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Columns Hit the Road

Hit the Road: For future reference

Products that may come in handy when we’re able to leave the house

It’s difficult to know when we’ll be able to hit the road — or the rails or the skies or the seas — again, but when we do, here are some products that will make the trips easier and more enjoyable.

Arcopedico sandals

Shoes really are the problem child when it comes to packing. They can be heavy, bulky and too specific in purpose. Sandals by Arcopedico ( can help solve all these problems. They are lightweight, take up half the room of a regular shoe, and are versatile, so can be worn for casual or dress events. The foot bed is constructed of Arnedry, a state-of-the-art, breathable, absorbent microfiber that has been specially developed to be used for shoe linings and insoles. The cushy, supportive “twin arch” system makes for hours of wearing comfort and the sandals come in various models and colors. $39-$135.


BooginHead Baby

If you’ve ever forgotten to bring baby’s pacifier or favorite toy, then you know the panic that sets in when you think about trying to survive a week’s vacation or even a brief outing. Six moms and one dad in Issaquah, Washington, understand. They founded BooginHead (, which makes a line of wide, colorful, sturdy straps that keep pacifiers, blankies and sippy cups close. Attach to high chairs, strollers and car seats. Wide selection of colors and styles. About $4-$14. Some on sale now.

Coloring Chicago

If Seattle, Tokyo, Portland (Oregon), Havana or Chicago is on the family itinerary, give the kids a sneak peek at your destination with any of these “Explore & Color” coloring books ( that double as travel guides. The latest, “Colorful Chicago,” explores the city’s ethnic neighborhoods and their authentic cuisine, some of the 580 public parks, public art, the city’s zoo and more. And since parks make cities great, says publisher Colorful Cities, a portion of the sales of “Colorful Chicago” will be donated to the Chicago Parks Foundation.



If your car trunk is filled with various tools, jumper cables and miscellaneous stuff rolling around or buried under other stuff, consider simplifying and upping your safety game with JumpSmart ( by ChargeHub.  A marvel of ergonomic engineering — it has won several awards for its design and you’ll love the sleek, strong case — JumpSmart is a three-in-one tool of important functions: The jumper cables and power bank can jump-start up to an eight-cylinder, 5.0-liter engine (adequate to start cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, lawnmowers and more) and can recharge up to 1,000 times; the heavy-duty LED flashlight has four modes — high and low beams, an SOS flasher and a strobe; and the power bank (2.4 amps) has a USB portal that charges phones, cameras, tablets etc. The JumpSmart is a great addition to any disaster-preparedness kit, too.



Packing a suit and keeping wrinkles at bay are usually mutually exclusive, but PLIQO ( has figured out how to deliver wrinkle-free dress clothing without hauling that bulky garment bag. The London-based company that arose via Kickstarter gets rave reviews for its various lightweight-but-sturdy garment bags that somehow fold to fit into carry-on luggage or can be stowed under the seat with space to spare. It might take a couple of minutes to figure out how the bags work because, with folding, magnetic hangers, zippered pockets and compact design, the bags are quite the feat of space-saving engineering.



I guess it’s come to this: Face masks are now an essential travel accessory. One Seattle company, founded by a registered nurse, decided to switch from making baby blankets to non-medical masks. Swaddle Designs ( offers three-layer masks of 100% cotton with 180 thread count. (Lab tests show, she says, that woven cotton out-performed cotton knit, polyester and fleece when it comes to filtering airborne particulate.) Masks have an adjustable, bendable nose piece and soft ear elastic, and come in adult-size and medium for smaller adults. Machine wash and dry.    

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