Articles by Stacey Ebert

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Remember those beach weekends where you tried to squeeze every last minute of available time jumping through crashing waves and flipping in that heavily chlorinated hotel pool? When the fortieth call of, “We’re leaving in five minutes!” finally arrived, you dripped the whole way to the car and then there were only two options. You’d either wind up sitting in that soggy, gross, wet bathing suit for the duration of the journey home or you’d jam soaking wet stuff into a plastic grocery bag or ziplock in hopes of keeping the rest of the luggage damp and mildew-infested.

Travel has changed since we were kids.  Today we all have mini-computers in the palms of our hands, can book accommodation with the click of a button in the middle of the night and can even get our groceries delivered by drone. Regardless of the newfound technologies, most travelers still do their best to take in every last possible minute of each extraordinary adventure and those wet bathing suits still remain something to ‘deal with.’ Can we agree that the plastic bags are a drag and don’t work that well? Now, there’s a better way: Enter the wet/dry bag.

The Wet/Dry Bag

Many weekend and urban travelers pack everything in one bag. Those ‘going out’ outfits snuggle in next to your swimsuit, sweaty gym kit, or snow-angel attire and it all (usually) makes its way home. We head straight off the slopes, straight from the mud-run, straight from the three day thru-hike, or directly from the pool to our method of transport home and everything still gets thrown in that one bag.

Aimed at keeping your adventurous spirit in tact and keeping your gear from getting ruined, the Outbreaker wet/dry bag is a perfect addition to your travel pack.

The Specs

  • Dimensions: 10x10x5” (packed)
  • Volume: 8 liters
  • Weight: .2 lb
  • Material: Waterproof sailcloth/Duraflex buckle
  • Features: Anti-fungal/anti-microbial coating

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We’ve all been wearing them on our feet since our very first day in the world. Although many of us have spent decades kicking them off, fending off the sock monster while searching for their other half in the dryer, trying to put them over our little ones’ wiggly toes, or mismatching them on purpose to make a fashion statement – at some point in life, most of us have worn a pair of socks.

Whether we believe it or not, travel socks are in a  different category than those fuzzy ones with grippers on the bottom, the over the knee ones with awesome pictures of jellyfish, the ones we wear to the gym, the ones only made to grip our yoga mat or those toe-socks that take longer to put on than any other piece of clothing. Travel socks are in a category all their own.

There is more than one type of sock out there for each pair of feet. Beyond the options of ankle, knee or toe, these socks, produced by dozens of companies, come in a plethora of styles and all with their own sort of something-special weaved into the fabric. Some are designed as liners but people wear them on their own. Some are infused with insect-repellant. Made of cotton, wool or synthetic fibers, they each feel different on our feet. One size does not fit all. It can be a bit overwhelming at first – but at the end of the day, choose the one that feels best on your feet in the color that makes your heart smile most.

Expert Advice

An REI staff member (who wished to remain anonymous) spent time talking with me in their hefty travel sock section. He showed me the difference between the merino wool of today’s socks that were far less itchy than the ones I remember from yesteryear.

He explained the sweat-free benefits of the CoolMax® synthetic fiber used today for many liners and socks. He shared the made in America nature of the Farm to Feet® brand and how the ones in their ‘No Fly Zone’ have the bug spray built in to the material. He explained that the greater the thickness of the sock the fewer blisters you might develop (depending of course on the fit of your shoes).

And, he shared his favorite (liners made of CoolMax® fabric which he wears as stand alone socks) along with this advice – “If you’re looking to be able to wash and dry your socks quickly, the thinner sock is better for that purpose.”

Different Types of Travel Socks

Socks are no longer only made from cotton. Today, ‘technical socks’ are available in all materials and with many extra attributes. Although we’re all looking for comfort, blister-free and stink-free feet, each of us might need something a little extra.
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The Emerald Isle holds a sort of mystical lure amidst the backdrop of its luscious green landscape. Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, this small European island packs a big punch. “I’m going to Ireland,” means something different to each traveler. Perhaps it’s your first international trip on a brand new passport. Maybe you’re headed north to see the land from which your ancestors came and learn more about that Irish heritage of yours. Or, you might  be camping or hiking your way across this great country to commune with the land and learn more about yourself.

Ireland is an amazing place to adventure with friends, explore a bit, eat a bit, drink in pubs, chat with locals, and wander through the footsteps of history. Regardless of the reasons you’re headed to Ireland, your voyage begins before you set foot across the border. Dream up your kind of journey, research adventures for your trip, and figure out what to pack.

Ireland Bucket List: What to See

They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing. Ireland is a beautiful blend of urban adventures, small town charm, and countryside that begs to be wandered.

Urban Adventures

You’re likely to start in Dublin if you fly in. Don’t spend your whole week in just Dublin and think you’ve seen Ireland. Conversely, don’t make the mistake of skipping most of the city you arrive and depart from. Spend some time in Dublin and explore:

Small Town Delights

Ireland is full of small towns and hamlets, each with its own flair. If you want to get to know a town, visit the pub on a Saturday afternoon or after work on a week day and get to know the locals. No doubt you’ll explore many, but don’t miss Cork, famous for the Blarney Stone, but full of other interest too. The English Market is wonderful.

Outdoor Adventures

Traveling through Ireland is like adventuring through a postcard. The scenery is spectacular at every turn. History blends with culture and preserved wildlife in national parks and secluded islands. Be sure to take the time to explore some of the best of the Irish countryside. Rent a car. Take a bus trip. Or maybe just a long walk.

What to Pack for Ireland: The Necessities

No matter where you’re traveling (Ireland definitely included), there are a few things that should always be packed. If you’re smart, you will keep these in the bag that never leaves your side, because these are the items that are most important and often hardest to replace.

  • Wallet: With ID, passport & an extra copy of front page of your passport
  • Travel documents: Including travel insurance and visa documents if you need them
  • Medications: Daily, necessary, and allergy – carry extras & copies of prescriptions
  • Necessary tech: Chargers & converters – double check compatibility

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