Entries in ‘Travel Gear’ Journal

Otterbox iPhone 4 Defender Case Review

Wednesday January 30, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 4 Comments

"Otterbox Defender Case"

Otterbox iPhone Defender Case – Travel Gear Review

As many of you know, I specialize in equestrian travel. That means that sometimes my office is a dude ranch or you may find me horseback riding on the trails.  I have been known to drop my camera or cell phone when horseback riding.  Fortunately for me,  my smartphone is protected by the Otterbox case.

I first learned about this Fort Collins, Colorado based company in 2009 when I reviewed the Defender case for my iPhone 3. The Otterbox Defender series offers three layers of protection. The high-impact plastic shell cradles your iPhone (the company makes case covers for a variety of cell phones) the built-in screen protector is on the front and a durable silicone skin completes the package.

Otterbox Defender Case heavy duty protection


Otterbox iPhone 4 Defender Case; iPhone case for your smartphone

My friend is a construction worker by day and a cowboy by night. He, too, has the Otterbox Defender case. He likes it because it protects his phone from dust on work sites and when he’s working cattle on horseback. My son also owns the Defender Case. He is a waterpolo player. I used to cringe when he tossed his swim bag on the pool deck with his cell phone inside. Now that he has the Otterbox Defender case, I know his cell phone is properly protected from scratches and dents and the unique USA cover makes his cell phone stand out from the many black iPhones floating around his high school.

Otterbox headphone jack 

My one issue with the iPhone 4 Defender case was that, to my eye, the phone case didn’t align with the headphone jack.  I called Otterbox customer service to ask about this and learned that the hole is to accommodate an internal antenna in the phone. The headphone jack is meant to be covered so that no dust or dirt enters the area. Simply pull back the silicone cover to expose and connect to the headphone jack.  Mystery solved; case closed.

Insider Tip

If you plan to use a docking station to listen to your iTunes, this is not the cell phone case for you!  I suggest the Otterbox Commuter case for ease of removal.

If You Go:

Otterbox Defender Case

Suggested retail price: $59.95

Otterbox provided me with the iPhone 4/4S Defender case for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Travel gear review and bottom Defender case photo courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.

Related Post:

Otterbox iPhone Commuter TL Case – Travel Review

Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat Travel Apparel Review

Friday January 4, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 11 Comments

"Filson Bomber Jacket"

Filson Cover Cloth Bomber Jacket travel apparel review

When I met my boyfriend (now husband) in college, I didn’t know much about camping and had no experience with hunting. It was the classic California girl meets Oregon boy love story. I introduced him to San Francisco’s city life and he introduced me to camping next to rivers and swimming under waterfalls.  Little did I know I would be marrying a hunter, but I did like the way he dressed. Years later, I have come to know and love the Filson brand.

Might as well have the best

My husband is loyal when it comes to travel gear and travel apparel. He knows what he likes and he knows what works out in the field.  He enjoys Filson jackets and has introduced our son to the brand.

This Christmas, instead of wearing my husband’s Filson hand-me-downs, my son received his first Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat. This young man is one well-dressed, happy camper!

Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat

"Filson Cover Cloth Coat"

Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat travel apparel review

Lightweight and strong, the Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat is wind and water repellent, ideal for San Francisco, California weather. The Filson coat comes in three colors; black, brown and otter green.

“It’s a good looking jacket that you can do anything in,” notes Evan Brown. The Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat’s dense weave and cotton lining protect from wind and rain.

The Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat retails for $290.

Filson Cover Cloth Bomber Jacket

The Filson Cover Cloth Bomber Jacket is my husband’s go-to jacket.  This water-resistant bomber jacket is well worn and well loved. In fact this is his second Filson Bomber Jacket. He wasn’t happy with the way the left sleeve wore at the bottom of the knit cuff. This is the only knock my husband has with this Filson jacket.

True to Filson’s guarantee, they exchanged his Filson Cover Cloth Bomber Jacket with a replacement. Both the Filson Cover Cloth Bomber Jacket and the Filson Cover Cloth Weekender Coat are made in the USA.

This water-repellent bomber jacket comes in black, brown and otter green colors and retails for $235. Currently the Filson jacket is on sale for $139.99. Check the Filson website for product pricing.

"Filson jackets"

Father and son wearing their Filson Cover Cloth jackets

“I love the Filson jacket for it’s pockets,” states Cory Brown, a sports and outdoorsman from Northern California. “You can go anywhere in the Bay Area wearing a Filson coat and feel comfortable.  It’s also a good weight for Northern California weather.”


If You Go:


Filson travel apparel review written and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown

Related Post:

Filson Uplander Boot Review

Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB Travel Gear Review

Tuesday November 20, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 0 Comments

"Magellan RoadMate"

Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB Travel Gear Review

I don’t know many people who have a worse sense of direction than I do. For all but the most regular of my destinations, I need the assistance of a GPS (global positioning system) during my travels. I took the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB on a test run, and it successfully got me from point A to point B without any trouble.

Landmark inclusion in directions

I was impressed with some of the features on the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB that I haven’t encountered on other GPS systems. My favorite feature is the inclusion of landmarks in its directions. Most GPS systems offer instructions like “In 800 feet, turn left on 16th Avenue.” However, if the streets are close together and poorly labeled, it is very easy to zoom right past. The Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB offers these directions as well, but also includes the names of landmarks to help guide you. For example, it told me to turn left in 800 feet, after the Valero gas station. Had it not been for that, I probably would have ended up about a mile down the road before being able to turn around and come back to try again.

Magellan RoadMate traffic updates

Another useful feature on the Magellan was the option in real time to avoid traffic. Other GPS systems might allow you to select the option with the least traffic before you begin your journey, but if you come across traffic while you’re driving, you’ll have to do a lot of fiddling and button pushing to change your route. I encountered some rush hour traffic the day I used the Magellan, and as I was driving it popped up with an option for an alternate route. Click “yes” to take the new route, or “no” to continue on the current route.

Magellan seven inch, high resolution touch screen

The most marketable feature on the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB was also the feature I found most cumbersome. It has a 7 inch high definition touch screen display, which is helpful if your eyes aren’t as used to small screens. However, I found the size made it difficult to place in my car so I could see it, as it was too big for most of the nooks and crannies I use for my current GPS. It also didn’t fit in the center console or the glove compartment, which meant my options were to either leave this expensive technology in plain view on one of the seats, or take the GPS navigator with me.

GPS with Bluetooth technology

The Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB comes equipped with several features that are standard on most GPS units these days, including Bluetooth technology of hands free phone, specific instructions for which lane on the road is best, and the option to tell you where you are in case you need to tell a tow truck your location. The spoken directions were loud and easy to understand, and it gave enough warning to be able to change lanes if need be. What Magellan offers that some of its competitors don’t, is the addition of lifetime map updates.  Bonus points for Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB providing four free map updates per year. When you shell out $200+ for a portable navigation system, the last thing you want is to be nickle and dimmed over current maps for your GPS.

I didn’t get a chance to take the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB on a long journey to completely unfamiliar places, but I still used it enough to draw the conclusion that it’s a reliable system with many helpful features. The only black mark against it on my drive was the size, and depending on you and/or the car you drive, this could easily turn from a negative aspect into a positive one.

Do you travel with a GPS navigator?  Have you opted for the portable GPS from a car rental agency for business or pleasure travel?

If You Go:

Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB

Price: $229.99

Magellan provided me with the RoadMate 9250T-LMB product for review.