Gadgets for traveling

Here are some gadgets that are worthwhile taking with you on your next trip. Many of them relate to keeping your devices charged in as simple and efficient manner possible.

iWalk Portable watch charger – This pocket size battery is designed to charge an iPhone and Apple Watch without the need for any cables. The 9000mAH battery has a built in Lightning cable for a phone and a magnetic charging pad for the watch. It has enough capacity to charge your watch about 30 times and a phone about twice. It’s one of the smallest on the go devices to reduce “battery anxiety” of both your phone and watch. $50 from Amazon.

Universal In-Flight Phone Mount – A clever device – pictured in the heading of this post- that attaches your phone to an airplane table or a visor in your car. The dual swivel joints provide 360 degrees rotation to adjust for location and viewing angle. Fits all phones. It’s one of the few alternatives to devices with suction cups that are not always reliable and much more bulky. $20.

30 Watt USB-C Car Charger – This is a tiny car charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter outlet. Unlike others, this provides up to 30 watts of charging using its Power Delivery circuit that’s part of the new USB-C standard. That means it charges much faster and can even charge some notebooks charged. $13.50 from Amazon. 

Power stations – There’s nothing more useful on a long road trip than a portable power station, especially when you with a few kids glued to their devices. Typically these power stations use advanced rechargeable batteries to deliver DC power through a variety of ports for keeping phones and tablets charged. They also have circuitry that converts the DC power into AC to provide 110 VAC through a couple of conventional outlets. Works well for for plugging in or charging a computer, cooler, or even sleep apnea devices.

I’ve tried two different ones: the RAV POWER Portable Power Station 252.7Wh Power House that’s available from their own Website, usually on sale for about $180.

The other unit I’ve used is the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300 with 300 watts of power. It works much like the RAV POWER device, but is a bit more substantial and with a few more features, including a digital readout and the ability to work with its solar panel accessory for recharging from sunlight.  $299 at the company’s website. They also sell a number of even more powerful models. An interesting company founded by some former Apple engineers.

Peak Design Tech Pouch – This is one of the cleverest small bags that is ideal for organizing all the small items we take on our trips. It opens wide to expose almost 20 pockets of varying sizes to organize and make it easy to find such things as cables, chargers, pens, glasses, glasses cleaner, memory cards, pills, etc. It’s designed with lots of attention to detail, such as an external zip pocket with a cable pass-through for easy device charging. Constructed of rugged recycled nylon canvas, it’s weatherproof and aesthetically attractive. Comes in a variety of colors. $60 from their website.

by Phil Baker