Catching up on magazine reading, my eyes tripped over several new pieces of gear, apps, and travel tours that led me to a la-la land of imagining what I’d add to a wish list. I want to spread the word about a few of these cool items and solicit other recommendations in the comments below.
A Do-It-All Running Pack
Nike came out with a hybrid backpack and hydration pack that might help me solve the conundrum of how many small packs to bring on a trip. When we travel, I generally want to take three because I love and use each one, but that seems like at least one too many. The three are:
- a laptop backpack by Timbuk2 that holds my computer, reading material, and misc. stuff;
- a lightweight tote by Eagle Creek that folds into a small pouch. It’s great to have in case we need an extra lightweight bag to carry stuff while sightseeing;
- a trusty Nathan Hydration Pack that I need for any serious long run.
The all-in-one Nike Cheyenne Vapor Running Backpackfor $90 has a laptop sleeve, a pocket big enough for a 70-ounce hydration bladder (not included, unfortunately, but just stick a Camelback bladder in there), a separate insulated pouch for extra clothes or stuff, and even a removable rain cover. I could see using this pack instead of the three listed above for some trips (though for ultra-distance running, I’d still want the Nathan pack, because it gets sweaty and dirty on the run so I wouldn’t want it to double as an around-town bag).
Hmm … maybe I’ll get this Nike bag for when I want to run errands literally. Or for Morgan so he can run to and from work. He recently opened an office for his new business four miles from home. Maybe he’d commute on his legs if he has this pack to carry water and gear.
A Hands-Free HD & GPS Video Cam
I want to capture more family videos and get more video on this blog, but I’ve been less than satisfied with our Flip cam and awkward editing software.
Here’s a camera that inspires me: the hands-free Contour GPS Full HD Helmet Camera. Yes, a lightweight, waterproof camera that fits on a headband or handlebars with GPS to track location, altitude, and speed. How cool is that? The reviews of it are very positive, and the editing software that comes with it sounds idiot-proof. It sure would be fun to film some runs or chase after my kids with this thing. $350, with more info at Contour.
The Outside Hot List
Outside Magazine’s 2011 Travel Hot List provides an inspiring starting point to learn about destinations, tour operators, and tech resources. Our family has never gone on a tour—we tend to prefer making plans and booking accommodation on our own—but these packages look mighty attractive.
Here are just two of several that caught my eye and landed on my “someday” list:
- Outside spotlights Adventure Life’s multi-sport tours to Machu Picchu. The company has all of Central and South America covered, with family options that make me think Morgan and I just might figure out a way to save up to run the Inca Trail and bring the kids along.
- If I ever fulfill a dream to run the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa, then I certainly want to see more of the country with our whole family. Journeys International’s customizable and family-friendly tours around wildlife parks look amazing.
Finally, be sure to check out the magazine’s section on “You Can Fit 100 Guidebooks in Your Pocket.” I believe in the no-guidebook rule of travel—that is, get a guidebook beforehand if you want to read about the history of a place and sketch an itinerary, but leave the weight behind when you travel. Get an electronic guide instead.
When we toured Spain and Italy, we would download Rick Steves’ guidebooks into the Kindle app for an iPhone to have a hand-held guide. Now I discover that’s so, like, 2010! Lots of phone and tablet city guide apps are coming to market by big names such as Lonely Planet—but upstarts are giving LP, Fodor’s, and Frommer’s serious competition. Outside recommends MyCityWay.com, which has “real time, location-aware technology,” meaning that as you walk around a city, it’ll give specific recommendations based on your likes of where to eat, park, find a hotel, and fun stuff to do. I think I’ll try MyCityWay the next time I travel to one of the cities it covers.
What’s on your gear and travel wish list this season?