Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Like all other industries, travel-gear companies have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But a few are choosing to give back with campaigns that provide relief to health care professionals, hospitality workers, and rural communities most affected by the virus. Here are some products you can buy for a future trip to help the world weather the crisis now.
Our Choice: Travel Tripod (from $350)
Peak Design’s tripod fits together like a puzzle, cutting down its volume to about half that of a normal one. Both the 3.4-pound aluminum frame ($350) and the 2.8-pound carbon-fiber frame ($600) can support up to 20 pounds, effortlessly holding steady a heavy camera body and professional zoom lenses. Bonus: the system can be set up in less than ten seconds, thanks to smart features like smooth-deploying legs and an easy quick-snap camera mount.
Through the rest of the crisis, this Brooklyn-based startup will donate $10 from every purchase of one of its travel bags to the emergency-assistance nonprofit Direct Relief, which provides protective equipment and essential medical items to health care workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Choice: Travel Backpack ($200)
This 30-liter, carry-on-friendly bag is styled like a suitcase, with a zip-around design that allows it to open up into two compartments, but it carries like a trekking backpack. Twenty features include a waterproof exterior pocket, a hidden zippered stash pocket on the back for valuables, and—our favorite—a removable hipbelt that converts into a fanny pack or sling.
Through April 15, the brand is running a Give 20 or Get 20 fundraiser: choose to give an extra 20 percent to the One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, which provides cash assistance to unemployed hospitality workers, or receive 20 percent off your purchase. Even if you opt not to donate, a small fraction of your purchase will go toward supporting Chrome’s other COVID-19 support efforts, including sewn masks for medical workers.
Our Choice: Summoner 2.0 ($220)
If your top travel priorities are organization and quick access to essentials, this 30-liter pack is for you. A series of well-designed external zippers open to the main, side, and top compartments, while several small exterior pockets make it easy to reach items like your phone or passport. With its 500-denier nylon weatherproof fabric and ripstop liner, this bag is guaranteed to last for life.
Adventurist Backpack Co.
In addition to the company’s existing program of donating 25 meals to families in need for every pack purchased, Adventurist will now give an additional 25 meals per bag to Feeding America’s COVID Response Fund.
Our Choice: The Weekender ($85)
Perfect for the minimalist traveler, this classically styled pack has ample space for days’ worth of essentials. Its interior padding and water-resistant, 1,000-denier polyester shell also keeps your belongings protected from rough handling.
Prepared Kit with Hand Sanitizer ($45)
Since it’s now almost impossible to find on the shelves, stock up on sanitizer and other emergency essentials like antibiotic ointment and bandages from Welly. The brand’s organized, packable tins are easily refilled.
This sustainable clothing brand will donate 30 percent of all online purchases made by new customers to a brick-and-mortar retailer located in the customer’s home region. The idea is to provide retail shops with some profit at a time when most have been forced to shut their doors.
Our Choice: Swifty Short Sleeve Dress ($80)
This stretchy Tencel, elastane, and polyester dress wicks away moisture and resists wrinkles and odor, making it perfect for future camping or road trips. Plus, it fits all body types and can be dressed up or down for almost any occasion.
Our Choice: Boundless Pant ($85)
A classic pair of pants, the Boundless will take you seamlessly from the airport to the trail, with features like a partial elastic waistband, a hidden adjustable cinch at the cuffs, and lightweight cotton-polyester fabric made from recycled water bottles.
On top of $25,000 worth of cases that the smartphone-protection company donated to personnel at the Medical University of South Carolina and the North Carolina–based First Responders First, Phoozy will donate one phone protector to health care workers for every one sold so their phones stay safe while they’re on the move.
Our Choice: XP3 ($50)
Using material adapted from NASA to keep astronauts safe on space walks, this case is guaranteed to protect your phone in virtually any environment. In addition to preventing the battery from dying in frigid temperatures and overheating in hot weather, the case floats in water and provides military-grade shock protection. The updated XP3 model is ideal for travel and features a stash pocket for cards and cash.
The Utah-based company will be giving $10,000 in cash to support the International Rescue Fund’s COVID-19 crisis response, as well as matching the first $1,000 in customer donations made on its website. This week it also launched a #OneUtah T-shirt, with all proceeds benefiting organizations that are providing relief to rural and outdoor communities in its home state that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, such as Silicon Slopes Serves, the Intermountain Healthcare Foundation, and the Utah Food Bank.
Our Choice: #OneUtah T-Shirt and Bataan 3L Pack Bundle ($50)
Consider the #OneUtah shirt a replacement for that cheesy souvenir tee you were bound to buy on your next trip to the Beehive State. Combine it with the Bataan three-liter fanny pack, which is lightweight yet spacious enough to hold a camera, keys, and passport.