There’s certainly no shortage of useful (and oftentimes less so) travel gadgets. So as a follow-up to my 26 Killer Travel Gadgets Every Geek Needs which got quite a bit of airtime around the blogosphere (Lord, strike me down for using that word), I’m posting another 26 killer travel gadgets that every geek needs.
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#1 – Trackstick II: Plot Your Travels
Gadling reports the Trackstick II is “designed specifically for integration with Google Earth, Trackstick II is a GPS device that lets you “keep a satellite scrapbook of all your travels and record your explorations.” It’s like having a trail of live map pushpins follow you wherever you go! The unit:
… can be carried on a belt, in a bag or purse, or covertly installed and placed on anything that moves. Trackstick’s™ technology enables a continuously updated record of the exact route, stop times, speed and direction, among other valuable information. User selectable features allow the record time to be changed from an interval of every 5 seconds, or from 1 minute to every 15 minutes.
There’s no configuration or setup to fiddle with – just turn it on and go. Once you get back to civilization, plug it into any USB port and view the live map of your entire journey via Google Earth.
#2 – A Power Adapter Kit to … End All Power Adapter Kits?
#3 – Ultraviolet Bacteria and Pathogen Killing Water Wand
Actually, it’s called the SteriPEN (good thing I’m not in their marketing department). The SteriPEN is like the MSR Miox for geeks and Star Wars fans (I know that’s a redundant redundancy). And it’s equally as effective: “it’s fast (48 seconds for 16 ounces), light (under 110g/4 oz), easy and effective, it’s perfect for hikers and campers who value powerful products in small packages with no loss of effectiveness. Adventurer is especially effective against common protozoa like Cryptosporidium.” Opt for the solar adapter and you too can live indefinitely on a compound in Montana with the tinfoil hat brigade and their anti-government assault weaponry.
#4 – Grilliput: The Smallest and Coolest Portable Barbecue Grill
The Grilliput is stainless steel; weighs roughly 20 ounces; folds up to about the size of a thick, round ruler; and costs less than $30. Hell, it’s small and compact enough that you could tailgate in a hostel bathroom. Not that you’d want to of course. But you could. How cool is that?
#5 – The Fly Clear Biometric Card
The Fly Clear card is like an EZPass/FastLane card for airline travelers. Currently available at select airports – with more added regularly – it allows you quick and easy access through obscenely long security lines. Tim Ferriss – author of The 4 Hour Work Week – claims it “cuts down my airport wait time about 95%”. I’m sold.
#6 – Imation USB Flash Drive Wristband
Nowadays, most long-term travelers will pack at least a USB thumb drive to store software applications, web settings and passwords, etc. Imation Flash Wristbands let you forget about rummaging through your pack or your pockets, or worrying about the likelihood that your standard USB drive will get lost or stolen. Now you can wear it right on your wrist. Available up to 256 MB capacity, it’s great as a backup drive.
#7 – Seagate FreeAgent GO
Of course, if the miniscule capacity restrictions of a USB Drive are too small for you, you can always opt for the Seagate FreeAgent GO. It’s available in up to 160GB capacity and it’s about the size of a deck of cards making it extremely portable. The kicker is that you can hook this bad boy up to any computer (think: internet cafe in Bangkok) and run all of your own software, web settings, etc. off of it. State-of-the-art encryption leaves no trace of your Google searches for “ladyboy” either – everything is stored directly on the GO. Get it? “On the GO”?
#8 – A Revolutionary “Tobacco” Pipe
I blogged about the Solopipe before, but since this site’s readers are largely hippies and potheads, I thought it worth a second mention in this must-have list of travel gadgets. The ingenious manufacturer describes it as a a “revolutionary self-igniting smoking apparatus that combines refillable, adjustable butane lighter with a high quality tobacco smoking pipe.”
#9 – The Super Secret Leather Money Belt
We’re not talking old school, Rick Steves’ fanny pack style belt here, but an actual belt, like the kind that held up your grandpappy’s trousers. But these come complete with a hidden pocket to hide your cash. If you’re a style-conscious traveler, you might want to opt for one of BeltOutlet.com’s leather money belt series. Le Travel Store also offers a plain black belt guaranteed to hold up to $1500 cash!
#10 – Hand-Powered Generator
Sure it looks like a kid’s yo-yo, but I rather like it: simple, quiet, rugged, playful and, most of all, useful. According to the manufacturer’s website:
A minute of pulling the PCG generates enough energy for:
20 minutes of talk time on a mobile phone
1 hour of ultrabright LED flashlight use
3 hours play time on an iPod Shuffle (about one pull per song)
Love ’em or hate ’em. Traveler reviews for PacSafe products have always been a mixed bag (pun intended) to say the least. Folks either swear by them or they loathe them with a disdain that rivals their hatred for sunburns and loud cell phone talkers.
But, Tim Leffel is no greenhorn traveler, so when he recommends a piece of travel gear, I take his advice to heart. His latest review of PacSafe’s MetroSafe 200 Day Pack sizes up the bag’s features:
eXomesh Slashguard in front and bottom panels
Slashproof adjustable shoulder strap
Snatchproof shoulder strap allows the bag to anchor to a secure fixture and tamperproof zippers on main compartment (as in it can hook to your pants belt loop)
… it’s a really useful daypack for walking around as a tourist. Pacsafe makes bigger ones, but this option is just the right size to hold a guidebook, a camera, a water bottle, some pens, a notebook, and a music player. You’re set for a day of sightseeing. As you would expect, there are pockets within pockets and hidden zippers to stash your money behind.
The bag I tested is obviously very well made, with strong stitching and solid construction. So it will not only deter potential thieves, it will hold up to years of solid travel as well.
#12 – iCache
Imagine combining every credit and debit card in your wallet into a compact, secure device no larger than a Motorla RAZR. That’s the goal of iCache. Via CrunchGear:
After you receive the device you jump online and register your credit cards so you don’t have to carry all that plastic cash around as well as your finger print because the device boasts biometric security. The iCache digitally replicates all your credit card magnetic strip signatures and is basically rotated depending on which card you need and then expires after a certain amount of time or until the next card you want to you use is pulled up. It seems their goal is to be able to take anything with a magnetic strip and store it onto the device.
If the biometric scanning device works nearly as well as it’s being billed, this would almost render the misfortune of losing one’s wallet moot.
#13 – Credit Card-Sized 8GB Storage Device
A flashpacker’s delight. It’s lame name aside, the PQI U510 manages to cram 8GB of storage into a slick, aluminum credit card-sized unit:
The latest PQI portable storage device is available with a whopping 8GB capacity and measures only 3mm thin. Image a credit card size device that requires no external power to function and stores any type of data you put to it. Sporting all the functions of a USB (2.0/1.1) compatible device, functional on Windows or Mac OS, it definitely packs more value into your wallet.
#14 – A Solar Charger Worth Its Salt
I’ve been griping about the lack of killer solar chargers since last year. But Earthtech Product’s PowerMonkey Explorer may just be the answer to my lowly prayers:
Only 2.4 oz yet with 2-3 times the power of a regular cell phone
Take reserve power with you. Up to 1-year standby charge
Specifically designed for the outdoor environment: tough and water-resistant.
Connectors included for the majority of digital cameras and mobile phones
USB connector included for iPods, MP3 players, PDA’s, and many more digital devices
Only downside: it won’t power a laptop. I know, I know: For less than $130, what do I want? Everything?
#15 – Rosetta Stone Version 3
After what seemed like a twenty year hiatus, Rosetta Stone has finally released a much needed update for its suite of language software packages. Like the afore-mentioned PacSafe, travelers typically have a language software by which they swear. Rosetta Stone is no different – you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I think their products are fantastic. The only sticking point I’ve had is the lack of a slick interface which has apparently been remedied with this latest version.
… [S]how the world exactly what you’re carrying, even if what you’re showing is only a reasonable facsimile. The X-Ray tote and shoulder bags, made of a space-age woven plastic fiber, appear to have been bombarded by X-rays, and have magically made your eyes sensitive to their reflection. It appears as though your stuff has gone through the security check at the airport (although, we highly recommend AGAINST carrying these through such a checkpoint as the NTSB, as a rule, has no sense of humor).
Not exactly “essential” travel, but it’s guaranteed to get you on the no-fly list faster than you can say, “Don’t tase me, bro!”
#17 – The Beerbelly
Ask any budget traveler what their biggest money sink is/was on their way around the world and the answer is almost unanimous: booze. Enter The Beerbelly. It’s essentially a hollow prosthetic beer gut that you fill with the “adult” [wink wink] beverage of your choice.
Via the manufacturer’s website:
It holds 80oz, that’s more than a six pack of your favorite beverage
Your drink is held in place in an insulated very comfortable sling under your clothes looking just like a real home grown beer belly.
One size fits most, up to a 40 inch waist and up to 6’8” tall
You can drink from the tube/nozzle or you can pour directly from the tube
Holds hot or cold drinks
Imagine a whole night out in Europe for roughly the cost of a six-pack. Or, if you happen to be Australian or Lindsay Lohan, a case. Sure it’s a bit sleazy and you’ll look like a modern day Jack Nicholson, but did you hear what I said? You can wear all the beer you want and drink it wherever, whenever you want.
Note: for the ladies, there’s also the Winerack. Genius!
#18 – Apple Nike+ Armband for the iPod Nano
Of course you’re packing the iPod for your around-the-world journey. Your entire catalog of Morphine isn’t going to listen to itself. But what to put it in to protect it enroute?
The water-resistant Apple Nike+ Armband for the iPod Nano will do the trick and then some. Once fastened to your arm underneath a coat or jacket, its wide Velcro clasp makes it virtually impossible to steal, at least without you noticing. Plus, it gives you all of the iPod’s click wheel and button controls at your finger tips without removing it from the armband.
Tagging your luggage with semi-permanent global ID tags – such as those offered by StuffBak.com or EZFind – could make finding your bags (or iPod or collapsible traveler’s sousaphone) a hell of a lot easier. Sure, they’re not foolproof and they require that whoever finds your stuff is kind-hearted and appreciates the concept of karma enough to want to return it to its rightful owner in the first place. But it’s better than nothing. And it’s reasonably affordable – a starter kit costs less than $20US.
#20 – Quik Pod
The Quik Pod is a gadget that extends the reach of your arms and hands so you’re not restricted to taking awkward, super close-up photos of you and the strange “friend” you hazily woke up with at the hostel this morning. Sure, you’ll look like a goober using this thing, but face it: everyone knows you’re a tourist anyway (yes, unfortunately the Abercrombe + Fitch ring t-shirt and Boston Red Sox hat are dead giveaways). It’s less than $30 via the manufacturer’s website.
#21 – Swiss Army USB
I know, I know: how many kick ass data storage solutions can I list in one blog post? Evidently too many. The picture says it all: the Swiss Army USB is a standard pocket knife with a protected, slide-out 1GB memory stick, plus:
Nail file with screwdriver
LED mini light
Retractable ball point pen
It’s a bit pricey at $78.00 MSRP, but if you’re looking for a simple, portable data storage solution with a no-frills multi-tool, this should do the trick.
Toothpaste from most common tube styles is hygenically stored in the brush’s handle with a convenient window to indicate how much toothpaste you have left. Simply turn the dial on the brush and toothpaste is dispensed via a rubber nozzle onto the bristles. The manufacturer notes that Colgate toothpaste is readily compabitle with the OHSO, but a universal adapter is also included to virtually guarantee that you can use the brand of your choice.
#24 – USB Rechargeable Batt’ries
Carting a handful of rechargeable batteries and a charger around the world adds more than a bit of clutter and weight to your luggage or pack. USBCell Rechargeable Batteries solve this problem by embedding the charger into the battery itself. Available in a variety of battery sizes and types, these are pure genius for flashpackers and traveling gadget lovers.
#25 – Third Generation WiFi Detector
Critical to flashpackers and Location-Independent-Professionals (LIP) is the ability to grab a WiFi signal at a moment’s notice. And you don’t want to have boot up your laptop every time you need to check your Facebook account. Most WiFi detectors provide little more than a green light to indicate when a signal is present. The problem is that these devices don’t tell you if that signal is encrypted or … really anything more about the network at all. Enter ThinkGeek’s Third Generation WiFi Detector, featuring:
Backlight LCD screen shows signal strength, network ID (SSID), encryption status and channel
Provides specific information about each network when multiple networks are present
Detects Encryption (WEP and WPA)
Shows channel used (1-14)
Coverage: Up to 200 feet (60m) open environment
Identifies 802.11b and 802.11g networks
Auto power off
#26 – Lowepro CompuTrekker Plus AW Camera Backpack
And, of course, we have to wrap this up with one kick ass backpack in which to store all of this great gear. This incredible bag – available for less than $150US (via Amazon) – packs enough space for a 17″ laptop; pro digital SLR camera; 35 mm or compact medium format system; 4-5 lenses (up to 400mm f/2.8); camera flash and virtually all of your accessories.