6 Tips to Make Your Holiday Travel a Little Less Crazy Town

You rush though traffic to get to the airport, but end up stuck on an arterial route because of an accident. That cleared, you finally arrive only to find a long line at the counter even though you already have your boarding pass downloaded on your phone (they still want you to go to the counter to check your bag).

Then you rush to the TSA line and stand some more. Finally, you make it to the gate corridor on the other side of TSA only to look at the digital “Departures” board and learn that your flight is delayed, for six hours.

Yeah, that was a nightmare.

If the logistics of your holiday travel plans are making you crazy town and you haven’t even left the house yet, take a deep breath and add these to your packing list:

Noise canceling headphones
Canceled flights, prolonged layovers in the airport or on the tarmac can be made a lot more tolerable with Outdoor Tech’s Privates Wireless Headphones. The 40mm drivers deliver clear mids and solid bass, and you get 10 hours of playtime. The lightweight, flexible, foldable design is paired with swivel earpads for easy fit, all-day (or night) wear and easy portability. A 3.5mm auxiliary jack lets you use them in situations where Bluetooth connectivity isn’t available (including on an airplane or with a non-Bluetooth device).

Portable power bank external charger
Again, whether you’re stuck on the plane, tarmac or in an airport lounge, you won’t have to fret about the lack of access to a charge port or worry about waiting in line for a one if you pack along the Kodiak 6000mAh Portable Power Bank. Weighing a mere 9.4 ounces, it not only boasts a monster 6000 milliamp battery capacity that can charge a GoPro 6X, a Galaxy 3X and the iPhone, but is also certified IP67 shock- and water-proof—thanks to its heavy duty rugged silicone shell. Plus, its battery level fuel gauge indicator lets you know when the juice is running low.

Therapeutic eye mask
Gone are the days when air travel was actually fun. Today, it’s synonymous with stress. Block all that busy inflight chatter and intercom updates with your headphones, then thwart intruding light with an eye mask. An inexpensive solution to grabbing some shuteye inflight or while waiting for the next leg of your flight, the soft sided eye masks lockout light but are also designed to follow the contours of your eyes so they don’t inflict pressure on eyelashes or eyelids.

A Minimalist Packing Strategy
The key to breezing through the airport check-in and TSA, while avoiding baggage claim on arrival is a carry-on organized with packing cubes.

Portable UV Germ & Bacteria Sanitizer
One of the downsides of holiday and winter travel is exposure to colds and flus that easily circulate on airplanes and in airports. Protect yourself with a handy little wand that quickly sanitizing airplane or gate seats, steering wheels in your rental car, or the mattress and remote in your hotel room. Death comes to viruses, bedbugs, dust mites and bacteria via ultraviolet light. The lightweight, battery-operated KIKAR sanitizing wand must be held about one half inch to two inches away from the surface and every area of a surface needs to be exposed for at least 10-78 seconds (depending upon the pathogen). But studies show it works.

Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Yep, this seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how few people think of carrying this one little item that can make a huge difference in your sanity. When you’re not filling it with coffee (having your own cup on the airplane saves the airline money and gets you several ounces more than the typical 4 ounces poured in styrofoam inflight cups), it can be filled with water to keep you well hydrated while you travel. It can also be used to load up on lobby coffee at your hotel or at the local drive-up coffee shack. Stainless steel won’t impact coffee taste and is easier to keep clean.

Get in the Groove: Finding the Right Headphones For Your Active Life

No matter what sport you enjoy—save for backpacking, alpine climbing, and hiking, perhaps—a soundtrack can help improve your performance and keeping you going mentally and physically long after your body is ready throw in the towel.

But if you want to listen to music while working out or enjoying high-impact endurance sports, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones  or some wireless earbuds that are easy and comfortable to wear, offer a secure fit, and are resistance to dust, sweat, grime, and searing or freezing temperatures.

The more action-packed the sport, the more ergonomic, seamless and secure the fit you need. Few headphones meet these needs like earbuds, tethering your headphones securely to your head, and locking them into place without putting undue pressure on the ear canal. Outdoor Tech has you covered for all these issues, including headphones that seamlessly integrate into audio-ready sport helmets.

Here are 10 things to consider when buying headphones for active pursuits:

Awesome Technology, Minimal Design, Easy to Use
Look for headphones with a low-fuss design and a simple interface. They should also come with a secure cord you can wear around your neck when you’re not using them.

Hands Free Hi-Fi Sound
Wireless headphones connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices; look for headphone with easy one-touch pairing that let you listen to music, skip tracks and control volume without ever touching your device. When choosing wireless earbuds, look for headphones that deliver rich, crystal clean sound with 8mm drivers and at least 30 feet of reach. Advance sound enhancements to keep an ear out for include apt X and AAC.

Wireless Connectivity
The best wireless headphones let you reconnect automatically to previously paired devices.

Bluetooth Connectivity
Headphones with an Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) offer high-quality stereo sound streaming. Those with an Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVCRP) let you remotely control track (next/previous track) selection, pause/play and volume.

Wireless + External controls
Having both wireless connectivity and external controls provides even greater flexibility. Look for three-button inline controls that easily let you adjust volume, change tracks, pause/play and control calls effortlessly while on the move.

Look for lithium-ion powered headphones. Lithium-ion batteries’ greater energy density means you can operate them longer between charges. They also have a much lower rate of self-discharge than other rechargeable cells such as Ni-Cad and NiMH. Also, you never need to prime a lithium-ion battery before its first charge, or do any maintenance on them, unlike Ni-Cad cells, which require a periodic discharge to ensure that they don’t hold a short charge “memory.” The best headphones have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries offering up to 6 hours of playtime and at least 120 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Built-in microphone
Multi-tasking headphones give you the option of listening to music as well letting you receive hands-free calls from anywhere, any time.

Surround Sound
Earbuds that offer ambient noise-enhancing features are critical for skateboarders, cyclists and runners. You should be able to safely hear sounds in your surrounding environment while enjoying your playlist.

For high-impact sports, look for earbuds with removable over-the-ear clips paired with custom-sizable ear pads/cushions for extra secure staying power. Having the option of removing ear hooks and just having a bud in your ear are also indispenisable features.

Waterproof, Sweatproof
If your pursuits take you in or anywhere around water (like running in the rain or stand-up paddling), look for silicone-wrapped waterproof headphones that provide quality sound even when submerged, as well as the ability to adjust them easily for sound level and track changes.

Audio-ready, Hardwired, Cold Play
If you have an audio-ready liner in your ski or snow helmet, and would rather hit the slopes with a mp3 player or hardwired smartphone, look for hardwired headphones that seamlessly integrate with your helmet liner to allow you to control music tracks, play/pause, or activates voice command via one glove-friendly button, and also keep in you in the groove for as long as you or your battery holds up. You’ll also to look for headphones that stay functional down to -20°C/-4°F so you never have to worry about frozen button syndrome.


Water Proof, Water Resistant, and IPX – What Does It All Mean?

A lot of the Bluetooth stuff we make is water resistant and some are even fully waterproof, obviously, you are stoked on that. This means that if you are playing in the snow, the sprinklers, the bath-house, in the middle of a super-soaker fight, or all male wet t-shirt contest with some of the rad speakers or power banks we make, it’s gonna be fine. But hold on kiddies, water resistant is different than waterproof. There are different “levels” of water resistance that are standard. This standard is referred to as IPX, kinda.

And now, a picture that represents flowing liquid.

waterproof speaker

If something has a water only rating (whether 4, 5, or 6) you write it as IPX5. The X acts as a placeholder since there is not a particle (or dust rating). If something has a dust rating of 6 (dustproof) and a water rating of 5, you write it as IP65. In the rare instance that the dust and water rating are the same (let’s say 6), you write it as IP6. This isn’t used nearly as often as the other two models.

Here is a breakdown of the IP standard as it relates to water proof and water resistant:

IPX0 – This means it’s not water resistant at all. Think of what happens to paper when it gets wet. It’s a mess and your novella is ruined.

IPX1 – This will protect a device from some water drops that are falling vertically on said device. I guess it’s possible for this situation to actually occur but so is winning the lottery. If you or someone you know has won the lottery, sharing is caring.

IPX2 –  This will protect your thingy from some water drops when the device is tilted up to and including 15°. If you have your device at 16°, you are screwed, sorry but there are limits in the world.

IPX3 – Getting better, you can now spray your gear up to 60° from the top of the device. So that’s cool, I guess.

IPX4 – Now we are getting somewhere. This will keep “yo ish chill” from splashing water from any direction. So if you drop some cubes of ice into you scotch and it splashes, there is no need to worry. Well, except for those drops of scotch that didn’t make it into your tummy.

IPX5 – (this is where the super soaker is allowed). Will protect your stuff from water jets at any direction. Spray away kiddo, spray away.

IPX6 – Protects from powerful water jets. So if you modified your super soaker with an air compressor and an aftermarket tip, your stuff is still safe. In reality, IPX6 is basically waterproof.

Everything after this is now waterproof.

IPX7 – Full splashdown accepted captain. If you drop your device in water up to 3 feet (1 meter but this is ‘Merica and we don’t do the metric system. USA USA USA) your device is still going to work.

IPX8 – You can protect your device in water over 3 feet. This is for your stuff at the bottom of a pool, lake, or even a super deep public hot tub. What’s up with that one couple that never gets out of the hot tub?

In a very strange, completely unplanned, and non-thought-out coincidence, here is a list of some of our products and their IP rating.

The Turtle Shell 3.0 is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker has an IPX7 waterproof rating.

The Mantas are True Wireless Earbuds and they have an IPX5 waterproof rating.

The science has been dropped and knowledge has been performed. Everyone is actually smarter for having read this. You can thank me by sharing on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, puffing with Smoke Signals, tapping on the Telegraph or discussing during your drum circle.