Christmas gift guide: Home comforts on the move
Friday 02 December 2011
Treat yourself on your travels with these lightweight, compact and easy-to-pack gadgets and accessories
Matt & Nat Manchester Bag
What a concept – a totally vegan bag; smart, unpretentious and made by a socially conscious firm with an eye for design. No animal products feature in any bags or wallets – think cork, recycled plastic, corduroy and Japanese paper instead. Twenty-one plastic bottles went into the inner of this classy, matt-black, canvas weekend bag. Users love it for its utilitarian style, and it's the right size for cabin luggage, with compartments for laptops and the like. Take a look at the cork iPad cases too.
How much: £140
Where from: www.mattandnat.com
Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Champ
Fish scaler, wood saw, magnifying glass... the Champ's 28 tools let you do just about anything. It's sturdy and compact and its owners love it. "The snob in me wanted a Leatherman," says one. "But I'm glad to have this – more tools, more reasonably priced, good quality." Just don't pack it in your hand luggage.
How much: £39.95
Where from: www.swisstool.co.uk
Eminence Organic Skincare Travel Sets
These handmade lotions from the Hungarian beauty experts will soothe your skin after the travails of travel. Feted by the Green Beauty Bible and the likes of Jessica Biel, they include sour-cherry masques and rosehip whip moisturisers. Choose to suit skin type: normal, dry, oily, sensitive or age-defying.
How much: From £35
Where from: www.theskinsmith.co.uk
Drape yourself in this generous, silky scarf safe in the knowledge that it hasn't been made in a sweatshop nor has it damaged the environment. Measuring two by one metres, it can double as a travel blanket. This eco brand, known for its yoga wear, weaves fabric from sustainable bamboo to create a super-soft but durable cloth which is more absorbent and dries faster than cotton. It comes in burnt orange, black, chocolate brown, lilac and taupe/grey.
How much: £45
Where from: www.asquith-yoga-clothing.co.uk
Mini Hair Straighteners
These styling plates are easy to pack and can plug in anywhere with a universal voltage capability and three-to-two-pin plug. Men love them as the 1cm plates are fine enough for short and spiky hair. They can also do curls, flicks and ultra-straight and heat up in a jiffy. They come with temperature control and sleep mode for the forgetful.
How much: £83.95
Where from: www.lookfantastic.com
Kodak Playsport Video Camera Burton Edition ZX5
Shockproof, waterproof up to three metres and dustproof, this is a nifty little video camera which you needn't be overly precious about whether you're at the beach, pool or on the slopes. Users love it for its robust, ergonomic build: "easy and intuitive to use," says one sailor. With image stabilisation, it's perfect for winter sport wipe-outs. A high-definition video camera which adjusts to ambient light and offers various effects, it's at least one up from the basic point-and-shoot competitors. Prices start from around £96, or pay more for the latest winter sport kit: this includes cable, memory card, remote control, tripod and grip case for those moments when you need both hands.
How much: From £149.99
Where from: www.firebox.com
Silk Travel Pillow
This best-selling pillow – handmade and stuffed with fine mulberry silk, encased in silk – is supremely comfortable. Fans of this grown-up equivalent of a comfort blanket swear by it, whether they are camping or crossing the Atlantic. Light and easy to pack down, it won't take up precious packing space. Cheshire-based Natalie Xiao Bell made her first pillow case when she was nine years old and now sources silk from her native China.
How much: £55
Where from: www.snowblossom.co.uk
Digital Silence In-Ear Headphones
Blocking out the din of airports, trains and in-flight hum, these headphones live up to their name. Ear buds rather than over-the-head models, they lack the cool of the high-end market, and the noise-cancellation unit will need recharging, but music lovers swear by the high-definition speakers. "These earphones are definitely the best by far," says a frequent flyer. They come with an on-cord microphone, so calls on the move are less frantic. Users declare the rechargeable noise-cancellation function really works – look out for the latest version just released.
How much: From £35-£60
Where from: www.digital-silence.com
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