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Think small for big rewards when hiking or traveling

Think small for big rewards when hiking or traveling
Ruffwear's Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest relies on evaporation to mimic the effects of sweating. (Ruffwear)

You’ll need little packing space to reap big benefits from a detangling mini-brush with a snap-on cover; a vest that air-conditions your dog by using evaporative cooling; a comfy backpack that compresses to the size of a lemon; and a capacious water bottle that rolls up to pocket-size.

Big little hairbrush

Tangle Teezer Compact Styler has a cover to protect the teeth and keep dirt out.
Tangle Teezer Compact Styler has a cover to protect the teeth and keep dirt out. (Tangle Teezer)

Small travel hair brushes touted as space-saving alternatives seldom measure up. The Tangle Teezer Compact Styler doesn’t have a handle, just a diminutive kidney-bean shaped sturdy plastic base that nestles in the palm of your hand. Strong but flexible pin bristles combine with long teeth to detangle and short teeth to smooth the hair cuticle.

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The brush comes with a matching plastic cover that clicks in place over the bristles, keeping dirt out. The Tangle Teezer also works for grooming beards. The brush comes in myriad colors and playful patterns; lawn flamingos, anyone?

Cost, info: Tangle Teezer Compact Styler costs $16

Doggone cool

Soak the Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest in water, wring out and slip it on your furry travel partner.
Soak the Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest in water, wring out and slip it on your furry travel partner. (Ruffwear)

If you’re hot, your dog’s hot, but he can’t take off his coat.

Ruffwear’s lightweight Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest takes the heat off your dog, thanks to a three-layer design that uses evaporation to mimic the cooling effects of sweating.

Just soak the vest in cold water, wring out the excess and drape around the dog, securing at the sides using quick release clip buckles. Your buddy can stay chill for several hours as the light gray mesh outer layer deflects incoming rays and generates evaporative heat-release from the absorbent polyester middle layer’s reservoir.

The process pulls heat from your pup, transferring cool vapors through the vest’s dry-weave mesh inner lining. Higher heat and humidity will speed up evaporation, so you may need to “recharge” the vest with spritzes from your water bottle or a dunk in a creek.

Cost, info: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest comes in six sizes and costs $59.95

Leader of the packs

Bindle Daypack has a double-zipper opening at the top and wide back straps for hauling up to 40 pounds of gear.
Bindle Daypack has a double-zipper opening at the top and wide back straps for hauling up to 40 pounds of gear. (Trek Light Gear)

A lightweight backpack can make a hike in the woods or exploring a new town a hands-free delight, and it can provide a handy out-of-the-way shopping bag for impromptu purchases.

The Bindle Daypack from Trek Light Gear, just 3½ ounces, manages to be spacious and strong. The pack, made of parachute nylon, is a roomy 18-by-12-inches on your back and has a wide double-zippered 14.2-liter-capacity main compartment and a hidden zippered security pocket for valuables. The soft and wide adjustable back straps can help in hauling up to 40 pounds.

When empty, the daypack compresses to about the size of a lemon and stuffs into its own built-in carry pouch.

Cost, info: Bindle Daypack, available in seven colors, costs $34.95

Roll-up bottle

Nomader Collapsible Bottle goes from more than 10 inches high to a pocket-size packet.
Nomader Collapsible Bottle goes from more than 10 inches high to a pocket-size packet. (Nomader)

Traveling with a refillable water bottle is a no-brainer, but choosing a good one requires attention to details. The bottle should be durable, lightweight, easy to clean, and made of materials that won’t leach harmful chemicals (such as BPA or phthalates).

The new 25-ounce Nomader Water Bottle is all that but weighs just 7 ounces and rolls into a pocket-size packet.

The screw-on lid, drinking spout and 1.9-inch-diameter mouth are made of a rigid BPA-free polypropylene plastic, as is a 2-inch-high sliding sleeve that keeps the bottle from collapsing in your hand as you drink and lets the container stand upright even when empty.

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A hinged spout cover keeps dirt out and locks airtight using an integrated twist knob. The Nomader is freezable and dishwasher safe.

Cost, info: Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle, in 11 colors, costs $24

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