Entries in ‘Travel Gear’ Journal

Checkpoint Friendly Backpack

Friday February 27, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

I’m not good at one night stands. I’m a monogamous relationship kind of gal. The same can be said for some of my relationships with travel gear. I actually felt like I was cheating on someone when I traded Tom Bihn for Hercules, the checkpoint friendly backpack from ECBC.

Hercules laptop bag, computer bag

Hercules laptop computer bag. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


Tom Bihn created my Checkpoint Flyer Bag. This checkpoint-friendly messenger bag has carried several laptop computers through airport security to different parts of the globe and been a faithful travel companion; never lost, never broken. So why the break up? Like all relationships that eventually end in one party getting dumped; I found something better. That something is the ECBC Hercules Laptop Backpack.

Test drive
I brought the laptop backpack with me to Las Vegas recently for a light duty test drive. Like a new car, I’m still learning the many features of the backpack, but so far, I like what I see.

checkpoint-friendly backpack, ECBC Hercules backpack

Checkpoint friendly backpack looks good, feels good on the road.


Backpack features

The laptop holds up to a 17″ computer with thick padding in the main pack to protect the computer. There’s a deep pocket with velcro closure inside the backpack to hold my power cords in place. This backpack reminds me of a Scottevest in that it has a pocket for everything. With two side zip exterior pockets, you can stash a water bottle on one side and store a smart phone in the other. These pockets also work well for holding glasses.

The front exterior pocket holds my video camera and Moleskin notebook. On the top of the backpack there is another zip pocket for my power cords, pens and there’s an interior snap for holding my car keys in yet another (mesh) pocket for easy viewing of contents.

Tsa-friendly computer bag, daypack

Foldout Fastpass is TSA-friendly. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


For the frequent flyer, the best part about this backpack is that is TSA approved. With the FastPass system, you simply zip down the main flap, laptop firmly secure, and slide the backpack on the conveyor belt. No need to remove the laptop computer.

Why move from messenger bag to backpack? I like the convenience of a backpack instead of a purse for active adventure travel. On a subway or on the back of a horse, I feel secure with this sturdy Kodra nylon Hercules Laptop Backpack. The backpack comes in a variety of colors, black, blue, berry, green and linen.

Portable power pack
For an additional fee of $42.99 the ECBC Portable Power Pack recharges your phone, tablet or additional tech gear while it’s in the bag!

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @ecbctravel on Twitter. ECBC Hercules Laptop Backpack sells for a suggested retail price of $139.99. Check the website for current pricing.

laptop bag, backpack

ECBC Hercules laptop backpack. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


Where to Buy:
ECBC Hercules Laptop

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. ECBC supplied me with this laptop backpack for a travel gear review, however, all opinions are my own.

Review: Tilley Hat

Wednesday February 25, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

A hat that comes with an owner’s manual? Say it ain’t so. But the journalist in me likes the fact that the folks at Tilley want you to love their travel apparel as much as they love it. Their adoration shows; from the detailed owners manual to their guarantee for the life of the product, in this case a sun hat.

Tilley hat, Nancy D. Brown, sun hat

The author wearing her sun hat.


“My Tilley hat has outlasted my phone number,” said Nancy Ross-Madnick. “I bought my hat over 20 years ago to wear during family camping and hiking trips in the Sierras. Then it became my “go to” hat for travel and the first item I put in my suitcase. Now when I wear my Tilley hat to twice weekly water aerobic classes I think about these wonderful times in my life. Who knows where my trusty and indestructible Tilley hat will take me next!”


Tilley hat, swimming pool

Nancy Ross-Madnick wears her Tilley hat. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Skin Cancer and sun protection

After my recent experience with basal cell carcinoma skin cancer, I’ve paid much closer attention to clothing with UPF protection and sun hats with a broad brim that offer protection from UVA/UVB radiation. It’s an added bonus that the women’s Tilley TH9 hat floats and is fashionable, too!

Made with a downward sloping broad brim and hemp material, the natural fiber makes the Tilley hat durable and fade resistent. The fabrics of all these hats are certified to block 98% of harmful UVA/UVB radiation and deliver an ultraviolet factor (UPF) of 50+.

I also ordered the Raffia Fedora but this hat has proven so popular that it is currently on back order. Do you have a favorite hat? What adventure have you and your hat shared? Leave your comments below.

sun hat, water aerobics, outdoors

The water aerobics crew wearing our hats in the pool.


Insider Tip:

Tilley, floating hat, sun hat

It floats! Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown

Ever find yourself out walking, or sailing on a boat or swimming and only want to carry a $20 bill and your driver’s license? The clever folks at Tilley have stashed a small plastic, zip lock bag in a hidden pocket inside the crown of your hat. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @TilleyEndurable on Twitter.

Where to Buy:
Tilley website http://www.tilley.com/us_en/

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Tilley supplied me with this sun hat for a travel apparel review, however, all opinions are my own. No hats were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Review: OtterBox Defender Case iPhone 6

Wednesday January 7, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

Otterbox, iPhone 6, travel gear

Otterbox iPhone 6 Defender Case travel gear review.

It’s that time of year – time for a new iPhone upgrade – which means a new Otterbox to protect my smartphone investment. I have been reviewing and a fan of the Otterbox Defender Case series since 2009.

As a freelance writer specializing in equestrian travel, I have come to rely on Otterbox triple-layer of protection for my iPhone. Not only does the Defender Case protect my smartphone against drops from the back of a horse, it keeps the dust away from my phone and protects my screen from scratches during my active travel adventures.

Otterbox color

Like my luggage and travel apparel, I shy away from basic black. I typically opt for shades of blue in my luggage, clothing and swimwear. It makes perfect sense to go with the Moroccan Sky shade of blue offered in the Otterbox graphics collection. I’ve always preferred a horse of a different color! In honor of my husband and son, the hunters, my OtterBox from 2013 featured Realtree camo patterns in pink. For those of you who prefer your phone to stand out in a crowd, the Colorado-based company offers the option to build your own Otterbox case, as well as NFL football team options.

iPhone 6, Otterbox

Apple’s lightning to 30-pin adapter for iPhone 6 doesn’t work with Otterbox defender case.


Insider Tip

While I am happy with my Otterbox case, I am not happy with how the case works with my Mini Cooper vehicle. I purchased the iPhone Lightning 30-pin Adapter to accommodate the iPhone 6 for battery charging purposes and was disappointed to learn that the adapter isn’t long enough to fit with the defender case. I have two options, uses the iPhone (and my Bluetooth option) without plugging in or I have to remove my smartphone case to make the connection. First world problems, I know, but still a bit frustrating. Do you have a solution for my dilemma?
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @Otterbox on Twitter.

iPhone 6, smartphone

iPhone 6 charging without Otterbox case.

Otterbox Defender Case

Suggested retail price: $59.95

Otterbox, otterbox case

Love my Otterbox case


Otterbox provided me with the iPhone 6 Defender case for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Travel gear review and Defender case photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Top photo courtesy of Otterbox.