Every time I prepare for a trip, I go through my checklist of what I need except for 2 things: water bottle and jacket. I lost count of how many water bottles that I lost and they all take a lot of space from my backpack. I'm also dread of bringing a jacket with me, they are usually heavy and way too big to fit in my backpack. So the result is I get dehydrated and I have to carry my jacket by hand every time.
Living in Seattle taught me two things:
1. You need a REI membership even if you're not a hiker
2. Hiking gears are (almost) perfect for travel
So I went down to the REI local store to find solutions for my problems, and here's what I found:
This product idea is so simple and genius to say the least. Vapur is a collapsible water bottle that is extremely flexible and durable. When you fill it up, it looks like any other water bottle except that you can collapse it when you're done. The Element is a new improved version from last year model (Vapur Reflex) and I'm glad that they redesigned the cap so I don't lose the cap again. It's BPA-free and made in the US, too.
Eddie Bauer really redefines what I know about outer jacket. Their jackets from the First Ascent line use European goose down that make it extremely light yet very warm. And because down is breathable, you don't get too hot and it allows moisture to escape. Therefore, they solve 2 problems I have when traveling with a jacket: weight and warm level. And the best part? You can pack it into its own pocket (MicroTherm Down Shirt). Too bad REI doesn't carry Eddie Bauer, even though they are both from Washington State.
So the next time you need to shop for travel gears, I think REI or another sport equipment store could be excellent places to find them beside department stores or online websites. And don't forget about the REI return policy, they will accept your return even if you damage it.