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Gear and Gadgets

Little Things to Make the Trip Fun

June 01, 1997|JUDI DASH

Sometimes it's little things that make travel more enjoyable. Following are diminutive items that, while nonessential, can enhance the ease or pleasure of life on the go. Some products may be available in area stores. Prices do not include shipping and handling.

Mobile nail care: Those who can't abide flawed nails while traveling need not book a manicure or pedicure on the road. The PediPocket is a small, lightweight battery-powered nail-care set for both hands and feet. Inside a 6-inch-by-3-inch-by-1 1/2-inch-thick zippered nylon case are a power unit about the size of an electric toothbrush and four snap-on attachments. These include a sapphire wheel for trimming and shaping nails; a sapphire cone to remove hard, rough skin and shape thick nails; a felt cone for polishing; and a sapphire tip for trimming hard-to-reach areas. The unit runs on two AA batteries and fits easily into suitcase nooks or carry-on bags.

PediPocket is $44.95 at luggage stores or from Home Care Products; telephone (800) 426-3227.

Minimal art: When the artistic urge strikes, reach into your carry bag and pull out this tiny watercolor kit that has everything you'll need to paint the town. Inside a compact 4 1/2-inch-by-2-inch hard plastic case are a dozen paint cakes, a retractable brush, a palette, dip tray, water bottle, sponge, gum eraser and pencil, each of which fits into its own molded groove. A built-in stand allows you to prop the palette to an angle of choice. Now, all you need is talent.

Artist's Watercolor Set (item BA728) is $49 from Magellan's; tel. (800) 962-4943.

Mini carryall: I'm always on the lookout for the perfect small carryall. My criteria are numerous pockets in as compact and lightweight a bag as possible. The OutPack Mini pack is a 9-inch-by-6-inch-by-2-inch bag with eight roomy compartments and pockets. Made of sturdy nylon and weighing just 8 ounces, the pack can be used as a shoulder bag or waist pack. It easily holds a large wallet, travel documents, personal electronics, a small camera, or a slew of small hiking essentials, such as a first aid kit, Swiss Army knife, flashlight and binoculars.

The OutPack Minipack in blue or green is about $30 at camera and luggage stores. For a store near you, fax the manufacturer, Domke, at (800) 394-3686.

Hold that cigar: When entering a nonsmoking zone, smokers may discard a cigarette but are loathe to part with a good cigar. But what can one do with a partially smoked stogie to keep it intact and sanitary for later use? Cigar Savor is a pocket humidor of sorts. The 7 1/2-inch pen-like case extinguishes cigars with a built-in heat-absorbing snuffer. The threaded cap contains a punch pin that re-forms the tip and creates an airtight seal to keep the cigar open and moist. The case's self-adjusting spring accommodates cigars up to 7 1/2 inches long.

Cigar Savor is available at cigar shops. Price runs from $25 for basic black to $8,700 for solid gold. Women's model on a chain costs $55. For a store near you, call (800) 372-2069.

Laptop paper holder: In tight spaces, such as airline seats, it's virtually impossible to make room for both a laptop computer and the papers you may need to refer while typing. The Clip Note, from Curtis Manufacturing, is a copy holder that attaches by adhesive strips to the back of the laptop monitor and swivels around close to the screen for easy viewing. The clip does double duty as a privacy aid, shielding the screen from curious seatmates. When not in use, the arm slides into the base for safe storage.

The Curtis Copy Clip is about $5 at computer stores.

Gear & Gadgets appears the first week of every month.

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