These items help you drift off to sleep, light the way, make the cut and put pain at bay


Flexibility is the strong point of a hybrid tent hammock and a double-headed light, a rubber thimble and cold gel pack.

Rock yourself to sleep

Hanging out in nature can be uplifting—especially if you’re packing the hybrid Blue Ridge Camping Tent Hammock.

You can set up the Blue Ridge on the ground like a regular tent, but it’s more fun to sling it between two sturdy trees. The forest green hammock body is made of ripstop-nylon and polyester pack cloth.


Entry is by way of a wide-arched zip-open panel on one side of the canopy, which also has two interior storage pockets and an O-ring on the ceiling for hanging a light.

Strong spreader bars at each end of the 90-inch-long hammock help maintain a flatter, tauter 42-inch width so the hammock doesn’t fold in on you while you are suspended. The corners of the included waterproof ripstop-nylon rain fly clip to the hammock body where the tent poles attach.

The whole system weighs just 4¼ pounds and packs into a 22-by-6-inch included sack. You’ll have to supply your own rope for hanging or buy the excellent suspension strap kit sold on the website.

Cost, info: Lawson Hammock Blue Ridge Camping Tent Hammock is $199; package of two 10-foot suspension straps with stainless steel buckles and two carabineers, costs $35;

Two heads are better

If two heads are better than one, that goes double with flashlights. The Clever Scope Dual Headed Flexible Task Light has a slim LED head at each end of a 34-inch-long twistable aluminum neck.

That way, you can shed light in spaces a regular flashlight can’t reach, those narrow crevices behind hotel bureaus or beds, under the car seats or hood.


Those two bright LED heads are magnetized so they can attract and nab keys, jewelry or tools, Use the entire length to probe deep or to wrap around your arm or forehead or other object for more accessible spaces.

The neck can be twisted into a free-standing base, creating a little double-headed table lamp. Both LED lights have off/on buttons; each runs on four included replaceable LR44 button-cell batteries.

Cost info: Clever Scope Dual Headed Flexible Task Light costs $12.99;

Be nimble

Nimble is a silicone rubber finger thimble in which a tiny ceramic blade is embedded. Though mini, it’s mighty enough to slice through paper, tape, plastic packets and more.

The rubber stretches to fit most adult fingers, and the minuscule ceramic blade is much safer around skin than the razor-sharp metal alternative.

Good news for air travelers: Unlike a Swiss Army Knife, which could get confiscated at a security checkpoint, your Nimble is good to go as carry on.

Cost, info: Nimble One Finger Safety Cutter costs $9.95;

They have the backing

Frozen gel cold packs can help relieving sore muscles and joints after a vigorous day of exploring. But some packs can slip because they lie against the skin or are wrapped or strapped on using a special pouch or tape.

Enter Paincakes, slim reusable gel-filled disks that stick to your skin using a latex-free adhesive backing. Freeze for about 30 minutes, peel off the adhesive cover, and stick on dry skin.

After three to 10 minutes, peel off the Paincake, put the protective cover back on the adhesive section, and re-freeze to use again.

Paincakes, meant for smaller target areas, come in a 5-inch- or 2.87-diameter size. They also can bend around fingers or toes.

Although considered hypo-allergenic, the adhesive contains preservatives that might irritate some sensitive skin, so do a run before buying a bunch. Don’t use Paincakes on broken skin or delicate facial areas.

Cost, info: Paincakes Reusable Stick-on Gel Cold Pack with one disk costs $14.99 for one 5-inch disk or a two pack of 2.87-inch disks;