Travel Gear Review for Active Baby Boomer

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Hammok time with my Labrador Retriever

As a travel writer, I’m often asked the question, “what travel gear can’t you live without?” As well as, “what items are must-haves in your backpack, purse or carry on luggage?” Some of my go-to travel items are my cell phone, right now I carry the Apple iPhone, and it’s usually wrapped in an Otterbox case. In the next month I’ll be fishing in King Salmon, Alaska, swimming with whale sharks in Cancun, Mexico and fishing for salmon on Oregon’s Rogue River. Some of the travel gear that I’ll be packing with me include a Yeti cooler, Coolibar swimwear, Grand Trunk hammock, White Sierra outdoor apparel, Celbard Concept dog bed, Picture Keeper Connect and Sleep Easily.


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Coolibar UV swim shirt and swim tights

Women’s UV swimwear

After I returned from Alaska, I was off to swim with whale sharks and participate in a turtle release program at Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas & Spa Cancun.  In order to keep up with the whale sharks, I workout at our local aquatics center. As I’ve already had a brush with skin cancer, I always wear UV swimwear during my deep water aerobics. The folks at Coolibar swimwear sent me several outfits to try out. I love this sun protection that is fashionable, comfortable and functional. I  packed my swim shirts and swim tights with me to Cancun. As we were not allowed to wear sunblock when we swam with the whale sharks, it made perfect sense to wear Coolibar swimwear because it offers UPF 50+ protection and it’s cute.

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Nancy Brown swims with whale shark in Cancun, Mexico


Coolibar guarantees an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+, the highest sun protection rating, for the life of the garment. The sun protection is permanently embedded into the Suntec fabric, so it won’t wash or wear out and it’s lightweight, breathable, quick drying and saltwater and chlorine resistant. The swimwear is also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and approved by Melanoma International Foundation. I can vouch for the durability of the swimwear because I’ve had my first swim shirt since 2015 and I still wear it.

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Nancy and Nala in Grand Trunk Mossy Oak Break-Up Hammock

Hammock time

We love hitting the open road with our dog and camping in the woods. Grand Trunk hammock sent me a Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Double hammock so I can swing with a buddy. In this case, I like hanging out with my Labrador Retriever. The parachute nylon hammock is easy for one person to hang, lightweight, durable, packable and easy to travel with. The double hammock retails for $99, trunk straps sold separately $29.99 suggested retail.

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Nala on her Clebard Concept dog bed with “silk collection” cover. Photo © Nancy D. Brown


Luxury dog bed

Since I seem to be on a roll with photos of our dog, I thought it would be important to include something for the dog lovers out there. Our Labrador Retriever is a comfort seeking unit. She is not allowed on the furniture, but she does have a really nice dog bed. Designed in Strausbourg, France, Clebard Concept makes a high-end dog bed for the discerning canine. With ergonomics in mind, the dog bed conforms to the pet, offering back and joint support. Made of ground cork and cedar balls, the bed naturally keeps fleas away, but also neutralizes pet odors. As owners of a working dog – she hunts birds when she’s not lounging around on her bed – we appreciate the easy maintenance of the Clebard dog bed. Our dog’s bed is from the Skin Collection because it is the most durable in the line. The company describes this bed as more “robust & suitable for dogs with strong character.” The cushion has a nanotechnological surface treatment, allowing a simple damp cloth to be used on it. Additionally the outer cover, from the Velvet collection, (taupe grey cover in photo) may be removed and tossed into the washing machine. Outer cover sold separately.

The instructions that came with this luxury dog bed said to expect a period of adaptation, but our dog took to this bed immediately. The retail cost of the Clebard Concept dog bed is €250 Euro.

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Evan Brown sporting White Sierra’s Trabagon Rain Jacket in King Salmon, Alaska. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Outdoor travel apparel

When headed to Alaska in the summer, you need to pack a rain coat & rain pants. I took my White Sierra Trabagon Rain Pant with me because you never know what the weather holds. I wore my White Sierra space dyed power stretch leggings as a base layer every day under my waders and they kept my legs toasty warm. I also wear these comfortable leggings when I’m walking the dog or taking a yoga class. The women’s Trabagon rain pants are waterproof seam taped and retail for $45. The leggings, which come in three colors, are currently on sale for $36. In addition, if you use my code Nancy33 you’ll get 33% off your entire order! I also packed my scarves that are embedded with Insect Shield technology, because, you know that if I didn’t pack the scarves, the mosquitoes would be buzzing in my ears.

Picture Keeper

If you’re like me, you worry about what happens to your photos if your phone crashes, or, in the case of my son, you drop the phone in the river on your last day in Alaska. If he had Picture Keeper Connect he could have simply connected and backed up all of his photos, videos and contacts. Unfortunately, he lost all of his photos that he took during his summer in Alaska. Don’t let this happen to you! Picture Keeper Connect is easy to use and works on iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android and desktop computer. Simply connect, backup or restore your photos, videos and contacts. After downloading the free Picture Keeper Connect app, I backed up all 60 of my videos, removed them from my iPhone and then backed them up to my desktop. The Picture Keeper starts at $119.99 and includes lightning and usb connectors, plus a micro-usb cable.

Sleep Easily sleep kit

Are you one of the one-in-three people who suffer from insomnia? I remember when our daughter was in high school and college and was having trouble falling asleep. Life gets stressful when you know you are not getting the sleep you need. The All-in-One Sleep Kit, from Sleep Easily, is a medication-free sleep solution that includes cognitive-behavioral delivered via a mini audio player. The goal of the two sleep recordings is to guide you to sleep and help you stay asleep longer. Of the three supplemental records, I liked the ocean sounds. I don’t typically have trouble falling asleep, but I keep the sleep mask in my carry-on luggage when I travel on international flights; same goes for the silicon earplugs that come in the sleep kit. The Sleep Kit retails for $44.50. As with all items listed above, check the website for current pricing.

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Article written by and photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to @coolibar @grandtrunkgoods @clebard_concept @whitesierra1979 @picturekeeper and @sleepeasily for supplying me with this travel gear and fashion apparel for review purposes. All opinions are my own.