Friday, December 16 12:45 PM
Think of a bustling street in Paris. You point your camera and shoot, knowing full well there's no way you'll do justice to that moment of your vacation. Unless, that is, you're toting the groundbreaking new Lytro camera (from $399).
This compact shooter (a lightweight 7.55 ounces) has no shutter delay and a sensor that captures 11 million rays of light to record the intensity of the scene, with the potential to do much more with the image afterward. The technology is complicated, but the low-down is that your image can be infinitely focused and refocused, shifted in perspective, and even viewed in 3-D. And the best bit of all? It's just a lens with a button. Head-scratching science wrapped in simplicity. We like it.
Photo: Courtesy of Lytro
Tuesday, December 13 01:02 PM
Since the early 1900s, Pendleton has been making blankets inspired by America's national parks. Now these iconic striped throws have started popping up in design mags and on hip hotel beds (see Ace Portland). But while these woolly throws look awesome, they can be a little rough to the touch.
So for those of you not ready to suffer for style, there's the new 5th Avenue blanket ($138). It replaces the rustic feel of the old-school version with 100-percent superfine merino wool. It's just the kind of featherweight throw to push into your carry-on for a cozy overnight flight. Another top find to add to your holiday wish list.
Photo: Courtesy of Pendleton
Wednesday, December 07 01:21 PM
Time is a-tickin', folks. You've got 18 shopping days to find the perfect gift for the globe-trotters in your life. You could agonize over luggage tags and portable pillows (snooze). Or you could spare yourself the trouble and buy everyone a Mougin & Piquard for J.Crew watch ($425).
Top-of-the-line timepiece purveyor Tourneau has teamed up with J.Crew to revive the 1920s watch brand. The vintage styling evokes pilots' watches, with an outer dial for the minutes and an inner one for the hour. And the font lends the face a hint of Parisian cool. It's a timeless way to keep time. And it's number one on our holiday wish list (hint, hint, Mr. Claus).
Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew
Thursday, December 01 02:03 PM
Celebs turn to shades when they're going incognito. But if you have no need to fly under the radar, we suggest that you slip on a pair of wild new sunglasses from Suno x Warby Parker ($175).
The spectacle marriage of two fashion It brands, these oversize frames announce your arrival with intricate prints inspired by Kenya, India, and Peru. Choose from a slick aviator shape, mod circular shades (pictured), or Buddy Holly-inspired frames. Oh, and for each pair you buy, Suno x Warby Parker will donate one to an eyeglass charity. Guess you have more in common with Ms. Jolie than you thought.
Photo: Courtesy of Suno x Warby Parker
Friday, November 11 10:00 AM
When Gogobot, a mashup of Facebook and Yelp for travelers, appeared on the scene last year, we were charmed. And with the introduction of the Gogobot app, you've now got this excellent planning tool to go.
Gogobot crowdsources recommendations and filters what's hot and what's not through your social network. The app loads your travel plans, pulling up what else is nearby, contact info, and maps at a tap. Snap a photo and turn it into an Instagram-like postcard to tweet or send to your mates (for jealousy now) or turn into an on-the-fly review (for helpfulness later). Everything is collected online in your digital Passport, a scrapbook of spoils to annotate and share. Perhaps it's time you took some friendly advice.
Available from iTunes for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Android version coming early 2012.
Photo: Courtesy of Gogobot
Wednesday, October 19 12:06 PM
We've all got baggage. But if you'd like to keep yours in hand, we'd suggest scoring the new Herschel Supply Company Novel Duffel Bag ($80 from Flight 001).
A zip pocket in the side keeps your sneakers or dirty laundry separate from the main compartment. The bag has a detachable shoulder strap and is the perfect size for a weekend away (23 x 11 x 10.5 inches). The look? Think 1950s gym rat meets urban lumberjack. Definitely a step in the right direction for carry-ons.
Photo: Courtesy of Flight 001
Wednesday, October 12 10:51 AM
A lion sprints across the savanna and you have to make a split-second decision: pictures or video? Well, thanks to the fine folks at Nikon, the answer can be both. The new Nikon 1 J1 ($649.95) can simultaneously shoot photos and HD movies, capture flip book-like moving images, and switch out lenses to suit your subject. Best of all, there's a new Smart Photo Selector option that shoots ten pics and singles out the sharpest.
The serious functionality is combined with slick simplicity--we dig the monochrome white, red, or silver color options. A camera that looks good and keeps you focused on documenting your vacation? That's worth a shot.
Photo: Courtesy of Nikon
Wednesday, September 21 11:20 AM
We've always loved the idea of camping. But visions of cozy campfires and getting back to nature tend to dissolve into sore backs and expletives whenever we attempt to put up a tent. Now, thanks to the genius German engineering behind the new Cave tent (from $670), you can pop up an overnight abode in less time than it takes to toast a marshmallow.
Heimplanet's futuristic, igloolike structure inflates from a teeny 20- by 12-inch package to a 54-square-foot shelter in less than 60 seconds. The chic geometric frame was inspired by the molecular structure of gemstones. Gives new meaning to the term diamond in the rough, eh?
Photo: Courtesy of Heimplanet
Monday, September 12 10:52 AM
Toting your SLR, tripod, and lenses up the Great Wall might seem like a good idea. But a trip to a Beijing chiropractor later? Not so much. How's a shutterbug like you going to lighten your load? Kick it old-school.
Behold the Polaroid SX-70, resurrected from a basement near you and restored to pristine working order by the fine folks at Mint. These lightweight instant cameras fold flat and pop open when you're ready to shoot. You'll get retro lo-fi images Hipstamatic can only dream of, and your back will thank you.
Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70, $350, available from Photojojo
Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo
Thursday, September 08 07:00 AM
As the wee ones tromp off to school, we have to admit we're a little jealous. Not of juice boxes or chalkboards or recess (okay, maybe a little jealous of recess). What we really covet are their backpacks. As we hoist heavy purses and messenger-style bags onto sore shoulders, we long for the days when a carry-on could mean a snappy knapsack.
Thankfully, happy days are here again with the new Topo Klettersack ($139). It has the functionality and comfort of a backpack as well as grown-up style. The rugged Cordura pack has a water-resistant liner and padded straps reinforced with seat-belt webbing for serious durability. Plus, it's made in a LEED-certified shop. That's an A+ in our book.
Photo: Courtesy of Topo Design
Wednesday, August 24 11:26 AM
Your vacation shots are always picture-perfect. But the camera you use to take them? Let's just say serious shooters rarely come in pretty packages. Until now. Thanks to the fine folks at gadget customization company ColorWare, your camera will be ready for its own close-up.
Frankenstein a Leica D-LUX 5 camera (a high-quality point-and-shoot with a 3.8x zoom and 10.1 megapixels) by choosing from 48 different colors and finishes for the back, front, lens, and lens cap. Pair Cobalt blue with Zest orange and a touch of Star Dust yellow, for example, and you've got a camera that's business on the inside, party on the outside.
ColorWare Leica Camera, from $1,200
Photo: Courtesy of ColorWare
Wednesday, August 10 07:00 AM
Ever wonder how to catch those time-lapse images of a growing flower or the changing seasons? It usually involves a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment and a whole lot of patience. But now those of us who prefer to spend our vacation in a hammock nursing a daiquiri rather than sitting patiently behind a camera can get in on that pro-style photography.
Just set up this sturdy new Time-Lapse Camera (available from Photojojo, $149), click a few buttons, and leave it to its work shooting frame after frame and stitching them together into a time-lapse video. So you can bring home footage of the changing light across a cityscape, the rise and fall of the equatorial sun, or a full day of your kids frolicking on the beach. All of the payoff with none of the effort? That's our idea of a vacation.
Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo
Thursday, August 04 07:00 AM
Just because you're always on the road doesn't mean you're any good at packing. Somehow, the cab is always honking outside as you hurriedly shove things into a carry-on. Thankfully, there's a new app to help whip your suitcase into shape.
Meet Saving Grace, your own personal trip organizer. Created by the folks at Grace Hotels, this helpful (and free) app asks what kind of trip you're taking and suggests specialized, thematic packing lists. You can adjust them, add or subtract categories such as baby stuff or videography, check things off as they go into your bag, and save lists for future use. Grace also looks after your other pretrip chores, by suggesting that you clean out your fridge and stop your mail before heading out. And you don't even have to send her a postcard!
Photo: Courtesy of Grace Hotels
Wednesday, July 27 07:00 AM
You can't take the prospect of another cardboard slice of Sbarro airport pizza, and those overpriced snack boxes the airlines peddle won't cut it, either. So you've decided to take matters into your own hands. Good news, hungry traveler: Now there's a container that can help you BYO food for your flight in style.
Black + Blum's Lunch Pot is a stylish riff on a tiffin, in the form of two BPA-free containers and a matching spork that snap together for hassle- and spill-free transport of your snacks. The in-flight entertainment of making your seatmates jealous is part of the package, too.
Available in black with red trim, white with orange, or white with lime, $22.
Photo: Courtesy of Black + Blum
Wednesday, July 20 07:00 AM
Wrangling your tech gear, reading material, snacks, earplugs, and assorted other ephemera onto a plane can make you feel a bit like a bag lady. But this smart new canvas bag from Travelteq ($740) can turn your carry-on into a lean, mean (and organized) flying machine.
Two easy-to-reach outer pockets are perfectly configured for holding your passport, iPhone, and wallet. The interior has a shock-resistant laptop sleeve, a section to keep magazines and newspapers crease-free, and a third area to zip away other flotsam and jetsam (hence the bag's name). So, you've got controlled chaos on the inside and a classic canvas-and-leather look on the outside. Everything in its place.
Photo: Courtesy of Travelteq