Think of packing as an audition. The items that get a part in your trip should be multi-talented. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for a little mirror that unfolds to a full-length view; notepads that perform through all kinds of weather; an alarm clock that generates more than just buzz; and a flashlight that goes beyond its role as a light in the dark.
See of all you
Imagine a mirror that lets you see yourself nearly full-length, provides a panoramic view for fastidious grooming, and fits into a carry-on bag.
You can hang the Floxsee Tri-fold Mirror vertically on a door using its adjustable-height hook, and the three hinged panels form a nearly full-length mirror when you step back.
Flip the Floxsee horizontally, and the panels adjust for a 180-degree view. The mirror panels fold down to a 12½-by-7¾-by-1½-inch-deep rectangle that weighs about 3 pounds.
Cost, info: $69.95, Floxsee Tri-fold Tri-View Travel Mirror
Write in the rain
Travelers needn't let a downpour put a damper on jotting down information or travel instructions. Rite in the Rain invented a process by which regular paper sheds water (the drops bead up) and lets you write legibly with a regular pencil, crayon or any non-water-based pen, even if the paper is wet. Your words or drawings won't smear or run, and the paper won't turn to mush.
Rite in the Rain comes in a variety of products, including small spiral notebooks, dated pocket calendars, hard-bound journals and sketch pads.
Cost, info: From $4, Rite in the Rain.
Time’s on your side and the ceiling
Am I the only one whose cellphone clock cancels its alarm? That's why I travel with a separate clock, and I've just discovered a doozy: the new Alarm Clock Radio from Magnasonic. When activated, a swiveling arm projects the time in bright red LED numerals on the ceiling or wall.
The clock also has a USB port for charging a cellphone or other device and a 3.5mm jack. Dual alarms let you and your companion each choose a wake-up time and either a buzz or preset radio station to get your eyes open. You can also cycle through a calendar and inside temperature display. The projection beam runs on a replaceable included 3-volt lithium battery, which also provides battery backup if the power goes out.
Cost, info: $34.99, Magnasonic Alarm Clock Radio with Time Projection in black or white.
Supplies in a flash
Old-fashioned flashlights used to have big innards filled with the big batteries that powered their inefficient bulbs. High-efficiency LED lights allowed for smaller batteries and smaller flashlights.
The folks at VSSL (pronounced "vessel") have kept the old-fashioned form (9 inches long, 2 inches in diameter), and filled the empty tubular space with emergency supplies.
The First Aid model contains basic medical supplies, including aspirin, tweezers, bandages and sterile gloves. The Shelter model is a two-person polyethylene tent in a tube. The Supplies model is a survival kit stuffed with waterproof matches, fire-starter flint and tiny kindling, a wire saw, fishing tackle and more.
VSSL also sells supplies a la carte or you can fill it with your own essentials.
Cost, info: First Aid model costs $66.50; Shelter, $59.50; Survival, $99.50; empty model; $49.50. Refills and accessories are as inexpensive as $2 for a tiny can opener; VSSL.