What’s the gear we love best? The gear that solves problems and makes life easier. Here are four.
This is a coverup
Even on the most sweltering days exploring, going sleeveless is not such a breeze for those who would rather keep our underarm flab to ourselves. And even the most toned traveler encounters situations that call for covering. A flab-conscious entrepreneur struck gold when she invented Sleevey Wonders slip-on sleeves.
Sleevey Wonders, made of stretchy, featherweight mesh, lace or nylon, with just enough bodice to hold them in place without creating extra bulge, give the illusion of being part of your top or dress, covering the arms but not the outfit.
This year the company has expanded its original line of simple sleeves in basic colors to bolder styles and patterns that can add discreet or sexy pizzazz to a variety of garments. Slip on an off-the-shoulder jersey bandeau Sleevey with slinky cascading waterfall black mesh sleeves and, presto, a black tank top gets flashy. Sheer gold mesh Sleeveys add sparkle to a strapless gown.
Most styles are reversible front and back; you can switch between a revealing plunge and demure round neck. Sleevey Wonders are great for getting multiple looks out of a few basic travel pieces . The slip-on sleeves take up minimal packing space, wash easily in a sink and dry overnight.
A pen pal
We don’t ask much of our pens, just to provide reliable ink, a sturdy clip and perhaps a stylus for touchscreen assistance. The folks at Uncommon Goods have made handier use of all that empty space between the two ends inside the new five-in-one Tool Pen. Along one side of the 5 ¾-inch-long aluminum casing is a 3-inch ruler with metric and inch indicators. The opposite side is embedded with a bubble level.
The ballpoint pen comes with refill. Stashed inside the casing is a double-headed Phillips/flathead screwdriver bit that snaps into place when you twist off the section housing the stylus.
A bright idea
A bright little flashlight is a must on every traveler’s packing list, but mine now has to share the spotlight with the diminutive new PeakPlus Motion Sensor Battery-powered Light Strip. It has 10 bright LED bulbs that will light up a dark hotel room closet, car trunk or wherever you place the device. The integrated sensor detects movement within 10 to 17 feet.
The light strip, powered by four AAA batteries, lights up only in darkish spaces, so battery life isn’t wasted. The lights shut off automatically after about 30 seconds but can reactivate for another 30 seconds, if need be. A slim flexible detachable magnetic bar on the back of the aluminum alloy casing can be pulled off and affixed to any solid surface using the attached adhesive strip (but you won’t want to use that option in temporary lodgings or rental cars).
These come in packs of three. I keep one (without the magnetic bar) in my purse for instant illumination.
Cost, info: PeakPlus Motion Sensor Battery-powered Light Strip about $20 for three; bit.ly/peakpluslight
Even toastier than before
Dutch designer Mujjo pioneered the five-finger touchscreen glove. Now, the company has upped the antifreeze-factor with its new three-layer Double-Insulated Touchscreen Winter Gloves. Toasty 3M Thinsulate and a double layer of polar fleece have been fused with an outer shell of wind-resistant tightly knit (but flexible) polyester, making for warmer, longer multidigit dexterity in even single-digit temperatures. The sleek gray-black gloves conform to the shape and movement of your hands.
Thin silicone strips placed along the palm and finger surface provide a grip for a slippery device. The stretch cuff seals snugly around the wrists to fend off cold air.
The gloves come in unisex sizes from small to XL; if in between measurements shown on the website chart, choose the larger.
Cost, info: Mujjo Three-Layer Insulated Touchscreen Winter Gloves cost about $56 at and are widely available from other online retailers; bit.ly/mujjo3layergloves