PACKING LIST

Upgrade Your Gear

New technology and creative thinking are making for travel gear that's worth a little investment. We round up the best.

By Berit Thorkelson, Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008, 3:19 PM

SPARE A SQUARE?
Each pocket-size Travelon toiletry packet contains 50 wafer-thin sheets that turn into soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving foam, or laundry detergent when you add water. These are carry-on items that even the TSA could love. irvs.com, $5.

CACHE AND CARRY
Reef's sandals have a compartment in each heel so you can store your ID, money, and keys while you're at the pool or the beach. They're what James Bond might wear if he ever took a vacation. reef.com, from $46.

PORTABLE AIRPORTS
Designer Jason Solarek's Air Wear bags depict the codes, latitudes, and cities for 40 airports, such as CDG (Paris-Charles de Gaulle), TLV (Tel Aviv), and even the airport in Solarek's hometown, ROC (Rochester, N.Y.). airweardesigns.com, $35.

NO MORE TEARS
Not only can Rand McNally's microfiber maps help you find your way in more than 20 U.S. cities, they also double as napkins and as cloths for cleaning your glasses. The handkerchief-size maps are washable and wrinkle-resistant. randmcnally.com, $6.

GREEN SCREEN
Sunscreen chemicals are bad for coral reefs. Caribbean Solutions' sunblocks use biodegradable ingredients like zinc oxide, cucumber oil, and wild pansy extract. caribbean-sol.com, from $15.

PACKING FOR DUMMIES
Even the most obsessive packer will have a hard time finding something missing from this master list. Copies of travel documents? Check. Tuxedo? Check. Razor? Nail file? Birth control? Check.... knockknock.biz, $7.

CONTAIN YOURSELF
Squish these Guyot Designs bowls to fit them into a suitcase, and they'll spring back into shape. The food-grade silicone withstands temperatures up to 400 degrees. guyotdesigns.com, $15 for a set of two bowls.

NO SWEAT
Made of a suede-like material, this 2-by-2-foot bandana absorbs nearly a cup of water—ideal for serious summer brow mopping or even toweling off in a pinch. kenakai.com, $18.

SMART CARD
The Eye-Fi is the first wireless memory card for digital cameras. After you install the software on your computer, the card connects to your home Wi-Fi and auto-uploads your camera's photos to your computer. eye.fi, $100.

TUNES IN A TUBE
As iPods and MP3 players grow smaller, so do portable speakers. SurroundXi, a speaker system by RAPHA International, is encased in a seven-inch-long aluminum tube that fits easily in a beach bag. surroundxi.com, from $50.