Good things come in small packages

When you are travelling around the world, the size of your equipment does matter.
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The Independent Culture
Take ten bottles on to the aeroplane or just wash and go? Travellers are demanding ever more from their travel equipment and there are some clever products around. Paul Goodyear, of Nomad Travellers Store and Medical Centre (0181 889 7014), says that travel products in general are going the way of "pay more, get smaller" and it is certainly true that, whether the destination is Bournemouth or Bogota, people want a product that works well but that is also small, lightweight and multi-functional.

Current best sellers at Nomad include the ever-popular bathroom plugs, peg-free washing lines and Swiss Army knives - including one that Victorimox have specially adapted to include a ballpoint pen (cost pounds 21.50). They also sell more innovative products such as the travel towel, pounds 9, that is light and small but super-absorbent; self-inflating airbeds, pounds 50-70, the size of a 1.5 litre bottle when folded; and a roll-up hanging bathroom cabinet, pounds 13. Glamorous travellers may wish to maintain the body beautiful, wherever they happen to be, by drinking from the Aqua Pure Traveller - a mini water treatment system in a bottle (0990 820000 for mail order), which costs pounds 29.99. Fill it up at your nearest source of water, screw on the top and squeeze the water back out into a cup or kettle.

Those who just can't bear to leave their make-up behind will be thanking Origins (0800 731 4039 for stockists) for the new Greatest Hits sets which go on sale today. Packaged in a cardboard `CD' the three different `volumes' cost pounds 20 each and contain three eyeshadows, a blusher and a lipcolour. Not surprisingly, Virgin Vie (01243 622226 for mail order) does a range of travel products including the Jet Set Holiday Travel Kit, pounds 20, a zip up box/bag which includes a soap dish, toothbrush case, three bottles, two jars, a funnel, a spatula and a set of labels so that you can take your bathroom with you - albeit in a rather down-sized version.

Crabtree & Evelyn (0171 603 1611) also has a good range of aromatherapy products which fit very nicely into bags and washbags and include Relaxation Pulse Point Balm, pounds 7.95, with orange, tangerine and lavender essential oils, and Restoration Water Mist, pounds 14.50, to help combat jet lag.

Another good-looking product is the small baby changing bag by Ready Freddie Go. It's smart, light, holds all the essentials, can be carried like a shoulder bag and costs pounds 29.95 (01547 530888 for stockists and mail order).

Products do not have to be small to be beneficial to the traveller. Muji's (0171 323 2208 for nearest store) field cooker costs pounds 95 and gives new meaning to the word "multi-functional" with its capacities for boiling, smoking, grilling, barbecueing, frying, fondueing and open-fire cooking.

As for specialist travel clothing, according to Paul Goodyear, this is pretty unnecessary for most travellers. His advice is to wear comfortable cotton clothes. Wearing waterproofs in the tropics, for example, will just make you sweaty and dehydrated. If you do feel the need, Goodyear recommends Regatta (0161 749 1313) clothing which is loose, good-looking and more affordable than many outdoor clothing suppliers. Regatta Oasis zip-off trousers, which double up as shorts, pounds 24.95, were a big hit at Glastonbury this year. And, big on pocketed trousers before combats became trendy, Rohan (0870 601 2244 for mail order) is launching a new reversible jacket this autumn - the Khonverta can be either a fleece or a windproof jacket and costs pounds 89.

A final note from an expert on travel equipment, Simon Calder, The Independent's Travel Editor: "The minimalist approach to travel accessories, to which I try to adhere, comprises (a): a passport, preferably a valid one, and (b): dollars - on the basis that everyone knows approximately what their local cash is worth in terms of US currency. But for anyone who wants to see the world at the right pace, undoubtedly the best travel accessory is the Brompton folding bicycle. It packs to the size of a briefcase (albeit a heavy, lumpy briefcase) and travels, at a pinch, as hand luggage. Oh, and a puncture repair outfit."

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