Entries in ‘Travel Gear’ Journal

Great balls of fire:Duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs

Friday May 4, 2012 at 6:06 AM | 2 Comments

"Duraflame Log"

Evan and Kendall Brown ready to toast marshmallows in the backyard

The smell of smoke on the beach. The taste of sweet, gooey marshmallow, combined with melted chocolate and the crunch of crisp graham crackers make the s’more the quintessential treat at the beach or on camping trips.

We recreated this summertime classic in our backyard last night. True – we were not at the beach, with pounding waves competing for attention, along with the snap, crackle of the campfire. We were experiencing a family moment that didn’t require any time in the car, pre-planning check list or moans from the teenagers.

"Duraflame log"

Watching the fire - waiting for s'mores

We had cracked open two small Duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs. Set them, criss-cross, in the Weber BBQ and lite a match. Next to the fire stood two teenagers, a dad – who specializes in building roaring campfires where ever he wanders –  and a Labrador Retriever, ever hopeful for dropped crumbs.

Duraflame is about to unveil one of the biggest innovations in the company’s history since the creation of the firelog: duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs.

The company sent us a couple of logs, along with a s’mores kit, to test drive the new product.  I’m happy to report that the logs went out in a blaze of glory. Perhaps that’s because they came with their own happy pack of sugar deliciousness, but the teenagers bonded with their parents for a few precious moments over open flames in the backyard and no one got hurt. What more could a mother ask for?

"roasting marshallows"

Roasting marshmallows in the backyard

Duraflame Campfire Tips:

Unlike a traditional wood burning fire, don’t wait for the embers to die down before you start roasting your marshmallows (or you’ll be waiting for about 45 minutes). These Duraflame logs deliver a consistent flame, great for no fuss fires. Sidle up next to the fire pit or bbq and start roasting as soon as the fire ignites.

This firelog was designed specifically for campfire roasting. It is formulated with real wood charcoal and tested for safe cooking so no need to worry about food safety.

Don’t forget your roasting sticks; marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers. Our kids set the bbq rack half way across the grill so they could melt their chocolate and warm their graham crackers by the heat of the fire, while roasting marshmallows at the same time.

What are your favorite campfire memories?

If You Go:


The four-log bundle is available for a suggested retail price of $5.99

Related Post:

Selk’bag Sleeping Bag Review

Duraflame supplied me with these duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs.




Traveler Products: Travel Toy – Travel Gear Review

Friday December 23, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 1 Comment

"Brainstring Advanced"

Travel Toy Brainstring Advanced is for all ages – a Travel Gear Review

Brainstring Travel Toy

Looking for unplugged entertainment for on-the-go travel? Tuck away the headphones, put down the Kindle or iPad, and engage in old-fashioned travel toys introduced before electronics entered the scene. On a recent road trip to Carmel, I put the Brainstring Advanced in the backseat with our two teenagers.  While the toy is geared for ages 8 and up, my 19 year old likes puzzles, Sudoku and Rubik’s cube, so I thought the Brainstring Advanced might capture her attention. In fact, both the 19 year old and our 16 year old son played with the toy for about a half hour each.

Figuring out this challenging brain teaser will stretch your puzzle-solving skills to the next level and keep travelers entertained while on the road. Touted as the “Rubik’s cube of the next generation,” the Brainstring Advanced makes a good travel toy whether on a bus, flying on a plane, or riding in the car. Personally, I am not a Rubik’s cube kind of gal. If I saw this toy on a coffee table, I’d ask how you play it, and then I would pass it to my game-playing, high IQ achieving daughter.  Neither of our teenagers solved the Brainstring Advanced, so I do wonder how an 8 year old would fair with this toy, but like travel, it’s about the journey, not necessarily the destination, right?

How to Select the Best Travel Toys

For car and airplane travel, I feel the best travel toys are ones that don’t make noise and don’t have small pieces that will fall under car and airplane seats. While my children are no longer in the tween and under age group, my teenage son and his carpool buddies still reach for the old-fashioned Etch A Sketch and Mad Libs when we travel to sports-related tournaments.

What are your favorite travel toys and best kids apps?

If You Go:

Brainstring Advanced

Suggested retail of Brainstring Advanced $16.95

Recent Toys USA supplied me with this product for review.

Travel Tips on raveable

Skanz QR Code – Travel Gear Review

Friday December 9, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

"QR Skanz Band"

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown social networks with Skanz QR code wristband.

Scan This Travel Writer

The next time you are zip lining in Costa Rica or dancing the night away in New York and you want to exchange business cards – but you don’t have one on you – show your wrist band with your personalized QR code and voila! your contact information is transferred to their smart-phone.

"Nancy D. Brown Travel Writer"

Get out your QR Code Reader and Scan Nancy D. Brown – Travel Gear Review

Mobile Business Card

The standard business card serves its purpose when it comes to meetings, but today’s high tech, mobile connected era is always looking for the next best thing. Much the way Bump helps smart-phone users exchange contact information,  Skanz uses QR codes to capture and share users’ online presence.

The New York-based Skanz allows users to convey all their online details through a QR code. I went to the Skanz site and entered the contact and social networking information I wanted to share. A QR code was generated, allowing me to affix a decal to the back of my mobile phone or I could purchase a smartphone cover or wristband with my unique QR code on it. Either way, users may  scan each other’s QR codes with a free accompanying app for instant access to relevant information.

"skanz bands"

Skanz black bands – travel gear review

Don’t expect your QR code reader to perform well with dark lighting or moving wristbands. We needed to move inside for better lighting to successfully scan the QR code on my bracelet.  The wristband certainly served as an icebreaker for starting a conversation!

Social media fans may follow QR Skanz on Twitter or friend them on Facebook.  For all things travel related, follow travel expert Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.

Create your own QR code

Personal Skanzsite = free. Skanz bands $9.99 per band, available in a rainbow of colors.  iPhone cases with your personal Skanz code on the back $19.99. Skanz decals for your school ID card, computer, iPad case, anywhere it sticks – $5.00 per decal.

Related Post:

Urbandillo Hobo Bag – Travel Gear Review

Top photo courtesy of David Lytle. Skanz supplied me with this wristband for a travel gear review.

Travel Tips on raveable