If there’s a piece of gear – travel or otherwise – you’d like to see reviewed at Practical Hacks, let me know by commenting, and I’ll see if I can line up a review sample.  I need to line up reviews for this fall, and would love to know what gear you’re interested in.

And speaking of gear, check out Cool Outdoor Gear You’ll See in Stores Soon, at SpotCoolStuff – Travel.

Travelers, take note:  Looking for Airfare Deals?  How to Game the System, at USA Today.

I must admit I was dismayed when it was announced that highly regarded travel writer Rolf Potts is going on a six week trip without luggage, and that the trip is sponsored by ScotteVest. Sigh.  I love Potts’s writing, but this smacks of both sellout and stunt, and it’s a disappointment.  Here’s Rolf’s post on the topic (along with a video):  My next journey:  around the world with no luggage.  And, of course, the obligatory video regarding the challenge from Scott Jordan, the “CEO & Founder” of  ScotteVest who will milk the hell out of this thing:

He does mention 3Floz.com, which is worth checking out if you’re in need of travel sized toiletries from a variety of different manufacturers.

Firefox users (39% of Practical Hacks visitors use Firefox, by the way; the next highest is IE, at 31%) – check out 15 Coolest Firefox Tricks Ever.  Although the post dates back to ’07, I’ll bet some of you aren’t familiar with everything in the article.  From Stepcase Lifehack.

Finally, I found Essential Free Software for your New Computer at Matador Goods.  Of course, you don’t need to have a new computer to take advantage of useful free software.  I’m testing out PeerBlock – one of the recommendations – in order to add a bit of additional security to my browsing.

Here’s a first:  a link to a site that launched a mere four days ago:  check out 3 Reasons You’re Doing it Wrong When Your Flight is Canceled – @ hipmunk.com

Have a great weekend – and don’t forget to let me know what gear you’d like to see reviewed here in the upcoming weeks and  months.

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14 Comments on Links roundup: review requests edition

  1. Adriano says:


    I don’t see such a big problem with ScottEvest sponsoring Rolf Pott’s journey.
    1- this has been declared, clearly. It’d be worse if this were ‘hidden’, as too often happens especially with some ruthless professional journalists (in spite of ethics).
    2- I think (hope?) that this sponsoring won’t influence Pott’s review. In any case, we all know about the sponsoring and can see the review under this light.
    3- also because of the sponsoring, this is not a proper, Pott-style vagabonding journey. http://www.rtwblog.com/2010/08.....gabonding/
    So it’s just an experiment, nothing more.
    4- Depending on Pott’s accounts, this could also be a not so good advertising for ScottEvest.

    As of travel sized toiletries, whenever you go to Germany (ok, easier for me than for most of the readers of this blog) just shop at the local drugstore chains, like Mueller (http://www.mueller.de/), Rossmann (http://www.rossmann.de/) DM (http://www.dm-drogeriemarkt.de/). They all have compact sized toiletries of all kinds, at very good prices. (For example: 100 ml. All In One solution for contact lenses at 1 Euro; 30 ml toothpaste at 65 Eurocents). They also do on-line shopping (although I don’t know whether it’s worth having all this sent overseas…)

    As of my wish list for review (my apologies if already covered before…):
    Vibram Fivefingers, both as all purpose shoes and for jogging (I wanted to buy them, but havent’ done it yet…)
    Mei Voyager travel bag
    Ultra Sil daypack – Sea to Summit (extra strong, they say…)
    – Other light, packabel daypack
    Pack converter – Sea to summit (to be used as emergency check-in bag as well)
    – Some kind of wrinkle, resistant, easy to wash, practical, smart suit jacket.

    Thank you, Kevin!


    Kevin Reply:


    Thanks for a thoughtful comment, as usual. I find the ScotteVest line interesting, but the quality a bit spotty. Scott Jordan may be a wonderful guy, but he strikes me as little more than a carney huckster – witness his recent attempt to get on the Colbert Report. I was just a bit disappointed to see Potts linking his brand to SeV. I doubt the review will be overly critical… but that’s simply my opinion. Something about biting the hand…


  2. Adriano says:

    I’ve also read that the quality of ScotteVest’s fabric is not so high as it should be – although the products themselves are very practical. Personally (and without having tested them, I must admit), I think that the lack of a brand leading waterproof-breathable membrane is somehow a drawback for the 3rd (outer) layer wear. You can bring one extra jacket – but to the detriment of space in luggage and multi purposedness of the garments.
    On biting-the-hand issue. Potts has all interest to show that he is not influenced by the sponsors – and being hyper-critical, but fair, is in my opinion a good way to show this. At least, this is my hope…

    Thank you, Kevin, for teaching me the expression “carney huckster” ;-)


    Kevin Reply:


    Ha! Closely related to “carnival barker.” Glad I could provide this service. ;-)


  3. Steve says:

    Hi Kevin,

    How about a review of the Dad Gear line of jackets? I’ve heard people recommend them as an alternative to the Scottevest or other lines of travel jackets. They’re evidently designed for and marketed to new dads who don’t want to carry a diaper bag; and as a result, have a ton of pockets.

    And I’ve always carried a briefcase. But I’ve been thinking of picking up a vertical messenger for carrying just a netbook and a few other essentials. So I’d find it useful if you took a look at a few of those.

    Thanks and I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer,



    Kevin Reply:


    Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll look into it.


  4. Berg says:

    I don’t really see Rolf Potts as a “selling out” type of guy, but maybe that’s just me. He *seems* to be interested in the philosophical aspects of a trip without bags, while I’m sure Scott is hoping the whole thing sparks interest in his product. But I guess if you are going to try and travel without luggage, something like a ScotteVest would really suit your purposes more than most items of clothing. And I suppose having a sponsor for this sort of thing makes testing the idea more of a reality; I don’t know many people who’d turn down a free trip around the world.

    Most of ScotteVest’s stuff is useless to me because it’s so ill-fitting for ladies, and that many pockets is a tad ridiculous (and useless, IMO), so I’m hoping Rolf’s journey puts the jacket through its paces and gives an honest review of how it performs. If it rips, falls apart, or generally sucks, I hope he says so, and I’d *hope* Scott will look at it as a way to improve his product. I won’t hold my breath, though.


  5. Mark says:

    To be fair, the purpose of this trip isn’t really to evaluate/review SeV gear. While I would hope he would be honest in any evaluations that arise from the trip, the idea (as I understand it) is really to experience traveling without luggage. Being sponsored by a company that makes products useful for such a trip doesn’t strike me as problematic.

    Additionally, any company in a similar situation would “milk” it as well, or why bother being a sponsor? In this case the company is really one man, who may or may not rub some the wrong way. ;-)


  6. Michael W. says:

    Let us not forget that Royal Robbins has some nice travel vests (look nice anyway and have a lot of pockets – don’t they ALL have lots of pockets?). And Domke Photo Vests – are they still around?

    Vests are a nice work-around in the face of some carry-on restrictions, and keep things seat-side without having to pull items out of a main carryon bag –

    but stunting around the world using only a vest?

    I suppose it demonstrates most of us over-pack –

    and I guess it means the “single carryon bag around the world” trick has been pulled off successfully so many times by even average Joes that it no longer impresses.


  7. Michael W. says:

    I used to adapt Domke camera bags as my “personal item” for transpacific flights, and this was my favorite, before the Red Oxx Gator:



  8. Adriano says:

    ScottEvest milking the hell out of this? Why not?
    This is the difference between sponsoring and charity! ;-)


  9. Sharon says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I realize that you would have to enlist the help of your wife or women friends again, but would love to see more on women’s products: shoes, packable/wrinkle resistant clothing, in particular. I really enjoyed “Mrs. Hacks: Europe for a week and a half, no checked luggage – how I did it”
    Thanks for you posts. Sharon


    Kevin Reply:


    Thanks for commenting; I’ll let Pat know. She’s currently on the road for a couple of weeks with nothing more than a Sub-0-G & a purse. I’ll see if I can convince her to post again. Thx. again!


  10. Adriano says:

    Please, Kevin, convince Mrs Practicalhacks! As I’ve already said, this would help all of us! ;-)

    BTW, I’ve had a look at what Potts has with him – and what he’s left home. It seems that, among other things, he hasn’t brought a razor of any kind. As far as I’ve understood from one of the videos, he says that he’d go to a barber’s every now and then, to get a shave.
    I don’t know your habits, but personally I’ve been to a barber’s shop once every two years, and never for shaving – the do-it-yourself technique is more practical and costs much less. This especially applies to those who, for decency or social rules or just because they don’t want to be stopped at security checks, are obliged to shave every (other) day.
    So I have two doubts:
    – Is the no-carry-on technique feasible only for wealthier people, who can afford to pay for expensive services, or buy and discard stuff at every stop?
    – And is it really environmentally friendly to do so?
    What do you all think about this?


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