Women's gear, up first
My good friend is going to a Thai Message course in Laos, and then on to Bali and perhaps Nepal. I looking to get her something that would be useful in a small pack. Any ideas? Nick Santa Monica, California
What about a companion plane ticket?
If that's not right, I'd recommend Athleta's Splash Kaftan ($118, athleta.com). The bright cotton/silk blend cover-up is the perfect addition to a beautiful Bali beach.
Great undergarments are always a good option, too. Ibex (ibex.com) makes a 17.5 micron seamless wool line of underwear that fit like a second skin and dry in almost an instant no matter where you are in the world. My favorites are the Balance Boy Short ($29) and the Balance Light Bra ($35) in triathlon red.
If you're looking for something functional and enlightening, Petzl's powerful and easily packable Zipka Plus ($40, petzl.com) has a retractable arm, runs on three AAA batteries, and weighs only 65 grams.
If staying healthy is a priority, the Steripen Journey LCD Handheld Water Purifier ($100, steripen.com) uses ultraviolet light to destroy waterborne viruses and bacteria like Giardia and Cryptosporidium within seconds.
With all this stash, you consider buying her a new suitcase as well: The Timbuk2 Checkpoint ($250 for the medium size, Timbuk2.com) is virtually bombproof, fits perfectly in overhead compartments, has removable, highly durable skateboard wheels, and, best of all, has special felt-lined secret pockets.