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Travel Goods Show presents latest gear

2024 products have larger focus on sustainability

By Lark Ellen Gould, TravelPulse
Published: April 6, 2024, 5:33am
5 Photos
A rep shows off tech device accessories at the Travel Goods Show 2024 in Las Vegas.
A rep shows off tech device accessories at the Travel Goods Show 2024 in Las Vegas. (Lark Gould/TravelPulse) Photo Gallery

The Travel Goods Show 2024 returned to Las Vegas with a post-COVID bang in March, as industry titans, visionaries and creators gathered to talk travel gear and showcase the latest goods for creating and maintaining efficiencies to make travel more enterprising.

Fueled by the presence of such industry giants as Briggs & Riley, Eagle Creek, Herschel, Osprey, Naftali, Nomatic, and Db Journey, as well as startups solving problems they have had in their own wanderings, the show this year maintained a larger focus on sustainability overall, where in previous years highlights centered on technology.

“People are being more conscious about sustainability, and that’s been a really big shift in the industry over the past five years,” said Travel Goods Association board chair Josh Cross, who started Elios, a portable “smartpower” company he once promoted through the show for power on the go.

“The types of materials, the fabrics, the plastics, the sourcing the manufacturing … it is all becoming centered around sustainability. That’s because, if you look at the industry as a whole, the travel industry is one of the largest in the world and touches about one in 10 occupations worldwide. So sustainability has to be a critical component of what we do with travel goods now.”

Gone this year were the plethora of luggage trackers, although CUBE was present with a new option for fool-proof tracking through a new subscription model. Gone were the clothing wraps that could layer in a suitcase’s worth of garments to be worn on a plane without added fees. Gone were the jet lag remedies, the embedded luggage chargers, the pop-up portable workstations, the ballooning airline seat converters. Rather, it was a show chastened by three years of lockdown but ready to take on a new breed of traveler— the serious road warrior who wants to get down to the business of traveling.

The following is a bird’s-eye view of the latest gear for traveling well and some items to take along just for fun.

  • Briggs & Riley

This company revolutionized travel by bringing rolling luggage to market. Founded in 1993, it continues to enforce its “Simple as that” lifetime guarantee and is currently known for its one-touch expansion-compression technology that expands and contracts packing space without a zipper fight. The Baseline Essential 22-inch Carry-On Spinner is the latest performer in the line and includes a built-in garment folder to keep clothes pressed and ready to wear. It checks in at $699.

  • Cabeau

A known force for travel neck pillows and now lumbar pads, Cabeau has come out with an inflatable cushion for the derriere. Easy to inflate and easier to deflate through a built-in button, the cushion relieves the pressure of hard seats on airlines or anywhere and ensures proper alignment to prevent and comfort sore backs while traveling. It’s due out in April for around $30.

  • Kytin QTR

A sock that’s a shoe? It’s not a new idea but a hard one to master. This San Francisco start-up is taking socks to a new elevation by creating dual-layer compression socks with dynamic arch support and cushiony soles of tough, earth-friendly materials. Kytins are hardy enough to navigate the airport and wear on the plane while shoes stay packed. Multiple colors and designs for men and women start at $50.

  • Hillside Meridian

Need a bag? Need a backpack? These backpacks come in a variety of designs, but one thing that sets them apart is they can be worn around both shoulders and, with the slip of the wrist, become a briefcase with a drop-down shoulder strap. Bags start at $149.

  • Nomatic

This is the go-to company for smart strong travel gear that stays handsome to the eye and durable to the task, just about any task. While black, sleek backpacks are the core product, computer bags, navigator slings, hardshell cases and now, apparel, are the new black. A favorite: The Outset Jacket, made of soft, durable, breathable and resistant materials for lightweight comfort in cool temps and collapses into a travel pillow for $200.

Top 5 travel products to buy just for the quirk of it:

Modobag: For the mad airport dash, Modobag may be the solution. Part vehicle, part luggage, it comes with a throttle, brakes, foot pegs, and a memory foam cushioned seat for effortlessly navigating terminals at a speedy 8 mph. The item has approval from the TSA and FAA but weighs 19 pounds before contents — some three times more than conventional bags. Most of that is battery, which charges in 15 minutes. Rides start at $995.

Armbie: Got the middle seat blues? Strap in with Armbie, a dual-arm support sling made from a satin-link fabric tube that stretches around the torso from just below the ribcage similar to a straitjacket. For those who like to hold their arms close, whether for comfort or because they’re pitched between two line-backers, the snug stretch system allows one to relax on long flights without worry about body creep or muscle fatigue. It comes in four sizes and costs $23.

Flypod: Hermetically cocoon any flight with this Thermolite recycled-down alternative in the shape of a sleeping bag. Flypod attempts to surround passengers in a cloud of comfort as they fly through the sky or, at minimum, completely cover the seat they are in to reduce any germ or allergen contact. It weighs about 1.5 pounds and fits into a handy sling pack. The extra sense of warmth and security runs $180.

Lightload Tea and Towels: Tea in your wallet, towel in your pocket … what could be sweeter? The tea comes as compressed black tea in which an ounce brews up to five gallons of tea — important when space is low and a party of thirsty teetotalers is in tow. The towels to complement, should this tea break be part of a picnic, come as compressed towel tabs no bigger than a donut hole at half an ounce and expand to 12 by 24 inches. They are made from wood and plant fabric that can be washed and reused. $8.99 buys a three-pack while the tea runs $5.50.

RestAngles: Short people find few mercies, even on planes. For those who may actually fit into their seat but still find feet dangling uncomfortably over the chair, RestAngles offers a fold-flat plastic solution that weighs 12 ounces and fits into a purse. Pop it out, prop it up and it becomes a leg rest made of single-use plastics that comes with its own carry pouch. This start-up concept costs $46.

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