Trends and New Products for 2009
There was so much variety at The Show it's hard to imagine narrowing it down to a few trends, but most products fit in at least one of these four categories:
There were over 70 new exhibitors this year, which means lots of new products and innovative ideas!
For gadget lovers: Fli's tugo easily attaches your drink to the handle of your luggage, freeing up a hand when juggling bags, tickets, etc. in the airport; Traveler's Supply's Traveler ER Drive is a portable software solution that allows you to carry your vital records on a USB drive; Bottlewise safely transports wine for packing in checked luggage; LV Comfort's Travel Nook Pillow has two pillows on either side of your ears, enabling your head to lay flat against the seatback; Rowallan's Waverley Station Collection of small leather travel accessories includes a manicure set, tape measure and contact lens case in vibrant colors; Flyright Jet Lag Formula was formulated by an herbalist as an all-natural liquid to combat dehydration, swelling, fatigue and stress; L.C. Industries' Lookout Alert System has a small transmitter that fits inside a bag, wallet or other belonging, and the receiver sounds an alarm when the bag and the receiver held by the traveler are separated beyond 13 feet; Lucid Sun's Kangopack protects your carry-on products from the bin used during the screening process at the airport, and avoids small items being left behind; and Travel Sentry's Okoban service is a new, web-based global product registration and tracking system for luggage and other bags.
For luggage: High Sierra's Drop-Bottom Wheeled Duffel has a zippered divider panel that can be rolled up and secured to create one large compartment; Briggs & Riley's Clamshell Backpack holds a laptop computer and is checkpoint friendly, allowing the user to simply open the pack like a book and lay it down on the conveyor for screening at airport security; Heys' BioCase requires the owner's fingerprint in order to unlock it, and is available in a 19" business case and a 20" carry-on luggage piece; Wally Bags' Destination Bag is a carry-on garment bag made especially for transporting wedding and evening dresses; Millenium Leather's Metro Convertible Duffel/Garment Bag combines the best features of both; Heys' P2 Drive is a hardsided case with a zippered pocket front, and their Fuse X1 combines polycarbonate with ballistic nylon for lightweight durability; Ricardo Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive Collection also combines polycarbonate with ballistic nylon for a hybrid case that has a patented two-compartment system with floating divider that provides the ultimate in packing flexibility; Swany's Walkin Bag now comes equipped with a retractable seat that supports up to 300 pounds.
For kids: Zoobies are fun stuffed animals that convert to a pillow and blanket for long journeys or naptime; Portable Playtime converts a small, light backpack into a playmat that fits on the tray table of a airplane; and Zen Class' Nirvana Travel Organizer attaches to the seatback tray table and has numerous compartments to organize items for both kids and adults.
Light, lighter, lightest
The best way to pack light is to start with a lightweight bag! The consumer demand for lightweight bags continues; you'll see even more manufacturers showcasing lighter products and competing for the title of lightest bag.
Lightweight bags include Antler's Size Zero; Eagle Creek's Hovercraft HC2; High Sierra's Flexoshell wheeled carry-on; and Landor & Hawa's new Sub Zero G Collection with a 30" packing case weighing only 6 lbs. 7 oz. Once you've got a lightweight bag, make sure you don't add weight with too many pairs of shoes — check out Onesole's shoe that comes with a variety of detachable tops that gives you many looks from only one pair.
In the new Apparel Pavilion at The Show was a variety of travel clothing that will help you pack light by serving a variety of functions. There was a collection of high-performance apparel at ExOfficio; personal and travel accessories for efficient packing at pb travel; UbU's lightweight jackets and raincoats in fashionable prints and colors; Casual Essentials “The Shoul," a lightweight shawl that stays on your shoulders; Spare Soles; Tilley Hats; and Zinetic's pocket slippers.
To make sure you know whether or not you will meet the weight restrictions for your airline before you reach the airport, there are a variety of luggage scales to help keep your bag weight down, such as the EZ Travel Scale; Heys' solar powered eScale; the TravelLite; and Balanzza's new digital luggage scale with a timer/alarm and flashlight built right in!
Consumer interest in purchasing eco-friendly products extends to travel products, and manufacturers have responded.
Heys' EcoCase Collection is not only stylish, it's the world's first hardside case made of 100% recycled plastics, and is lightweight, expandable and has four-wheels for ease of use; GreenSmart has been eco-friendly since they started one year ago with their Bottles 2 Bags collection made from 100% recycled water and soda bottles, and has now recycled over 555,000 plastic bottles; New Option Lighting has their EL8 e-Solar Charger that charges cell phones, iPods, iPhones, digital cameras and other handheld personal electronic devices and is about the size of a BlackBerry; Tony Perotti's Green Collection uses an all-vegetable tanning process for their leathers; J World Sport's Bio Health Cool Mat Backpack and Biotech-Ceramic Backpack use eco-friendly materials to promote blood circulation; Malcolm Fontier has animal-friendly bags that use globally-sourced, non-leather alternatives and unique PU coated canvases that are both functional and funky; and Traveler's Club has a collection of six eco-friendly reusable bags including a tote, a shoe bag, a travel kit, a garment cover, a laundry bag and a packing cube.
Fashion on the go
Fashionable and colorful luggage is here to stay, as more and more travelers move away from black and other dark colors. Heys' Britto Collection is as wild as they get, designed by renowned Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto; La Tour Eiffel showcases their line of upscale bags with geometric prints and contrasting leather trim; MY resurrects the oilcloth bag and updates it with modern prints, using cotton and PVC for an extremely supple feel that wears like steel; and Mywalit's line of personal accessories combines sensible leather design with their trademark combination of rainbow-hued, multi-pocketed interiors.
Olympia's new Hardside Collection from Luggage America has four wheels and a swirled pattern in bright colors; Traveler's Club's Lulu Castagnette four wheeled luggage is a hard-sided case that has a cool teddy bear with sunglasses on the side.
Toss Designs offers vintage-inspired steamer luggage styles for those desiring a retro look; Rowallan updates the classic look with their White Label and Sanderling Collections in new colors and leather trim that also come with custom cover “raincoats" for protection against rough handling; Johnston & Murphy brings old-world techniques to a modern Messenger Bag in their 1850 Collection; Sumdex has a Neo Art Slash laptop case that is slim and lightweight; L.C. Industries' Belle Hop organizers organizes packing space in a carry-on or checked luggage; California Pak's Equator Collection in giraffe prints are sure to get travelers' attention; and for a high-fashion look, don't miss the Revo and BTL Collections from Olivet.