Travel Gear: Tried and True

both sponsored and not - we'll tell you either way, every time

Duluth Trading Company was kind enough to send this pair of boots for my review, and I'm happy to say that they passed with flying colors. Actually, they were a big surprise, since I didn't expect a boot advertised as a "work boot" to be so versatile.


Pros: While most hikers these days are merely glorified tennis shoes, the Grindstone waterproof low boot lives up to its name. When I got these, they seemed too heavy out of the box, but now that I've had the chance to wear them in both an all-day shooting situation (actually, three days of shooting video for a Thompson's Water Seal deck makeover video) and on the trail, I'm convinced that their weight works. The soles grip on all surfaces while ensuring that I can't feel rocks through them on the trail. Those same, thicker soles, are what make these boots so comfortable to wear all day without the proverbial "dogs barking" in the twelfth hour of said day.


Cons: You might find these heavier than your standard walking shoe, but the comfort they afford will keep you on your feet.


Recommended: Yes, indeed, I do concur, whole-heartedly (that's a Star Trek: The Next Generation Reference, which I realize brands me as a serious geek, but I'm willing to chance it here).

This one counts as "sponsored," since Columbia Sportswear outfitted the entire Small World Productions team on our trip to Switzerland. Still, even when I do a sponsored review, I intend to speak my mind.


Pros: These travel pants are very light-weight, stretchable, and breathable. They're very comfortable to travel in and look great - wrinkles generally fade away within a few minutes of wearing them after you've dragged them out of your suitcase. They feature a nice, zippered pocket which fit my passport and spending money for the day on the right thigh. Rear pockets button closed. Columbia's clothing often feels baggy and made for much heavier people, these count as an 'active fit.' Plus, my wife likes the way they look on me, which says a lot.


Cons: You might be put off by the light weight of the fabric. These are not meant for heavy-duty, rough-and-tumble action, nor will they keep you warm on a very cold day.


Recommended: Used as what they are, a lightweight, packable, wrinkle-free option for mild to moderately cool to hot climates, you won't be disappointed. Only wish I had more than one pair.

Ditto on these Columbia shirts of the same line - the Global Adventure shirts are also packable, lightweight, wrinkle-free, and look great. The pocket is a double, with one a 'hook-and-loop' affair and the other a zippered, mesh pocket which would fit a passport and some cash for very safe keeping. I opted for the blue and green versions, both look great paired with the 'Kettle' colored pant.


Recommended: You bet your sweet asterisk*!

This is a non-sponsored review - I purchased this eBag of my own free will. And I'm glad I did.


Pros: Having used lots of luggage over the years, this eTech 2.0 Weekender Convertible is, by far, one of the most useful, durable, and versatile bags I've ever had. As a suitcase, it works as a carry-on (if you don't stuff it to the gills) and offers tons of pockets, mesh dividers, and other separate nooks and crannies to keep your stuff organized. The shoulder straps are zipped away behind a panel until you need them, then they easily pop out and snap into place so that the Weekender works as a passable backpack. Rugged construction and zippers round out the pluses.


Cons: I'm told that if it's over-stuffed, it won't pass muster as a carry-on, but I haven't personally experienced that. The web belt strap which is part of the 'backpack' experience is un-padded - not a deal breaker, but don't expect to carry this bag into the wilderness.


Recommended: It's not a roller-board, if you're into that sort of thing (I'm not). That said, this is one helluva bag for the price, and my new favorite for just about any getaway.

To be fair, Thompson's Water Seal employs me as their spokesman, but I'm always looking for ways to test their products. Who knew that a travel show in Switzerland would be the venue?


I applied a coat of Thompson's Water Seal Sport Seal to my new Duluth Trading Company Bison Chukkas, and that's made my new shoes impervious to water. Nearly a month after I'd applied the Sport Seal, I took this picture on a rainy day in Gruyeres:


So, it works. Next time, I'm going to put it on my day pack, too. It works without making the leather or fabric

sticky or stiff, and one coat will work up to a year. Then just re-apply.



copyright 2014 - New Eyes Travel