The Best Home Safety & Security Gadgets for Techie Travelers

Savvy travelers know to lock down their physical and digital valuables while on the road. But, with young travelers spending more and more time away from home on each trip, it’s more important now than ever to lock down all the things you leave behind at home too.

Here are the best high-tech home security gadgets for travelers looking to keep their homes safe and sound while they’re gone.

#1: Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt for Home Security

The IoT (Internet of Things) has promised and delivered a whole lot of awesome, high-tech conveniences. Smart locks now allow us to access our homes without the need for pesky keys. For travelers, that also means providing streamlined access to our homes while we’re away — whether it’s for the delivery driver, the neighbor who’s walking our dog while we’re away, or someone stopping by daily to housesit.

The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt does all of this and more. Pair with the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter to check on the lock’s status from anywhere, so you never have to wonder if the front door was left unlocked

You can simply enter an access code on the touchscreen to unlock the door instead of searching your pockets for keys. Pairing the lock with a smartphone over Bluetooth is as easy as pairing your phone with your car, and the free Schlage Sense app makes setting up and using the lock as simple as checking email. Once it’s installed, you can setup and manage all of your access options with a few smartphone taps. No matter where in the world you find yourself, you can keep tabs on your home.

It works with all major home automation kits including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. It even provides smartphone alerts if it senses an intrusion attempt.

#2: Tapplock one Smart Padlock

Tapplock one - Smart Fingerprint Padlock

Tapplock one – Smart Fingerprint Padlock

We love the idea of the Tapplock one smart padlock so much that we included it in our round-up of clever car-camping gadgets. Its versatility makes it just as useful on the go as at home. You can use it to lock down your camping goods, your car’s rooftop cargo carrier, or any number of things around your home like your shed or outdoor gear.

The padlock’s state-of-the-art capacitive fingerprint sensor allows you or anyone you trust to access your items in under a second and features unbreakable durability. The Tapplock smartphone app can also be used to open the lock and give temporary, remote access to others (if you happen to be renting your house out on Airbnb, for example, while you’re traveling).

#3: Airthings Wave Smart Radon Detector

Man examining Airthings Wave Smart Radon Detector

Airthings Wave – Smart Radon Detector for Home Safety

There’s nothing especially “sexy” about household gases like radon or carbon monoxide. But, the fact is, if you’re a homeowner, these are two things you absolutely should be worried about. High levels of radon, in particular, can be difficult to detect, especially if you’re not home. Levels can vary daily so constant monitoring is recommended.

But if you have pets waiting for you at home or someone who’ll be housesitting while you’re away, a device like the Airthings Wave Smart Radon Detector could literally save a life. It starts delivering results — including radon analysis, plus temperature and humidity readings — within an hour and the integrated smartphone app provides real-time data and alerts no matter where in the world you are.

The battery is good for a year and a half with constant Bluetooth connectivity. Plus, it features a sleek, futuristic design that looks damn cool in just about any home.

#4: SimpliSafe – Hearth Home Security System

SimpliSafe Hearth Home Security System

SimpliSafe Hearth Home Security System

Not long ago, home security systems were a hassle. They required a professional to install and buyers were locked into long — sometimes multi-year — contracts. SimpliSafe scraps all that nonsense. Their state-of-the-art home security kits are easy to install for most any layperson, and they’re far more affordable than their previous generation counterparts. Of all the home security gadgets you can invest in, this is likely the most important because it’s the most comprehensive.

For your home safety and security, our money is on the SimpliSafe Hearth which includes a key fob, three entry sensors, a motion sensor, a siren, and a smoke detector. It offers smoke and intrusion detection, all monitored by the company’s professional monitoring service (USD $14.99 monthly with no contract).

If anyone is stupid enough to attempt a break-in, the device sounds a 105dB alarm (about as loud as front row at a Stones concert) to scare the holy hell out of them and probably half your neighborhood too. If you do have pets at home, it’s even smart enough to know the difference between your dog taking a midnight stroll and a burglar stumbling through your kitchen. All of which helps to eliminate false positives.

What home security gadgets do you recommend? Let us know below!

The post The Best Home Safety & Security Gadgets for Techie Travelers appeared first on Vagabondish.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Bluetooth Headphones for Travel [2018]

It’s that time of year: Halloween is fresh over. Time to throw out the candy corns (again) and, assuming you’re a lunatic, put up the holiday decorations.

It also means you need to start thinking about holiday gift shopping. If you’re looking to buy a gift for that favorite traveler in your life, there’s only one thing they’re going to be happy with this year: Airbnb gift cards.

OK, two things: I guarantee they’d also love a new pair of headphones — wireless headphones, in particular. Here are the best Bluetooth headphones for travel …

Best Bluetooth Headphones for Travel 2018

Sleep-friendly Bluetooth Headphones: SleepPhones Effortless

SleepPhones Wireless Headphones for Sleeping

SleepPhones Wireless — Best Headphones for Sleeping

Almost every night, I fall asleep listening to podcasts or an audiobook. Problem is: most earbuds just aren’t designed to be worn while you’re sleeping. Enter SleepPhones — the “world’s most comfortable headphones for sleeping.” Think of them as pajamas for your ears. The difference between SleepPhones and other travel-friendly headphones is the plush headband which, honestly, after a few minutes of wearing, you completely forget it’s even on your head.

While they come in three different varieties, I’m partial to the SleepPhones Effortless. They easily sync/pair with your smartphone, PC, or most any other Bluetooth-enabled device with a wireless range of up to 30 feet. The battery is designed to last 10 hours — more than enough for a decent night’s sleep or a moderate flight. Plus, for travelers on the go, the battery reaches a full charge in just three hours using the wireless, induction charging functionality. There’s also built-in play/pause and volume controls so you needn’t dig around in the dark for your smartphone in the middle of the night.

AcousticSheep SleepPhones Effortless | Bluetooth Headphones for Sleep, Travel & More Flat Speakers | No-Fuss Rechargeable Battery | Quiet Lavender – Fleece Fabric (Size S)

  • HELPS WITH BETTER SLEEP, INSOMNIA, RELAXATION, MEDITATION, TRAVEL, TINNITUS & MORE. Everyone from shift workers, people who share a bed with a snorer, tinnitus sufferers, athletes & many more have benefited from getting a better night’s sleep by using these innovative sleep headphones that are the original & most comfortable sleep headphones on the market.
  • NATURAL SLEEP AID CREATED BY A DOCTOR. Invented by a family physician to help patients fall asleep faster & stay asleep longer, naturally & without drugs. SleepPhones come with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • ENGINEERED & DESIGNED FOR COMFORT. The ultra-thin, high-quality flat headphone speakers are comfortable enough to wear while lying down or sleeping on your side. They provide true sound and block out ambient noise without using earplugs that are painful and fall out. Built-in volume & play/pause controls. Ultra-low power, safe RF emissions.
  • WIRELESS BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY, LONG LASTING BATTERY, & CORDLESS INDUCTION CHARGING. The headband headphone has Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect with compatible devices so you never have to worry about getting tangled up in cords. Wireless range of 15-30 feet (5-10 meters) for easy connectivity. Rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours and easily pairs/syncs with smartphones, computers & most other Bluetooth compatible devices. Battery charging time of 3 hours with included cordless.
  • CHOOSE YOUR SIZE & COLOR. Sizes S, M, L. Size Medium (M) is the most common size that fits most. This model is available in two types of fabric for optimum comfort: FLEECE fabric in soft gray, quiet lavender & midnight black & BREEZE moisture-wicking fabric in pitch black & royal blue. All fabrics are 95% polyester, 5% spandex.

Last updated: 2018-11-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rockstar Style at a Rockstar Price: Marshall Major III Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Marshall Major III Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphone (Brown)

Marshall Major III Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones for Travel

There’s something about Marshall’s headphones that I’ve always loved. There’s a little vintage rockstar style in the look, they’re well-built and durable, and they sound great. What’s more: they don’t cost a fortune.

Among their latest offerings are the Marshall Major III Bluetooth. I’m hard-pressed to pick a single pair of cans to tag as “The Best Bluetooth Headphones for Travel,” but these are the ones I always travel with. I wear them at home and on the go.

The Major III headphones are a slight reboot of Marshall’s Mid Bluetooth and Major III (sans Bluetooth). They feature a multi-directional control knob to control play, pause, shuffle, and volume as well as directly power the headphones on and off. The 40mm dynamic drivers are enhanced for bass response, crystal clear highs, and smooth mids. And the best part: 30+ hours of wireless playtime on a single charge! That’s almost enough to get you from NYC to Sydney and back!

Marshall Major III Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphone, Brown

  • Bluetooth aptX gives you exceptional Audio quality and the freedom and convenience to move with 30 feet of wireless listening range
  • 30+ hours of wireless playtime on a single charge
  • 40 mm dynamic drivers that are custom tuned for enhanced bass response, smooth midst and crystal clear highs that draw on over 50 years of sound heritage.
  • With the multi-directional control knob you can play, pause, Shuffle and adjust the volume of your device, as well as power your headphone on or off.
  • Easy to use phone functionality makes the major III Bluetooth the perfect everyday companion. Wirelessly answer, reject or end a call with the control knob

Last updated: 2018-11-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Earbuds for Minimalists: Wicked Audio Arq True Wireless Earbud Headphones

Wicked Audio Arq True Wireless Bluetooth Earbud Headphones

Wicked Audio Arq True Wireless Bluetooth Earbud Headphones

Above all else, Wicked Audio offers some of the most affordable Bluetooth headphones/earbuds on the market. But, their latest — the Wicked Audio Arq True Wireless Earbud — is budget-friendly without scrimping on features.

Like all of Wicked Audio’s Bluetooth/wireless products, Arq features Wicked’s unique “Triple Battery Protection” to prevent the risk of malfunction. The exterior is sweat resistant with a rubberized finish to travel easily and withstand active lifestyles. They come with three cushion sizes and hands-free features like pause/play and answer/hang up. Plus, with high-fidelity sound, enhanced bass, and noise isolation the sound quality is solid to boot.

Sale

Wicked Audio Arq True Wireless Bluetooth Earbud Headphones

  • TRUE WIRELESS | The Arq are the true wireless Bluetooth experience, with a small and comfortable fit.
  • TOTAL CONTROL | The Arq feature mic and track control built in, so you don’t have to fumble with your device when you want to change your tune or take a call.
  • POWERBANK | The Arq features a power bank so you can charge your devices even when you are left stranded.
  • NOISE ISOLATION | The Arq are noise isolating, so you won’t be bothered by outside sounds filtering in.
  • CUSTOMIZED FIT | Our stellar Arq earbuds feature three different sized cushions in the package, making it easy to find a custom fit and feel.

Last updated: 2018-11-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Money Is No Object: JBL Everest Elite 750NC

JBL Everest 750 Over-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (Gun Metal)

JBL Everest 750 — Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

If you’re looking for the best Bluetooth headphones for travel, forget the fancy hip-hop-mogul-branded headphones. You don’t need ’em. Spend your hard-earned social media influencer money on a legit pair of feature-rich cans. The JBL Everest Elite 750NC are some of the best I’ve personally tested.

Just as important as the sound is the battery life: for long-haul flights, they last up to 20 hours on a single charge. In ANC mode, control what you truly want to hear for up to 15 hours. They also boast a 3-hour quick recharge, Legendary JBL Pro Audio Sound, and ergonomic comfort so they’re guaranteed to be comfortable no matter how long your travel day. Adaptive noise-canceling allows you to tune out the world, including that screaming kid in the row behind you. Plus, the minimalist design — especially in Gun Metal — is sleek, sophisticated, and classy.

JBL Everest 750 Over-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (Gun Metal)

  • Built-In Microphone With Echo Cancellation Technology For Crystal Clear, Hands-Free Calls
  • A Sleek Fold-Flat Design And A Premium, Hard Carrying Case Allow Maximum Portability And Protection
  • Adaptive Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
  • Legendary JBL Pro Audio Sound
  • 15 Hour Battery, Quick Recharge In 3 Hours

Last updated: 2018-11-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Do you travel with wireless headphones? What do you recommend as the best Bluetooth headphones for travel?

The post Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Bluetooth Headphones for Travel [2018] appeared first on Vagabondish.

AxisGO Water Housing Is an Affordable Way to “Underwater-ify” Your iPhone

Digital cameras are expensive. And a proper underwater digital camera kit is often out of reach for the average traveler.

But, smartphone cameras are a whole lot more affordable. And, now a proper underwater smartphone kit is attainable for even the most budget of budget travelers.

AxisGO water housing is a purpose-built system for “underwater-ifying” your iPhone X. Here’s everything you need to know about it, and why you should consider buying it if you’re a budding underwater photographer or videographer.

AxisGO Water Housing for iPhone – Review

AxisGO X Waterproof Housing for iPhone X

AxisGO X Waterproof Housing for iPhone X

The Skinny

So what is it exactly? Well, according to the manufacturer, the AxisGO water housing for iPhone is:

… the ultimate Smartphone Imaging System. Designed to protect your iPhone from the harshest weather conditions, while offering the freedom to safely capture those special moments underwater. Capture beautiful images and stunning video with ease, then share instantly with full touchscreen sensitivity. AxisGO allows image capture with the phone’s native camera app, plus access to all your favorite applications. Confidently shoot at depths down to 33 feet (10 meters) with the peace of mind knowing your iPhone is safe inside the AxisGO.

Or we could just show you like so …

The Traveler’s Take

To be clear, the AxisGO water housing isn’t the first and only such underwater iPhone case on the market. But, from what I can tell, it’s one of the best designed. The feature set is incredibly solid for photographers who are looking for something more than just a way to waterproof their iPhone.

The latest AxisGo housing includes:

  • Functional touchscreen membrane
  • Interchangeable Lens port
  • Robust top and bottom mounting brackets
  • Pistol Grip kit
  • Professional quality accessory lenses
  • Optical glass
  • Anti-reflective and hydrophobic glass coatings

There are plenty of dirt-cheap “me-too” iPhone accessories available online. But, we’re not especially keen on trusting our near-thousand-dollar smartphone investment to a $30 “underwater” case. The brains behind AxisGO, AquaTech Imaging Solutions, have been designing and manufacturing waterproof sport housings for 20 years.

With that in mind, the AxisGO housing is constructed of ultra-durable materials like polycarbonate and machined aluminum. The combination of the two provides extraordinary impact resistance, rigidity, strength, and UV stability. Basically, it’s designed to take a beating and virtually anything your adventurous life on the road might throw at it.

AxisGO X Waterproof Housing for iPhone X (Rear)

AxisGO X Waterproof Housing for iPhone X

From a practical standpoint, I love that the format feels more like a traditional point-and-shoot camera in your hand than any other comparable case we’ve seen. All of your phone’s functionality remains completely accessible with the case attached. This includes full touchscreen control (swiping, tapping, and pinching) and making/receiving calls.

Every element and accessory of the AxisGO relies on optically clear glass with anti-reflective, hydrophobic coatings to ensure the highest image quality. It’s designed to perfectly match the iPhone’s native camera lenses. And the results are pretty damn sweet:

The base AxisGO waterproof housing works great as a standalone solution for adventurous travelers. But, their lineup of optional accessories really lets you take things to the next level:

All-in, it approaches the usability and versatility of a professional underwater photography kit at a fraction of the cost.

Pricing & Availability for AxisGO Water Housing

The base AxisGo water housing comes in Tactical Green, Sunset Orange, and Seashell White, and retails for USD $249 direct from AquaTech.

That price tag includes a quality neoprene bag, lanyard, and a maintenance kit.

AxisGO iPhone X Waterproof Professional Photo and Video Case (33ft/10m) for Surfing Swimming Snorkeling, Black

  • Waterproof Case fits iPhone X. Functional touchscreen, interchangeable lens port, robust top and bottom mount and superior audio quality
  • Single button locking mechanism, use phone’s native camera app with access to both the front and rear facing cameras
  • Two volume controls built from marine grade stainless steel, these allow for image capture at depths up to 33 feet (10 meters). Designed to use an interchangeable optically correct lens port system.
  • Designed to protect your phone from the harshest weather conditions, while offering the freedom to safely capture those special moments while maintaining control of your phone’s screen and functions.
  • AxisGO is the total package for aspiring to professional water photographers and videographers

Last updated: 2018-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The post AxisGO Water Housing Is an Affordable Way to “Underwater-ify” Your iPhone appeared first on Vagabondish.

Up Your Car Camping Game with These 10 Clever Gadgets

Between last year and this spring, we’ve spent a lot of time using our Toyota 4Runner as a base of operations for car camping. We’ve learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and what makes our lives a whole lot easier on the road.

From better campsite cooking to clever car maintenance to cellphone-free communication in the backcountry, here are some of our favorite gadgets to seriously up your car camping game.

Best Gadgets for Car Camping

Tapplock one Smart Padlock

Tapplock one - Smart Fingerprint Padlock

Tapplock one – Smart Fingerprint Padlock

The traditional padlock could hardly be considered a sexy “gadget.” But, Tapplock is reinventing the classic security piece with a sleek, tech-forward approach. The Tapplock one is a clever, ultra-convenient device for locking up your goods while at camp or en route to your overnight spot. Use it anywhere you would use a standard keyed lock or combination lock — to secure your roof cargo box or your bikes/kayaks/etc. to their respective racks.

The padlock’s state-of-the-art capacitive fingerprint sensor allows you to access your items in under a second and features unbreakable durability. The Tapplock smartphone app can also be used to open the lock and give temporary, remote access to others (if you happen to be renting your house out on Airbnb, for example, while you’re traveling).

Coleman Extreme Cooler

Coleman 55-Quart Heavy-Duty Super Cooler (blue)

Coleman 55-Quart Heavy-Duty Super Cooler

When you’re car camping for days on end (without access to “luxuries” like electricity), keeping your refrigerate-able food cold is a challenge. Thankfully, there’s help in the form of an extreme cooler. Bait coolers have long been a thing for fishermen in the know. But, many outdoor companies have started marketing the same coolers as “extreme coolers” to the masses.

The Coleman 55-Quart Heavy-Duty Super Cooler definitely does the trick. To be sure, this is a big beast. It offers more than enough cold storage for one car-camping couple for an entire week. Plus, with proper ice maintenance (yes, that’s a thing), it’ll keep your Zima, bacon, and brats cold for up to six days even when outside temps hover around 90°F.

ICEMULE BOSS Cooler

ICEMULE BOSS Backpack Cooler

ICEMULE BOSS Backpack Cooler

Two coolers? Yep. Here’s why: we found that we always had plenty of stuff to keep refrigerator cold like bacon, meat, eggs, milk, and the like. But, things like sodas and beer were just fine to keep only chilled. For car camping, we pack a separate smaller cooler for things like this because it allows us to save space in our main cooler.

The ICEMULE BOSS is, well, the boss for our chilled goods. It’s portable, has great ice retention, and loads and unloads super easy. Plus, the backpack format means it’s easy to pack a gourmet lunch complete with ice-cold booze, ice cream, and even a couple of cheesecakes into the backcountry.

Coleman Roadtrip 285 Portable Propane Grill

Coleman Roadtrip 285 Portable Propane Grill

Coleman Roadtrip 285 Portable Propane Grill

One of our favorite things about car camping is campfire cooking. We love finding new recipes, then figuring out how the hell to make them over an open flame. Coleman had us covered there as well with the aptly named Coleman Roadtrip 285 Portable Stand-up Propane Grill. It features 20,000 BTUs of grilling power and a 285-square-inch cooking area which is more than enough for the two of us plus a few friends. It’s ultra-compact and lightweight but opens wide to include two side tables for utensils and other essentials while you’re cooking. Plus, the matchless, push-button ignition feels like a luxury at our campsite.

Swiss Diamond XD Nonstick Deep Square Grill Pan

Swiss Diamond XD Nonstick Deep Square Grill Pan

Swiss Diamond XD Nonstick Deep Square Grill Pan

Of course, having a great cooking surface to cook on is no good without a great pan to cook your food in. We pared down our camp kitchen substantially so that our entire kit fit in just two medium-sized crates. One pan that works with almost any food and any situation is the nonstick cookware from Swiss Diamond. The XD Nonstick Deep Square Grill Pan is a great, all-purpose pan that does the job. From cooking eggs to fried potatoes to casseroles, it works for just about any meal. Plus, the XD nonstick coating is super slick and easy to clean which, for car campers, is almost more important than how well it cooks.

FIXD Automotive Adapter

FIXD Diagnostic Sensor App

FIXD Diagnostic Sensor App

One of the most important components of car-camping is — wait for it — your car. Or truck or SUV. But, it’s easy to overlook the maintenance of your vehicle when your focused on buying the right cooler and making sure your grill has enough propane.

The FIXD diagnostic sensor does all the heavy lifting in this department, even if you don’t know your carburetors from your carbohydrates. It’s a tiny, matchbook-sized device that plugs into an outlet standard on most cars made after 1996. Just click it into place, sync it to your smartphone, and it’ll keep tabs on all your vehicle’s systems and sensors. Funky smells, cylinder misfires, car overheating — whatever the problem, FIXD can give you the low-down. The free mobile app provides an easy-to-read, user-friendly readout that anyone — even those with zero automotive know-how — can understand.

Motorola T600 Talkabout 2-way Radio

Motorola Talkabout T600 Two-Way Radio

The most interesting and adventurous places to explore are almost always the most remote. We often find ourselves in areas without a whiff of cell service. The solution: a decent two-way radio set. The Motorola T605 Talkabout bundle is super affordable (can be had for under $100) and it offers a staggering 35-mile range. Plus, it boasts a waterproof construction and a water-activated flashlight.

Sustain Supply Emergency Pack

Sustain Supply Comfort4 Emergency Backpack

Sustain Supply Comfort4 Emergency Backpack

In the same way that two-way radios allow you to stay in touch in remote areas, a proper emergency pack allows you to stay prepared for almost any situation. Sustain Supply offers all-in-one bug-out style bags pre-packed with everything you might need in an emergency. Their flagship Comfort4 (above) provides everything four people could need to survive 72 hours off the grid. In addition to the obvious essentials (like food and water), there is a survival knife, LED lanterns, emergency space blankets, bath wipes, a portable stove … the list goes on. It’s the perfect solution for anyone looking to stay prepared on an adventurous road trip — especially one that might take far, far off the beaten path. If the Comfort4 seems like overkill, opt for one of Sustain’s more compact solutions like the Comfort2 ($199) or the Essential2 (just $99).

Weatherman Umbrella

Weatherman Umbrella (orange)

Weatherman Umbrella

Some people are “umbrella people”. Others just say, “The hell with it … if I get wet, I get wet.” I tend to fall into the latter camp. But, we saw a lot of rain on our recent East Coast road trip. Eventually, Kelsey had enough. We learned that, if you’re planning to spend long periods of time outdoors, an umbrella is a good backup plan.

The Weatherman Umbrella is basically the umbrella to end all umbrellas. It’s lightweight, yet sturdy enough to hold up to 55-mph winds. Plus, it’s wide enough to shield you and a few friends from rain, hail, locust swarms, whatever. The lifetime warranty means it’ll likely be the last umbrella you’ll ever need to buy. And the built-in Bluetooth tracker means you’ll never lose — or leave home — without it.

Coleman 4-Person Dark Room Tent with Screen Room

Coleman 4-Person Dark Room Tent with Screen Room

Coleman 4-Person Dark Room Tent with Screen Room

More Coleman gear? What can we say? They make great, affordable camping gear.

We love the “camping in the car” aspect of car camping. But, sometimes it’s nice to get a little fresh air or have a separate space to use as your “living room.” For that, a second tent is never a bad idea, especially if you’re planning to camp out in one spot for an extended period of time.

Coleman’s 4-Person Dark Room Tent with Screen Room is just the trick. What we love about this tent over many others is the Dark Room technology. It blocks out 90% of sunlight, so you can sleep late or take an afternoon, post-hike nap in peace. That same lining also helps to keep the tent’s interior cool. The screen room adds a bit of bug-free lounge space and the WeatherTec system keeps the rain out in all but the nastiest conditions. Plus, you can score one for well under $200.

The post Up Your Car Camping Game with These 10 Clever Gadgets appeared first on Vagabondish.

Langogo Is the Perfect Pocket-sized Language Translator for Travelers

Remember those old-school TVs in the 80s with the built-in VCR? Inevitably, the VCR was always some off-brand model that stopped working after three months, leaving you with an oversized mediocre television with a bolted-on, non-functioning slot to store your morning toast.

This is how I’ve always felt about combination devices. More often than not, they’re good — but not great — at doing one thing and entirely mediocre at several other things.

So, I admit that I was skeptical about the new Langogo AI-Powered Language Translator. It’s a unique, multipurpose device that promises travelers a few very useful things. Namely: near-real-time language translation and global Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.

Few companies have been able to deliver on even the second most interesting feature: global Wi-Fi. (Thus far, Google’s Project Fi has been the only provider to deliver comprehensive, seamless, and rock solid service in this department). So I was skeptical Langogo could deliver on that and simultaneously turn me into a polyglot overnight.

In short: they’re promising a tall order. But, I was intrigued, so they sent me a review unit to see what I thought.

Langogo AI-powered Language Translator Review

Langogo - Portable AI-powered Language Translator

Langogo – Portable AI-powered Language Translator

The Skinny

In the brand’s own words, Langogo is:

Made for global travelers. Langogo accurately translates speeches between 60 languages in less than 1 second and helps you stay connected to global Wi-Fi anytime and anywhere, bringing you a world of conversations at your fingertips. With its AI-voice assistant by your side, you will be ready to go out and speak out loud!

So, how’s it stack up?

The Traveler’s Take

Design & Durability

Langogo Language Translator (box)

Langogo Language Translator

From the packaging to the device itself, it’s clear that serious thought was put into Langogo’s design. The stark white, minimalist packaging even steals clear inspiration from Apple’s playbook. The unit itself is sleek, compact, well-built, and sturdy to hold — not unlike a high-end smartphone. No surprise really as it’s made from many of the same materials as today’s best phones including polycarbonate and shatter-resistant Asahi glass.

The company also touts a number of stress tests that their design has passed including:

  • Screen press test: 2,000 times
  • Screen scratch test: 1,000 times
  • Freefall test: 750 times
  • Function button test: 100,000 times

While we’re not in the habit of torture-testing our gear here at VagabondishHQ, the unit feels solid and very well-built. So, we have no doubt that it’s designed to take a beating.

Langogo Language Translator (closeup)

Langogo Language Translator

Functionality

We’re fast approaching a world where it won’t matter what language you, as a traveler, speak. We started with clunky language-to-language translation dictionaries, then moved on to slightly less clunky language-to-language translation apps. Now, Langogo is one of only a few companies looking to take the next step forward. Its biggest selling point is near-real-time language translation.

Imagine sitting in a Parisian cafe where you casually place the unit on the table in front of you. When the waiter/waitress comes to your table, you place your order in English and Langogo automatically “speaks” your order out loud in French. The server jots down your order, responds in French, and you hear their reply spoken aloud in English. The translation process is almost entirely seamless, requiring less than a second. A dedicated noise-canceling chip helps filter out up to 30% of background noise and ensure better sound quality.

By connecting with the world’s largest language database (including 24 translation engines), Langogo currently supports more than 60 languages. These include the most common like Spanish, French (both Canadian and France dialects), and German, as well as more obscure languages like Turkish, Norwegian, and Tamil. Because all of the translation is handled by a remote server, new languages can easily be added in the future without needing to update your actual Langogo device.

I’m a hands-on gadgeter, preferring to skip the instruction manual and start fiddling with new toys right away. This is often a good test of how intuitive a product actually is. In this respect, Langogo fares very well. Physical buttons are limited to a power button, a translation button, and a volume rocker. Everything else is handled via the capacitive touchscreen which I found to be easy to read and very responsive.

Other Features

Because the unit relies on intelligent AI-powered translation, it does require an internet connection. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the device itself is a global Wi-Fi hotspot. Not only does it provide the necessary connection for the translation functionality, but it supports a total of six additional connected devices. This works in 72 countries without the need for a physical SIM card as it instead relies on eSim technology. Just switch on Langogo and it automatically connects to the best local cell network.

Pricing + Availability

Crowdfunded gadgets are always a gamble. Without thoroughly vetting each project — and who has the time for that? — it’s impossible to know when or if you’ll see a return on your investment. The good news for anyone interested in Langogo is that (as of this publication) the project passed 850% funding on its meager goal of just $10,000. What’s more: it’s already in production.

Langogo is expected to retail for around USD $230 when it goes on sale later this year. Early birds investing in the current Indiegogo project can score a discounted unit for just $159.

The Bottom Line

With a sleek, durable design, simple, user-friendly interface, and an affordable price point, Langogo delivers on its promises as both a language translator and a global Wi-Fi hotspot. For these reasons, we highly recommend it.

The post Langogo Is the Perfect Pocket-sized Language Translator for Travelers appeared first on Vagabondish.

Why a 260-mph Hurricane Is the Best Way to Clean Your Travel Gear

The Verdict
The Bottom Line
Although it’s loud enough to wake the dead, the decent portability, long battery life, and reliable power of the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System make it a good buy for eco-conscious travelers.
The Good
Environmentally friendly
Strong, constant air flow
Long-lasting battery
Lifetime warranty
The Bad
Extremely loud
4.5
Shop Now

Computer and gear maintenance might be the most unsexy part of long-term travel. But, if you travel with a laptop, camera equipment, smartphone, tablet, chargers, portable espresso maker, and a football-sized tangle of accessory cables, you know all that stuff gets dirty on the road.

Dust and debris have a way of working into every nook and cranny of keyboards, lens filters, USB ports, and all the buttons on your travel gadgets. The question becomes: how to clean it all simply and effectively when you get home?

While on the road, I love Giottos’ Rocket-Air Professional Blower. It strikes a good balance of being gentle enough that it won’t harm even the most sensitive electronics (like a digital camera sensor), but strong enough to blow away most dust. Because it’s compact yet sturdy, I always travel with one.

But, once I get home and find the real stubborn dust that’s collected in the crevices of my gear, I always need to give everything a more thorough cleaning.

Compressed air cans are an effective tool. They’re like little leaf blowers for your gadgets — a simple way to shoo away dust and debris. But, they contain harsh chemicals and create unnecessary waste, so I’ve used them less and less over the years.

All of which led me down the path to find the best canless air duster. They’re exactly what they sound like: electric-powered air dusters that do exactly what canned air is supposed to do. But, they produce a lot less environmental waste. One electric air duster can purportedly replace 5,000 compressed air cans. That’s a small mountain of waste not ending up in a landfill.

Luckily, Canless Air Systems offered to provide us with a test unit of their much-hyped X3 Hurricane Canless Air System. Here’s what I found …

The X3 Hurricane Canless Air System Review (or Why a 260-mph Hurricane Is the Best Way to Clean Your Travel Gear)

The Skinny

In Canless Air Systems’ own words, the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System is their:

… strongest unit ever! It produces an incredible blast of air at over 260 MPH and runs for over 15 minutes straight.

This unit is equal to over 5,000 cans of traditional duster … if you use a lot of canned air and want the most power possible you need this unit.

Great for cleaning large computers, server rooms, camera lenses and mirrors, high-end medical equipment, displays in retail stores, complex circuit boards and so much more.

X3 Hurricane Canless Air System

X3 Hurricane Canless Air System (Kit)

The Traveler’s Take on the X3 Hurricane Canless Air Duster

The X3 Hurricane is Canless Air System’s flagship product. It’s big, loud, and industrial strength. Frankly, it’s overkill for most travelers.

But, if you’re serious about keeping your mobile and photography equipment squeaky clean, I think it’s worth the investment for the strongest canless air duster they offer.

Portability

Compared to typical compressed air cans, the X3 Hurricane is larger but not by much. The battery pack can keep the motor running for a solid 15 minutes which is far longer than most travelers are likely to need just to clean off their gear. It seems like the X3 could be made smaller and lighter by halving the battery size/capacity.

To be clear, this isn’t a “travel gadget” in the sense that you’ll be taking it with you on the road. You certainly could as it’s quite portable. But, I prefer to pack as light as possible and, with the integrated battery pack, this compressed air alternative is just too heavy for me. I use the X3 Hurricane to clean my gear only after returning home.

Canless Air Systems offers a less “industrial strength” solution, however. Their Special Edition Canless Air System offers many of the same features as the X3 Hurricane, but costs just two-thirds of the price.

This thing is loud. I’m talking “hide the cat and get ready to piss off the neighbors” loud.

Functionality: Does the X3 Hurricane Actually Work?

At first, I was worried the 260-mph claim would be too harsh on electronics. That sounds like an unnecessary amount of force just to dust off a laptop, a smartphone, and especially a digital camera.

But, in my experience: yes. The X3 Hurricane works exactly as advertised. In my not-at-all-scientific testing, I found it to be almost as strong as a can of compressed air. I’d say it’s 80-90% as strong.

Plus, the air flow is not only strong but steady. Regular compressed air cans weaken to the point of being unusable after a couple of minutes. Plus, they can spray harmful liquids and chemicals all over your electronics.

X3 Hurricane Canless Air System (attachment kit)

X3 Hurricane Canless Air System (attachment kit)

A 3-piece attachment kit helps bolster the X3’s usefulness. This includes:

  • An extra long flexible straw that can bend around corners
  • A 45-degree nozzle that can focus the air
  • A brush attachment that can be used when cleaning items that require more than just air

What’s the Catch?

If there’s one downside to the X3, it’s the noise. This thing is loud. I’m talking “hide the cat and small children” loud. It’s actually surprising for such a small device.

The first time I revved it up, I thought there might be something wrong with it. I was a little concerned it was going to shred to pieces in my hand.

Using an admittedly crude decibel measuring app, I tested the X3 in the relative quiet of my basement where the ambient noise averages 26 decibels. By comparison, the X3 Hurricane’s motor creates a cacophonous 85 decibels of high-pitched, vacuum-cleaner-like whirring.

To put that in perspective:

Thunderclap, chain saw 120 dB Painful. 32 times as loud as 70 dB.
X3 Hurricane Canless Air System 82 dB 2 times as loud as 70 dB. Possible damage in 8-hour exposure.
Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); vacuum cleaner (70 dB) 70 dB Arbitrary base of comparison. Upper 70s are annoyingly loud to some people.
Conversation in restaurant, office, background music 60 dB Half as loud as 70 dB. Fairly quiet.
Whisper, rustling leaves 20 dB

None of this is too surprising though. Compressed air cans rely on a chemical process to quietly expel air out of the can. Because the X3 uses an electric motor to accomplish the same feat, it must move a ton of air very quickly through a very small space. I’m not a professional engineer, but I’m guessing it would be difficult to design a device like this that’s actually quiet — or even quieter.

This might be an issue if you’re traveling. I can’t even imagine using this in a hotel without management calling the cops on you. But, for anyone planning to use it at home, I don’t think it’s an issue. It is what it is.

The Bottom Line

With a suggested retail price near USD $150, the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System is a premium accessory for tech-loving travelers.

Sure, it’s loud enough to wake the dead. But, the decent portability, long battery life, and reliable air power of the X3 Hurricane make it a good buy for eco-conscious travelers.

Buy the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System

The X3 Hurricane Air Duster can be purchased for around USD $150 direct from Canless Air Systems.

It’s also available through Amazon:

Canless Air X3 Hurricane Canless Air System Computer Duster (CA303-1511)

  • The X3 is the most POWERFUL Canless Air System ever! With speeds of over 260mph nothing else even comes close to its power.
  • This unit comes with every attachment we make, you get everything you need.
  • Includes a LIFETIME warranty so you will never have to buy a can of canned air ever again
  • 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t love it!
  • This unit is cordless, doesn’t contain any liquids, recharges just like a cell phone and is totally safe to use on anything and everything.

Last updated: 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bestselling Alternatives

Bestseller No. 1

Canless Air X3 Hurricane Canless Air System Computer Duster (CA303-1511)

  • The X3 is the most POWERFUL Canless Air System ever! With speeds of over 260mph nothing else even comes close to its power.
  • This unit comes with every attachment we make, you get everything you need.
  • Includes a LIFETIME warranty so you will never have to buy a can of canned air ever again
  • 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t love it!
  • This unit is cordless, doesn’t contain any liquids, recharges just like a cell phone and is totally safe to use on anything and everything.

SaleBestseller No. 2

Best Canned Air Alternative – The O2 Hurricane 220+ MPH Canless Air Industrial BLACK is an Inexpensive, Environment Friendly Alternative to Compressed Air/Computer Dusters. Equal to 1000+ cans

  • Each unit is RECHARGEABLE like a cell phone and will provide you with HUNDREDS OF HOURS of cleaning!
  • We want EVERYONE to try our Canless Air which so why we are offering a 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!
  • Never again will you buy air duster, canned air, computer duster or any other dangerous duster!
  • The safe, cordless and rechargeable INDUSTRIAL O2 HURRICANE blasts air out at over 220mph!
  • The INDUSTRIAL UNIT can be used to clean any electronic device you can think of, no job is too tough

Bestseller No. 3

Best Canned Compressed Air Alternative – The O2 Hurricane 220+ MPH Canless Air SPECIAL EDITION

  • With air speeds of over 220mph the cordless Canless Air System O2 Hurricane Special Edition is the MOST REVOLUTIONARY cleaning tool since the vacuum. The Special Edition can be used for cleaning computers, keyboards, printers, paper shredders, the interior of your car, blinds, model airplanes, cameras, plastic plants, the top of fans and almost anything else you can think of. There is almost nothing this cannot do and it is 100% SAFE AND RECHARGEABLE!
  • Each unit is rechargeable just like your cell phone and will provide you with hundreds of hours of cleaning time. The O2 Hurricane Special Edition is as a perfect replacement for canned air, computer duster and any other kind of air duster. Most “canned air” does not contain air, it contains chemicals that have been known to kill when inhaled. Not only is our unit 100% safe but the amount of use you get EQUALS OVER 1000 CANS OF CANNED AIR!!!
  • We want EVERYONE to try our Canless Air System which is why we are now offering a 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. If you don’t absolutely love it we will give you 100% of your money back and pay for the return shipping. This means you an try this amazing cleaning product with ZERO RISK! Plus, we offer a SIX MONTH WARRANTY! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain so TRY IT NOW RISK FREE!!!!!!
  • Never again will you have to buy air duster, canned air, computer duster, a case of canned air, gas duster, air compressors, keyboard cleaner,dust off, computer duster cans, or any of the other products that go by those names. The Canless Air System REPLACES THEM ALL!
  • – PLEASE NOTE: Our unit cleans using wind speed created by a motor and impeller. It does not compress air so the way it cleans is by using wind rather than pressure. This allows it to clean without damaging electronics but it also means the PSI is low. If you need a high PSI device this is not for you.

Last updated: 2018-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Have you used the Hurricane Canless Air System? Or any similar canless air duster before? What was your experience?

X3 Hurricane Canless Air System

The post Why a 260-mph Hurricane Is the Best Way to Clean Your Travel Gear appeared first on Vagabondish.

Why Fi? I Cut My International Wireless Bill in Half by Switching to Google Project Fi

The Verdict
The Bottom Line
Although the phone selection is limited, the phenomenal global coverage, great customer support, and simple, affordable pricing structure make Project Fi the best, most convenient wireless carrier for international travelers.
The Good
Worldwide coverage (170+ countries)
Excellent customer + tech support
Straightforward, affordable pricing
Seamless Wi-Fi-to-cellular switching
Free, unlimited data after 6GB
No charge for tethering
Only pay for the data you use
4G LTE speeds in 135+ countries
The Bad
Limited phone models
Cheaper plans might be available on competing carriers
4.8
Shop Now

In April 2015, it seemed like Google launched their Project Fi wireless service almost in secret.

While they’re actively promoting it now, it still feels like it’s flying below the radar even among in-the-know-travelers. And, that’s a shame because it’s honestly the best international cell plan for travelers.

I’ve had plenty of frustration with the major U.S. cell carriers — domestically and especially internationally. AT&T offered great international coverage, but their global data plans were laughable ($60 for 300MB?!).

And searching for an alternative while traveling — one that’s affordable, reliable, and offers great coverage — became a hassle. I was sick of having to juggle new SIM cards and worry about foreign data service in every new destination I visited.

So, in late 2016, I jumped aboard the Project Fi bandwagon to see if it lived up to the hype. It’s been 18 months, and I’ve traveled to several dozen countries and four continents with Project Fi. So, I figured it’s about time for my own Project Fi review …

Project Fi Review 2018

A quick word about this Project Fi review: because I travel often, my experience is in using Project Fi outside of the U.S.

This review of Project Fi is likely to be most relevant to you if you too are a frequent traveler.

The Skinny on Project Fi

What Is Project Fi?

In Google’s own words:

One service gives you access to three leading national carriers. That means faster 4G LTE coverage in more locations.

Data abroad costs the same as at home — Project Fi works in over 170 countries and territories. No need to modify your plan to enjoy unlimited texts and data for the same price you pay at home.

How Does Project Fi Work?

Project Fi is not actually a cell network unto itself. Instead, it’s an MVNO (mobile network virtual operator), meaning it piggybacks on other networks.

In this case, those three 4G LTE networks are Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. By combining the global networks of all three carriers, Project Fi is able to provide a substantial amount of coverage.

Motorola moto g6 - Project Fi Phone

Motorola moto g6 (for Project Fi)

The Traveler’s Take: A Project Fi Review (2018)

How’s the Coverage?

In short, I’ve been absolutely thrilled with the coverage. The official coverage map includes 170+ countries and territories. In the U.S., there’s a ton of overlap with Verizon’s coverage map:

Project FiVerizon
U.S. Cell Coverage Map for Google Project Fi

U.S. Cell Coverage Map for Google Project Fi

U.S. Cell Coverage Map for Verizon

U.S. Cell Coverage Map for Verizon

In my own experience over the last 18 months, it’s worked in nearly every international destination to which I’ve traveled. I’ve called and texted home from the southern tip of South America, southern Africa, Mexico, all over the Caribbean, and dozens of U.S. destinations.

The three exceptions:

  • Cuba (almost impossible to get any sort of foreign coverage because of government bureaucracy)
  • Mauritius (one of the rare countries with which Fi doesn’t have an agreement to work)
  • Antarctica (… because it’s f**king Antarctica!)

Mauritius is an outlier in Project Fi’s otherwise stellar coverage map. And virtually no cell plan that I know of (short of Iridium) works in Cuba or Antarctica, so I wasn’t exactly disappointed.

Immediately after landing, my phone will alert me to whether or not I have coverage in that particular destination. If Project Fi works where I happen to be, it usually connects to the local network in less than three minutes.

Unlimited data anywhere in the world for a one-person plan for just $80 per month.

Plus, the service includes Wi-Fi Assistant — access to more than two million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Whenever you’re in range of a preselected hotspot, your cell and data service can connect automatically (which helps you save big on data!). The changeover from cell service to Wi-Fi and back again is seamless, even if you’re in the middle of a call. Plus, the connection to these hotspots is secured through a virtual private network backed by Google’s ultra-secure servers.

In many developing countries, the local LTE service is faster than most of the free Wi-Fi you’re likely to find. With tethering enabled on my smartphone, I’m guaranteed lightning-fast wireless Internet virtually anywhere I need to work.

Project Fi Pricing: What’s It Cost?

The pricing structure is dead simple. In a nutshell, Google promises unlimited data anywhere in the world for a one-person plan for just $80 per month.

But, if you’re smart about using Wi-Fi while traveling abroad, it’ll likely cost a fraction of that. When broken down, the pricing is $20 per month for unlimited domestic calls and texting (international calling starts at $0.20 per minute, and varies by country), plus $10 per GB of data.

New for 2018 is Project Fi’s Bill Protection. Once you reach 6GB of data usage in a single month, the feature kicks in giving you unlimited data so you’ll never pay more than $60 for data.

Project Fi means one phone, one SIM, and one plan with dead simple pricing in 170+ countries.

To be clear, Project Fi isn’t the cheapest international wireless service option for travelers. It’s easy to find dirt-cheap international data plans in almost every destination around the world. But, for me, price wasn’t the only factor.

What I like about Project Fi is that it’s affordable and convenient. Travel already involves plenty of planning and logistical work. I like not having to worry about finding a new SIM everywhere I land, figuring out the pricing structure for the local cell carrier, praying for halfway decent coverage and data speeds, and watching my data usage add up, wondering if I’ll run out before the end of my trip.

Project Fi means one phone, one SIM, and one plan with simple pricing almost everywhere I travel.

Plus, Project Fi is the rare carrier that actually refunds you for data you don’t use. So, if you’re on a 4GB plan, but only use 3.5 GB in a given month, you’ll receive a refund for that 0.5 GB difference.

What About Project Fi Phones?

The one potential wrinkle with Project Fi is that their selection of phones is limited.

While this wasn’t an issue for me and the phones they do offer are great, this might be an issue if you’re dead set on using a particular phone model.

Here are the current new phone options (as of Summer 2018):

  • Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
  • Motorola Moto G6
  • Android One Moto X4
  • LG G7 ThinQ
  • LG V35 ThinQ

Technically, Project Fi will work with other older phones (like the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, and Nexus 6P) as well. Google doesn’t officially support compatibility with such phones, but it is an option. Just know that, if you run into technical snags trying to setup, say, an iPhone with Project Fi, you’re on your own.

One nice feature is that Fi customers with decent credit can score a new phone with a two-year, same-as-cash payment plan. So, instead of dropping, say, USD $900 upfront on a shiny new LG V35 ThinQ, you can instead pay about $38 per month for 24 months with no interest.

Project Fi also accepts trade-in phones. Depending on your particular model, you could land a credit of up to USD $440 at the Google Store.

How’s Project Fi’s Customer Service?

I’ve needed to call customer service twice in the last 18 months. The first time was from the Dominican Republic days after I activated my service. My phone wasn’t connecting to the local network even though it assured me that I had service. Turns out Google needed to make a few adjustments on their end to get things moving along. They were polite, efficient, and I was in business in less than 10 minutes.

The second time I called was about an issue with my Nexus 6P (my first Project Fi review phone which turned out to be a junker wrought with issues, but that’s a story for another day …). Unfortunately, the phone was six months out of warranty, so there was nothing they could do.

But, I also needed to transfer my personal phone number from AT&T (which I certainly won’t miss) to Project Fi. They prefilled all the necessary details to facilitate the transfer in their system. Then, I bought a new Motorola Moto G6 via the Project Fi website.

When it arrived, I ported all my old phone’s details and transferred my AT&T number to Fi — all in about eight clicks. The entire process, from receiving the package to fiddling with the new phone to receiving the text confirming the transfer was complete took less than 20 minutes. That was last week, and it’s worked flawlessly since. I didn’t even have to call AT&T to say, sayonara!

The Bottom Line

After one minor hiccup in the D.R., my experience with Project Fi has been smooth sailing since. Their customer service is spot-on, the high-speed coverage works in 170+ countries, and the price structure is simple, convenient, and affordable, particularly for international travelers. While their phone selection is limited, it does include some of the best smartphones on the market. All of which is why I highly recommend Project Fi.

Buy Google Fi

Get your own Project Fi phone now for less than $30 per month!

Are you a Fi customer? What’s your own Project Fi review?

The post Why Fi? I Cut My International Wireless Bill in Half by Switching to Google Project Fi appeared first on Vagabondish.

Why I Brush My Teeth With ‘Dirt’ When I Travel

The Verdict
The Bottom Line
The Dirt is pricey. But, the delicious mint taste, clean mouthfeel, all-natural ingredients, and travel-friendly form make it a superior toothpaste alternative.
The Good
Delicious minty taste
Crisp, clean mouthfeel
All-natural, time-tested ingredients
Gentle on teeth
Great for travel
The Bad
Expensive compared to brand-name toothpaste
4.5
Shop Now

I might be a bit “obsessive” when it comes to packing well. I enjoy a well-packed carry-on — one that’s not only light but also takes into account things like minimizing liquids. Which is how I came to start brushing my teeth with dirt — well, The Dirt — when I travel.

Let me explain.

For years, I’ve pared down my travel kit with the obsessiveness of a hoarder, but in reverse. It started when I was traveling the Caribbean and Mexico for two weeks every month. I decided to shave my head. This was partly out of comfort since no hair means less heat retention, but it also meant I could pack less in my toiletries bag (no more shampoo or giant cans of Aquanet!).

I bought solid sunscreen sticks instead of lotions and roll-on insect repellent instead of spray.

I started packing only a sliver of emergency soap on the off-chance that my hotel didn’t have any (rare). But, for the most part, I relied on my hotel’s free bath products. And I got by just fine.

But, I still had to pack liquid toothpaste. Which really put a crimp in the goal of downsizing my liquids. This is important because, frankly, the fewer liquids I carry on, the more room I have in my tiny, TSA-approved Ziploc bag for bottles of bourbon. Amiright?

Then, I found out about The Dirt — a non-liquid “Trace Mineral Tooth Brushing Powder.” So, of course, I disappeared down the rabbit hole to find out what the hell powdered toothpaste was. I read way more reviews and science and the Wikipedia page for “bentonite clay” than any person should need to read in a lifetime.

Then I bought some. This is what I’ve found so far …

The Dirt Tooth Powder Review

The Dirt tooth powder in Super Mint flavor

The Dirt Tooth Powder (Super Mint)

The Skinny on The Dirt Powdered Toothpaste

So … what is it? The company describes The Dirt tooth powder as:

… an all natural and fun alternative to toothpaste! Our powder is made with ingredients so safe you could eat them.

To use, simply tap a damp toothbrush into a jar of The Dirt and watch it stick to your brush like magic! Brush as you normally would, to reveal healthy clean teeth naturally!

The company goes on to say that it’s:

  • Easy to use
  • 100% Natural Ingredients
  • Fluoride-free
  • Naturally whitening
  • A little goes a long way! Up to 6 months of servings in one large jar.
  • Tastes great naturally (no GMO-derived Xylitol)
  • No corn, soy or gluten

That’s all stuff my teeth like to hear!

What’s In It?

I opted for the Super Mint flavor which contains only all-natural ingredients including:

  • Extra fine bentonite clay
  • Natural baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Green tea extract
  • Wasabi extract
  • Organically extracted hexane-free stevia (stevia rebaudiana)
  • Proprietary blend of mint essential oils

The Dirt Tooth Powder (Super Mint)

The Dirt Tooth Powder (Super Mint)

The Traveler’s Take

How Do You Use It?

I was skeptical that dipping a damp toothbrush in a jar full of fine powder would result in a sticky, gunky mess. But, it’s surprisingly clean and straightforward to use.

You wet your toothbrush and tap off the excess water. Then, dip the damp bristles into the jar of The Dirt. Finally, tap off the excess powder and brush as normal.

I expected it to feel gritty like trying to dry-brush with sidewalk chalk. But the natural moisture in your mouth is enough to make it feel like you’re brushing with regular, non- powdered toothpaste. It’s not quite as silky smooth as toothpaste, maybe 80% as smooth. The difference is negligible.

How Does It Taste?

The Dirt has a smooth, subtle mintiness that doesn’t feel like it’s carpet-bombing my mouth.

In a word: delicious! After my first use, I realized just how chemically most commercial toothpaste tastes. The Super Mint flavor of The Dirt has a smooth, subtle mintiness that doesn’t feel like it’s carpet-bombing my mouth with CRISPMINTYFRESHNESS!!! to get it clean.

By comparison, the Sensodyne I’ve been using for a few years has a slightly astringent mouthfeel. Like it’s working a little too hard to get my teeth and mouth clean.

The Dirt Tooth Powder Dentist Reviews

Like I said, I read way too much about this. I should, right? Since I’m considering abandoning the 100% ADA-approved fluoride-rich brand-name toothpaste I’ve been using for years. I wanted to hear what dentists had to say.

Most of the reviews and interviews with dentists pointed out two main things. First, the primary active ingredient in The Dirt is bentonite clay. It’s a time-tested, all-natural substance. “The real benefit of bentonite clay is that it is abrasive enough to remove the plaque, but not so much so that it will do damage to your enamel,” William Graves, DMD told Self magazine.

To get scientific: silica is a common abrasive used in many brand-name kinds of toothpaste. While tooth enamel is in the middle of the Mohs Hardness Scale at a 5, silica is a 7 (talc hits 1 on the scale, 10 is for diamonds). Clays such as bentonite score around 2 on the hardness scale, making them much less abrasive than silica and unlikely to ever damage tooth enamel. This is, of course, a good thing.

BUT, The Dirt is intentionally free of fluoride. According to the American Dental Association, this is a vital component to help protect your mouth against cavities. It’s been proven to remineralize weak spots in tooth enamel. A spokesperson for the ADA, Dr. Kim Harms, told Yahoo, “The number one big star, the ingredient that can reduce 25 percent of cavities, is fluoride. That’s what you always want to look for in your toothpaste.”

In an interview with Yahoo Beauty, makers of The Dirt countered, “We eschew fluoride in our products, as one of our core beliefs in maintaining good health is to source the nutrition your body needs from whole foods, minerals, and herbs.” They went on to cite European countries like Denmark, Holland, and Sweden tap where water has never been treated with fluoride.

So, fluoride works. Anyone who knows what they’re talking about in the dental world agrees that it works. But, at what cost?

The Dirt Tooth Powder: Before and After

I’ve always taken good care of my teeth: brushing daily, flossing (most of the time), and making sure not to drink too much coffee. Still, the whiteness of my teeth has faded over time. So, I’m not expecting teeth-whitening miracles from using The Dirt. I’m just hoping that it helps.

As for the all-important “before and after” shots … check back in about a month. I’ve only just started using The Dirt, so it’s too early to tell how much of a difference it will or won’t make.

Buy The Dirt Tooth Powder

The Dirt Tooth Powder isn’t cheap. A six-month jar direct from The Dirt website is about $30.

But, if you only want to try it and you’re not ready to commit that much, you can score a small travel size jar of this tooth powder on Amazon for far less.

The Dirt All Natural Super Mint Trace Mineral Tooth Brushing Powder – 3 month supply, 25g

  • GENTLE AND EASY TO USE: Our clay based tooth powder tastes great and is as gentle as it gets while still working wonders to keep your teeth clean and bright!
  • CHEMICAL FREE: No Xylitol, Fluoride, Gluten, Soy & Corn Free.
  • NATURAL INGREDIENTS: This paleo tooth powder is completely unprocessed, featuring Extra Fine Bentonite Clay, Natural Baking Soda, Green Tea Extract, Wasabi Extract, Organically Extracted Hexane Free Stevia, Proprietary Blend of Mint Essential Oils.
  • WHITENING: The Dirt is made to support your natural re-mineralization process and get your teeth back to their strong, sparkly selves.
  • GREAT SIZE: 25g will last you more than 3 months.

Last updated: 2018-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bestselling Alternatives

Bestseller No. 1

Frau Fowler Natural Oral Care – MOUTH MEDIC Tooth Powder, Botanically Clean, Teeth-Whitening, Remineralizing, Fluoride Free, Gluten Free, SLS -Restores Enamel and Freshens Breath, 2 oz

  • WHITENING TOOTH POWDER- soft polishing effect for whitening teeth and removing stains. High alkalinity to keep bacteria out of your mouth for longer amounts of time.
  • REMINERALIZING TOOTH POWDER- helps remineralize teeth with calcium, strontium, boron and other trace minerals found in natural salts and calcium carbonate.
  • NATURAL, FLUORIDE FREE FORMULA WITH XYLITOL- maintain oral health longer, by not having to rinse the product out, prolonged benefits last throughout the day.
  • REFRESHENS MOUTH INTENSELY – using organic essential oils with intense therapeutic oral care value that create a clean, completely natural taste. Cinnamon, clove, cardamom and tea tree!
  • LASTS LONGER THAN TOOTHPASTE- our tooth powder packs a PUNCH! A little dab goes a long way. Created by scientists using vegan, non GMO and organic ingredients (and it’s edible!).

Bestseller No. 2

Dirty Mouth Organic Toothpowder #1 BEST RATED All Natural Dental Tooth Powder Cleanser- Gently Polishes, Detoxifies, Re-Mineralizes, Strengthens Teeth -Spearmint (1oz=3mo Supply) -Primal Life Organics

  •  MAINTAIN DENTAL HEALTH  packed with vital and trace minerals important to your teeth, the natural and Paleo way.
  •  GENTLY POLISHES, DETOXIFIES AND REFRESHES  while also helping to re-mineralize and strengthen the teeth.
  •  REFRESHING CLEANSING AGENT  made from a premium blend of three earthen clays, baking soda (aluminum free), and essential oils-yet still tastes great!
  • Tooth Powder is Organic, Paleo, Natural, Vegan, Gluten-free
  • Non-GMO, GMO Free, No flouride, SLS, Soy, Corn or additives.

Bestseller No. 3

Eco-Dent Daily Care Baking Powder Toothpowder, Original Mint, 2 oz (56 g)

  • Airline Safe
  • Tastes great. Recommended by dentists
  • Economical- up to 200 brushing per bottle
  • Fresh, clean teeth. 100% cruelty- free. No dyes or sweeteners. All natural ingredients.

Last updated: 2018-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Have You Tried The Dirt Tooth Powder?

What was your experience with it?

If not, would you try an all-natural powdered toothpaste like The Dirt? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Why I Brush My Teeth With ‘Dirt’ When I Travel appeared first on Vagabondish.