winter gear awards travel

Cameron Oden

This story is part of the 2021 Winter Gear Awards. To see the full list of winners, click here.

Forgot what it’s like to travel? It’s OK, most people did. As folks get ready to pack up and head out again, it’s time to reevaluate what you bring on your next adventure. We took vetted the best products you need so that you’ll be smooth sailing when you’re ready to travel again. From the suitcase to the photography gear, these are the best travel products for this winter.

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Best Carry-On Luggage

Arlo Skye Zipper Carry On Max

Take to the sky towing a bag with built-in functionality. Arlo Skye’s Zipper Carry-On Max comes with an easy-access, hard-shell front pocket for laptops, extra layers and all of the documentation you need to board nowadays. Plus, there’s an antimicrobial liner and an integrated (and removable) USB-C charger.


Best Travel Blazer

Taylor Stitch Gibson Jacket

Taylor Stitch’s Gibson Jacket gives you the practicality of a blazer without the stuffiness of a suit. It represents the right middle ground between dressed up and comfortable courtesy of its 97 percent cotton/ 3 percent spandex construction. It’s lightweight, has pockets for important EDC and will retain its shape even after being folded.


Best Small Camera

Fujifilm X100v

An iPhone is fine for documenting daily life, but the Fujifilm X100v is a fantastic upgrade for serious shooters. With a 26.1MP APS-C sensor and an f/2.0 lens, this tidy package can capture better photos than any smartphone, especially in low light.


Best Dopp Kit

Billykirk No.258

Billykirk’s Toiletry Bag is constructed from a water- resistant waxed-canvas exterior, a water-resistant nylon lining and a durable, full-grain leather bottom. Not only practical, it’s a polished take on a mundane must-have.


Best Duffel Bag

Filson Medium Rugged Twill Duffle Bag

Are you averse to roller bags? Annoyed by the convenience? (Looking at you, David Coggins.) Filson’s Duffle Bag is for you, then. It’s rain- and scuff-resistant, easy to carry with either the handles or shoulder strap and sized to the TSA’s exact maximum carry-on specs.


Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 45

These noise-canceling headphones have basically the same lightweight (and extremely comfy) design as the company’s QuietComfort 35 II (last updated in 2017), but Bose drastically improved their active noise-cancellation and transparency skills, as well as their call clarity.


Best Instant Coffee

Voilà Coffee

Simply the freshest, most consistently high-quality airplane coffee there is. The company’s production process, focus on quality beans and its variety of roasts have kept it one step ahead of an increasingly competitive category.


Best Portable Battery

RAVPower AC Power Bank 30000mAh

An excellent combo of value and power, the RAVPower 30,000mAh AC has enough juice to charge a phone, tablet or laptop. With a USB-C, USB-A and 100-watt AC outlet, it can resurrect anything you need charged.

Best Travel Pillow

Travelrest Memory Foam Pillow

There’s nothing worse than tweaking your neck while sleeping on a plane — whether you’re in the aisle seat or by the window. Correct your nap posture with Travelrest’s Memory Foam Pillow, a wraparound style that cradles without choking you.

Best Wireless Hotspot

ZTE ZMax Connect

If you need Wi-Fi, the ZTE ZMax Connect can provide it at a great value. Capable of turning a mobile data signal from AT&T or T-Mobile into a Wi-Fi signal for as many as 10 devices, the Max is limited to 4G speeds but benefits from ubiquitous 4G coverage.

Best Everyday Backpack

Bellroy Laptop Daypack

This 20L zip-top pack strikes a chord between minimalist design and maximalist features. Though it comes in a variety of durable fabrics, this all-black version is made with Bellroy’s Dura nylon material. It features a slew of compartments cleverly hidden throughout including a water-resistant top pocket for your phone and other small electronics.


Best Pet Camera

Wyze Cam v3

Pay hundreds of dollars or pay around $40 for the same or better quality. Wyze’s affordable smart camera is the best cheap security camera and, by extension, a perfectly suitable option for pet owners who aren’t fussed with confusing their pets with a treat-shooting monolith.

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