Crunch Cup (Portable Cereal Cup) Review [2021]

The Crunch Cup is a nifty little invention that you can find on Amazon. It is a great product for anybody who loves cereal and struggles with eating it on the go or dealing with soggy cereal bites. But is it worth it and how exactly does this little thing work? In this article, I will give you a full breakdown of the Crunch Cup.

What is the Crunch Cup?

The Crunch Cup is a simple two-cup device used to consume cereal on the go. You can find these on Amazon for around $25 and they come in various colors and in two sizes. (In this article, I am reviewing the XL.)

This can be a perfect product if you find yourself wanting to eat cereal in the car on the way to work or school. Also, if you have a certain type of cereal that is much better when it is crunchy rather than soggy then you can use this to ensure that every bite is full of its crunch potential.

How does the Crunch Cup work?

The Crunch Cup works very simple.

Basically, you have milk in the outer cup and your cereal in a smaller inner cup. They are designed in a way so that the cereal and milk will hit your mouth simultaneously, allowing you to enjoy a crunchy bite of cereal with every bite. It’s a pretty cool concept.

Setting up the Crunch Cup is easy but it can seem a little confusing when you first unbox it.

The first thing to do when you receive your package is obviously to wash the lids and cups.

After that, you can start by pouring your milk (assuming that’s what you eat cereal with) into the outer cup.

There is a line marked on the cup and you want to make sure that you do not fill up the cup much higher than that because you might not be able to insert the inner cup without spilling your milk.

At this point, you will be ready to insert/attach the inner cup and pour your cereal into the inner cup.

Next you will attach the white cap onto the lid and snap into place.

At that point you are ready to go!

The one drawback to this product is that there is no cover for the lid. So there is spill potential and if you are taking it on the go there is potential for something to fall in it. For that reason, while this product could be great for kids, with no lid it does have its limits.

The key with this product is to learn how to simultaneously get the milk and cereal out in a way that does not leave milk all over your face or clothes (that’s exactly what happened to me in the first couple of attempts).

There are a few ways to do this.

The first is that you can simply cover the spout where the milk comes out with your lip. That could work but another way is to cover the small air hole on the lid with your finger until you are ready for the milk to come out.

Ultimately, you may just have to practice to get this technique down. To me, after using it a few times it still feels like “work” to use this. In a way, it is kind of nice to have to “work” for your reward but it’s not something I think I want to do all the time.

And it might be too difficult for small kids to get the technique down so that is something to consider.

By the way, if these details and instructions sound confusing don’t worry, you will receive a set of instructions when you receive the product.

The product is dishwasher safe and it seems like it is relatively durable so I expect this thing to be in good condition for a while. I also received confirmation that it has a two year warranty so that should make you feel good about the product for a little while.

Overall, the product is a little bit expensive at $25 but it’s not that bad. If you had to make me guess what the price was without knowing I would probably guess something like $18.

Still, this is the type of perfect gift that you can buy for someone who loves cereal. It could also be a great white elephant gift or something along those lines.

The Crunch Cup does not come with cereal included so you might want to order some cereal along with your product on Amazon if you want to be ready to use it when you receive it.

Final word

Overall, I think the Crunch Cup is a fun product that does have some level of practicality to it. If you eat a lot of cereal, especially on the go, then this could be a perfect solution. Also, if you want to preserve the crunchiness of your cereal this can also do the trick. And finally, if you are trying to find a gift for someone who loves cereal then you can look no further than the Crunch Cup. Just be ready to do a little bit of work for your cereal.

15 Best Travel Blankets [2020]

Staying warm while traveling can be challenging. Some planes or trains will be too cold, while some cars in the winter months need could benefit from a nice warm electric blanket.

In this article, I explain what a travel blanket is and list many different travel blanket recommendations like travel blanket with pillows, electric, cashmere, fleece, and wearable cocoon travel blankets.

What are travel blankets?

Travel blankets are simply blankets that are easy to pack because of their size and weight. These blankets can be great to bring on a flight, train, or car trip for when you start to get chilly.

For example, a travel blanket can come in useful when the temperature in the cabin of your flight is just too cold. In economy class, blankets aren’t ordinarily provided, so when you bring a blanket onboard, you are reassuring that you have the option to stay warm. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the blanket that is provided by the airline being clean or not. 

Travel blankets can also be a fashion accessory when some travel blankets can double as a scarf.

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What are the best travel blankets?

Any blanket can travel with you, but in reality, some might be harder to travel with than others.

So, when purchasing a travel blanket, there are a few things to consider:

  • Size and thickness
  • Material
  • Wearable

Size and thickness

Size might not matter all the time, but in this case, the size of your travel blanket matters.

If you’re tall, the length of the blanket matters. For ease of stuffing a travel blanket in your purse or backpack, the smaller, the easier to stuff it in there. Once thickness comes into play, it will also determine how compact a blanket can be. Thinner the blanket, the thinner it can be in your bag. Plus, the thinner the blanket it is, the cooler it will be.

So, you should be conscious of the blanket size for portability, if it can cover all of your body, and if you can share the blanket with others at the same time. You should then be conscious of the thickness for how warm or cool you want to feel and how easy it is to fold and store in your bag.

For me, I would want a light travel blanket that is my height and on the thin side so I can put it in my bag easily.


To me, what makes a good blanket is the material.

Blankets can be made out of cotton, velvet, fleece, cashmere, polyester, sheep wool, alpaca wool, etc. There are many different types of materials for blankets. Each one will have a different texture. Some textures might feel itchy or soft, all depending on your tolerance to the material.

Then the type of material will determine how warm you feel. For example, wools will all be slightly warmer and breathable than cotton or polyester.

On top of the feel, some materials will be easier to wash than other materials. Wool type materials are harder to wash, but cotton and polyester are easy to wash. So, you must keep in mind the washability. 


Wrapping yourself in a cocoon is always great, but wearing a blanket is even better.

Snuggie cocoon type travel blankets are great if you want something easy to slip on but still have your arms free. It’s all about freedom of the arms.

Some travel blankets can be used as a scarf too, so you could use it walking around outside keeping your neck and face warm. Then, once you’re settled down, you can wrap your whole self in the warm travel blanket scarf. 

The best travel blankets

Cozy-Soft Travel Blanket Compact Lightweight Portable with Bag

If you are looking for the best travel blanket for an airplane, the Cozy-Soft Travel Blanket Compact Lightweight Portable with Bag is going to be your best bet.

It’s 30% cotton and 70% bamboo fiber making it warm, breathable, and easy to wash in the washer machine. Many reviews praise the material for being anti-static. People tend to love how soft it is because of the blended material.

The size is as small as an iPad when folded up in it’s easy to handle bag. The size when it’s unfolded is 67 inches, enough to cover up most of my body. (For your information, I am 5’10”.)

Other reviews praise the weight of the blanket that is surprising to them. They love how lightweight and durable it is, but still warm at the same time. Some even use it as a scarf as the material is fine enough to be pulled off as a scarf.

It’s available in navy blue, sky blue, and gray.

HOYAYO Cashmere Wool Shawl Wraps

A “cashmere travel blanket scarf” is what many buyers have said about the HOYAYO Cashmere Wool Shawl Wraps – Extra Large Thick Soft Pashmina Scarf

It’s long, coming in at 78 inches (including the fringe), but super light being a scarf. Because of the weight and thinness, it’s perfect as a scarf during the winter and a light blanket for any season. Reviews claim how nice it is to travel with and how it doesn’t wrinkle easily keeping its smooth soft scarf look.

One downside of this travel blanket scarf is the width is on the smaller size. It can cover people that are more petite than others, but it won’t cover everyone.

Out of all the blankets on here, this is one of the most stylish ones. It comes in 13 different colors of fine cashmere.

ZIDELI Travel Blanket

If you want a four in one travel blanket set, the ZIDELI Travel Blanket will be your best bet. 

The travel blanket is velvet, making it heavier and warmer feeling than the two blankets above, but it also comes with other goodies. It includes an eye mask, earplugs, and a travel pillow. All packable in a thin case that is attachable to luggage, being slightly bigger than the size of an iPad. By the way, if you are interested in the best travel pillowcases be sure to click here.

Being velvet, understand it will be a little more staticky than other blankets, but if you love the warm soft velvet feeling, this blanket will be for you.

The pillow is inflatable and the eye mask is said to cool the face.

Cocoon CoolMax Blanket

The largest blanket so far and the first fleece blanket is the Cocoon CoolMax Blanket. The size is perfect for sharing and covering up your feet in planes, trains, and automobiles. 

Reviews confirm that the CoolMax material is said to be breathable, keeping you warm while keeping moisture away. 

When it’s rolled up in its travel pouch, it’s the height of a 16-ounce water bottle and the diameter is slightly bigger than a 16-ounce water bottle. 

Reviewers love the size of it as it caters to taller people. It’s perfect for outdoor use being exposed to the elements when it’s in its attachable water-resistant pouch. The Cocoon CoolMax Blanket is available in 14 different colors.

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Hamosky Electric Heating Blanket

Sometimes a car trip is the way to travel. The Hamosky Electric Heating Blanket is the perfect solution for combatting the winter elements or cold nights during your drives. 

It’s pluggable into the 12V DC outlet in your car with two different heat settings, low and high. 

Being made out of thin fleece material, it’s soft and cozy for both front and back seat passengers. It’s on the smaller size, making it only useable for one person. As it’s heated it makes it perfect to stay warm. In fact, many reviewers write about how it’s perfect for one person or their kids.

In terms of design though, there is only one color, black and white plaid. 

Luxurious Water Repellent Multipurpose Blanket

For a blanket that is made out of down and Nylon, the Luxurious Water Repellent Multipurpose Blanket | Nylon Shell with Down Filling gots you covered.

It’s the biggest blanket out of all the blankets on this list and is perfect for outdoor use since it’s water-repellent with its nylon shell.

Yep, that’s right, reviews confirm how the nylon shell is not soft, which is the same material that some sleeping bags use, but it’s smooth and helps repels water so you don’t have to worry about the elements reaching your skin.

The filling of the blanket is down feathers. While down is not for everyone, it’s soft and warm for cold nights out camping. Combining it with nylon, it’s a great option for outdoor use.

It’s available in four different colors.

Forestfish Fleece Throw Blanket Cozy Soft Portable Travel Blanket

The Forestfish Fleece Throw Blanket Cozy Soft Portable Travel Blanket is a portable medium thickness fleece blanket that comes with a bag.

While the blanket itself is not as small as other blankets on this list, it still is a great fleece blanket with huge value. Reviews compliment how warm it is and all talk about how great it is to have during their travels. Some mention how soft it is. While others compliment it for its size and usability as a picnic blanket.

Probably the one downside of the blanket has to be the fact that it’s a thicker fleece. Thicker fleece material is great to stay warm, but it’s as it’s thicker it’s not as breathable and it makes it harder to clean.

It’s available in four different design patterns.

HappyLuxe Travel Set

The HappyLuxe Travel Set includes a travel blanket, pillow, and eye mask.

The travel blanket is on the longer size, but not as wide as other blankets. It’s 68 inches long and 35 inches wide. Perfect for one person using at a time.

The blanket, eyeshades, and pillow are made out of MicroModal and Spandex. It’s a soft material, but also strong holding up to lots of washes and long-term use.

The pillow is an actual pillow, not a neck pillow. I prefer regular pillows over neck pillows as they’re comfier, so I would pick this pillow set over another one. However, this set doesn’t come with a bag. 

Reviews state how a bag should be included for true portability. However, if you stuff it in a backpack, you don’t really need a bag, but then again having a bag could help when you don’t have room to put it somewhere. Luckily, this product is different enough by having an actual pillow makes it worthwhile to consider.

It’s available in three different colors.

BlueHills Premium Soft Travel Blanket Pillow

The BlueHills Premium Soft Travel Blanket Pillow is a micro plush fleece-like material that is a compact travel blanket pillow set. 

When you aren’t using the blanket and it’s inside the case, the case is useable as a pillow. As it’s fleece-like micro plush material, it’s nice and soft, but since it’s micro plush it will be slightly more breathable than fleece.

The blanket itself is a good size, not too big, but not too small for most. Perfect for sharing on a plane or going solo. It’s available in 11 different colors and when it’s in the case it’s slightly bigger than an iPad.

State Cashmere Reversible Throw Blanket

Quality might cost a lot and the State Cashmere Reversible Throw Blanket is one of those quality items that cost a lot.

Coming in at around $200, this cashmere blanket might be pricey, but out of all the items on this list, this one is by far the most quality item. State Cashmere is an NYC company that collects the finest cashmere from Inner Mongolian. Then it produces it in with fine details.

While this doesn’t come with many travel accessories like other blankets, this does have one of the smoothest and softest feeling fabric of all the blankets on this list. It’s both wearable as a scarf and useable like a blanket.

If you can spare some cash for quality and luxury, this would be your blanket.

Proglobe Travel Blanket Luxury Travel Set

Fleece blanket, memory foam pillow, eyeshades, and earplugs, the Proglobe Travel Blanket Luxury Travel Set has it all. What makes this set unique is not the fact that the blanket is fleece, but the pillow is memory foam and not inflatable.

Memory foam is great for shaping itself to your characteristics. This pillow is shaped for a neck, head, and shoulders. Meaning, the original shape before you use it curves a little more for your shoulders than other neck pillows. It’s something you don’t see very often for neck pillows.

If you’re searching for a fleece travel blanket pillow set, this one is worth checking out.

PAVILIA Premium Fleece Blanket with Sleeves

The PAVILIA Premium Fleece Blanket with Sleeves is a cocoon wearable blanket that is perfect for travel. 

Since this wearable travel blanket has sleeves, you can use your hands unrestricted when eating your inflight meal, using the IFE, or browsing the internet on your phone.

This wearable blanket doesn’t come with a traveling bag, but still compact enough to go inside a backpack or a large handbag. Reviews indicate how it’s only useable when you lie or sit down as it won’t cover your back when you stand, but reviewers still love the warmth and big pocket in the front for holding things.

The length is 70 inches and comes in 15 different colors.

Kingole Flannel Fleece Microfiber Throw Blanket

The Kingole Flannel Fleece Microfiber Throw Blanket doesn’t feature a carrying bag or cover but is one of the highest-rated microfiber fleece blankets on the market. Reviews rave how soft and warm the blanket is. While it’s not the most breathable material, it’s great when it’s chilly out and you need to stay warm.

It’s small enough for a backpack or large handbag, but don’t expect it to be as thin as other blankets on this list.

Patty Both 3 in 1 Bear Travel Blanket & Hand Warm & Pillow Set

The Patty Both 3 in 1 Bear Travel Blanket & Hand Warm & Pillow Set is a cute cuddly bear that acts as a case for the blanket, hand warmer, and pillow.

This is definitely the cutest travel blankets out of all the travel blankets on this list but the bear is a case, pillow, and handwarmer making it great for people like me that get cold hands all the time. This is a great travel blanket option for both adults and kids.

Flight 001

The Flight 001 is purely a travel blanket and a carrying case for the blanket. No thrills, just the blanket. Perfect for inflight or on the ground.

It’s 100% polyester and thin. It’s warm and the reviewers love using it, but it’s only 55 inches long. So, the length might be an issue.

If you only care about a quality simple travel blanket that is small in size made out a polyester, this should be on your radar.

Final word

There are many travel blankets. Some are great as a scarf. Some are great for camping, but it all depends on your preferences which one will be best for you. If you need something to carry your travel blanket in, maybe a sling backpack is the way to go.

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

16 Best Sling Backpacks (Travel, Laptops, & More!) [2020]

Slings backpacks have become a common trend in a lot of different places. These smaller backpacks can be used for a variety of purposes like the outdoors, school, hiking, work, and every day use. But these bags come in a lot of different varieties.

In this article I will highlight some of the best sling backpacks that come in different forms like: tactical, leather, outdoors, athletics, and a couple of other styles. I’ll also focus on bags good for specific needs like travel, laptops, hiking, etc. 

What are sling backpacks?

Sling backpacks are bags that only have one strap that usually goes on your shoulder or across your chest. These bags are primarily for people who don’t have massive storage needs and that don’t need or want bulky backpacks.

For example, if you are a family traveling to Disney World you don’t always need a large backpack to carry along with you and you could do good with a smaller sling bag. Or, if you are going on a long hike, maybe you don’t need a full size backpack and just need a bag that you can carry along some water and snacks with.

And finally, many sling backpacks, especially the leather ones, can be used as fashion pieces. These bags just look a lot more trendy than some sort of bulky backpack.

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What are the best sling backpacks?

Because sling backpacks come in so many different varieties the best one for you would depend on your personal preferences. In this article, I will cover a lot of different types of sling backpacks. 

When you are thinking about purchasing a sling backpack there are some specific factors that you will want to consider. 

These are:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Special compartments
  • Straps


Most people are attracted to sling backpacks because they are smaller than standard sized backpacks. But there can be pretty large differences in the sizes of sling backpacks.

Some are big enough to hold big sized laptops that are 15 or even 17 inches long. However, many (if not most) sling bags may only be able to hold something like an 11 or 10 inch tablet.

So if you are someone who likes to transport your laptops and tablets around in your bag, pay very close attention to what the maximum size is for electronics that can fit properly in the bag.

Also, some sling backpacks don’t have compartments that are ideal for basic storage needs. For example, many sling bags are just too small to properly store full-sized reusable water bottles. For people like myself who like to carry around reusable water bottles that can be a huge negative. 


The material that you choose for your sling backpack will have a huge influence on when and where you can use it. For example, you can find sling backpacks that are perfect for weathering the elements in the outdoors, while others might be made of leather and other materials that are best kept out of the rain. 

Many bags advertise that they are waterproof when in reality the actual bag is just water resistant. While the cloth that makes up the bag is waterproof and would not allow water to penetrate the cloth, that does not mean that the entire bag is waterproof.

A true waterproof bag could be tossed into a lake and water would not seep inside the bag. But the bags in this article are not those types of bags. 

Special compartments

Many sling backpacks have compartments that serve really specific needs. You might find a compartment that holds a mobile charger for your electronics, or you might find a compartment for your firearms or cameras. Always be on the lookout for features that could serve your unique needs.


As I will talk about below, the type of strap you have is super important for comfort and for relieving strain. Some backpacks allow you to alter the position of the straps so that the bag can be suited for left-handed or right-handed individuals but most will be suited for right-handed people. 

Some bags are designed to be carried with the strap hanging on one shoulder while other bags are designed for you to have the strap going across the front of your chest.

Also, some of these bags can be switched to the front side. In some cases you might even be able to flip the bag upside down to your front side which can make it easier to position the bag in a comfortable way. 

You also want to consider the padding that the strap has. Not every slingback will have a lot of padding. This is especially true for the fashion-oriented bags. If you are going to be wearing your bag a lot and traveling through hot or humid environments then you might also want to find the strap that has a nice mesh texture to it that can help you stay cool.

And finally, a lot of the straps have various compartments on them for things like your cell phone. 

Are sling backpacks healthy?

Carrying a heavy backpack is not great for your health. The obvious consequence of carrying around a heavy backpack is that you will put a lot of strain on your back and neck. If you have ever lugged around a lot of large textbooks around a sprawling college campus you know exactly how straining it can be…. 

But having a heavy backpack can also put strain on your lungs and cause issues with your breathing. In fact, if your backpack load is at 13 pounds or heavier then you are at risk of preventing proper lung ventilation. If you already have the underlying issues related to your lungs this is something you definitely want to be aware of. 

When it comes to a sling backpack, the need for keeping the backpack light is even more important, because you have one shoulder that is getting a lot of the strain. 

You can help to mitigate this by getting a sling backpack with a wide band and also by positioning the sling backpack so that a lot of the weight is distributed on your chest. Trying to seek out a backpack band that is padded very nicely should also help to distribute that weight a bit more. 

Still, a sling backpack is not designed for people who like to carry around a lot of heavy things in the backpack. So just keep that in mind whenever you are shopping for a sling BackPack.

The best sling backpacks

Under Armour compel Sling 2.0

The Under Armour compel Sling 2.0 is one of the most highly rated Under Armour sling backpacks, perfect for many things like school, travel, Disney, etc. The bag is 18 inches high and 12 inches wide and it has a soft lined laptop sleeve that can hold up to a 15 inch MacBook Pro or similarly sized laptop. Some have even reported that they could fit a 17 inch laptop inside, so this is a very laptop friendly sling bag. 

The strap is an adjustable padded strap that comes built with Under Armour signature heat gear which helps you to stay cool in hot temperatures. (The padding is not the best on this backpack so don’t expect anything super comfortable.) 

This is a somewhat bulky type of sling backpack and the bag is expandable — many people rave about the amount of room that they get. You can find plenty of reviews of people who are surprised by the amount of items that they can fit in their backpack. The bag is also water resistant and reviews indicate that it does a very good job of keeping moisture out. 

One reported issue with this is that the pockets are not very big for holding things like reusable water bottles so in some cases you will have to clasp a water bottle on to one of the sling webbings. So if you are looking for something that is perfect for hiking this might not be the bag for you.

I think this is one of the more sleek looking under armor sling backpacks. Some may not care for the giant Under Armour logo but others may actually like that feature.

This is a popular bag so don’t be surprised if it is sold out. And for that reason you might want to be a little bit more aggressive when shopping for it if you do find it in stock.

Real Leather Cross Body Sling Bag Chest Bag

If you are more into fashion then you might be looking to get a leather sling backpack. 

The Real Leather Cross Body Sling Bag Chest Bag is made of genuine, thick cow hide leather which gives it a nice and professional appearance (many people comment on the quality of the leather). It’s 18.9 inches long by 10.6 inches wide and the bag weighs 2.45 pounds. This product is geared towards men although women could definitely support this as well. 

Since this bag is geared more towards fashion you’re not going to find as many compartments and as much utility in this type of sling bag. With that said, there is still a lot of room in this bag.

People are able to store devices at around 11.5 inches in length but it’s a tight fit and you would not be able to fit something like a 13 inch or 15 inch MacBook Pro in this bag. So I would say that this is definitely a bag for tablet people and not so much laptop people.

This being a fashion-oriented bag, the shoulder strap is very thin and is not going to provide a lot of padding and comfort like some of the other bags in this article. That’s not a major problem though because you would probably not be lugging around this backpack on some long hiking excursion or throughout the day like you would some of the other bags.

Also, keep in mind that this is not a water proof bag and you want to keep it out of the elements as much as possible. If you know anything about leather products you know that they tend to get a bit scuffed up overtime. One way that you can keep a bag like this fresh is to utilize shoe polish to keep it nice and shiny. 

It is possible to wear this bag on your left or right side but it is mostly designed for the right side. 

Men Vintage PU Leather CrossBody Sling Bag

The Men Vintage PU Leather CrossBody Sling Bag is a modern looking pu leather sling bag but it is on the smaller side. The bag is 12.5 inches tall and 8.6 inches wide with 5.1 inches in depth. The shipping weight is only 2.1 pounds. 

This bag is designed for someone looking for something lightweight and trendy to carry around smaller personal belongings. 

This bag comes with a USB charging port that you can use for things like your cell phone and other electronics like tablets. And as you would probably expect this bag is more suited for tablets than it is for regular sized laptops. But if you don’t need to store a laptop, this could be a great bag for traveling. 

Some people are not too crazy about the look of pu (polyurethane) leather and and they feel like it looks a little bit too unauthentic or cheap. That would be no surprise considering the price range for the sling bag and the fact that it is artificial leather. Still, if you were not trying to break the bank and just looking for a sling bag that is somewhat fashionable then this could be a good product for you.

OutdoorMaster Sling Bag

If you are just going for a cheaper type of sling backpack it is hard to not go with the OutdoorMaster Sling Bag. This is one of the most highly reviewed sling bags and it is under $20 and comes in a variety of different colors, such as:

  • Blue
  • Read
  • Grey
  • Black
  • Mocha brown
  • Teal

There are also some camouflage options.

This bag is 11.8″ wide and 17.7″  long and it only weighs one pound. The bag is spacious enough to hold items like iPads and can hold laptops for up to 12.5 inches. So once again, this is not the bag ideal for Apple MacBook Pros.

The OutdoorMaster gets good reviews for its water resistance. It is not fully waterproof so you would not want to take this thing out in a heavy rain shower but it seems to hold up pretty well in lighter rain. 

This bag does have some issues that are common to other bags when it comes to its compartments. For example the compartment for water bottles is around 3 inches which is smaller than what you would find with a lot of reusable of water bottles. Therefore, you might need to stick to smaller water bottles if you want to this bag. 

Mouteenoo Sling Backpack

The Mouteenoo Sling Backpack is a fantastic sling backpack for school. It has a lot of space that is perfect for storing things like your laptop, wallet, notebooks, textbooks, and binders. According to the manufacturer, it can even hold laptops up to 15 inches. (The dimensions are 11 point inches by 16 inches so the fit is probably pretty tight.) 

There are three outer front zipper pocket including one anti-theft pocket and a zipper pouch on the hip. The chest strap also has a removable zipper phone pocket that can fit up an iPhone 8. Inside, there is a separate sleeve for your laptop or tablet. And you can also find penholder pockets and a small pouch for accessories such as chargers. The bag also has a mesh pouch for your water bottle that can hold up to a 32 fluid ounce bottle.  

This really is an all-purpose bag that it is great for travel, work, and also school. This bank is designed for right-handed people so It is not made to be put on your left shoulder.

SEEU Sling Backpack (Men or Women)

SEEU Sling Backpack is a large sling backpack that holds 28 L. These are pretty good dimensions and you would be able to fit in a laptop that is 14 inches or under and should be able to fit in your tablets no problem. (Some people have even been able to fit 15 inch laptops in this bag.)

The sling backpack also has a number of different compartments. There are multiple accessory compartments and even a compartment on the strap that you can store something like an iPhone. So this is definitely a sling backpack that is designed for people who have real storage needs. 

The drawback to this bag seems to be quality complaints. Some people feel that the material does feel a bit inexpensive and that there is not sufficient padding for laptops or other items in the bag. Also people have had issues with things like broken zippers. 

Nike Sling Backpack

Nike does not make as many sling backpacks as I thought they would. However they do have a sling bag called the Nike tech Sling bag. This bag is essentially a super large fanny pack. It is 21 inches long but only 5 inches wide, so this is not a bag that is meant to be used for holding things like laptops and probably not the greatest tablets either. As you might imagine the focus is on athletics with this bag. 

Jansport City Sling Crossbody bag

Jansport is one of the most recognized brands for backpacks and was ubiquitous for a lot of kids growing up over the past couple decades.  So it should come as no surprise that Jansport also has sling bags. The Jansport City Sling Crossbody bag is 14.5″ by 8.3″ so it’s not one of the larger bags. For that reason, it is probably not well-suited for laptops of normal size.

One thing that is nice about this fact is that it comes with a nice big strap and straight-cut padded shoulder straps, padded air mesh back panel. Ultimately, this is a simple type of cross body bag that is for people not looking for a bunch of bells and whistles and just a nice back to store small items in.

For many people (including myself), Jansport represents durability so if you’re someone who likes to use your bags for years years upon years this might be the way to go for you.

Adidas Shermer Sling Backpack

The Adidas Shermer Sling Backpack is a large sling bag that can hold laptops up to around 13 to 15 inches. So unlike some of the other athletic brand sling backs this back could be for everyday use for a student. The problem is that this item has been out of stock and I’m not sure if it is going to return. 

Mouteenoo Sling Backpack for Men and Women Bag

The KAKA Sling Bag Crossbody Backpack is a 18″ x 11.5″ sling backpack. It features six pockets that are suitable for items like water bottles, phones, and it also comes with an RFID and an anti-theft purse pocket.

The shoulder strap comes with a mobile phone back and your phone slot and a way to set up mobile USB  charging. You can also find a place to put your sunglasses. This is definitely one of the more equipped bags.  

The bag is made of high-quality polyester oxford cloth to sign to be waterproof and anti-scratch. 

The largest compartment is designed to accommodate up to 10.5 inches of a tablet computer. Therefore, if you are trying to store a 15 inch MacBook Pro or similar laptop this is not the bag for you. 

5.11 RUSH MOAB 10 Tactical Sling Bag

If you are looking for a tactical sling backpack then you might look for a military style bag like the 5.11 RUSH MOAB 10 Tactical Sling Bag

This is a 100% nylon bag that comes with a customizable cushioned shoulder strap. The backpack is loaded with pockets at the shoulder, the rear, and a secondary double zip pocket. Like you would expect, this tactical backpack comes with a hydration pocket that passes through a port. There also are many different types of interior pockets. 

This really is an all purpose tactical bag. You can use it for survival, military, hunting, hiking, or any kind of strenuous outdoor activities. Overall, This is a nice bag but the shoulder strap is not quite as wide as I will probably be looking for if I was trying to maximize comfort. However, the bag has excellent reviews online. 

Gowara Gear Tactical Sling Bag Pack

If you want to go with a cheaper tactical sling backpack consider going with the Gowara Gear Tactical Sling Bag Pack. It’s made of durable 600D polyester and is water resistant. This tactical bag has a unique sling pouch on the inside of the back that allows you to store one or two pistols. You can also store plenty of ammo. 

It comes with a free patch of the United States flag that looks pretty sick on the all black backpack. This sling backpack has one of the thicker shoulder straps which I think is much more beneficial for dispersing the weight. It also has two smaller straps that can help to reduce things like sway for a more comfortable fit. 

So if you were looking for a tactical backpack on the cheaper side then this might be the perfect product for you. 

CADeN Camera Bag Sling Backpack

A lot of photographers are interested in sling bags. That is because sling bags are much more convenient to work with a lot of times when taking lenses in and out of your bag. There are quite a few good sling backpacks for cameras, but I like the CADeN Camera Bag Sling Backpack

It goes without saying that most camera sling bags are only going to have room for your camera and lenses. You can also find inserts for tripods or other attachments and find room to store other things like filters. But for the most part you are not going to find a camera sling bag with room for something like a large laptop. 

In this case the Cajun camera bag sling can hold up to four lenses including one large telephoto lens (Including 300 mm). Or, instead of one large telephoto lens you can also fit a DSLR camera along with three additional lenses. 

It also has an upper compartment where you could store smaller personal electronic items or wallets, keys, or things like filters. It’s also just a very nice looking bag in my opinion.

I like the quick access side opening so you can easily take out your camera while keeping your bag around your back. And it’s also nice to have the side holder for the tripod. This is not a bag designed to go across your chest but it does have a nonslip shoulder strap that allows you to ensure that the bag will not slip off your shoulder.

The nylon fabric is waterproof and so water should not get through the bag although the bag itself is not meant to be submerged in water of course. Instead, you can probably rest assured that your camera and lenses would be protected and a regular rainstorm for a brief amount of time. 

MOSISO Sling Backpack, Multipurpose Crossbody Shoulder Bag

If you are looking for something more colorful and bright you might consider the MOSISO Sling Backpack, Multipurpose Crossbody Shoulder Bag. This bag comes with a medium-sized dimension of 15.3″ x 7.5.” So this bag is going to do better with tablets like iPads, iPhones, and Samsung Galaxy Notes and not really good for regular sized laptops.

This is one of those bags that you can carry on either side the right or the left,. You can also wear it as a cross body backpack with the pack in front of you or just put it on a single shoulder. So if you like to switch things up this could be a good option. The bag also comes with a breathable padded shoulder strap, which varies in length from 18 to 36 inches.

One thing about this bag is that it comes in a lot of different colors and patterns. 

Patagonia Atom Sling 8 Liter Bag 

Patagonia Known for their high quality products that are suited for the outdoors. They also make a fantastic gear and bags. The Patagonia Atom Sling 8 Liter Bag is a perfect choice for someone looking for a simple bag that will likely last a long time.

The bag only has two main compartments so it does not have all the bells and whistles that the other bags have. But it does have a lot of space with dimensions of 17″ x 10.” There are also some compression straps on the outside that would be ideal for transporting something like a yoga mat.

The strap comes with a pocket that should be able to hold most cell phones and it also has a padded and breathable sleeve that should be good for hiking or any kind of activity calling for a lot of sweat.

G4Free Sling Bags

If you are looking for a mini sling bag that is very easy to store and to get around with you might consider the G4Free Sling Bags.

This bag has a very light weight design and it is only 15.5″ x 8.26,” making for a pre-compact bag. Obviously, this bag is not designed for laptops but it could be a great back to bring along on a hike or a day at the theme park like Disney if you are just storing small personal items like your keys, wallet, and possibly snacks or something like that.

If you did want to store a tablet the manufacturer does state that the main pocket could fit a iPad mini or iPad air. There is also a side mesh pocket perfect for storing a water bottle or a small umbrella.

If you had small kids, this could potentially be a nice bag for your little boy or girl as well. However, at the same time if you are a pretty large adult this bag might be a little bit on the small side.

Final word

Obviously, there are a lot of different types of sling backpacks that you can choose from. It really comes down to your personal preferences and the needs for that bag.

Do you need a bag that can withstand abuse? You need to store a full size 15″ laptop or do you only need space for maybe something like a small tablet? Are you trying to get a fashionable bag? Once you can narrow down your needs for the type of sling bags then it will be quite easy to choose from a small selection of bags.

11 Best Travel Pillow Cases [2020]

Just because you are on a plane or in a car does not mean that you have to sacrifice comfort when it comes to your pillow cases. There are many high-quality and comfortable pillowcases that you can bring with you and place on your travel pillows wherever you go.

In this article, I will cover the different types of travel pillows you might encounter and provide you with some recommendations of some of the most highly reviewed travel pillow cases around.

Travel pillows overview

Travel pillows come in a variety of sizes and shapes but there are some standardized versions of travel pillows that you will probably see at stores in the airport and when shopping online for travel pillows. 

Standard travel pillow

The standard travel pillow will likely be rectangular and 12″ x 16″ or 14″ x 20″. They might be filled with a variety of fillers like feathers, down, gel fiber, etc. Travel pillows are usually pretty cheap so you don’t have to splurge to find a decent pillow. And likewise, travel pillowcases are also pretty cheap.

A standard travel pillow is the type of pillow that you might bring along on a flight, road trip, or in your luggage for random times when you need some extra support from a pillow.

They are also very handy when traveling with toddlers or with babies. In fact, many pillows that are “travel sized” are actually toddler sized pillows that you would use for every day use with a toddler or a baby. 

And when you are not traveling, these types of pillows can come in handy for added support for your various body parts. For example, I have seen people use smaller travel pillows to help provide them with some additional back support. Or they might plop their legs on top of them when lying down.

Since travel pillows are so popular, it is not that difficult to find a travel pillow case for them. By the way, if you are also interested in finding some quality travel blankets be sure to check out the article here.   

The travel neck pillow

Neck pillows also come in a few varieties but the standard neck pillow comes in a U-shape. This is the type of pillow that wraps around your neck and provides questionable comfort for a lot of people. They also have U-shaped pillows that have additional “arms” for support and other types of neck pillows that provide support in different types of ways. 

You don’t always use a pillowcase for these type of pillows but you can in some instances. The tricky thing with pillows like these is that you have to find a U-shaped pillow case that will fit and the U-shaped pillows often have different dimensions and different fillings which can make it difficult to match them with a pillowcase. 

Standard hotel pillows

When some people are shopping for travel pillow cases, they are not looking for pillowcases for smaller neck and travel pillows.

Instead, they are interested in finding pillowcases that they can take with them to use at hotels.

This gives a lot of people an extra level of comfort and security, knowing that their pillowcases are clean and perhaps more protective of things like allergies. If you fall into this boat, you will be looking to buy pillowcases that are in a standard size or perhaps a queen/king size since many hotel beds are larger.

The issue with this is that hotels use pillows that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Therefore, you may not always be able to use your travel pillowcase unless you travel with several different sizes. 

The best travel pillowcases

Below are some of the top-rated travel pillow cases that you will find online.

ALASKA BEAR – Natural Silk Travel Pillowcase

The ALASKA BEAR – Natural Silk Travel Pillowcase is a very highly rated silk travel pillowcase that comes in a variety of sizes including toddler which is 14″ x 18,” a standard size which is 20″ x 26,” and also queen and king sizes. These pillowcases feature 100% 19 momme mulberry silk and a 600 thread count, allowing for an incredibly smooth feeling on the skin.

Silk pillows may actually have a lot of health benefits. Silk can help reduce allergic reactions to materials and substances that might otherwise be stuck in your cotton pillows. Silk can also help with issues like dry skin and perhaps even help to reduce wrinkles. Finally, it is probably one of the best options for protecting your hair while you sleep. So if health and beauty or at the top of your mind, a pillowcase like this might be perfect for you.

TILLYOU Toddler Travel Pillowcases

The TILLYOU Toddler Travel Pillowcases are some of the most popular travel pillowcases.

These are 100% silky soft microfiber polyester and they are extremely popular with kids and babies due to their smooth texture. They are 14″ x 20″ and come with a pack of two. The pillow cases will fit pillows in the following sizes: 13 x 18, 14 x 19, or 12 x 16 and from the following brands: TILLYOU, Dreamtown Kids, Little Sleepy Head, PharMeDoc, A Little Pillow, My Pillow, and others. 

AmazonBasics Light-Weight Microfiber Pillowcases

AmazonBasics Light-Weight Microfiber Pillowcases are pretty cheap but highly reviewed. It is made with 100% polyester and it includes two 20″ x 30″ pillowcases, so these are a little bit bigger than standard travel pillows.

What is nice about these pillowcases is that they have so many different colors and patterns. You should not have an issue finding a color that matches or compliments whatever look you are going for.

NTBAY Satin Pillowcases

If you are looking for satin travel pillowcases then you might want to check out the NTBAY satin pillowcases. These have fantastic reviews and come with a toddler size of 13″ x 18.” They also come in a variety of colors as well. These pillowcases come with a 90 day return and replacement service so they guarantee your satisfaction which is nice.

Satin pillowcases also have a lot of health benefits just like silk. Satin can help reduce wrinkles and lines in your face by reducing the amount of friction against your face that you would experience with a typical cotton pillow case. It might also help to protect your eyelashes and to keep your hair in good condition as well.  

Bedsure Satin Pillowcase

If you are in the market for a larger satin pillowcase then you might go with the queen size Bedsure Satin pillow case. These measure 20″ x 30″ so they are significantly larger than the satin pillow cases above. These satin pillow cases are highly regarded and have nearly 10,000 reviews averaging close to five stars which is pretty amazing. The satin is 100% polyester satin and will provide you with a smooth and soft feeling.

NTBAY Velvet Pillowcase

If velvet is more your style then look into the NTBAY Velvet Pillowcases. These are super comfortable pillows that come in a toddler size of 13″ x 18.” These pillows come in a number of solid colors and they feature wrinkle, shrink, and fade resistance . 

NTBAY Organic Cotton Toddler Pillowcases

NTBAY Organic Cotton Toddler Pillowcases are good choices for anybody looking for some solid cotton travel pillow cases. These come in toddler size of 13″ x 18″ and will provide you with a set of two pillowcases. You can find these pillows in a variety of different patterns and colors.

Empyrean Bedding Hotel Luxury Set

Walmart has some pretty high-quality travel pillowcases that you can find. The Empyrean Bedding Hotel Luxury Set comes with two pillowcases and the king size pillowcase measures 20” x 40.” The pillowcases are pure microfiber linen, which unlike cotton, is more breathable and durable.

AllerEase Allergy Protection Zippered Travel Pillow Protector

If you are in search of a travel pillow case with an enclosed zipper then consider the AllerEase Allergy Protection Zippered Travel Pillow Protector. It comes in a 14″ x 20″ size and is made of 100% polyester microfiber fabric. The pillowcase only comes in a handful of colors, however.

If you struggle with allergies this might be the type of pillow case that could help you out by blocking dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens.

Travel neck pillowcase

If you are traveling with a neck pillow, there is a chance that you would want to use your own pillow cover for the pillow. Maybe the pillow is a little bit worn and in bad condition or you just want a pillow case that is more comfortable, if you are looking for a good plush pillow cover for a neck pillow then try out Cloudz Washable Travel Neck Pillow Cover.

This pillow case is 100% polyester and slips right over your Cloudz pillow. It even comes with a pocket where you can store your cell phone. 

Personalized travel pillow cases

Some people are really into personalization, especially when it comes to things like travel products. If you would like to find a personalized travel pillow I would head over to Etsy because there are endless customizable products on that website including travel pillows.

Final word

There are a lot of high-quality travel pillow cases out there for you to choose from. The first thing you need to figure out is what type of travel pillow you want a pillowcase for and what size. Then look at all of the different fabrics and decide on what type of texture you find most comfortable. Once you have narrowed that down, it will not be very difficult to find the perfect travel pillow case for you!

11 Best Minimalist Backpacks (Travel, Laptops, & More!) [2020]

I typically stay in hotels for 300 nights a year and keep a very minimalist lifestyle with just a carry-on suitcase and backpack (sometimes a briefcase instead of a backpack). Keeping only items I need without any unnecessary items is part of my minimalistic lifestyle and minimalist backpacks come in handy often.

The backpacks you will see below are minimalist backpacks I would personally use to travel the world nonstop. Some of the minimalist backpacks will be for everyday life, activities like hiking, or for trying to get as light as you can get. In addition to covering their features, I will go over what you should look for in a backpack so that you can choose the perfect match. 

What are minimalist backpacks?

A minimalist backpack is like any other two-strap backpack, but with a design that is more simple than a regular backpack and with fewer organizational pockets and a slimmer, more compact design. 

Instead of having a huge bulky backpack, a minimalist backpack will be designed for only the basic space you need. Minimalist backpacks aren’t designed to carry everything you own. In fact, minimalist backpacks might not be for you if you prefer to stuff your backpack full.

Luckily, minimalist backpacks can come in many shapes and sizes, so down below, you will most likely find one that you will work for you. 

To me, minimalist backpacks are typically more fashionable than other bulkier backpacks, but still bigger than sling backpacks, which are basically glorified fanny packs.

What are the best minimalist backpacks?

Minimalist backpacks come in many different shapes and sizes. Still, the best one for you will depend on your personal preferences. There are a few factors that you will want to consider when buying a minimalist backpack:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Special compartments
  • Straps


Minimalist backpacks are usually defined by their smaller size and more straightforward design, but the sizes of each backpack might be different.

Some minimalist backpacks can hold 15″+ laptops. That means you could still have a minimalist backpack but pack in your more massive 17″ gaming or editing laptop. However, most minimalist backpacks may only be able to hold a 15″ laptop and a couple of smaller types of chargers.

If you are someone who likes to bring your whole office or gaming set-up with you on the go, pay very close attention to what the maximum size is for electronics that can fit properly in the bag.

Luckily, most minimalist backpacks will be able to hold a laptop, tablet, chargers, phone, documents, and reusable water bottles with some extra room to spare. 


For me, the material being used for any type of product is essential. So, when it comes to a backpack, like a minimalist backpack, it will be as important as any other factor.

Why is material so important?

Well, it’s because quality material can last much longer than cheaper material. For example, a cheap backpack will last a shorter amount of time than a backpack that is backed with a lifetime warranty.

Many bags advertise that they are waterproof when, in reality, the actual bag is just water-resistant. While the fabric that makes up the bag is waterproof and would not allow water to penetrate the fabric, that does not mean that the entire bag is waterproof.

An authentic waterproof bag could be tossed into a lake, and water would not seep inside the bag. But the backpacks in this article are not those types of bags. 

Special compartments

Minimalist backpacks, or any type of backpack for that matter, will have specific compartments for specific needs. You might find a compartment that holds a power bank and a hole for a charger. You might find another compartment that holds a tablet and another holding a laptop. 

Compartments can offer more protections for devices or items as they will be secured in place instead of floating around in your bag. So, always be on the lookout for compartments that could serve your unique needs. 


As I will talk about below, the type of strap you have is super important for comfort and for relieving strain. Most backpacks allow you to alter the length of the straps allowing you to position the backpack higher or lower on your back.

The padding of the straps is a crucial player for longterm comfort. Not every backpack will have a lot of padding. This is especially true for the fashion-oriented bags, which basically compromise comfort for style.

If you are going to be wearing your bag a lot and traveling through hot or humid environments, then you might also want to find the straps that have an excellent mesh padding that can help you stay cool.

Are backpacks healthy?

Back in June of 2004, Harvard Medical School did a short article named Bad backs and backpacks. It focuses on backpacks causing stress to the spine and shoulders of children, but the same goes for adults as well. Verywellfit verifies explaining anyone any age can gain back problems when wearing backpacks improperly. 

Research has found that backpacks that are too low can cause back problems later on in a young adult or child’s life. While backpacks worn the wrong way as an adult can cause back issues more immediately as muscles and bones are weaker. So, it’s best to keep the backpack two or three inches over your waist. Otherwise, your shoulders will carry most of the weight if the backpack is too low.

Luckily, all the backpacks below are easy enough to adjust for the best placement on your back. 

Overloading your backpack can also cause problems in your future unless the backpack can carry the weight evenly instead of on your shoulders. See, most backpacks are designed for a certain amount of weight. If it exceeds the weight it’s designed for, the backpack can still function, but it won’t be optimized for carrying the weight. Hence, if you are hiking, you need a backpack that is designed with enough capacity. Otherwise, it will put a strain on your shoulders and spine. 

Using a hop strap can help carry heavy loads to distribute the weight more evenly. 

The best minimalist backpacks

Lenovo Laptop Backpack B210

The Lenovo Casual Backpack B210 is the cheapest minimalist backpack on this list, being less than $20. It’s also an Amazon Choice with over 300 reviews and four and a half stars. It’s not just a random cheap backpack, it’s also made by Lenovo, which is a massive name in the PC manufacturing space (they own IBM). 

Inside the backpack, you have two small compartments suitable for chargers or any other accessories. Then you have the 15.6″ laptop sleeve. You will then find no other compartments in the whole backpack, not even additional outside pockets in the front or the back of the backpack.

The material is water-repellent with reviewers supporting the claim of how durable the bag is. With regular wear and tear, you won’t have to worry about stitching coming undone. Even with a low retail price, the straps are well-padded and comfortable, with reviewers complimenting the soft feel of the bag for everyday use. 

Lenovo Urban Backpack B810

If the Lenovo Casual Backpack B210 wasn’t to your liking because of not having enough pockets or the design isn’t flashy enough, you need to check out the Lenovo Urban Backpack B810

It is almost three times the price of the Casual edition by Lenovo, but this Urban edition sports more organizational compartments, while also keeping the durable, sturdy water-resistant material that is used on the Casual edition backpack. 

You can find a 15.6″ laptop sleeve, front pocket for smaller accessories, side zippers for easy access without taking your backpack off, and a glasses loop. The straps and back of the backpack are padded with mesh allowing it to feel colder than non-meshed backpacks. Reviewers all agree that the backpack is comfortable to wear for everyday use and durable enough for regular use.

In terms of design, I like the leather accents. It allows the backpack to have a more premium feel, but without breaking the bank. Plus, the leather will wear better over time, unlike fabric. 


The BAGSMART Backpack is another great addition if you don’t want to break the bank on a backpack. The price is usually around $30 coming in three colors. It’s a rolltop backpack, where you can open the backpack from unrolling the top. However, you can also access all the contents of the backpack from the back. So, there are two ways to access the inside of the backpack, making it easy to store things that might not fit as easily from the top of the backpack.

Even though this is a minimalist backpack, you can hold multiple college size textbooks, numerous devices, and everything else you might need during your day. In terms of storage, it’s one of the biggest backpacks here being able to hold multiple devices with sleeves for a 15.6″ laptop and 12″ tablet. It also has zipper compartments for valuables, two front zipper pockets to hold small little accessories, and a side pocket for a water bottle.

The material is a water repellent, tear-resistant, and anti-scratch polyester. There is padding for the laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and on the back of the backpack, the back padding is a soft mesh allowing airflow. For the straps, they aren’t a mesh material, but padded and adjustable. There is also an extra strap on the back to go around a luggage handle. This back luggage strap is essential to me, so I don’t need to wear a backpack when I am rolling around my suitcase in an airport or hotel.

JOHNNY URBAN “Milo” Backpack

The JOHNNY URBAN “Milo” Backpack is an eco-friendly minimalist backpack made out of recycled PET bottles. It comes in four colors, and out of the four colors, the pink one is my favorite. You might have noticed this backpack is by far the most urban minimalist design out of all the backpacks on this list. 

The material is probably the most unique quality of this backpack. The material is made out of 100% recycled PET bottles making it both eco-friendly and sustainable. You might think eco-friendly material might have some downsides, but this backpack is still water-repellent with tight quality stitching. The back and straps aren’t a mesh material but are both slightly padded. There is also a strap for suitcase handles. 

You can find a laptop sleeve supporting up to a slim 15″ laptop. On the front of the backpack, you can find one zipper pocket for small accessories. Then in the inside of the backpack, you can find little pockets for other smaller accessories. If you care about stuffing your backpack with everything, do take note this backpack is on the smaller side.

JOHNNY URBAN “Alec” Rolltop Backpack

The JOHNNY URBAN “Alec” Rolltop Backpack is bigger than the “Milo” backpack listed above, and it’s even more minimalistic. And again, the material is what makes this backpack unique. It’s made out of 500D tarpaulin. 500D tarpaulin is exceptionally durable, lightweight, and water-resistant. It’s actually more water-resistant than most backpacks on this list. 

As the material is unique, it’s going to feel different too. Different as in less comfortable than some of the backpacks on this list. On the back, six soft meshed pads allow airflow to keep your back cool and still semi-comfortable, even though the material is slightly rougher than other materials. You will also find the straps to be adjustable, but thinly padded. This means if you are carrying around this backpack for extended periods of time, it’s not gonna feel as comfortable.

However, the style of the backpack is excellent. You will notice no opening for accessing the insides of the backpack except the top. Inside of the backpack, you will find a 15.6″ laptop compartment and few other pockets for devices and accessories. If you prefer to have no laptop compartment, you can take out the laptop compartment leaving the insides of the backpack even bigger.

Oscaurt Anti-theft Backpack

If you prefer a minimalist backpack that is tech-oriented and anti-theft, then the Oscaurt Anti-theft Backpack should be on your radar. It’s offering tech-friendly features like a USB pass-through for your phone, discreet pockets, and zippers for preventing theft. 

What shines about this backpack is the number of compartments it has. You will find 15.6″ laptop, tablet, phone, power bank, pen, water bottle, wallet, etc. compartments all inside this backpack. You can find any pocket for any type of situation, device, or accessory. 

This backpack offers a unique EVA back material for protecting your laptop in the event of a drop. You will also find reflective material on the front of the backpack. Plus, the backpack is water-repellent making it good enough for those potential downpours. In regards to the straps, you will find mesh padding on the straps, making them comfortable but also breathable for long days of wearing this backpack.

Zrui Slim Backpack

The Zrui Slim Backpack is another tech-friendly anti-theft backpack with a lock, but slimmer with a briefcase-like side handle for easy carrying.

On this anti-theft backpack, you will find locks that require codes to access the contents of the bag. You will also find that the zippers are all hidden, so they will be hard to access unless you physically take off the backpack or move the straps. You can find secret compartments in the straps too, which allow easy access for items like money or cards but are still hard to access for anyone not wearing the backpack. 

Inside the backpack, you can find 15.6″ laptop, phone, tablet, pens, wallet, etc. compartments. What I love about this backpack is the fact that you can carry it on its side with its handle, plus there are three ways to open the backpack. Opening it up on a 30, 90, or 180-degree angle. This allows you to access all the contents of the bag in any type of way you wish. 

There is also a USB passthrough for charging your phone with your power bank inside your bag.

Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Medium Backpack

The Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Medium Backpack is basically a Rolls-Royce of backpacks. Briggs & Riley is hailed to make some of the best bags in the industry. It’s kind of like Rimowa, but specializing in fabric and not metal. Each Briggs & Riley product has an industry-leading lifetime warranty. 

There is a 15.6″ laptop compartment that is separate from the main part of the backpack. In the main part of the backpack, you will find compartments for a tablet, umbrella/water bottle, pen, cards, glasses, document, etc. On the outside of the backpack, you can find a small zipper RFID blocking pocket on the back of the backpack for passport, money, or cards. On the side of the backpack, you have another small zipper pocket for small devices or accessories. 

The material is top grade, and if you want something that will last for a lifetime, this is your bag. Not only do you have stylish leather accesses throughout the bag, like on the handle, you also have a proprietary Tartex body fabric that is water-repellent. Then on top of that, you still have a lifetime warranty. So you don’t have to worry about it breaking down and needing to buy a new bag, you just send it into Briggs & Riley, and they take care of the rest for you. 

Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Flapover Expandable Backpack

The Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Flapover Expandable Backpack is a flapover expandable minimalist backpack. It’s thin but expandable to a bigger size for storing flexibility.

The material is their proprietary Tartex fabric allowing for durability with water-repellent infused into the fabric. You can then find top-grain leather touchpoints and access through the bag. The straps are padded with mesh for breathability and comfort. 

The compartments are similar to the Briggs & Riley backpack listed above. You can find a separate 15.6″ laptop compartment and compartments for tablets, pens, cards, sunglasses, zipper pocket, etc. all in another area of the backpack. There is an easy to access front pocket with a zipper for small accessories. Then your valuables like passports, cards, and cash can go into the RFID blocking zipper pocket on the back of the backpack. 

Designer Lightweight Backpack

If you wish to have a minimalist backpack holding a small notebook, charger, and laptop, then look no further to the Designer Lightweight Backpack. This backpack offers a little compact experience just for people that want to carry around a laptop.

As you can see from the picture, the material of the backpack is felt and canvas-like material that isn’t water-repellent. So, if you are caught in the rain, make sure your bag stays dry, or it won’t do much protection from the rain as other bags on this list. However, the material is unique as it’s soft all around and super slim. In fact, this is the smallest backpack on our list.

You will find the laptop sleeve suitable for up to 15.6″ laptops and a notebook, both of which will be located under the flap. Then in the front of the backpack, you can find a small pocket where you can store your charger or other small accessors like dongles. Reviewers do love the size and weight of the backpack as it’s meant to be super light.

KAUKKO Outdoor Backpack

For the minimalist hikers out there, the KAUKKO Outdoor Backpack is for you. It’s on the larger size, robust, and ready for the outdoors. It’s made out of 600D polyester fabric, which is prepared for action fighting off the elements. Then there is also a nylon lining, which makes the backpack soft and comfortable. Both of these materials together create a water-repellent backpack.

The straps are designed with padding and mesh for support and comfort. Then on the back of the backpack, you will find meshed padding that has caved out sections to allow better airflow to keep you cool. 

This is the most enormous backpack on the list, being able to hold 22L of capacity. The laptop compartment can fit up to a 15.6″ laptop. Then there is an outer compartment that can hold up to 18″ object like a huge editing or gaming rig, clothes, umbrella, books, hiking gear, etc. There is a mini pocket on the front of the backpack that allows you to hold tiny accessories. Then you can find two side pockets for two water bottles. 

What I love about this backpack is the design. The material is durable enough for nature, but also stylish enough with accent stitching, leather, and metal. It’s basically a good compromise of design and practicality. 

Final word

As you can see, there are many different types of minimalist backpacks. Some are so thin that you can only fit a laptop, while others can be used for hiking. No matter what, you can narrow down your preferences and find out what will work for you.

Desert Clothing Ultimate Guide [2020]

The desert is one place where you don’t want to venture to unless you have the proper attire. And no I am not talking about trying to impress at Coachella. I’m talking about exploring the real desert. If you wander out into the desert without the right type of clothes, you are not only risking being extremely uncomfortable, you’re potentially risking your health as well.

I have done a lot of traveling through the desert in my day, and I have learned quite a few things. Below is a comprehensive list of all of the desert clothes that you might need to pack on your trip to the desert.

I will first provide a brief overview of the elements you can expect to experience in a desert environment, and then I will cover proper desert clothing items, starting at the top of your body.

Desert environments

Before you go putting together your wardrobe for your desert trip, you should think about some of the different elements you will encounter, because those will likely dictate the type of clothing you should choose. Here are some things to consider.

Extreme temperatures

Deserts are known for their extreme temperatures.

Obviously, the most common association is a scorching hot day in a desert which means that you need to be prepared for very high temperatures and bring along ventilated and lightweight clothing. Clothing that will wick away moisture is also very helpful for keeping your cool.

UV exposure

UV rays can start damaging your skin in as soon as five minutes so you also need to protect against prolonged UV exposure which can be done with clothing that has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor).

UPF is basically the same thing as SPF it is just that SPF is used for rating sunscreen while UPF is used to rate the effectiveness of blocking out UV rays with clothing. I would look for a UPF of 50+ which should block out around 98% of the sun’s UV rays

High temperatures also mean expansion of your body parts such as your feet. This means that you should look for clothes that fit you comfortably and not too snug.

This is especially true for your clothing which could interfere with your perspiration.

In order for your body to keep cool, you need to be able to sweat and your sweat needs to evaporate. If your clothes are too tight, your sweat will not be able to evaporate and your body temperature will not drop (think about how a wetsuit keeps you warm).

Also be careful with sunscreen. Sometimes sunscreen can prevent you from properly sweating which can interfere with your body’s ability to cool down.

In many cases, you would be better off with clothes that have UV protection and have enough space for air to pass through and evaporate your sweat.

And here is a fact for you: if the sun is not an issue, such as in the evening or at night, your best bet for cooling off is to simply strip off your clothes.

Don’t forget: You also need to consider the extreme cold temperatures if you are venturing into a desert where you might be exposed to very cold weather. (This article will focus more on high temperatures.)

Sandy environments

In many desert environments you will encounter a lot of sand (shocker, I know). 

As you already are probably aware, sand finds a way to get into anything and everywhere, especially when visiting places like Antelope Canyon. So you need to think about ways that you will be able to keep sand out of places like your shoes, crevices, and not to mention all of your bags and electronics.

Rough environments

Many desert landscapes involve navigating some pretty harsh environments. You might be scrambling over rough boulders and rocks or making your way through skinny trails lined with prickly cacti. This is where it gets tough because you want to find this fine balance between breathable and durable clothing materials that can withstand a little bit of punishment.

Water environments

I’ve been on a number of desert sites where we have needed to venture into or across water. Sometimes this meant just hopping over a stream but other times it meant wading through several feet of cold water. So you need to think about how your wardrobe and shoes might hold up in these type of wet environments.

Avoid black

While there is a little bit of debate about which color to wear in hot environments, generally you probably want to avoid black if possible. The reasoning is that black absorbs heat and therefore will make you hotter (especially thinner materials) while light clothing will reflect heat and keep the heat away from you, allowing you to remain cool.

Now that we have covered some of the basics, below I will go into detail about all of the optimal desert clothing.

Booney Hat

A booney type hat is a definite necessity when traveling in the desert.

A good desert hat will be very breathable (might use mesh), wick moisture, and provide optimal shade for your face, ears, and your neck. Cotton can work but so can a variety of other materials like nylon as long as they are vented.

I would recommend going with a hat that has a wide bill/brim around the entire circumference so that you can get more shade for your ears and part of your neck. If you go with a traditional baseball cap, you will need some type of additional covering like a towel or some other type of device that covers your neck.

You could always go for something a bit more serious like this hat that offers protection all around your entire face. 

Towel/cooling hoodie

There are many hikes in the desert that will take you through open washes and sandy trails where there is virtually no shade available. And for these hikes, you need something to protect you in exposed areas like your neck and ears.

A towel can help protect you from the sun and to keep you dry when traveling through a hot and sunny environment. You can find towels with UV protection that wick moisture away from your skin and are pretty lightweight and thin enough to fit underneath a hat.

However, I might take it a step further and look at getting something like a cooling hoodie which can easily protect the areas of your neck and sides of your head underneath a hat. You might even consider getting a special cooling towel that can also help bring down your temperature.

Category 4 polarized sunglasses

Sunglasses are an absolute necessity when trekking in the desert. You can do some serious damage to your eyes by exposing yourself to blinding glares over long periods of time and it will just be a miserable hiking experience.

I would recommend going with a nice pair of polarized sunglasses with UV protection. Polarized sunglasses come in different varieties and they are classified based on categories 1 to 4. I would recommend you go with category 4 polarized sunglasses to reduce the maximum amount of glare.

You might also consider going with some type of special tinted glasses. Tinted glasses can help bring out more contrast and details depending on the environment that you are in. In the case of a desert, you are probably looking to reduce glare and perhaps highlight details so that you can better see things like the trail markers and cairns. And for those purposes, I think strong polarized category 4 sunglasses do the trick. 

As mentioned above dust hitting your face can be an issue in the desert, so you might want to think about getting glasses that offer up more protection from dust or flying sand. You may not necessarily need motorcycle goggles but some glasses do wrap around your face more and provide a wider screen of protection.

Bandanna/Neck Gaiter

A bandanna can come in handy in the desert for multiple reasons.

You could use it to protect your neck but it is versatile and you can also use it to protect your mouth and nose from any dust storms or strong winds blowing dust or sand in your face. (You may also just use a neck gaiter.)

You might also use bandannas for navigational purposes. For example, you could tie one tightly around the entry point for a trail if you are looping back or for some other landmark purpose. 

Bonus tip: Chapstick

Typically, when you think of needing chapstick or lip balm you probably think about traveling in cold climates. But when you are heading into the desert, your lips can get seriously sunburned or even windburned depending on the conditions. So it is always a great idea to bring along chapstick with SPF protection.

Long sleeve shirt with UPF 50+

If you are venturing into the desert during a time with little clouds in the sky, you will be exposing yourself to a lot of sun whether you are traveling in the winter or summer. I would recommend to get a long sleeve shirt that offers UV protection and fits loosely for optimal perspiration evaporation. You can find a shirt like that right here.

Lightweight, packable down jacket

Depending on the time of year you are visiting, the desert can get quite cool or even very cold in the evenings and at night. That means that in some cases you would want to bring along some type of insulated jacket to keep you warm.

I would recommend to go with something lightweight and packable. You can look at getting down insulated jackets (stuffed with duck, feather, etc.) or other lightweight jackets.

Puncture-resistant gloves

You might want to pack a pair of puncture-resistant gloves just in case of an emergency or in case you want to explore some cacti. These gloves can be used to handle a cactus that you can use it to replenish you with water/calories. You can never be too prepared in the desert.


You want to make sure you have a decent belt to keep your pants up and to keep you comfortable. Generally, I would recommend going with a tactical belt because these nylon belts can be more comfortable than a standard belt. 

Lightweight and breathable pants

The best type of garment to wear for your lower body when traveling through the desert is a nice pair of hiking pants.

Pants might seem counterintuitive due to the high temperatures you might be facing but if you find a nice pair of breathable, UV blocking pants they can save you a world of hurt that you would get from sunburn. Trust me, it is very easy to get a serious sunburn on your legs when going on a long hike on a hot summer day in the middle of the desert.

The type of material you should go with kind of depends on personal preference. Some people swear by nylon or polyester materials and others prefer cotton. I think that I personally just prefer a lightweight material that feels very breathable and comfortable and wicks away moisture.

You can easily find a nice pair of convertible pants that can be converted into shorts if you do get too hot. Generally, I have found the best brands for convertible pants to be REI or Columbia. You should be able to find a pair with high UPF

The issue with using convertible pants in desert areas is that the sand can cause issues for the convertible pants if they use zippers. 

I like pants with elastic waist bands especially if you are traveling through the desert because that can help keep sand out of your pants. I would also recommend to get a pair with cargo pockets since you might be hauling around a stash of snacks or a little gadgets like GPS or compasses. When traveling in the desert, you might want your pockets to be a little bit less baggy to keep some of the sand out.

Breathable Underwear

Your underwear should be optimized for keeping you as dry and cool as possible. I usually go with a pair that has some sort of mesh that allows it to be more breathable than standard underwear. Adidas has been one of my favorite brands for breathable men’s underwear for a long time.

The other thing you want to think about is to prevent chafing or friction between your thighs. This sort of thing depends on how you walk and your body size and composition, but generally I would recommend underwear with longer length that also offers some sort of compression.

There are a lot of quick dry underwear that you can find as well as tactical underwear that could be comfortable. There are also anti-chafing sticks you can use as well.

Wool socks

If you were going into the desert you will want to get some quality socks. The type of socks you need might seem counterintuitive, though. For example you are probably imagining some sort of light material that keeps you cool and would not necessarily think of wearing wool socks in the desert.

But wool socks are simply amazing for hiking because they allow you to keep your feet dry — they don’t force you to live with damp and stinky feet.

Even better, they can help prevent blisters. If you are really worried about blisters, you can always bring some type of foot powder or even resort to trying to wear liners or pantyhose under your socks.

A brand of wool socks I have always trusted is People Socks and another brand to consider is Darn Tough.

Hiking boots

My top concern when it comes to footwear in the outdoors is comfort. I just completely throw fashion or style out of the window because at the end of the day none of that matters when in the outdoors.

Keeping sand out of your hiking boots

If you are traveling through the desert, then you want to think about keeping sand out of your shoes and protecting your ankles from prickly shrubs and cacti.

I would recommend you going with some sort of mid-top hiking boots in order to do this. High-top hiking boots might be a little bit excessive out in the desert but low top hiking boots will make it that much easier for sand to find its way in your shoe.

Breathable hiking boots

Since you will likely be dealing with high temperatures, you also want a pair of hiking boots that is breathable and offers some level of proper ventilation for your feet.

Make sure you have a little bit of extra room in your hiking boots as well. I once took a long hike on a sweltering day and my feet are swelled up so bad in the heat that one of my toenails ended up breaking off!

Great grip

When tracking through deserts like those in the western US, you will come across a variety of terrain. You might be making your way through a sandy pathway one second and then walking on an upward angle on some slippery sandstone the next. Then you might have to venture through a creek and scramble a top some boulders.

So you want to look for a hiking boots that will offer you versatility. You want to have a combination of good grip, breathability, and also at times it would be a help if you had waterproof hiking boots. But keep in mind that some boots with waterproof linings will not have good breathability since you often can’t have both.

If you are going to be spending a lot of time crossing creeks or rocky rivers, you might also think about bringing along a pair of canyoneering shoes. These will have you sticking to rocks like Spiderman and will make your journey much more easier to navigate. You may not need to purchase these because a lot of outdoors stores near national parks may allow you to rent these for a day.

Final word

Finding proper clothes for the desert means optimizing your wardrobe for the following:

  • Lightweight materials
  • Breathability
  • Protection against sand accumulation
  • Moisture wicking materials
  • Protection to UV rays
  • Minimizing friction and discomfort

If you take the above factors into consideration, you should have no problem getting clothes for your next desert excursion and will be completely prepared.

11 Best Rain Ponchos for All Occasions [2020]

Sometimes a sunny day becomes an unexpected cloudy rainy day. No matter where you are, the proper rain protection can help make your travel or commute into work or school much more pleasant and protect you and your clothes from the elements.

In this article, I will explain what types of rain ponchos are available and give you a lot of recommendations for some of the best rain ponchos out there. 

What are rain ponchos?

To my surprise, I asked a few of my friends what they thought about rain ponchos and some of my friends didn’t know what a rain poncho was, or at least didn’t know the exact name. Maybe rain ponchos are less of a trend now? In reality, rain ponchos are actually far more useful than you might expect and they can also be quite fashionable. 

A rain poncho is basically an oversized hoodie that repels water away from your clothes and body. It will usually have a hood and sleeves for your arms. So, you could wear a rain poncho over your regular clothes to keep your clothes dry from the rain. Or in other words, think of an oversized raincoat that should cover most or all of your body.

However, there are two different types of rain ponchos, multi-use or disposable.

Multi-use rain ponchos

Multi-use rain ponchos, also known as reusable rain ponchos, are similar to any other article of clothing that you can use multiple times. 

You could use reusable rain ponchos almost every day if it was raining and not have to worry about buying a new one as you can keep the same reusable rain poncho day in and day out. 

If you want to save the environment, reusable rain ponchos are far better for the environment as it’s not going directly into the trash after one use. You could think of reusable rain ponchos as reusable water bottles, instead of buying a single-use bottle of water, you could fill up a refillable water bottle that produces less plastic and trash than single-use water bottles in the long term. 

Disposable rain ponchos

Disposable rain ponchos are typically given out or bought when we least expect them. They are good for one-time use, but nothing more. Most of the time the quality of disposable rain ponchos are weak and will wear and tear after a day of use making them ultimately useless after a day. 

You can find disposable rain ponchos at many convenience stores and supermarkets, but as they are disposable they are typically thinner and the material is almost like wearing a plastic bag over your clothes.

Places like Niagara Falls will hand out disposable rain ponchos when you go to the falls via boat or visit the caves. Once you are done you will throw them away without any intent to use them again.

Disposable rain ponchos aren’t the best for the environment. Think of plastic bags you get from the grocery store. Once you use them, it’s hard to use them as they tear or leak very easily and just create more waste. So be mindful about the impact on the environment. 

Rain poncho vs umbrella vs jacket

It will all come down to preference, but most people will agree that umbrellas are great for everyday living. Umbrellas are light and easy to put away into a backpack or bag. Umbrellas are great for cities or parks. However, umbrellas cannot handle strong winds and still leaves you vulnerable to the elements. 

A rain poncho, on the other hand, will cover you from your head to your feet or knees. You will have your hands free as the poncho is a piece of clothing you wear over your regular daily clothing. It also will handle windy weather with ease as you’re wearing it blocking out the elements from hitting your skin or clothing.

A rain jacket is great as it’s easy to take off and put on leaving your hands free, but it will only cover your upper half. So, your legs are still exposed to the elements. A jacket is great for both cities and the great outdoors for short periods of time.

So, in the end, you will have to decide which one is right for you based on your circumstances. 

The best rain ponchos

HLK.Sports Rain Coats EVA Reusable Rain Coat Jacket with Hood

The HLK.Sports Rain Coats EVA Reusable Rain Coat Jacket with Hood is probably the best rain poncho for casual use.

It’s made out of thick biodegradable EVA material that is light enough for most and impacts the environment slightly less than other ponchos. It’s better to be eco than not, especially when you get a reusable poncho. 

What is great about this poncho is the fact that it is compatible with a medium-sized backpack making it easy for daily use. So, if you are wearing a backpack, you should keep an eye out for ponchos that are easy to wear with a backpack. Most ponchos allow you to wear a backpack, but some will fit backpacks a little easier than others.

I for one like how the poncho is also slightly opaque allowing you to show off your clothes underneath.

The HLK Sports Rain Coat poncho fits up to size XL unisex as it’s 59″ by 27.5″ including the hood.

Womens Rain Poncho Stylish Polyester Waterproof Raincoat with Hood

The Womens Rain Poncho Stylish Polyester Waterproof Raincoat with Hood Zipper Styles is marketed for women, but with a classic polka dot design that makes it eye-catching. The front length is 36.2” and the back length is 40.6”. So, as someone who is 5’10”, it would be short on me.

However, this poncho would still be good enough for boys and girls or adult women. Plus, it includes an anti-leak portable bag making it easy to clip on backpacks or handbags. It is perfect for keeping the contents of your bags dry if you are done with the rain poncho and need a place to put it.

The poncho is described as a cape as the sleeves are part of the main poncho. Because of the poncho design, this poncho is actually easier to wear as it’s more like a blanket instead of a hoodie. I kinds think of it as a shorter snuggie. This poncho would be great if you want something that looks less like a standard rain poncho and more like a unique rain outfit.

MELIFLUOS Raincoat Poncho for Women with Hood and Polka Dots Design

The MELIFLUOS DESIGNED IN SPAIN Raincoat Poncho for Women with Polka Dots Design is another rain poncho that is made for women, as it’s shorter with gender-specific design features throughout. If you’re over 5’5″, the poncho will reach down to your knees. 

The foldable durable design is great if you want a clear rain poncho to show off your clothes underneath, but also have elements of unique Spanish design. You have stylish faux pockets that aren’t useable, but many reviewers still enjoyed how it looked.

It’s available in one design and the material is thicker as it’s a little more like rubber material. As it’s a PVC material, it’s less eco-friendly than EVA material, but will help up in the long run. Some have said the smell was terrible when it first arrived, but after one day of hanging, the smell went away. 

ISusser Disposable Emergency Raincoats

The ISusser Disposable Emergency Raincoats, Colorful Rain Poncho with Hook Portable Ball is a unique disposable rain poncho that is packed in a pokemon like a ball that clips onto a bag or backpack. The poke type ball is 2.5″ in diameter, making it crazy portable. The poncho itself is 35.4″ by 47.2″.  So it’s large enough for most average height men and women, while being longer for children. 

Each ball is a different color, but the unisex rain poncho inside has no color and is a little clear. The material won’t be the best as it is compact and thin, but useable for one day. 

As it’s a disposable rain poncho, it won’t be all so fashionable. However, if you are traveling as a family or your kid is on his or her way to school, this could be a great poncho to have clipped to your bag. The advantage of always being prepared for any rain is awesome and kids would most likely use it as it’s like opening a colorful toy with a prize inside. 

FWG Rain Poncho Waterproof Raincoat

Probably the most interesting rain poncho I have ever seen is one that would transform. The FWG Rain Poncho Waterproof Raincoat is a transformable rain poncho. Yes, a rain poncho that turns into a tent.

I never thought a rain poncho could double as a tent, but they made it happen and wow it’s interesting. It can be folded into the size of an iPad, 9” by 3.15” and while wearing it as a poncho, its front length is 36.5″, back length is 40.5″ and width is 58.5″.

It’s not the most comfortable poncho on the market, let alone stylish, but being so unique allows it to be useful for anyone that needs a poncho and a tent combo.

The material, Polyester PONGEE,  will be more rugged and thicker than other ponchos on this list, so don’t expect to use this poncho for daily use. However, if you like to hike, this poncho would be a great choice withstanding wear and tear better than other ponchos on this list. 

Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho

For the backpackers out there, the Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho is an interesting rain poncho that can cater to the world backpackers. The poncho fits all as the length is 51″ without any backpack. So, once you had a backpack on, the back would be below your knees. 

Coming in seven different colors, the backpacker’s rain poncho can cover you and your oversized backpack while you trek through the jungle or get to your next destination.

Another plus about the poncho is the high-quality ultra waterproof 210T Terylene fabric. It’s also equipped with a drawstring hood and zipped neck

While I am not a backpacker myself, I prefer briefcase and carry-on, this poncho is very innovative and useful catering to globetrotters.

Disposable Rain Poncho (Extra Thick) with Drawstring Hood

The  Disposable Rain Poncho (Extra Thick) with Drawstring Hood is a pack of six disposable rain ponchos that come in yellow, red, and blue. 

Being a disposable rain poncho, it’s not going to be the strongest material as they might rip easily, but still great for a whole day of use. Compared to the poke like ball rain ponchos, which are listed above, these disposable ponchos are slightly stronger and can endure an eventful day at an amusement park or touring around a city sightseeing. 

These could be great to stuff into a backpack for a group of people knowing it will rain as this is another poncho that would fit all sizes. It might be perfect for a day at an amusement park or on a field trip where you need to be prepared for anything during that one day but not a regular occurrence. 

Transparent Waterproof Raincoat for Women

If you want a 100% clear rain poncho, the Waterproof Raincoat Transparent Rain Poncho is perfect if you want to show off your outfit. 

As the rain poncho is made for women, it won’t fit most men, but as a woman, you can easily show off your normal everyday outfit or suit while you walk through the rainy streets of NYC. 

The material, which is EVA, is thick and holds form easily, but the one negative would be not being so compact if you want to stuff it in a bag. The material is similar to rubber as the manufacturing process to make it clear made this poncho more thick than others on this list. 

The length comes in at 43″, making it an ideal size for most women.

LOHASCASA Women’s and Big Girl’s Waterproof Raincoat

The LOHASCASA Women’s and Big Girl’s Waterproof Raincoat is a stylish women’s poncho that comes in 12 different colors. It’s 40.5″ in length, making it ideal for most women or children. 

What makes this poncho special though is the material being less like a rubber material and lighter than the other ponchos. The material is polyester, it will last a good amount of time as it can withstand most normal wear and tear. In fact, it’s a two-layered poncho has a breathable underlayer that doesn’t make you too hot unlike other ponchos above. Reviews rave about the material and how compact it can get in a handbag. 

If you prefer a lighter more breathable rain poncho, this would be one to consider. 

4ucycling Raincoat

The 4ucycling Raincoat is more of an oversized pullover rain jacket, but with poncho-like material synthetically assembled (nylon made), that repels rain better than most rain jackets. Being a synthetic assembly, it is rugged and feels very different from all other materials used on this list. 

The length is 49.5″ making it almost as long as most ponchos, but less baggy and more fitted like a pullover. It comes in army-green or black for the colors, I personally prefer the black.

My favorite thing about this pullover is the fact that it has a big kangaroo-like pocket in the front with a zipper. Having a huge pocket like a kangaroo is super useful if you don’t want to put anything in your pants pockets or purse. Then there is elastic in the sleeves fitting to your wrist so the sleeves don’t cover your hands by moving too much.

The pullover is more like a jacket than a poncho, so it means it’s easier to move around in because of no rubber-like material constricting you. 

ZHENWEI Womens’ Rain Coat with Hood

Again, another rain jacket is on this list, but as it’s similar to a rain poncho I think it should be included. The ZHENWEI Womens’ Rain Coat with Hood is a traditional rain jacket that measures in 39″ in length. Meaning it will be long enough for most women as it’s long enough to reach or pass the knees. 

The great thing about a button-up rain jacket is the ease of taking off and on the jacket. No need to pull it over your head as you can easily unbutton it where you take it off and on as a jacket. Unfortunately, it has no pockets in or outside of the jacket. As there are no pockets, it’s less useful in my eyes, but still many reviews still enjoy it. 

There are 15 colors available all fitted for women. The material is eco-friendly EVA that is slightly thicker than other jackets or ponchos on this list, but as a jacket, you can easily adjust the buttons to make it more breathable.

I think this could be a great option if you want a jacket that is long, but not a pullover or a poncho.

Final word

No matter if you settle with a rain poncho or not, I do hope this list helped you pick your next purchase to protect you and your clothes from the rain. 

Are Apple AirPods Worth it?

I originally thought the Apple AirPods were ridiculous. The look, the price, and the apparent lack of necessity were all reasons I strayed away from them. But I finally decided to stay open minded about them and tested out the Apple AirPods for close to a month. Now, I’ve finally arrived at an opinion on these things…. After being skeptical for months, I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of the Apple AirPods! And heres why I took a 180º turn.

They work great (most of the time)

The Apple AirPods work surprisingly well most of the time, and I rarely have any issues with connectivity. Occasionally, there’s a quick interruption when I’m listening to music, but I suspect this is because I mostly stream from Spotify and use a third-party app on my Apple Watch to control the music that can be a little buggy at times.

In any event, the issue does not happen frequently enough to make me frustrated with the AirPods performance, so I am generally impressed that they do what they are supposed to do the vast majority of the time.

Also, Bluetooth ear pods are notorious for their latency shortcomings that arise from the Bluetooth signal being transferred from one ear pod to the other. Since each Apple AirPods receives its own Bluetooth channel independently at the same time, there’s little to no latency.

As far as sound quality goes the AirPods are good enough for me. I know that there are other wireless headphones offering higher quality sound but I’m by no means an audiophile, so these work just fine for me. I do wish they didn’t let in as much ambient noise at times (when working out I can still hear the TVs in the gym that others refuse to turn down), but it’s not a major negative to me.

They are simple to sync

One of the beauties of the AirPods is that they are so simple to use. They come equipped with the W1 chip, which makes them easily synced to iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches. As soon as you open up the case near your iPhone (assuming your blue tooth is on), a window appears for you to connect your AirPods, as demonstrated in this video. And just like that you’re ready to go.

If you’re signed in to iCloud, your AirPods are set up automatically with any of your supported devices that are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. For instructions on how to pair your Apple AirPods to other Apple Devices read on here. 

Also, in case you weren’t aware, Apple AirPods can also be used on other non-Apple devices, since they act as standard Bluetooth devices.

They charge lightning quick

There’s nothing worse than having some useful piece of tech only for it to lose power and be unavailable for hours at a time. One thing that I love about the AirPods is that you can get up to three hours of power with just a 15-minute charge. That’s a life saver. Now when I forget to charge my headphones before a workout, I can just plug them in and wait out around 10-15 minutes and then I’m right in the gym.

The AirPods will hold a charge for 5 hours of listening time and 2 hours of talk time, which is more than enough time for me. The charging case (which everyone agrees looks like a pack of dental floss) can maintain up to 24 hours of battery life and connects via a Lightning USB cable (wireless charging capabilities should be out next year). The charging case is a sweet little case that the AirPods fit perfectly into and seals shut magnetically. I like to carry around the case in my pocket when I’m using the AirPods so I always have a safe place to store them.

I do find myself monitoring the power levels of the AirPods and the charging case a lot, though. Luckily, it’s not hard to do. You can check it via your battery widget on your iPhone, on your Apple Watch, and by clicking the Bluetooth or volume icon on your MacBook. One of the easiest methods is to just open up the case (when the AirPods are inside) near your iPhone and the battery levels of both your charging case and AirPods will pop up. You can also just ask Siri what battery level your AirPods are at.

They are functional (though still a bit limited)

The AirPods don’t come with a lot of functionality but there’s still some there. You can program them so that when you double tap your AirPods you activate the following functions:

  • Use Siri to control your audio content, change the volume, or do anything else Siri can do
  • Play, pause, or stop your audio content
  • Skip to the next track
  • Go back to the previous track

I use Siri on my right AirPod and the skip to the next track function on my left, which I found to be practical when working out. Also, if you get a phone call, you can double tap to answer the call.

With “automatic ear detection,” AirPods sense when they’re in your ear and receive the audio from your device. So as soon as you put them into your ear, sound begins streaming in from your synced device. AirPods also pause and resume playback when you remove one of your AirPods, or stop playback—and won’t resume—when you remove both.

This is very convenient when someone comes up to you very quickly to speak with you and you can just pop one of them out of your ear to pause your music. But it works differently with other uses. For example, if you’re watching a YouTube video on your MacBook you can expect the video will continue to play through your MacBook once you take out (both of) your AirPods so be prepared to mute if necessary.

AirPods are trendy

Initially, like many other people, I didn’t like the appearance of the AirPods. Whether it was toothbrushes, cigarettes, or some other random object, people drew a lot of unfavorable comparisons for what the AirPods resembled.

To me they just looked silly, since they literally looked like standard Apple headphones with the wires cut off. But the look slowly started to grow on me. I started seeing other people in airports and lounges with them and I started to become more intrigued about their potential.

And now,  after trying them out for about a month, I think Apple AirPods are actually trendy. It’s almost like Apple has made Bluetooth headsets cool once again and these pieces are a bit of a fashion statement. I guess that’s just the power of Apple?

The AirPods stay in (for me)

The AirPods have a slightly modified design that is supposed to fit our ears better (EarPods are a bit more round and AirPods are slightly more contoured). I’ve personally never had an issue with the EarPods fitting and staying put in my ear and the AirPods are just the same, if not better.They even stay in during activities. I don’t feel like they will fall out even if I go for a jog on a treadmill. Obviously, this will vary from person to person but in my own experience, the AirPods fit fantastic.

If these little things didn’t stay snugly in my ears this would be a deal breaker, though. I’d be way too worried about losing them and it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Speaking of losing them, that’s just a risk you have to take with wireless ear pods. You can always buy some type of attachment for your charging case to help keep tabs on them but at the end of the day you’re just going to need to be more attentive.

They are the great with the Apple Watch

To me the Apple Watch is incomplete without the Apple AirPods. Now that you can have take calls on your Apple Watch and stream Apple Music, I feel like AirPods are pretty much a necessity if you want to get all of the value that you can out of your Apple Watch.

I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the microphones in the AirPods, too. Each AirPod has a microphone (though you can program it so that only one AirPod functions as the mic). I’ve handled a number of calls with these AirPods now and nobody on the other side of the phone call has had any complaints about voice quality.

AirPods are fantastic during workouts

I love to workout with my (sweat resistant) AirPods. I can place my iPhone on the gym floor/in a bag while at the gym and not have to worry about getting a wire tangled up (which probably happened to my clumsy-self way more than it should have). I don’t have to worry about my heavy iPhone swinging in my pocket when jogging or slipping out when doing things like bench press. It’s just an overall smoother workout experience. Also, if you have the Apple Watch, you can easily control the volume for your AirPods and navigate through playlists.

Wired headphones are now inferior

This will no doubt come down to personal preference, but I really feel like my wired headphones are just inferior now and will be on the verge of obsolete in the near-future. I should note that this was my first experience with wireless headphones so to me the feeling of not being attached to to a device was very new and exciting the first time I put these things in my ear.

Now when I go back to wired headphones, they just feel old-school. I quickly realize how much I appreciate the freedom to move about from my laptop around the house or device in the gym. It makes getting comfortable when working, relaxing, meditating, etc. much easier — I honestly never realized how constricting headphone wires were until I didn’t have to deal with them any longer.


The price point is around $159. This is a bit high for many but it’s not so outlandish when compared to Bluetooth headphones offered by top brands out there. Originally, I was skeptical about the price point being worth it but now I feel like these AirPods were worth it. AirPods are dominating the Bluetooth headphones market though and so your oder might even be put on delay right now.

Are AirPods good for travel?

Obviously noise cancelling headphones are going to be the most useful when trying to find peace and quiet when up in the air at 35,000 feet or in any noisy environment. But that doesn’t mean AirPods aren’t suited for travel. They are an effecient way to communicate when on the go given how easy they are to take out when needed and how good the microphone quality is.

They also are great for planes or other forms of transportation where your headphone wires would normally be getting caught on trays, dishes, seats, etc. It’s just a lot easier to manage without wires, at least for me. So I think the AirPods are great for travel and I will certainly be brining them along with me on all of my future journeys.

Final word

I think one of the major reasons I love these so much is that they’ve been my first experience with “truly” wireless headphones and I just can’t get enough of the freedom that comes with that. But I also really value some of the unique features of Apple AirPods.

I really like how simple AirPods are to sync and to use and how they are somewhat of a fashion item now despite the rocky entrance they made into the fashion world. They also help make the AppleWatch much more practical (and vice versa). They’ve made my life easier in the gym and while traveling and since AirPods fit my ears so perfectly and the sound quality is more than sufficient for me, I think I’m going to be rocking with these for a long time.

The iPhone 7 a Substitute for a DSLR?

When Apple released the iPhone7 and iPhone7+,  a lot of people were excited about the new camera features. In particular, one feature that stood out was the new “bokeh” effect. This is the blur effect produced by capturing an object out of focus or slightly out of focus. It’s usually an easy way to determine if an image was taken from a high quality DSLR versus a point and shoot or camera phone and can make photos look much more professional and interesting when executed well.

The new iPhones allow you to capture this pseudo-bokeh effect by shooting in portrait mode. It accomplishes this by utilizing a combination of a dual-camera system and computerized effects.

Digital Trends states that:

Apple is actually using a combination of software, distance measurements, and depth of field data to calculate what it thinks the bokeh should look like, and then using advanced processing and computer vision to create the bokeh digitally (all part of computational photography).

So how does this computer engineered version of bokeh hold up to the real thing?

Here’s a great example of what the iPhone can do:

Here’s a normal photo taken on the iPhone without Portrait Mode:

Here’s a photo taken in Portrait Mode:

In the photo below, the blurring effect looks very natural to me and significantly enhances the quality of the photo.

Here’s a normal photo taken on the iPhone without Portrait Mode:

Here’s a photo taken in Portrait Mode:

I’m pretty impressed with the bokeh in both of these Portrait Mode photos, especially the first. I think that the bokeh effect is definitely a step above a lot of those apps that produce that cheap-looking bokeh effect and is approaching what you’re capable of doing with a DSLR.

However, the iPhone still has limitations. And I think the photos below illustrate the weakness of the Portrait Mode pretty well.

Here’s a normal photo taken on the iPhone without Portrait Mode:

Here’s a photo taken in Portrait Mode:

Did you notice how the silver lip at the top of the bottle just disappeared? That’s something that would never happen utilizing a bokeh effect on a real DSLR.

This also commonly occurs to the rims when I try to photograph cocktail glasses. Notice the blur in the middle of the rim on the glass on the left. That blur looks out of place and again is something that wouldn’t happen on a DSLR, since I believe that’s essentially a “glitch” in the computerized graphics.

It should be noted that you can alter the bokeh effect by moving the iPhone closer and farther away from the subject, which often remedies these out of place bokeh effects. However, in the photos above, I was not able to capture the subject without the errant blurs no matter how I shifted the camera. Thus, iPhone Portrait Mode definitely has its limitations.

I’ve also noticed that in low-light conditions the quality for photographs in portrait mode greatly diminishes and the images become blurry very fast.

However, in bright settings, the iPhone portrait mode works wonderfully. Here’s a comparison between my iPhone7 and a Canon 6D with a 24-105mm f/4 L Series lens with aperture brought all the way down to 4.

Here’s the iPhone photo:

And here’s the Canon 6D photo.

There’s not a huge difference with respect to the bokeh in the images. I often find that in bright rooms or outdoors on a sunny day, the Portrait Mode works the best.

Final word

Overall, the iPhone7 offers a lot of potential for increasing the quality of your photos without lugging around expensive DSLR equipment. For some images you might not be able to even tell that it was taken from a an iPhone. With that said, Portrait Mode has its limitations, since it struggles to realistically capture the bokeh effect on certain objects and doesn’t have the best abilities in low-light conditions. So while it won’t be replacing my DSLR any time soon, my iPhone7 still will be getting put to use on my travels.

Best Underwater Camera For Snorkeling Photos: the Olympus Tough TG-4

Digital cameras for underwater photography have come a long way. Nowadays, it’s remarkably easy to find a solid camera that will take great photos underwater without splurging thousands of dollars on fancy equipment, such as strobe lights and special filters. But with so many great options, it’s difficult to narrow down your choices. Fortunately, I’ve had a great experience with one of my underwater cameras, so I decided to share a review of the Olympus Tough TG-4.


This is a rugged camera meaning that it’s made to take some abuse. Most relevant for snorkeling of course is that the camera is waterproof. The TG-4 is waterproof up to 50 feet. That’s 50 feet without any additional housing. That’s plenty of depth for your average snorkeler and even for discovery scuba diving which should be limited to a depth of 30 feet.

Roatan, Honduras
Using the TG-4 with housing while scuba diving.

However, I don’t like to take chances with electronics, so I also purchased underwater housing for the camera. I went with the Olympus PT-056 underwater housing, which you can find on Amazon. This housing extends the waterproof depths all the way to 150 feet! This allows me take the camera on scuba dives and just rest easy about using it underwater in general.

The housing is superb and I find it very easy to still use all of the functions. Changing settings is very easy and I don’t have trouble manipulating the dials and buttons. It also comes with a rubber piece that provides the necessary shade you need to be able to see your LCD screen when underwater, which is very handy. If you’re interested in the Olympus Tough TG-4, I highly recommend getting the additional underwater housing.

Image quality

So this is probably your main concern.

You want an underwater camera that will take high quality photos and not those grainy and dim, uninspiring underwater photos you so often see. When you’re snorkeling in water with good visibility, this camera is absolutely exceptional!

Take a look at several photos I took during a snorkel in Roatan, Honduaras. All of these images were taken with the Olympus Tough TG-4. You’ll notice that this camera captures brilliant colors in high quality thanks to its 16 Megapixel Live 
MOS Sensor. And it comes with the ability to shoot RAW, which is not something that many rugged cameras have been able to do in the past.

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Keep in mind all of those photos were taken without any kind of additional lighting or filters.


This camera’s autofocus is quick, and I mean really quick with its wide aperture at f/2.0. The ability to capture light at f/2.0 and quickly focus is a vital feature for any underwater camera, especially when snorkeling.

It can be very difficult to get shots of moving fish when being tossed around the by the current or surge, but this camera will still allow you to capture detailed images even of fish quickly darting in and out of coral reef crevices.

I recommend holding the camera with two hands to stabilize the camera and allow for better focus.

Roatan, Honduras


There are a few different underwater settings you can use. There’s a mode for pool/shallow water shots, wide landscape shots, wildlife, macro, and even HDR. I typically keep the camera in landscape mode when snorkeling or diving and then change the settings depending on the subject I’m shooting. It’s really easy to switch between modes, too, since all it takes is hitting a couple of buttons.

Roatan, Honduras

Close ups

This camera has one of the best macro modes in its class. With microscope control mode you can get 44.5x magnification from just 1 cm away. That’s truly impressive, especially for a rugged camera.

You can often capture exceptional detail if you can keep your hand steady enough in the surge. While the photos below are pretty close to their subjects, I’ve seen other photographers get much closer using macro mode and capture some pretty extraordinary detail with little reef critters.

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras


I don’t often use the HDR mode on this camera but I’ve used it a few times when the conditions feel right. Below is one of my favorite HDR shots that truly captured the dynamic range and color in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.

Roatan, Honduras


The TG-4 shoots video in the following modes: 1080p, 720p, VGA, Time-Lapse Movie (720p), High-Speed 120fps (640×480), High-Speed 240fps (320×240).

Below is a video shot with the TG-4. This video was recorded around 50-60 feet in depth. Without any type of external lighting and/or filters, the picture is going to come out blue with pretty much any camera so you can’t fault the TG-4. Still, I thought the TG-4 did a great job of capturing quality footage in such low light conditions and if I would have had some type of external lighting, I’m sure the color would’ve turned out great.

Sea Turtle

Final word

This camera is perfect for people who are serious about getting high quality photographs and video when snorkeling but don’t want to drop a crazy amount of money on a new camera. If you just want to capture high quality and brightly colored images of wildlife and coral reefs, then the Olympus Tough TG-4 will prove to be one of the best snorkeling cameras you can get without breaking the bank.

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