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Published: December 29th 2013
A few notes about new gear, which is my enduring obsession. 1. Tiny s-biners.
Use these to latch zippers that you want to secure but don't want to keep locking and unlocking. Deters theft, though not as well as a lock. These worked pretty well, though they have a certain tendency to spring off. The variety that's got a plastic component seemed particularly prone to this. Double-check that they're secured. http://www.rei.com/product/860182/nite-ize-s-biner-microlock-keychain-2-pack 2. Double-cable luggage locks.
Intended to keep thieves from prying open and then resealing a continuous loop zipper by affixing the lock to a handle. They work pretty well in this regard, but are hard to read in low light, prone to resetting themselves at a new combination (both K and I had this experience on this trip), and are easily cut with wire clippers. On previous trips, I've also had TSA fail to relock them correctly, resulting in both an unlocked bag and a lost cable loop. The price varies greatly, so shop around. http://www.ebags.com/product/lewis-n-clark/double-cable-lock/151203?productid=10020904 3. Belt with an all-plastic buckle.
An excellent item, this allows you to keep your pants up hands-free at airport security. Also doubles as a strap-and-buckle in a pinch. http://www.rei.com/product/737207/bison-designs-ellipse-belt 4. Tea tree wipes.
I didn't carry these this time and wished I had. Great for cleaning up after a long day in a dirty environment without hot water. The Body Shop used to sell a small tub of tea tree cosmetic wipes that were better textured and easier to transport, but this is what they've got at the moment. Try Trader Joe's as well. http://www.thebodyshop-usa.com/skin-care/face-wash/tea-tree-cleansing-wipes.aspx 5. Purell.
I bought a number of small bottles of Purell on Amazon; 3 leaked in transit even in the plane cabin (not in checked luggage). Double-bag this kind of thing, and don't store them with your inhalers, which will become goo-covered and need very thorough cleaning before they can be used if the Purell bottle blows.
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