Packing space is tight. Which hot new product has earned the right to space in your suitcase?
Best Travel Products of 2017: The Methodology
To find the best new travel product out there, we started by scouring the reviews online to see what consumers were raving about. For the ones with glowing recommendations, we ordered the products to test—tests that earned us some odd looks in the office and on the road. Products were judged on the following criteria: Would we personally bring it on our next trip? Does it work? Is it innovative? Is it worth the price? Does it make travel better in some way? We could only answer “yes” to all for these six products.
Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Pick Winner: Arden Cove Travel Bag
Arden Cove is a start-up company launched by two sisters on the quest to create the perfect travel purse. They put their innovative design up on Indiegogo and reached full funding in just three days. Clearly, there’s a market for a better travel bag. Arden Cove’s cross-body bag is waterproof, which you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever been caught in a sudden downpour or spilled a drink on your purse and panicked over the phone/passport inside. However, the real selling point of the bag is the suite of anti-theft features including a slash-resistant fabric lining, iRFID-blocking pockets, locking zippers, and a strap that’s cut-proof and that detaches so that you can use it to secure your purse to a chair or table leg.
The interior of the bag keeps everything organized, with pockets sized for both smartphones and passports. There’s a built-in wallet with card slots and space for cash, and a zipper pocket for valuables.
While many anti-theft purses look like sturdy travel bags, Arden Cove’s looks like a regular, fashionable purse that won’t draw any extra attention to travelers. It comes in two different sizes (small and large).
Finalist: Bluffworks Travel Blazer
Customers rave about Bluffworks’ Travel Blazer, giving it five stars for the fit, style, and travel-friendly features; and we agree—it’s a must-have for any well-dressed traveler. The Travel Blazer was another crowdfunded product—Bluffworks’ Kickstarter campaign crushed its goal, earning $342,185 (way beyond the $20,000 benchmark).
The beauty of this blazer is that it’s truly travel-friendly: you can crumple it in a ball at the bottom of your bag (we tested) and pull it out hours later, and it will be wrinkle-free when you put it on. Unlike other wrinkle-free clothes, Bluffworks’ Travel Blazer doesn’t sacrifice fabric texture or appearance in order to gain its travel-friendly properties (breathable, stretchy, machine washable/dryable, lightweight). It looks and feels like wool, with no weird sheen or sagginess. Although there are eight pockets hidden throughout (plus two visible front pockets), you won’t look bulky due to the design of the blazer. We loved the hidden zippered security pocket for keeping passports accessible but safe. And it’s comfortable enough that you’ll want to wear it on a long plane ride.
The blazer comes in two fits (slim or classic) and two lengths (regular or long) to suit all body types.
Added bonus: The Travel Blazer is made in America–right in New York City.
Finalist: LockSmart Travel Lock
Never fumble with a combination lock on your suitcase again—Dog & Bone’s LockSmart Travel Lock is a TSA-Approved, keyless luggage lock that uses your phone to let you in. The lock also allows you to track your suitcase when it’s in Bluetooth range, so you know when your luggage is about to come down the airport carousel (or if it’s at the wrong baggage claim). This feature is particularly great if you’ve been forced to gate-check your suitcase and want to make sure it made it on the plane.
You can also send a “virtual key” to others, which is handy for locking up items in vacation rental homes. (You can rescind key access at any time.)
The lock’s battery will last for up to two years (or 3,000 opens), and your app will alert you when the battery needs to be recharged.
Posersnap Mobile Studio
The Posersnap Mobile Studio is a collection of smart products that turn your phone into a pro-camera. The kit contains:
- 3-in-1 Clip-On Lens set: Macro Zoom, Wide Angle, and Fisheye. These allow you to take close-up pictures without blur, wide-angle shots, and 180-degree wrap-around photos.
- Ultra-Bright Detachable Light: A small 16 LED light that prevents redeye and lets you take great photos or video in the dark.
- Flexible Tripod: This small tripod can fit in your daybag, and can be set up on a variety of surfaces. The universal mount is easy and fast to snap on and off to any phone.
- Bluetooth Remote Trigger: The trigger allows you to take a photo from up to 30 feet away.
DART Laptop Charger
Having to bring your laptop on the road with you can be annoying, but the DART helps you lighten your load. It’s the smallest and lightest laptop charger in the world (up to four times smaller and lighter than most normal laptop chargers, and it comes with a variety of tips that work on almost any PC computer.
The DART has a built-in USB port so you can charge your laptop and other devices at the same time, with just one free outlet. The DART automatically switches between 100 and 240 volts, so you can use it anywhere you travel.
All good travelers know that rolling and bundling your clothes is the best way to maximize space in your suitcase, so why haven’t toiletry kits followed this design? Now, Tashtego has, basing its toiletry kit design on a tool roll. Slot your toiletries into the pocket, fold down the flap, roll it up, and place the very compact bundle in your bag. When you unroll the Tashtego, everything stays in place, so you can find what you need in an instant.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Best in Travel: The 2017 SmarterTravel Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Picks Winners
- Best Oddball Products That Actually Work, 2017 Edition
- The Best Carry-on Bags of 2017
- Best Paid Airline Amenities 2017
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.