|5 coolest travel products currently on Kickstarter|
So what's the next Kickstarter must-have? It could be one of these five products, which are either still looking for backers or are taking pre-orders through the site. There are travel jeans, pocket-sized power strips and hard-case luggage that flattens out and hangs in your hotel closet – the kind of thing that you didn't know you needed, but may not be able to travel without.
1.Lifepack, a solar-powered backpack, launched on Kickstarter on Monday with a modest $20,000 funding goal. It hit that number within eight hours and, as of this writing, has pulled in more than $66,000 from backers. The Lifepack has a solar-powered USB charger, an integrated locking cable (that doubles as a bottle opener) and a portable Bluetooth speaker. There are also four hidden pockets, including a passport-sized pocket in the strap that would allow you to safely conceal your travel documents.
"I tried to put in every kind of feature that fits the digital nomad who is constantly on-the-go," Lifepack founder Adrian Solgaard told Road Warrior Voices. "Really, it's best-suited for people who travel a lot or work remotely."
Solgaard said that the idea for the Lifepack began with the integrated lock, and features were added from there. "My friend's backpack was stolen with his laptop and everything inside last year, which is when I really started digging into [the design]," he said.
Solgaard seems to have designed the Lifepack for people like himself. He said that, as a frequent traveler ("I go wherever the action is," he said) he's splitting his time between seven countries on three different continents, living out of one Lifepack and a carry-on suitcase. The Lifepack is available through Kickstarter for $125; it will later retail for $249.
2.The Best Travel Jeans in the World could be a clever name, or it could be the truth. We like that the jeans have a hidden zipper back pocket, which will make a would-be pickpocket's job that much harder, and a fifth pocket that is large enough to accommodate an iPhone 6. There is also a zippered front pocket, which is passport-sized and would be handy as you're shuffling through an airport security line in your sock feet. The jeans – which the designers say are "as comfy as sweatpants" – are made in Los Angeles and are available in three styles for men and women. You can pick up a pair for a pledge of $98 or more.
3.Néit is a wheeled, waterproof hard-case suitcase (made of durable Polycarbonate and a strong-but-light aluminum frame) that collapses to a slimmer-than-slim three inches when it is empty and not in use. Its carabiner-style handle lets you hang it in the closet of your hotel or on the back of your door, allowing you to maximize every available inch of your tiny European hotel room. Néit also has its own iPhone and Android app, which stores trip information, boarding passes and allows you to track the luggage through its built-in GPS transmitter. Néit is currently available for a pledge of $212 (plus $40 for GPS) and will eventually retail for $450.
4.AirBolt is a smart travel lock that can be opened by punching in a code on your smartphone, not fumbling around with a tiny little key. The TSA-compliant device has a number of other traveler-pleasing features, including GPS capabilities for crowd-sourced luggage tracking (the app will show your bag's last known location) and a proximity alert that will let you know if someone moves your stuff. One of the niftiest features is a log that displays every time the AirBolt has been unlocked, which means you'll know if TSA agents opened your suitcase in transit. AirBolt has already had a successful Kickstarter campaign, but it is taking preorders through the site. One Airbolt is available for $65.
5. MOGICS is a round, pocket-sized power strip that eliminates every traveler's power outlet anxiety. Will there be enough available outlets at the airport charging station? At the hotel, am I going to prioritize my devices? Those questions won't matter, not when you have five available sockets on the MOGICS in your backpack. MOGICS is available in two varieties: a donut, which has five US AC sockets and two USB ports or the bagel, which has four universal (UK, Europe, US or Australia) AC sockets, one US AC socket and two USB ports. It also has its own Universal travel adapter, so you can plug it in anywhere. MOGICS is taking preorders through Kickstarter and is available for $29 ($39 with the travel adapter).