Travel Gear and Apparel I Love

One of the perks of my job as a travel writer is that I’m sent travel gear and apparel to review. Some of it is crap and some travel gear and apparel I love. I won’t waste your time reviewing the losers. Instead, I bring you three luggage reviews, a waterproof smartphone case, water resistant socks, a pillbox for travel and some colorful gymskins that will help you slipin and out of a wetsuit with ease. Curious to learn more? Let’s dive in.

delsey, montmartre, luggage review
Delsey Montmartre

Delsey, the iconic French luggage brand, is known for its smart features and chic sophistication. The Montmartre, Delsey’s latest collection, is named after the Parisian district. As is typical of the company, Delsey combines style with functionality in the Montmartre. Features such as a separate compartment accessible from the outside of the case make the bag great for carry-on travel. Slide in your makeup bag, a jacket or pair of shoes. There’s also a built-in electronics sleeve, big enough to accommodate a 15.6″ laptop, in the carry-on and trolley tote. I love the Expandable Spinner Trolley for its lightweight (7.3 lbs) durable Teflon coating, silent double spinner wheels and carry-on size (20.25″ x 13.5″ x 9.5″) for most domestic airlines. It comes in black and Bordeaux colors & with a lifetime warranty. Retail price is $170, as always, check the website for current pricing.

biaggi, carry-on luggage, travel gear review
Biaggi Contempo carry-on. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

I’ve written about Biaggi luggage before and I’m going to do it again. I love that Biaggi luggage travels big, yet stores small. College kids, apartment dwellers and cruisers in tight cabins will appreciate the company’s hinge-lock technology. All Biaggi bags convert full-sized bags into compact units. I have the 22″ foldable & expandable spinner carry-on ($199.99) and the 18″ foldable 2 wheeled tote, ($158.99) both from the Contempo Collection. The foldable and lightweight (5.7 lbs) tote is designed for international travel (18″ x 14″ x 9″) and makes for an excellent weekend bag. I used my cobalt blue tote at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco for an overnight. Not only did it hold my personal items, I was able to stuff this durable tote with all sorts of food snacks from the show! My only complaint, the telescoping aluminum trolley handle sometimes faltered in the tote; the 22″ carry-on performed better. All Biaggi folding luggage is warranted for 5 years.

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I recently had the opportunity to go sea kayaking and whale watching in Baja California Sur. I had a very specific packing list for this trip as we would be paddling on the Sea of Cortez and riding in pangas (ocean skiffs) in Magdalena Bay. I couldn’t risk having my smartphone get wet or heaven forbid that I drop it in the water. I turned to my friends at Lifeproof for a phone case that would protect my iPhone. As a writer specializing in equestrian travel, I am a huge fan of the other company they own, Otterbox. Did you know a horse can step on a phone protected by an Otterbox case and the phone can survive? I don’t recommend you test this out.

lifeproof, lifejacket for iphone, nancy brown
Nancy Brown with her Lifejacket for LifeProof iPhone case

Lifeproof phone case is a lifesaver

The folks at Lifeproof not only sent me the Lifeproof case for my iPhone 6, they gave me a Lifejacket float case to keep my iPhone 6 afloat. I might have looked like a nerd on my sea kayak adventure, with my bright orange lifejacket hanging around my neck, but I never once worried about exposing my smartphone to the wetness that happens in a kayak. Well, that’s not completely true. Although the Lifeproof case is submersible to 2m for up to one hour, I didn’t have the guts to take it with me snorkeling. I left it behind in my dry bag while I swam with the tropical fish. But the Lifeproof case performed like a trooper in the Sea of Cortez. We encountered choppy swells one day and my kayak spray skirt was pooling water. I looked down onto my skirt to see that my Lifejacket was floating on the skirt, while still securely strapped around my neck. I momentarily panicked to check my phone and it was happily warm and dry within the waterproof case. Thank you Lifeproof for making a durable phone case ($79.99-$89.99) and Lifejacket float case ($35.99) for active adventure travelers like me!

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nancy brown, gymskin, slipins
Nancy Brown in her GymSkin by SlipIns

SlipIns gymskins because bold is beautiful

SlipIns is yet another company I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Robin Chesnie is the co-owner of this Southern California-based company. Not a fan of cold water, Robin developed SurfSkins to easily slip in and out of wetsuits. An avid gym rat, she also came up with the gymskins idea. As a swimmer and someone who has experienced skin cancer, I wear my gymskins in the pool during deep water aerobics and I wore them kayaking in Mexico. The 60+ SPF rating is a life saver to my fair Norwegian skin and their bold designs make them fun to wear outdoors. The company also makes minis, leggings and sand pants. I’m wearing the Aquarious Symmetry GymSkin ($148) on Punta Coyote beach in Baja California Sur, Loreto in the above picture.

showers pass, waterproof socks, travel apparel
Showers Pass waterproof socks. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Shower pass socks

These wool waterproof socks from Portland, Oregon-based Showers Pass were originally designed to keep your toes from getting soggy while cycling, running or hiking. I thought they’d be great to wear under my sandals to keep my feet dry when getting in and out of the kayak. They did keep my feet warm, especially on a particularly windy day in Mexico. Priced at $39, the socks have three layers with a knit exterior, waterproof Artex membrane and Merino-wool moisture wicking lining.

inspired by dawn, pillbox, travel gear
Inspired by Dawn Pillbox. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Not your ordinary pillbox

I’ve reached that stage in my life when I line out my supplements for the week; calcium and multi-vitamins. Dawn Kasper Gibel of Inspired by Dawn sent me a cute little pill box to try. What I love about this travel gear is that it doesn’t look like a geriatric pill box. The stylish, compact case has a magnetic self closing lid and fits neatly into a purse or backpack for easy travel accessibility. It comes in two styles and retails for $34.

Article written by and photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to @biaggiluggage @DelseyOfficial @InspiredbyDawn @lifeproof @showerspass and @SlipinSkins for supplying me with this travel gear and fashion apparel for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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