Personal shoppers who send you off well-supplied; a battery-powered travel fan that blows away the competition; an ingenious hack for when you’re fresh out of Ds (batteries, that is). And wearable air-conditioning for Fido’s hot dog days.
Boxes of basics
Wouldn’t you rather plan your journey while someone else rounds up the basic supplies? Wanderpak makes it easy to create customized travel kits at a reasonable price. On the interactive website, click on your destination and travel style (e.g., hotel vacation or backpacking). Up pops a display of 10 or so items included in your Wanderpak, plus optional add-ons. Heading to Europe? Everyone gets an inflatable pillow, portable charger, toiletry kit with TSA-compliant bottles, money belt, compact rain poncho and travel journal. You can skip the specifics and choose an eight-item starter kit. Or build your own kit, selecting five to 25 items for a set price.
We tested 20 battery-powered fans so you don’t have to. The winner for breeze, strength and battery life: the Opolar D/USB Fan, a little powerhouse with a built-in handle and tilting head that runs on four alkaline or rechargeable D batteries. The Opolar comes with a DC jack and connector that can run the fan on any USB power source. Push the power button to cycle between three speeds; push another button to limit run time to one, three or five hours. This Opolar fan ran more than 24 hours at high speed on standard alkaline D batteries. We flunked the test fans with a built-in rechargeable battery, because they’re useless once the nonreplaceable battery’s life cycle expires. Fans that ran on AA batteries disappointed with a weak breeze that conked out within a few hours.
AA batteries with D-sized power
Many battery-powered devices require D batteries, which can provide quadruple the power and run time as more readily available AAs. The whizzes at Whizzotech designed a contraption that makes AAs function like Ds. The lightweight Whizzotech Parallel 3AA to 1D Adaptor/Converter is the size of a D battery, with a positive metal terminal on one end and a negative terminal on the other. Just pop an AA battery into each slot and align the + and – ends as marked on the casing. Abracadabra, a D is born. It won’t last as long as a real D, but our Opolar test fan ran more than five hours at high speed on four Whizzotechs packed with standard alkaline AAs.
Cost, info: Whizzotech Parallel 3 AA to 1 D Battery Converters are $6.99 for a four-pack, $9.99 for an eight-pack at amazon.com.
Canine chill wear
Dogs don’t sweat, so their bodies can’t release all that heat on sweltering days. Good thing Ruffwear has Fido covered with its Jet Stream Cooling Vest, a lightweight wonder of evaporative cooling technology. The chest section combines a moisture-wicking outer layer, a middle layer that holds water for evaporation, and a smooth inner layer that keeps the dog dry and pulls away surface heat. Just soak the vest in water. As it starts to dry, “recharge” by dunking in fresh water or spritzing with your water bottle.