Whoever said there's nothing new under the sun wasn't hawking travel gear.
Pocketknives, toothbrush covers, even long johns get retooled each year to tempt the gear hound with a full wallet. Among the items rolled out in recent months or coming soon:
Victorinox Voyager Lite It's just a matter of time before Victorinox builds an MP3 player into one of its trademark Swiss Army pocketknives. But until that happens, we'll settle for the new Voyager Lite. Besides the nearly two-dozen gadgets you've come to expect — screwdrivers, can openers, corkscrews, blades and bottle openers — this one has a built-in LED flashlight and digital alarm clock. $96. (800) 442-2706, http://www.swissarmy.com <252>*
Icebreaker woolens The humble sheep is making a noble stand against the seemingly unstoppable advance of synthetics. In the U.S., Ibex and Smartwool have been making high-end outdoor wear out of merino wool. A recent addition to the marketplace is New Zealand's Icebreaker. The 10-year-old company has doubled its sales in the U.S. in recent years. Its wool leggings and tops come in three weights — cool enough for summer and warm enough for ski season. Best of all, wool is odor-resistant. $59.95 each, top or leggings. Available at Adventure 16 stores (2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; 5425 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana; 11161 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A.) and Distant Lands, 56 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Information at http://www.icebreaker.com <252>*
Pentax OptioWPi A digital point-and-shoot for adventures below the surface. The 6-megapixel camera, with a 3X optical zoom, is watertight to about 5 feet, perfect for snorkeling — or for hosing off when you've dropped it on the beach. It also shoots short video and, should you hear a whale sing, up to 20 seconds of audio. Of course, it works out of the water as well. $350. (800) 877-0155, http://www.h2ocamera.com <252>*
Covert harness bags The most macho purse ever. Pasadena-based Civilian Labs has come up with a system of small packs that you can don like a shoulder holster or sling Western-style around your waist. Or you can strap them to your chest. Or around your thigh . Anyway, each "module" is designed to hold the things that make your life mobile — your iPod, cellular phone and PDA — plus wallet, keys and glasses. Available at Distant Lands (see Icebreaker listing above ). $50-$100. (626) 744-0662, http://www.civilianlab.com <252>*
Toothbrush travel cap You don't have to be a germophobe to wonder what's growing inside that toothbrush cover that you've schlepped from Cairo to Copenhagen. Walkabout's new cap has an antibacterial agent in the plastic that surrounds the bristles. $2. (800) 852-7085, http://www.walkabouttravelgear.com <252>*
Water purifier Sure, it looks like a medical device from a late-model "Star Trek" series. But the SteriPEN solves one very old-fashioned problem: bugs in the water. The SteriPEN uses UV light to kill bacteria, viruses and protozoans that might otherwise lay a traveler low for days. The glowing blue wand, powered by four AA batteries, purifies a pint in less than a minute. $150. Information, (888) 826-6234. Available at outdoors and travel shops and http://www.magellans.com <252>*
SealPak and See Pouch Think of the SealPak as the fanny pack of the sea. Made of urethane-coated nylon with welded seams and a roll-down closure, the SealPak is designed to keep your wallet or other valuables dry while you're kayaking, snorkeling or otherwise risking a dunk. The See Pouch is good for stuffing in a few dollars and ID; the SealPak can handle your camera and lunch. $10-$35. (800) 531-9531, http://www.seallinegear.com <252>*
The words "travel jacket" suggest apparel that's some unholy union between a fly-fishing vest and a safari coat. But Tumi has designed outerwear that you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear beyond the African bush. The huge pockets zip open on two sides. They're also deep enough for your boarding pass and are an organizer's dream: a hook for keys, loops for pens and a mesh compartment for anything else. Water-resistant — though a hood would've been a good addition. Men's sizes only. $225. (800) 299-TUMI (299-8864), http://www.tumi.com <252>*
Hummer isn't just a car anymore. It's a lifestyle, and apparently one that says, "I will go where I please and I will not be subtle about it." The laptop version of that attitude is built not by GM but by Itronix, a company that makes shock-resistant hand-held and laptop computers for use by police patrols, ambulances and other businesses where desks are not an option. Outside is a magnesium alloy case in one of Hummer's trademark primary colors. The hard drive and monitor are shock-mounted to withstand some bumps, drops and vibrations. Upgraded models have built-in GPS, a monitor bright enough to read in sunlight and a mobile wireless Internet system. And it has a nifty handle. $2,988-$4,548. Information and ordering, (800) 653-1375, http://www.hummerlaptops.com <252>*
TSA SearchAlert lock
The Transportation Security Administration screeners are going to look in your bag. You can't stop them. But at least now you'll know that they did. (Or didn't. In which case, someone else stole your teddy bear.) New locks from Travel Sentry have a light that switches from green to red when opened by anyone but you. Information at (800) 733-8588, http://www.cclsecurity.com . Available at travel shops and http://www.magellans.com for $19.85.
For a story on indispensable travel tools, see latimes.com/traveltools.