The annual gift-giving season is just around the corner (and maybe a little ways down the block), so if you have a traveler on your list, or just someone who spends a lot of time on the road or commuting, here are some gift suggestions that you may find useful.
Diono Travel Pal
Our family took road trips in the day when you threw some toys, coloring books and a few snacks into the back seat and hoped that, after the free-for-all, you could dig out the clutter from the cracks and crevices. I wish we’d had the Diono Travel Pal, a nifty car seat organizer that has room for all those things that keep kids occupied, plus a couple of insulated drink holders. A tab lets you tuck the lightweight, waterproof cargo box into the seat, and the box folds flat for easy storage. Drivers who are going solo can use the organizer to keep necessities conveniently within reach in the seat next to them. $15.99. https://us.diono.com/product/travel-pal/.
Energy bars are a convenient way to boost your blood sugar when other food is unavailable, but many bars go overboard with the sugar. Detour bars were created by a silver-medalist Olympic runner who saw the unmet need for a high-protein bar; he later modified the formula to also cut the sugar. The bars contain only 2 grams to 4 grams of sugar, and they are also gluten-free. They are available in 11 flavors (my favorite is the apple cinnamon oatmeal Smart bar) and are well packaged to withstand long runs, walks and travel. https://www.detourbar.com
Frogglez Rain Boots
Cute, comfortable, water-tight and darn practical. That describes Frogglez Rain Boots, designed by a dad who wanted to keep kids’ feet dry even in the biggest downpour. Great for those wet, soggy places on your itinerary. The boots are constructed with 100 percent natural rubber with no harmful additives, and the soft-but-strong neoprene seal keeps the water out. Heavy treads on the bottom make the boots non-skid. The bright canary yellow helps you keep track of that rambunctious kid, and the boots are plenty sturdy enough to be passed down and around. Store the boots in the car and stash other necessities inside them. Available in sizes 7 to 13. $29.99. https://www.madebymydad.com/
If bottles and cans seem a bit harder to open these days, you might want to keep a magic Opener permanently in your camping gear box — and maybe another planted on your home fridge. This magnetic tool, which comes in a variety of sizes for a variety of purposes, can be used to open both bottles and cans. The Combo Pack ($29.84) gives you two tools to open up to 16 sizes. Each is durable and has no sharp edges. Great for many outdoor uses because the ergonomically designed openers are made of tough plastic with no metal parts except the tiny bolts that make them magnetic. www.magicopener.com
This Tooletries toiletries bag will be the last one you’ll ever have to buy. Its tough construction (made of 100 percent soft silicone), strong stitching and heavy duty zipper means this bag will last. And in case the worst happens and that shampoo or lotion leaks, this bag is leak-resistant and easy to clean. The bag measures 10 inches long, 6 inches wide and a generous 6 inches in depth. Comes in charcoal, army green, blue and pink. $29.99. Other Tooletries travel products, designed and made by a Los Angeles-based Australian company, can be seen at https://tooletries.com. Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Wine is a luxury when in the outdoors, mostly because it’s darn hard to figure out where to balance that wine glass. Level resting places can be hard to find. The Wine Hook solves the problem. Clip it on to any chair and you won’t have to worry about spilling your favorite vino. What else is there to say? $9.99. http://www.thewinehook.com/
E’Louise Ondash is a veteran, award-winning journalist who was an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Times Advocate and the North County Times. She has written travel features for The Coast News since 2003.