Cordura fabric with an internal structure, grab handle, two-way zipper, and a large mesh panel, these packing cubes are perfect to store your gear. You could even get a few extra (they come in four different colors) and fill them with clothes to keep your suitcase organized. (Read my full review of the cubes, previously published on GeekDad.)
Next, the most important essentials.
While traveling, you’re less likely to find a handy outlet or charging port, so you need to carefully meter your device use. But with a battery pack, you can refill your battery on the go. The most reliable batteries I’ve tried to date are eBags’ Lifejacket Quick Charge Battery and the larger Lifeboat model (see full review). The Lifejacket holds 4000mAh, and only weighs 4.5 ounces. It’s smaller than your smartphone, so it can fit in just about any pocket. (If you prefer more juice, try the Lifeboat which holds 9000mAh and can charge two devices at once.) These battery packs have been completely reliable, and quickly and effectively charge my devices.
Though the Lifejacket comes with its own charging cable, if you have an iDevice, you’ll need a separate Lightning cable. Every iDevice comes with its own cable, but if you have cats, kids, or actually use your device regularly, those things wear out, and sometimes you just need extra cables. The Rhino Lightning Charge+Sync Cable I tried is a handy 2 meters long (6.6 feet) and is the most durable Lightning cable I’ve ever seen. The connections to the ends are reinforced, and the cable itself is encased in paracord sheathing. The Rhino cables come in a variety of colors and connectors (so you non-iDevice folks are also covered), and come in 1-, 2-, and 3-meter lengths. They are also Apple certified, MFi cords. Durable. Flexible. These are also extremely affordable, even compared with other non-Apple brands of cords. I won’t claim that they are cat- or kid-proof, but it would take a lot of abuse to destroy them.
Almost as important as the above is the ability to create extra outlets when you travel. When in a hotel room, especially in a foreign country, or even in cruise ship stateroom, finding enough plugs can be a big challenge. The PowerCube ReWirable USB set includes four power outlets and two USB ports for power and charging, and four travel plugs that are power adapters and create extra outlets in the US/Japan, the European Union, the UK, and Australia. And, because the plugs are all on different sizes of the cube, it’s easier to plug in larger or multiple things at once. You can also use the PowerCube with an old power cord from a computer, printer, etc., to create a useful extension cord. Use it at home or on the go.
Now, add some fun to your travels.
Whether you’re on a vacation, a business trip, or just tooling around town, the WanderLove³ package includes some fun. If you’ve got an iPhone 6/6s or 6/6s Plus (yay, headphone jack!) and enjoy taking photos, there will be less reason to lug around your DSLR if you use an olloclip Active Lens set. Including telephoto (2x optical zoom) and ultra-wide (“action camera” field-of-view) lenses, you can get just the right shot. Small enough to fit in your pocket, these lenses allow you to express your surroundings the way you want to, giving you plenty of creative options. They work on both the front and rear cameras. The lenses use precision coated ground glass optics, and the set includes three wearable pendants and a lanyard that hold the lenses for quick access, along with lens caps and a microfiber bag that holds all the extras. Pair these lenses with your favorite photo apps for even more options. It works best with no case on the phone, however.
If you enjoy listening to music with groups of people, at a backyard BBQ, at the beach, or at a house party, you’ll need a portable Bluetooth speaker. The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Free 2.0 Wireless Speaker System allows you to play your favorite music (or podcasts, or audiobooks) from your phone or tablet, from the built-in MP3 player (use a MicroSD card), or via the USB port from your laptop or PC. Lay the speaker down for wide stereo sound or stand it up for 360 degree sound. It’s got a ton of features: use the LOUD mode for high volume, make hands-free phone calls, experience deep bass, keep it near the (indoor) pool (it’s splash-proof), and enjoy 10 hours of playtime per charge. It also allows up to two devices to pair with it at once.
Be safe. Always.
If you’re traveling somewhere alone, a great product to include from the WanderLove³ collection is the Revolar Wearable Safety Device. Press it once, and your loved ones get an alert that you’ve arrived safely at your destination, or are just checking in with them. With a quick double-press of the button, a Yellow Level Alert message is sent to your pre-chosen set of contacts letting them know that you may need help, and they can see your real-time location on an updating Google Map. If you’re really in trouble, do a quick triple-press, and a Red Level Alert message is sent. This way your contacts know that you need help now, and it also includes your real-time location and information to communicate with emergency services. Since you configure the device through an app, only the people you choose to receive messages will know your location. The device is water resistant and splash proof. It can be submerged in 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The device is less than 2″ long and is easy to wear discreetly, using either the included clip or loop that you can put on your keychain or wear around your neck. It runs on a watch battery, which can last up to a year. There is no monthly fee, and sending alerts is also free, though text message and data rates may apply. It works anywhere you have cell service or wi-fi, so bear that in mind if you travel too off the beaten path. But it can definitely bring you some peace of mind when traveling.
With all of these WanderLove³ products, your future trips and jaunts around town will be easier, more fun, and more secure.
Note: I received samples for review purposes.