In the last gear review, we talked about travel socks that improved your circulation, heat-reducing wipes that didn’t work out so well, and the complete opposite of a five-hour energy. This round, we’re checking out shirts for summertime, bags for your booze, and a little fuel for your fire.
UV Skinz: These shirts are not a substitute for sunscreen over the long haul, but they do offer 50+ UPF protection and are made of 86% nylon and 14% spandex, meaning they comfortably hug your body like an athletic shirt. I found them great for active adults who like to get out and hike/bike when traveling to sunny climates such as the Caribbean.
I could also see them as a good option for a throw-on when sitting in partial shade on the patio during happy hour. I suppose that parental units could also consider them as an extra layer of protection for kids. They come in all different types, both long and short-sleeve.
VinniBag: While these are technically designed for wine, I like to refer to them as “booze bags,” fit to hold any bottle of liquor you find tasty enough to cart home. In the past few months, I’ve brought back rum from the Caribbean, rakija and mastika from Macedonia, Vana Tallinn from Estonia, and wine from, oddly enough, Canada.
Before the bag, I used to wrap bottles up in my clothes to protect them, which obviously can result in a mess if a crew member decides to shot put your bag into the luggage compartment (remember, you can’t carry on your bag if you’ve got a bottle of booze in it). But you know what? Screw the clothes – it’s not them I’m worried about. The booze bag provides an extra bit of insurance in that if the bottle breaks, the bag just might retain enough of it to make a compensatory drink. 🙂
Zippo Emergency Fire Starter: It’s officially camping season now that Memorial Day is behind us, and while we all have the best wishes for good times to come, you might want to throw an emergency fire starter into the bottom of your backpack and forget about it. It’s sorta like a can of instant coffee in the bowels of your kitchen cabinet — you’ll never use it until you absolutely need it (Seinfeld, anyone?). The Zippo Emergency Fire Starter is a flint lighter with a stash of flammable strips that will aid in starting a fire if you find yourself in a situation where the ground is wet or without dry wood/a lighter. There are two separate benefits, having the lighter being one and the flammable strips the second. You may use them in combination or individually depending on the situation.
On my initial attempt, the strip ignited on the first spark, however my next few trials were a little more realistic, taking several strikes of the flint and a bit of patience before the strips caught fire. They worked eventually in all cases, though, and while it doesn’t look like much, it’s a serviceable product, especially given the price of $10. Hopefully, you never have to use it!
Have a product you’d like reviewed? Feel free to contact me.