It seems like all of the coolest products start life as a Kickstarter campaign these days, and travel gear is definitely no exception.
Whether you’re looking for a tiny travel adapter, self-contained coffee maker, revamped playing cards or something else entirely, you’ll likely find someone offering it on the world’s largest crowdfunding site.
These are five of the coolest travel Kickstarter campaigns right now. All have hit their funding goals, with most due to ship before the end of 2017.
We’ve seen many different travel coffee makers over the years, but they’ve all had one thing in common: they need a hot water source to work. That’s fine if you’re staying in a hotel, but when you’re camping, staying in budget guesthouses or hostels, or are in transit, getting hold of safe, hot water can be a real challenge.
The XSPROFIX deals with that issue, building a rechargeable heating element into a unit about the same size as a standard drink flask. You can use boiling water if you have it to hand, but if not, you’ll still be able to enjoy a hot coffee no matter how far you are from the nearest kettle.
Depending on the water temperature, it takes 8-11 minutes to bring the water up to temperature. The battery will make 100 cups of coffee on a single charge if you supply the hot water, or three cups if it has to heat it itself.. Using standard Nespresso pods, the XSPROFIX comes with a range of accessories to protect the unit and store extra coffee pods, along with an optional stand.
The unit weighs a little under two pounds, and measures 9.9 x 3.2 x 3.0”. You can back the campaign from around $149.
Dealing with different power sockets can be a real hassle when traveling internationally. Travel adapters convert the North American-style plugs on your gadgets and chargers for use overseas, but many of them are big, bulky, and annoying to use.
The MICRO bucks that trend, calling itself “the world’s smallest universal travel adapter”. It works in 150+ countries, yet only weighs 1.4oz and measures a tiny 2.4” x 1.2” x 0.7” when folded up, easily small enough to drop in your pocket. Unusually for an adapter this size, it has a surge protector to deal with power sags and surges, and even comes with a spare fuse you can replace yourself.
The MICRO itself will handle any input voltage, but as always, if you’re going somewhere that uses 220-240v power, you need to check whether your gadgets can handle the difference. Many portable devices can, but not all, and you’ll likely destroy them if you don’t use a voltage converter.
Suitcases and other luggage are a dime a dozen on Kickstarter, but the NOMATIC travel pack starts out for several reasons. Aimed at short, 1-3 day trips, it’s made from a high-quality, long-lasting material, with water-resistant, lockable zips to stop a rain shower from ruining your trip.
An expansion system gives extra room for those unexpected souvenirs and other purchases, pushing the capacity up from 20 to 30 liters via a single zipper. There’s a separate compression cube to keep bulky clothes and other items under control, and an inbuilt compartment to keep dirty shoes, clothes, or whatever else you want to keep separated from the rest of your gear.
The straps fold away to let you use the pack as a briefcase, and there’s a TSA-approved laptop/tablet compartment that keeps your device safe and speeds up the security line.
Other useful features include a magnetic water bottle holder, a key leash that automatically retracts back into the pack, a fleece-lined top pocket for sunglasses and other delicate items, and a hidden pocket for money or other valuables. There’s also a place to stash your passport and phone, and a pass-through system for headphones, chargers, or whatever other cable you want to extend neatly in or out of the bag.
There’s a lot to like about the NOMATIC travel pack, at a price that’s affordable for a high-quality, versatile piece of luggage.
On an altogether simpler note, the two friends behind the Air Deck set out to improve the humble deck of playing cards for travelers. A staple of every hostel common room and long-distance bus ride, cards are an easy, portable way to while away the hours – but a standard deck has its limitations.
They tend to get wrinkled and torn after extended use, and most don’t deal well with getting wet. These guys decided to fix that problem, and at the same time, shrink the cards down to make them even easier to carry.
The Air Deck is are available in black and red, and measure a svelte 3.4 x 1.3”. The casino-quality cards are resistant to tearing, staining and bending, and come in a matte case to protect them in transit. The PVC-coated cards are waterproof, too, meaning you can use them beside the pool, and wash them when someone inevitably spills a beer all over the table.
Backers can pick up a set for ten euros (around $11), which includes free global shipping.
Getting over jetlag after a long-haul flight sucks. If you’re traveling far enough, it can take anything up to a week to fully shake it off, which can really eat into the enjoyment of your vacation.
For business travelers, it’s even worse – it’s hard to be at peak performance during important negotiations if your body is busy telling you it’s 3am back home and you should be asleep.
The Circadia sleep tracker and smart therapy lamp promises to help jetlagged travelers (and other sleep-deprived people) recover faster, tracking sleep patterns and manipulating the environment to speed up the process of falling asleep, and slowly waking you up at the right time.
The system lets you start adapting to your new timezone before you’ve even left home, and detects how far out of your sync your body is with where you are right now. It then delivers a personalised light therapy programme to readjust your body clock throughout the day, or as needed.
Roughly the size of a small Moleskine notebook, the Circadia lamp easily slips into a pocket or day bag, so it’s not hard to justify bringing along on long-haul trips.