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GEAR & GADGETS

Classy Ways to Carry Nearly Everything

May 02, 1999|JUDI DASH

Manufacturers seem obsessed with finding better ways to carry everything everywhere. The result is increasingly convenient and efficient holders for items big and small. The following products may be available at area stores. Unless noted, prices do not include shipping.

Mondo bag: Tote bags have come a long way since they were simply two pieces of fabric sewn together on three sides, with a fabric carrying strap. The Total Tote is a huge, lightweight Cordura nylon satchel with a capacious interior compartment and, on the outside, eight more pockets, including three zippered pouches, three roomy mesh compartments and a felt-lined eyeglass holder. There's also a key clip, adjustable heavy-duty carrying straps and adjustable backpack straps. Available in large (15 by 18 by 8 inches) or extra large (20 by 17 by 10 inches), the Total Tote folds into a small parcel that takes up little suitcase space. It makes a great extra take-along bag for shopping and beach trips.

Large Total Tote (No. 1178) is $49.50; extra large Total Tote (No. 1220), $59.50, from Travel Smith; telephone (800) 950-1600.

Wheelchair aide: L.L. Bean, known for its rugged outdoor gear, has devoted one of its sturdy carrying packs to wheelchair users. The 15-by-13-by-5-inch-deep nylon wheelchair pack, designed for campus, work and trail use, has a special cam-buckle attachment that fits most wheelchair backs, suspended from the handles or seat back post. The zippered main compartment is large enough for a slew of books, papers or extra clothes. Two zippered front pockets, one mesh and one solid, can hold lunch, keys or a water bottle. Two external mesh side sleeves provide quick access to small items. The back panel is padded, and there's a removable nylon shoulder strap.

Wheelchair Pack (No. KE24098) is $49 from L.L. Bean; tel. (800) 809-7057.

Currency sorter: The euro may eventually make travel around Europe a one-currency breeze, but for now, you still must switch between pounds, lire, pesos, marks, francs and drachmas if you're making the grand tour. Baggalini's 5-inch-by-7-inch nylon, five-pocket wallet makes organizing all those bills and coins easy--and it weighs next to nothing. Each pocket has a different-colored zipper; there's also a sewn-in cloth loop for carrying the wallet on a belt. On the home front, use one pocket for cash, another for credit cards and others for business cards or other small documents.

Baggalini Five-Pocket Purse (SV616) is $9.85 from Magellan's; tel. (800) 962-4943.

Pills to go: The Pill Fob is a 1 5/8-inch-by- 3/4-inch-diameter stainless steel, screw-cap pill holder with a ring that lets it be carried on a key chain. Intended for medicine (it's exactly the right size for a standard nitroglycerin-tablet bottle), the case can also carry breath mints, vitamins, dimes or a tight little wad of bills.

Pill Fob (T359) is $24.95 from the Herrington Catalog; tel. (800) 622-5221.

Water on wheels: The latest water-bottle carrier is designed to hitch a ride with your wheel-aboard bag. The Water Buddy is a nylon satchel that holds a standard 1.5-liter water bottle and has nylon mesh straps with quick-release plastic buckles that clip around the luggage's extending pull handle, resting on the top of the bag. One proviso--the bag is not made of stretchable material, so some odd-size water bottles may not fit.

Water Buddy is $12.45 including shipping from Fan Products, P.O. Box 3616, Dana Point, CA 92629.

Gear & Gadgets appears the first week of every month.

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