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Gear & Gadgets

Hold Everything!

March 02, 1997|JUDI DASH

Sometimes the most prized travel accessories are those that carry other items. Here are some great new arrivals of that kind. Many may be available at area stores. Except, as noted, prices do not include shipping and handling.

Handy wrist wallet: Sometimes carrying a wallet or purse is inconvenient, especially when all you need to tote is a room key, a few credit cards and some cash. In places where pickpockets are plentiful, stashing anything in your pocket or shoulder bag can be risky. The wallet is a stretchable heavy-duty neoprene band that slides over the hand for carefree carrying. A built-in pocket seals via Velcro, securing all items. A resealable plastic zip bag is included for occasions when you might get wet: canoeing, walking, at the beach. I've used the wrist wallet hiking and found it a great hands-free way to protect a few valuables. It comes in three sizes: Small/medium, fits wrist circumferences of 5 3/4 to 6 1/2 inches; large/X-large fits 6 3/4 to 9 inches; and XX-large fits 9 1/4 to 11 inches.

Wrist wallet in black or royal blue is $10, including postage and handling, from the manufacturer, Cartom Inc., 1335 Stony Hill Road, Hinckley, OH 44233; checks only, no credit cards.

Compact carryall: Eagle Creek, one of the most prolific producer of travel bags of all kinds and sizes, has created a compact carryall called the Wanderer Bag. Measuring 12 inches by 9 inches by 7 inches deep, the sturdy Cordura cotton bag is extremely lightweight (just 12 ounces), but has plenty of room for guidebooks, a pocket camera, notebooks, a Windbreaker, a wallet and other gear in the zippered main compartment. Attached to this is a secondary, large zipper compartment with its own pocket, a zippered panel and a Velcro enclosed pocket specifically for glasses. A large flap with a mesh pocket covers the main and secondary compartments, snapping shut with quick-release plastic buckles. The Wanderer has an adjustable padded shoulder strap and a cloth grab handle on top.

I'm always surprised at how much I can stuff (in a well-organized way) this bag. And it folds flat for transport, taking up practically no space.

Wanderer Bag is about $38 at luggage stores. For a store near you, contact Eagle Creek; tel. (800) 874-9925.

Protecting breakables: During my travels, I've often found some fabulous glass handicrafts or a wonderful bottle of wine that I would have loved to take home but was afraid to buy for fear of breakage in transport. I wish the simple-but-ingenious Protect-a-Pillow had been around when I needed it. It is basically a mini inflatable vinyl mattress. Measuring 30 inches by 10 inches, and weighing just 4 ounces, it has four separate inflatable air chambers for as much or as little padding as you need. Then just roll up your fragile item, and fasten the protector with its built-in buckling strap. When deflated, the pillow folds flat. It beats lugging around plastic bubble wrap.

Protect-a-Pillow (item LA329) is $9.85 from Magellan's; tel. (800) 962-4943.

Keeping foods hot: Nothing beats a steel Thermos for keeping liquids hot or cold. Now the company has devised the Thermal lunch tote, a neat carrier for solid foods. Inside a stainless steel, vacuum-insulated container are stacked four separate microwaveable plastic containers, one of which is leakproof (ideal for soup). Each container has a lid, but these are not microwaveable. On the outside of the steel container, a stainless steel soup spoon in its own a plastic case stores in a removable side compartment, and there's an adjustable shoulder strap for easy toting. Let the picnic begin.

Thermos Thermal Lunch Tote is about $50 at housewares and sporting goods stores. For a store near you, contact Thermos; tel. (800) 831-9242.

Laptop wrist rest/supplies holder: Many people have wrist rests to protect their joints when typing on their computer. But what about that laptop? Curtis, a maker of business equipment, has designed a portable plastic wrist rest for laptops. Just place the wrist rest in front of your computer and start typing. The top of the wrist rest opens to reveal an 11-inch by 2-inch by three-quarter-inch storage compartment for pens, pencils or other small items you might need while working. It comes with rubber grips on the bottom to keep it from sliding on smooth surfaces.

Curtis Wrist Rest/Supplies holder (item WR3) is about $9 at computer stores.

Gear & Gadgets appears the first week of every month.

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