3 (And a Half) GeekDad Travel Essentials

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I am not a worldly traveler. I am, to put it in the kindest terms, a bit of a hayseed, a bit of a homebody. Still, thanks in no small part to my work here at GeekDad, I’m afforded the occasional opportunity to see the world. Since this doesn’t exactly come easy for me, I’ve spent the last few years accumulating and testing items for my travel toolkit. It’s obviously still a work in progress, but I’ve currently come to rely on three(ish) very specific products to ensure a safe, productive journey.

Tekkima Prevail 3-in-1 Jacket

Tekkima Prevail
images: Tekkima

My favorite component of my current travel kit is also its newest edition, the Prevail jacket from Tekkima. Yes, I realize there are other, more established brands of pocket-heavy travelwear, but I have long found most of those options to be boxy, boring, and just plain unflattering—especially for a fellow of my slight build and stature. By contrast, Tekkima’s Prevail looks smart and modern, not at all like a fishing vest or faux-military gear. When zipped it cuts a sharp, slim profile, and even fully open it’s sophisticated rather than sloppy.

The “3-in-1” used in the item’s branding refers to its modular design: two coordinating pieces that can be worn separately or together, depending on climate and circumstance.

The exterior shell is waterproof parka, complete with taped seams, smooth two-way zippers (so that you can adjust how it falls across your chest and hips independently), and a high collar. For your storage needs, it boasts double hip pockets, front-facing patch pockets with exterior snap closures that also conceal zippered welt pockets for your hands.

Then there are its interior tech pockets. I’ve long wondered why anyone would willingly place a tablet into the liner pocket of their jacket. Then I realized how convenient it was to quickly stow my Nintendo Switch in the Prevail, board my plane, and then resume my play session as soon as I was safely seated. From these bulkier devices to your smartphone to your passport or boarding pass, this Tekkima jacket has a place for it all.

The other half of the Prevail system is its all-weather vest. It’s a simple athletic design in a deep navy blue that coordinates with the parka without simply aping its color and design. It too boasts ample pockets—three external and a pair on the interior—and it pairs this convenience with a warm, comfortable poly-spandex fleece that wears as good as it looks.

The front zipper of the vest also easily affixes to a pair of interior zippers located within the parka, with a snapping loop that aligns the two collars. With the parka itself already fully lined, this additional layer of fabric converts the Prevail into an amazingly toasty cold-weather coat. But even with the added bulk, the garment still looks sleek and professional.

Between the two individual pieces and their hybrid mode, the Prevail can be used autumn through spring as weather and/or fashion dictates. This makes it a wonderful travel jacket, as it can be alternately worn or stowed without risk of wrinkling or attracting undue dirt as you move from place to place, indoors and out, climate to climate.

There’s very little not to like about the Tekkima Prevail 3-in-1. Personally, I found removing it with the vest zipped in as a secondary liner a tad cumbersome, as there are only three points of contact—the two zippers and the collar loop—to keep it from sliding and bunching as you withdraw your arms from the outer parka. Other than this minor annoyance (easily remedied by simple wearing the vest yourself with the parka shell atop it), I’ve been nothing but pleased with my Prevail.

At a retail price of $195, it’s not exactly an impulse purchase, but those searching for a versatile, stylish travel coat that looks great with practically anything you’d care to pair it with should look no further. Similarly, the lack of color options—the Prevail 3-in-1 only comes in Neutral Gray and the slightly darker Charcoal Gray—may turn off some, but that’s really part of the piece’s understated aesthetic.

With fashion and function in equal measure, the Prevail is a perfect commuter option, whether you’re headed across the country or simply across town.

A Prevail 3-in-1 was provided by Tekkima for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

ThinkGeek Convertible Fast Travel Bag of Holding

travel bag of holding
images: ThinkGeek

No matter the journey, no matter the destination, I always seem to take along one of ThinkGeek’s innovative Bags of Holding. An old, battered Con-Survival Edition goes with me to local game and comics shows, the sleek Messenger Bag of Holding is my daily carry for work, and, on my most recent trip to NYC, the Convertible Fast Travel Bag of Holding proved itself to be my ideal carry-on.

This high-quality chimera combines everything I love about the Con-Survival Edition and the Messenger Bag into a perfectly sized, pleasantly laid out travel pack. Its hook-and-loop front holds all my favorite morale patches, and its D20-patterned liner and padded laptop component keep my gear safe and organized in style.

Add to that a zippered document compartment, tons of internal organizers, and the convenience of a top handle, backpack straps, and a (removable) hinged should strap, and you’ve got what may be the best Bag of Holding yet. Using it alone, I can easily bring my MacBook Air, Nintendo Switch (more about that in a moment), a change of clothes, my Kindle, and all my other necessary cables and accouterments in a package that slides under the space in front of me in even the most economical of economy seating.

Though the MSRP is $49.99, at time of writing this bad boy can be yours for only $14.99—which is even a couple of bucks cheaper than it was when I picked up mine for a song during the holidays.

Nyko Power Shell Case for Nintendo Switch

Nyko Power Shell Case
images: Nyko

For years I didn’t go anywhere without my Nintendo 3DS, my constant travel companion, but the Nintendo Switch has recently usurped that throne. Does the Switch travel as well as its diminutive older brother? No, not by a long shot, but, for me, it’s worth the added effort.

When it comes to taking my beloved Switch out into the cold, cruel world, Nyko’s Power Shell offers everything I need. First and foremost, it’s a rugged hard-shell system case. Its matte exterior finish seems to attract a lot of oil and smudges, but that’s easy enough to forgive.

Inside, it’s nicely padded and includes its own system stand and storage for up to 12 game cartridges and 4 microSD cards. The clincher, though, is its integrated 5000 mAh battery and stowaway USB-C charging cable.

There’s a strategically placed internal power button that lets you activate charging when you need it, and, yes, that stands means it can be charged while playing in Tabletop mode. An LED indicator lets you see how much juice the Power Shell has, but note that an automatic shutoff function pauses charging when the case is fully closed—this prevents overheating but also means that you can only charge your system in situations where you can keep the lid open.

I’ve been using this one for a while now, and I quite like it. My only knock against it is that its slim internal real-estate only has room to accommodate an unadorned Switch and attached Joy-Cons. It works with a simple film screen protector (which is included), but I’m not sure I’d advise trying to slide a system with a tempered glass cover in there. In fact, even with my Nintendo Switch au naturel, there’s still a very thin open gap in the right front corner of my review unit.

Still, at a $39.99 price point, Nyko manages to bundle everything you need for Switch storage and protection in one quality package.

A Power Shell was provided by Nyko for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

Badass Beard Care Trial Packs

badass beard care
images: Badass Beard Care

Consider this item an addendum, a very specific product for a very specific market—that being the dedicated beard-care enthusiast. I’ve been using beard oils and balms from Badass ever since GeekDad Anton made an off-hand recommendation of the brand, and they make my go-to products for tempering my natural, slightly dodgy appearance to something a tad more presentable. It helps me to look a bit more “maverick sophisticate” than, say, “hillbilly head case” or “tiny, non-threatening biker.”

The thing I love about Badass Beard Care is… well, everything. They make quality products from simple ingredients like beeswax, eucalyptus, tea extract, and jojoba oil. Their styles and scents are varied, complementary, and never overbearing. And their prices are reasonable.

The thing that really keeps me going back to Badass, though, is their trail packs. For around $4 a pop, you can get 1/8 ounce of beard balm and 1/2 dram of the beard oil in the same scent. Each perfectly packaged in its own TSA-friendly container.

At this point, I’m pretty much just buying these trial packs, which allows me to switch up scents regularly and to always have a spare to toss into my dopp kit/government-mandated clear quart-sized freezer bag. Badass Beard Care even has an ongoing promotion to help new customers receive free sample products (which also has a helpful list of their various scent profiles right there on the same page).

As for my own recommendations, I started out a dedicated fan of “The Pirate” before moving on to “The Viking.” Currently, however, I am alternating between “The Ladies Man” and their premium “The Royal Knight.” Because I’m worth it.

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