Last-Minute Essentials

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside Magazine, February 1995

Last-Minute Essentials
By Bob Howells

  1. What's that peculiar smell in your pack? Probably your towel, that soggy mildew factory that you're always stuffing back in before it's completely dry. Replace it with an easy-wring, quick-dry Paktowl ($12), made of soft viscose that's supposed to absorb nine times its weight in water. Full bath size folds to a flat eight-inch square. From L. L. Bean, Freeport, ME 04033; 800-221-4221.
  2. What world traveler couldn't use eight extra pockets? The Griffo Gear Vest ($50) puts your camera, sunglasses, passport, and PowerBar within quick-draw reach, while its open-back design and Supplex material make it much cooler and lighter than a standard photographer's vest. From Griffo Gear, 518 Via de la Valle, Suite C, Solana Beach, CA 92075; 800-546-7030.
  3. Sure, they say the X rays will do no harm to your film, but older machines in backwater airports can still fry that sentimental celluloid. The Security X-ray Bag ($32.50), a lead-lined Cordura pouch, will shield 40 rolls or a loaded camera and about four extra rolls -- as long as you're willing to add an extra pound to your load. From TravelSmith, 3140 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael, CA 94901; 800-950-1600.
  4. Montezuma will have to seek revenge elsewhere. With a squeeze of a bike-style water bottle, the Oasis Portable Water Purification System ($30) not only kills protozoa, bacteria, and viruses, its manufacturer claims, but filters out vile tastes as well. From PentaPure, WTC Industries, 14405 21st Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55447; 800-637-1244.
  5. Eliminate the coefficient of ickiness between skin and nylon by slipping a MummyLiner insert ($23 - $55) into your sleeping bag. The washable liner keeps your bag clean and dry, and on a hot tropical night it may be all the bag you'll need. The top-of-the-line silk model -- our favorite -- weighs just over four ounces and stuffs into a five-by-seven-inch pouch. From Design Salt, Box 1220, Redway, CA 95560; 800-254-7258.

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