- Buyer's Guide
Christmas Gift Guide 2022 | Traveler
Always on the move? Traveling can be hard enough without substandard gear adding to the pain. With the right carry and accessories, your trips can become easier and more comfortable! These travel gift guide picks include Carry Award winners and some personal favorites while on the road over the last year.
Matador are experts at creating thoughtfully designed travel accessories that are genuinely useful and easy to pack. There are a wide variety of pieces to choose from including packable towels, toiletry cases, waterproof canisters, compressible toiletry bottles, and more. All built tough for many years of trusty travel use, so you can do away with bulky and single-use products and hone your toiletry essentials.
Peak Design’s Packable Tote is ideal for use as a day bag at your destination. The design packs down into an inbuilt stuff sack, stashing easily within a larger travel bag until needed. And when you reach your accommodation, simply unfold it to carry essentials while you explore. Made with a water-resistant 100% recycled ripstop 70D nylon/poly shell that is capable of self-healing small abrasions, it includes a #5 UltraZip for security and a microfiber pad on the strap for comfortable shoulder or hand carry.
This 18W PD travel adapter can be used in over 150 countries and provides four ports including two AC outputs, one USB-C port, and one USB-A port. Versatile for use with a range of items, from cameras and hairdryers to tablets and smartphones, it’s suitable for use with most devices rated up to 2300W at 230V and 1100W at 110V. And it provides inbuilt protection against overheating and overcharging too.
Built to keep you hydrated while cutting weight, the Hydro Flask Trail Series 32oz Lightweight Wide Mouth is 25% lighter than their other 32oz bottles due to an innovative stainless steel design. Further weight savings come from the lightweight cap, flexible perforated strap, and aluminum pivots. The TempShield™ double wall vacuum insulation combats condensation and keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours. If you’re looking for a durable but lightweight option to store drinks during your journeys, this is a worthy addition to your packing list.
While traveling can be fun, it’s also often tiring. So catching some shut-eye whenever you can makes a big difference to your journey. The Aeros Premium Travel Pillow provides a comfy place to rest your weary head, with its brushed 50D polyester knit cover, oversized ‘arms’ and an adjustable neck closure for enhanced support, and a narrower neck area for a snug fit between your neck and the headrest. The multi-function valve lets you inflate the pillow to your preferences and the pillow packs compactly into an included zippered pouch, making it easy to stash in your travel bag until needed.
A toiletry kit is a travel essential. But sometimes you don’t need to pack the kitchen (or in this case, bathroom) sink. Enter Peak Design’s Small Wash Pouch. This sustainably made, weatherproof pouch is designed for minimalist packers and shorter trips. It features a wide-opening main compartment for easy access. Inside you’ll find an assortment of pockets to organize items, while the easy-clean interior and exterior add to the travel convenience. It is also self-standing and includes a stowable hook, allowing it to adapt to a variety of travel settings.
The Charge 80 PD pairs a slim and packable design with USB-C Power Delivery to quickly charge multiple devices simultaneously. The 20,000 mAh rechargeable battery features a USB-C PD port offering up to 18W and two USB-A Quick Charge Out ports. The battery is capable of fully charging a 13″ laptop and will also charge a variety of smaller devices such as tablets, smartphones, headlamps, and more.
Tired of losing chargers, cables, and tiny items in the dark recesses of your travel bag? Bellroy’s Tech Kit provides nifty all-in-one storage for your tech essentials. And we teamed up with our buds at Bellroy to deliver even more style and a luxe feel with our Carry Essentials edition. Upgraded with a water-resistant YKK zipper and fabric, our unique Auxikko pattern embossed leather accents, and a high-vis orange lining, this kit will keep your tech tidy and protected in style.
OtterBox’s Premium Pro 72W charger helps keep tech juiced on the go with a variety of charging options. The USB-C wall charger provides a single 60W port or dual 30W ports, as well as a 12W USB port for added functionality. And with its foldable prongs it offers a compact travel package that neatly stores in a bag pocket or pouch.
The perfect companion to the charger is the Premium Pro Fast Charge cable. This 2m (6.6 ft) long fast-charging USB-C to USB-C cable is built to withstand demanding use courtesy of reinforced strain relief in weak spots and braided nylon over silicone insulation to combat fraying and tangling. A handy extra feature is the magnetic cable wrap and mounting button, making it easy to neatly charge devices in a variety of locations.
It’s hard to beat merino wool as the ultimate travel-friendly material. Odor-resistant, temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, and packable, it will help keep travel laundry to a minimum while taking up minimal luggage space too. Proof’s 72-Hour Merino Tee is a top-notch travel wardrobe staple that does equally well in day-to-day use too. Available in a wide range of colorways, it’s made with 87% 16.5-micron merino wool and 13% nylon, giving you all the benefits of merino with added durability to embrace travel both near and far.
If you’re going to pack one pair of travel pants, the Western Rise Evolution Pant 2.0 is a highly versatile choice that moves easily from business meetings to quick hikes or dinner out. The pant features stain and water resistance, four-way stretch, breathability, and lightweight durability. And it packs down small, making it a great option for one-bag travel. Effortless to dress up or down as required, the Evolution Pant 2.0 is a dependable and multifunctional travel piece that works just as well in your daily wardrobe too.
Doing more with less is key to travel packing. And that’s where Unbound’s Compact Travel Hoodie comes in. The understated style and silhouette adapt to a range of environments, while the quick-drying and antibacterial properties are great for keeping you comfy and fresh during your trip. And like the name suggests, the compact packability of the hoodie means it won’t hog your precious luggage space. It’s made with a blend of 21.5-micron merino wool (97%) and elastane (3%) and features a 250 gsm weight, so you get a fabric that’s soft yet durable with inbuilt stretch and a lightweight drape. Plus with seamless pockets you’ve got cozy space to stash your hands or small travel or EDC items on the go.
Bellroy’s Apex Passport Cover provides a first-class travel experience no matter how you’re getting from A to B thanks to its premium pre-molded leather and stitchless laminated construction. Super sleek but packed with features, this travel wallet not only holds your passport but also cards, folded bills, tickets, and an included micro pen. A magnetic closure and RFID-blocking lining provide added peace of mind that your important travel documents and essentials will stay secure as you venture forth.
Once you’ve experienced the freedom of one-bag travel, we reckon you’ll be hooked for life. And Tom Bihn’s Synik 30 is ready for a lifetime of travel adventures with its tough, USA-made construction and lifetime guarantee. The Synik 30 is a travel-friendly revised take on the legendary Synapse 25. Added features such as a full clamshell opening, dual access suspended laptop compartment, removable interior frame, luggage handle pass-through, and removable interior tie-down straps give the bag excellent travel functionality. Plus with plenty of quick-access pockets on hand, your essentials will stay within easy reach wherever your trip takes you.
If wheeled carry-on is your preferred way to roll, the ROAM Carry-On offers something special. Not only do you get travel-friendly features such as a light but tough polycarbonate shell, an antimicrobial lining, interior compression, and water-repellent zippers, but ROAM also enables you to customize your case. Not just switching out a handle color here or there. Nope. You can customize colors throughout, from the front and back shell to the zipper, binding, wheels, handles, and patch. This creates a case truly unique to you, however bold or understated you want to go, and one that’s easily identifiable on the baggage carousel in the event you ever need to check it.
But what if you prefer the flexible portability of a backpack? Look to our Carry Awards IX Best Carry-On Champion, the Able Carry Max Backpack. This pack makes great use of its 30L space, accommodating a solid amount of gear while still feeling extremely comfy and discreet on the go. The organization is highly considered for optimum access, with a wide-opening main compartment to easily pack and retrieve gear, a separate external-access laptop compartment, and quick-access exterior pockets for smaller essentials. Made with a burly, water-resistant combination of X-Pac fabric and Cordura 1000D Nylon, it will easily stand up to the demands of travel. And additional features such as a stowable magnetic sternum strap and luggage handle pass-through add to its travel-ready functionality.