Sunshine, lollipops, and travel accessories…
With summer just around the corner, we’re getting ready for lots of camping and lots of road trips. When it comes to travelling around Canada or camping in the wilderness, there are so many cool products out there. From unique ways of making a quality cup of coffee to stink-free clothing and tree-hanging tents, there’s an endless array of products and services that make life easier or just bring us pure joy. However, some products and services are certainly better than others, so we’ve gone ahead and researched some of the most unique, useful, and downright awesome travel accessories and services travel to enjoy in 2021.
We’ve also gone ahead and ordered all of them (many of which were gifted) to try out over the summer and we’d love to hear from you in the comments as to which one you think takes the cake.
Table of Contents
One of our favourite summer activities is paddleboarding. Whether we’re gliding across a turquoise-coloured lake in Banff or cruising down the Bow River in Calgary, paddle-boarding is our all-time favourite water sport. So we were excited to find Newell Paddleboards, a Calgary-based family-owned business that was started in 2020. After seeing what was on the market, they set out to design a more rugged product that would offer the best of both worlds: quality and price. They offer four beautiful inflatable paddle-boards complete with everything you need, including a pump, a removable fin, an ankle strap, a paddle, and a backpack to transport it in. But what’s even more unique is that they also include a kayaking seat, which lets you transform your paddle-board into a kayak, allowing you to sit comfortably when standing up just isn’t cuttin’ it anymore.
We recently paddled down the Bow River utilizing both the stand-up and sit-down options and had a blast. Our next investment will be one of their power pumps, as that will really speed up the time for getting onto the water.
Standard Luggage Backpacks
When it comes to travel, whether that be to a nearby campground or an around-the-world flight, one thing that everyone needs is luggage. Standard Luggage, which is designed in Toronto, sought a way to create the ultimate carry-on luggage to avoid both the hassle of airline luggage fees, as well as the dilemma of duffel bags, which need to be unpacked and repacked in every destination you visit. Funded by Kickstarter, Standard Luggage got its start with its Carry-on-sized travel backpack, which fits a lot of stuff while meeting airline cabin rules. This 3-in-1 is essentially a backpack, suitcase, and shoulder bag, making it one of the great travel accessories of 2021. Equipped with hideaway backpack straps, a full perimeter zip, a hip belt, and a dedicated laptop sleeve, this backpack is a great companion to give you confidence on any journey.
Designed with an expandable capacity of 35 – 45L, this bag is big enough for most trips. The luggage and laptop compartments are lockable and the exterior is both durable and water-resistant.
Nomatic Travel & Camera Bags
Speaking of carry-on bags, everything changes when you’re also a photographer or vlogger. In our case, we’re both and so we really need a high-quality camera bag that holds as much gear as possible. This is where the all-new Nomatic Peter McKinnon 35L Camera bag comes in. Not only is it super stylish but it’s also been designed by a photographer and includes lots of camera storage as well as an additional compartment that can be used to store 2-3 days’ worth of clothing. It also has a tablet pouch, a laptop pouch, removable hip straps, is expandable up to 42L, and is water-resistant. How cool is that?
But even if you’re not a photographer, they have many other bags to suit your styles, such as their 40L Travel Bag, their smaller travel day packs, carry-on bags, and hard-luggage. Nomatic Bags are known for both their high-quality and beautiful design, not to mention the incredibly thought-out features like shoe compartments, laundry bags, removable waist straps, and RFID safe pockets. Once you see what they offer, it’s easy to see why we chose them as one of our favourite travel accessories.
Tentsile Hammock Tent
Tents on the ground? That’s so 2020. Why sleep on the ground when you can sleep in a comfortable tent suspended by the trees around you? As a kid, I loved treehouses, so this would have been one of the coolest travel accessories I ever laid my eyes on. Thankfully, I can be a kid again now that we’ve picked up the Stingray 3-Person Tree Tent. This is Tentsile’s flagship model and the most popular Tree Tent they offer. It was featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and won multiple awards for its design and practicality. Imagine that!
The Stingray is for anyone looking for the most magical, comfortable, and unique camping experience. Designed for families and small groups, it has enough space for 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children to sleep in absolute comfort. It’s popular with first-time tree campers due to its ease of set-up, storage capabilities, and overall space and it’s also a perfect option for canoe trips as it can be set up on the banks of rivers, lake,s and streams where you cannot find any flat ground.
Like all of our tree tents and hammocks, the Stingray packs down into a single bag, making it easy and simple to pack and carry.
But this isn’t the only tent they offer. They also offer lightweight tents for those looking to go backpacking and ultra-hardcore tree tents like the Safari Stingray edition. The best way to see what they offer is to visit the Tentsile Website.
World-famous for its high quality and durability, YETI is one of the top travel accessories when it comes to both hard and soft coolers. But that’s not even all they offer anymore. They also offer drinkware, bags, luggage, and all sorts of gear. Started by two brothers with a passion for outdoor adventure, they developed their famous coolers after seeing how cheaply-made the alternative options were.
They set out to build coolers for the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than for the mass-discount retailers. They wanted a cooler that could take the abuse of a true outdoor adventure, whether on land or on the water. A cooler that wouldn’t break. So, they did just that. Rather than listening to market research and data analysis, they built it from first-hand experience.
So, while we certainly eyed up their beautiful luggage and other products, we wanted to start with the products that started it all. We’re now the proud owners of the Roadie 24 Hard Cooler, the Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler, and some of their lunch bags and tumblers, which will come in perfect for a road trip in Alberta or a road trip across Canada.
So, whether you’re looking for a lifelong cooler to bring camping or some sturdy luggage to travel across the world with, YETI has you covered.
Wacaco Coffee Maker
Waking up to the sounds of birds is what camping is all about, but those mornings are made all the better with a hot cup of fresh java. We all love a good cup of coffee, but oftentimes, especially when camping or staying in hotels, we have to settle for a crappy cup of coffee. Perhaps the coffee is watered down, way too strong, or just low quality. I know for us, we often settle for instant coffee when camping. Yuck!
Well, no more crappy coffee! With Wacaco, you can now make yourself a high-quality pour-over or brew your own coffee beans using pressure! We love our Chemex pour-over when home, so we grabbed a couple of Wacaco’s Cuppamoka’s so that we could do it on the road as well. Not only will we bring this when camping in Alberta, but also when we go to hotels as we can pack some ground beans, boil some water, and simply brew it ourselves.
However, I was really excited to try their Pipamoka pressure brewer, which is a little bit easier on the road as you don’t need any paper filters. Pipamoka’s innovative twisting mechanism generates vacuum pressure inside the mug. This negative pressure generates a suction force that draws hot water downwards through the coffee grounds. The coffee is then brewed directly into the insulated thermal mug where it will stay hot for hours. Talk about one of the best travel accessories for coffee drinkers! No more instant coffee or crappy hotel Keurig coffee for us.
Liquid Coffee Alternative
Alternatively, if grinding and brewing your own coffee beans is just too much hassle, consider trying Javy Liquid Microdose Coffee, which enables you to just add 1-2 teaspoons of the liquid artisan-roasted coffee to water or your favorite shake for a quick, tasty, java jolt.
Cocktail in a Box
While coffee is delicious in the morning, a nice “cold one” is even better for afternoons and evenings around the campfire. But for those of you looking to posh it up or just skip the standard can of beer, Cocktail in a Box makes it easy for you to make restaurant-worthy cocktails right outside your tent or on your next plane ride, hotel room, or party. Basically, they make it easy for you to have all the ingredients of a professional bartender in your pocket.
Located in Vancouver, they offer a number of different cocktail kits, including Moscow Mule, Old-Fashioned, Champagne Cocktail, Gin & Tonic, Classic Mai Tai, and Margarita. Bring some delicious sophistication with you to the next campground and stand out from everyone else.
Epicwater Filters and Water Bottles
What goes into both coffee and alcoholic drinks, but is also the main source of life? Water! Carrying enough freshwater is especially important when you’re going on extended escapades, like the challenging hikes and trails around Belfast in Ireland, or the long and winding roads of Jasper National Park in Canada. But carrying enough water to last you the entire trip can be heavy, bulky, and just plain inconvenient. Why not make life easier and bring one Epicwater Filter?
With a water bottle and filter from Epicwater, you can literally drink water from almost anywhere, including lakes, rivers, and third-world tap water. Simply fill up the water bottle and then drink through the filter! Their Outdoor Adventure Bottle Filter is the cream of the crop when it comes to portable water filtration. While all their filters are engineered to effectively reduce waterborne pathogens like Giardia and Cryptosporidium by up to 99.9999% while also removing chlorine, VOCs, heavy metals, industrial pollutants, agricultural runoff, and trace pharmaceuticals in addition to 68% of fluoride, their sub-micron Outdoor Adventure Filter also removes biological pathogens like bacteria and viruses in addition to everything that our Everyday Filter removes.
As one of the top travel accessories of 2021, this American-made Outdoor Adventure water filter is tested against NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, 401, P473, and P231 for contaminant reduction & removal (see Outdoor Filter Test Results for more).
Now you can simply toss their Nalgene-made water bottles in your bag and drink water on the go!
Tentree Clothing: 10 Trees for Every Sale
When it comes to travel, camping, or basically anything outside of the shower, we need clothes. So why not wear something that’s beautiful, comfortable, and ethical at the same time? This is where tentree comes in. Tentree is a Canadian company that has truly made waves across the planet. Started in Regina, but now located in Vancouver, tentree plants 10 trees for every piece of apparel sold. That means that when you buy a t-shirt, a hat, a sweater, or a pair of pants, you’ll get a code that allows you to track the progress of the trees you’ve helped to plant. In fact, as of the time of this writing, tentree has planted a whopping 57,184,908 trees! But as awesome as that is, that’s not where it stops. Tentree is also a certified B-Corporation, which means they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. They source ethically and they also lower the environmental impact of clothing manufacturing. For example, a tentree sweatshirt uses on average 75% less water to make than the other sweatshirts in your closet.
Last but not least, but equally important, they make high-quality, beautiful clothing. We own a variety of tentree products, including their iconic Juniper Zip hoodie, festival hat, and a pair of their super comfortable stretch pants. Highly recommended.
Speaking of clothing companies from Canada, we’re so happy we found Unbound Merino, which is located in Toronto. What makes Unbound Merino different is that all of their clothing is made from Merino wool. Sourced in Australia, this premium wool helps make some incredible clothing that doesn’t stink (you can often wear a t-shirt for weeks without washing it), regulates your body temperature, dries really fast, and doesn’t wrinkle. Sounds almost too good to be true, eh? For these reasons mentioned above, Merino wool has been widely known for outdoor adventures, be it hiking in the wilderness, skiing in the mountains, or simply traveling the world. Unbound Merino, however, has taken it a step further by creating high-quality modern wear that could easily be worn out to dinner as well as hiking in the Kananaskis. We recently got our hands on a pair of sweatpants, a sweater, and one of their t-shirts, and yes, they are the most comfortable clothing we’ve ever worn. It’s almost too nice to bring camping in Ontario, but we certainly look forward to wearing it on our next trip across Canada.
Scrubba (Portable Washing Bag)
Now that we’ve talked about clothing, we should probably talk about washing your clothes. If you’re camping for weeks or just looking to pack light, washing your clothes can be a hassle. Either you simply can’t wash them or it’s such a small load that it makes no sense to find a washing machine. This is where the Scrubba Portable Washing Bag comes in. Small enough to fit in a purse, the Scrubba wash bag is the world’s smallest washing machine and one of the ultimate travel accessories and camping gear for 2021.
All you have to do is fill the bag with your clothes and add your cleaning liquid, roll down the top and clip the ends together, twist the valve and press the bag to expel excess air, press down and rub the clothes against the flexible inner washboard for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, replace water and rinse, then take it out and dry.
I can’t even describe how much we would have loved to have this on all our world-travel backpacking trips.
Iron in a Bottle
Now that your clothes are clean, how will you deal with all the wrinkles? I don’t know about you but not only do I hate ironing, but it’s also not an easy task when camping or travelling. This is where Iron in a Bottle comes in handy. In a bottle as small as hand sanitizer, you can now “iron” your clothes without all the hassle. Simply hang your clothing or lay it on a flat surface, spray it with the product, shake it like a polaroid picture, smooth it out and gently pull, and then watch the wrinkles release. Voila!
How is this possible you ask? Well, Tom & Sheri’s Iron in a Bottle contains a plant-based surfactant that sort of acts like a conditioner, relaxing the fibers of your clothing just like the conditioner does to your hair. This allows them to be manipulated (aka straightened out), causing the wrinkles to release. When it comes to finding the best travel accessories, we love finding things that are both practical and eco-friendly, and this one fits the bill!
If you’re looking for a sustainable travel kit, take a look at Keepsie Kits. Curated by a woman-founded company in Ontario, this one-stop-shop for sustainable travel accessories has everything from travel towels to bamboo utensils. All of their products are created to reduce your environmental impact through durable, reusable, and eco-friendly materials. They make sure that everything is lightweight and convenient because those are equally important when it comes to travel.
We opted for their Ultimate Sustainable Travel Kit, which includes almost everything they have to offer, including a packable backpack, reusable food storage bags, a sustainable travel towel, eco-strip laundry detergent, a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste tablets, soft reusable travel bottles, and a reusable bamboo cutlery set. All of this fits in the bag and weighs less than 2 pounds!
Whether you’re looking to buy one thing or the whole kit, Keepsie Kits are a great option for a sustainable travel kit.
Speaking of camping (or simply enjoying your own backyard), who doesn’t love a good hot campfire? One of the things we look forward to the most is the crackling of the fire, especially during the night when the ambers light up to a fiery reddish-orange. But what’s most annoying about campfires is the smoke. It gets in your eyes, it gets in your nose, and it makes your clothes stink. This is why the Solo Stove caught our eye.
No one wants to constantly dodge campfire smoke and have their clothes and hair smell for hours after. With Solo Stove, their Signature 360° Airflow Design™ creates a super-efficient burn that’s not only mesmerizing to watch but a joy to sit around and make memories. Strategically placed holes in the double-wall structure draw in air from the bottom and feed the heated oxygen to the top, resulting in a spectacular secondary burn. The best part? Nearly no smoke and minimal ash left to clean!
We ended up ordering their Bonfire edition, the medium version of their backyard fire pit. At just 20 pounds, it can easily be transported to different camping spots or kept in your backyard. We love when things are versatile!
Solo Camp Stove
While shopping around for the Solo Bonfire Stove mentioned above, we noticed that Solo Stove also makes ultra-portable camp stoves, some small enough for backpacking! Using the same technology, their ultralight camp stove boils water in less than 10 minutes using sticks and twigs as fuel. Since we’re wanting to do more backpacking hiking trips this year, we ordered their smallest camp stove but opted for the Lite Gear travel accessories Kit as well, which includes the Lite Camp Stove, a pot, a windscreen, a firestriker (a primal fire starting kit), tinder-on-a-rope, and even an alcohol burner for those times when sticks and twigs are hard to come by.
Weighing only 9oz, it’s super transportable and allows an awesome way to cook food and boil water. We’re so excited to use this!
Speaking of fires, did you know you can have a mini bonfire right on your apartment balcony? We actually live in an apartment in Calgary and so, our big Bonfire Solo Stove is actually in our parent’s backyard. But still wanting to enjoy the heat of a fire while in the middle of the big city, we stumbled upon City Bonfires, which are handmade in Maryland, USA.
These portable, reusable mini bonfire travel accessories are made up of non-toxic soy wax inside a little 4 inch by 2 inch round metal container. The flames actually go quite high and the heat is pretty intense for such a small product, and best of all, you can reuse it! They burn for about 4 hours but if you want to use it for just 1 hour, you can simply extinguish it by covering it with the lid, and then restart it another day!
Unlike other soy wax-based products, City Bonfires’ entire surface becomes the flame, creating a mobile heat source. So, whether you live in an apartment or you’re travelling where you don’t have wood or a big firepit, this is your chance to still enjoy the beauty of a mini bonfire. The wax is also FDA-approved as food-grade soy wax, which means you can even roast marshmallows!
Handmade Shoes from Mexico
Since Karla is originally from Mexico and loves supporting artisans from Latin America, it was pretty unique that we stumbled upon Harmonica. Based out of Vancouver but inspired by her home country of Mexico, Cinthia founded Harmonica to share the skills and craftsmanship of Mexico as well as to support artisans around the world. After they design their products in Canada, they head to Latin America to have their products produced by some of the region’s best artisans who have refined their techniques over generations. Not only will you get a high-quality and beautiful pair of shoes or sandals, but you’ll also help support the real artisans that make it all happen rather than some fancy corporation. This is why we wanted to feature Harmonica. They are fair-trade, artisanal, sustainable, and high-quality, which is what all businesses should strive for.
Copper iPhone Case
Imagine if you could have a durable and stylish phone case that’s also naturally antimicrobial? Well, now you can! Alloi’s Copper Case is made with copper, which has antimicrobial properties that have been utilized for thousands of years. Modern science has repeatedly demonstrated the efficacy of copper surfaces in killing germs and reducing healthcare-acquired infection rates. Alloi has taken the best of copper’s natural properties and re-engineered them for 21st-century life, making this one of the top travel accessories for 2021.
But that’s not it. In addition to being able to fend off invading germs with copper oxide ions, it also has shock-absorbing TPU lining that beats MIL-STD drop test standards, is ergonomically engineered, promotes strong signal + NFC, and aged beautifully like fine leather with copper that naturally patinas over time.
3D Wood World Travel Map
Although this might not fit the traditional definition of travel accessories, our Enjoy the Wood 3D Travel Map has been one of the coolest home-decor travel products we’ve ever purchased. Not only does it look beautiful behind our couch (we get compliments all the time), it also gives us a way to showcase and remember the places we’ve been. Designed in Ukraine, these maps are eco-friendly, easy to install, and can be personalized. They come in a variety of sizes and colours, allowing you to match them to any style and home. They also come with pins for all the different countries, giving you the chance to pin everywhere you’ve been. For anyone who has travelled the world, or maybe just dreaming of doing it one day, this is truly the ultimate piece of wall art.
Professional Photos with Flytographer
Don’t you just hate it? You’re walking around this beautiful destination with your loved one and you just can’t get a quality photo. Selfies just don’t cut it, tripods are difficult, and the people you ask to take your photo always seem like they’ve never taken a photo in their life. That’s where Flytographer comes in. Now, you can hire a local photographer to come out and take a bunch of high-quality professional photos to help cherish those memories for a lifetime.
Flytographer connects you with hand-picked local photographers in over 350 destinations around the globe for fun, hassle-free photo shoots. Whether it’s a special vacation, a honeymoon, or you’re about to propose, book a photographer to capture the big moment!
What’s Your Best Travel Accessories?
I don’t think there’s a day that goes by without us learning about new travel accessories and camping gear. With so much creativity out there, there are just so many cool ways to solve all of our travel problems and make travel + camping even better. Tree tents help us camp in places where the ground is too hard for tent stakes, merino wool clothing helps regulate our temperature and keep us stink-free, and water bottle filters enable us to drink from almost any water source in the world. That’s pretty awesome and yet, that’s only three of the many cool travel accessories and products available to those of us who love travel, camping, and being outdoors. We hope this list gave you some great ideas for things to buy this summer (or winter) and would love for you to share other products you’ve found in the comments below.