Spring clean your suitcase
Check out these travel-ready products and be prepared for the return of warm weather
There is nothing like a taste of warmer weather to set people's mind a-wandering to their next getaway. Admit it: While part of the fun of travelling is planning a trip, the other part is figuring out what you need to bring. Almost always – whether you'll be making wet landings from sailboat to sandy beach, sprinting through tight airport connections or camping by a northern lake – there are some must-haves that might make that trip more comfortable. Or certainly more chic. Herewith, Globe Travel's guide to spring-cleaning your suitcase:
LOL through the airport
Doesn't Heys new emoji luggage line make you smile? Anyone in an airport needs something to amuse them, even if it's just to watch these two-wheeled, hard-side rolling bags go by. It's too bad Heys only makes these in kiddie sizes (16 by 12 by 8 inches). Adult carry-on and checked-size bags would give harassed baggage handlers and even middle-seat passengers something to smile about. The line is called Emotion, and will be available in May in emojis Love, LOL, Rainbow Spill, Kiss and Sunglasses. heys.ca, $49.99.
Mark your territory
If you're not carrying emoticon luggage, then glam up your bag with this won't-fall-off tag from MEC. The screw-lock wire cable keeps it secure no matter what baggage handlers do, and there's a space on the back of its sweet northern scene to slip in a business card for ID. And if it does break? You can recycle this rubber tag in most Canadian cities. mec.ca; $6.25.
Let the sun shine in
Sturdy, sleek: rarely will those two words sit side by side in a fashion-themed sentence. But Toms's Traveler line of sunglasses make it possible. Frames are made of a strong, rubberized plastic – hard to break when lost in the bottom of your day pack – and the arms expand to fit all but the most narrow of heads. Shapes vary from round to squarish to cat eye. Lenses are not polarized, but Toms reports they offer 100-per-cent UVA/UVB protection. The best part? With each sale, Toms ensures an eye-care treatment reaches someone who needs it most in the 70 countries in which it does business around the world. toms.ca; $98.
A step up
Water shoes are an ugly necessity – no one wants to step on coral. But these durable, dependable Keen sandals, with their rubbery toe guards and multiple webbing straps (worn faithfully by paddlers everywhere) can't cut it style-wise outside the canoe. But take another look at Keen's new spring Sage Slip watershoe: airy, breathable mesh with a lightweight, non-slip sole that works for the sailboat and is sturdy enough to hike that portage. Heading for some Old World cobblestones instead? Keen's Dauntless Strappy II leather sandal with cork footbed and rubber sole thankfully doesn't look as sensible and as supportive as it feels. keenfootwear.com: watershoe, $110; sandal, $150.
True patriot love
You could sew a flag on your pack, or wear your nationality with this functional all-canvas tote, part of HBC's new line of Canada 150 gear and clothing. Another fun piece from the Bay's Grand Portage collection is this T-shirt that lets you show your backcountry pride and provides a hashtag hint for that social share once you have cell coverage again. The women's soft cotton/polyester-blend tee is slightly fitted and true to size. Also available in men's and children's sizes. Available in store and thebay.com; onesie, $25; adult T-shirt, $20.
Why isn't there a hammock around when you really need one? MEC makes it possible with Therm-a-rest's Slacker (even the name is perfect). Made of lightweight, ripstop nylon (570 grams), the hammock folds into a paperback-sized pouch (carabiner hooks included). It's small enough to justify space in any suitcase or back-country pack, and light enough that you won't notice. Happily, the silky cocooning fabric means no more body-ooze through traditional rope-web hammocks. The Slacker comes with D-ring hooks, but you might need a set of not-included straps to secure it, which are surprisingly simple to hook up. mec.ca, $75 (hammock), straps ($30).
While away the hours
One of the world's sassiest travel guides also puts out a decent travel magazine. For some travellers, its detailed city stories means there's no need to buy the guidebook. The latest 112-page spring issue urges readers to kayak the Grand Canal in Venice and offers up the perfect day in San Francisco if you follow a chef's local tips. Larger features on Finland, Bogata and several mini-guides (with maps) – including Paris for first-timers, and outdoors Nova Scotia – mean you'll want to hang on to it for future trips. Don't leave the issue in the airplane seat pocket. lonelyplanet.com/usmagazine; Canadian subscriptions are $20 print, $12 digital
Two ways to cover up
Outdoorsy Patagonia gets a little girly with a new lightweight linen-jersey cardigan. You wouldn't wear this one hiking in the Rockies, but it looks sweet slipped over your sleeveless dress when the ocean breeze picks up. Simple, unfussy detailing also means it's a multipurpose piece, but it has to be rolled in your luggage to avoid wrinkles. On the other end of the cover-up spectrum – the brand's quick-dry sunshade hoodie (with 25 SPF protection) can be crushed and still look sharp out of your pack. Several features make this work well as a tropical top: thumb-hole sleeves cover more of your hands, the fold-over neckline protects vulnerable skin from burning and a zipped side pocket is good to carry your hotel key card. Slip it on over a wet bathing suit and the double-knit polyester dries fast on your way back to the yacht from a day at the beach. The sunshade hoodie is also available in men's sizes. patagonia.com; cardigan, $89; hoodie, $69.