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Gear & Gadgets

From Unwrinkled to Unmentionable

August 04, 1996|JUDI DASH

Clothing is becoming increasingly travel-friendly. Earning a place on this month's honor roll of take-alongs are a petticoat with built-in security pockets, disposable briefs that feel like silk, an ergonomically designed shoulder bag, a sports jacket that resists wrinkles, and a packing organizer that keeps suitcase contents neat and orderly. Many items may be available in area stores. Prices do not include shipping and handling.

Undercover security: Purses get snatched, pockets get picked, but a thief has to be pretty aggressive to get to valuables concealed in this undergarment created by a New York businesswoman. The Travelers' Petticoat from Hidden Assets is a 25-inch washable polyester satin half-slip with three zippered pockets at the hem. The pockets easily hold paper money, credit cards, passport and other small documents, though keys and change may jangle too much. The security slip should take a lot of the worry out of walking around high-risk pickpocket areas.

Travelers' Petticoat (TA400Jll) in ivory, size M, L and XL, is $39 from Orvis; telephone (800) 541-3541.

Packing organizer: If you blanch at loading clothing willy nilly into your suitcase, then Eagle Creek's new Pack-It System is for you. Available in three sizes, the Pack-It is basically a flat nylon backing with nylon and mesh flaps that fold envelope-style over a stack of shirts, ties or other clothing, and seal with Velcro closures. The idea is to use several Pack-Its to organize all your foldables and keep them wrinkle-free in carriers ranging from briefcases to duffel bags or suitcases. The System 15 holds 7 dress shirts and 7 ties or 8 dress shirts; the System 18 holds eight to 12 larger garments, including slacks and blazers; and the System 20 holds eight to l5 even bulkier items.

Eagle Creek Pack-It System 15 (LP315K) is $19.85; the 18 (LP318K) is $24.85, and the 20 (LP320K) is $29.85 from Magellan's; tel. (800) 962-4943. Or, for a store near you, call the manufacturer; tel. (800) 874-9925.

Bounce-back jacket: Even the most laid-back vacation often entails a night or two of dressing up, but sports jackets usually fare badly crushed inside a suitcase. This blazer, a wool/polyester blend, was designed to shed wrinkles (a little misting from a hot shower helps). The light-weight, full-cut jacket comes in easy match shades of tan and navy, and has four exterior pockets and four interior ones. One of the interior pockets zips closed and another buttons for extra security.

World Traveler Blazer (2222) is $169 from TravelSmith; tel. (800) 950-1600.

Healthy back bag: Shoulder bags wreak havoc on neck and shoulder muscles. This tear-drop shaped leather bag is designed to fit the contour of the body and distribute the contents' weight evenly via a system of strategically placed pockets and a large adjustable strap that hugs the back and shoulder. l found the bag to be quite comfortable, though its ergonomic shape made it an awkward fit for stuffing in larger envelopes and files.

Healthy Back Bag (A015) will be available this fall for $139.95 from Christine Columbus, a mail-order catalog specializing in women's travel products; tel. (800) 280-4775.

Brief briefs: On the perfect trip, there would be time periodically to do a quick hand-wash of underwear so you would always have a clean supply without having to pack a drawer-full. Because that's frequently not the case, here is a solution for when you suddenly run out. Brief Briefs are disposable polypropylene underpants with elastic at the waist and legs. Surprisingly soft, the briefs also are durable; they won't fall apart when wet and are not easily punctured. Packed six to a bag, Brief Briefs are available in bikini-style sizes for men and women.

Brief Briefs disposable underpants in men's or women's styles and sizes are $6 for a package of 6 from the Cleveland-based Traveler's Shoppes; tel. (800) 868-8444.

Gear & Gadgets appears the first week of every month.

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