Best New Travel Gear

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The world’s largest exhibition of travel products—the 2012 Travel Goods Show—will be taking place March 6–8 in Las Vegas. Thanks to our insider’s info, we’ve rounded up a sneak preview of some of the coolest travel products set to take center stage, just for Fodors.com readers (most folks will have to wait until next week to sneak a peek). Read on for our eight favorite picks, and click here for a chance to win one of these hot new products.

1. SeV Transformer Jacket

This new multipurpose jacket pays great attention to detail, offering pockets within pockets, ergonomic zipper pulls, and inner-pocket material that allows you to see and interact with your phone. It even comes with a screen-cleaning chamois square that doubles as a pocket map (so you can easily figure out where best to store your keys, water bottle, sunglasses, books, earphones, and other essential travel gear). Plus, the sleeves are held on by magnets, so they can quickly detach and be stored in a pocket, transforming the jacket into a vest.
How Much: $160
Buy It: Visit ScottEVest.com.

2. TriPad Traveler

This convenient contraption transforms your suitcase into a makeshift desktop in a snap. When you’re ready to set up shop, slip its opening over your luggage handle, extend its front surface, and simply set your laptop down on top of it. Or, set it right on your lap to keep both your legs and computer from overheating. Handy side extensions make great homes for a mouse and a drink.
How Much: $59.95
Buy It: Visit GoTripad.com.

3. Cabeau Travel’s Amazing Case

This compact leather carry-all offers a modernized version of the old-fashioned briefcase. Expect special pockets for all the usual goodies—phones, cards, pens, papers—and also compartments for up to a 10-inch tablet and 16-inch laptop. The see-through viewing frame in the tablet pouch makes for a slick personal book/movie viewing experience. Go portfolio-style with the built-in handle, or attach the case’s strap to sport the over-the-shoulder look; plus, the bag is equipped to sling over a tray table or around your car’s headrest.
How Much: $59.99
Buy It: Visit CabeauTravel.com.

4. Biaggi’s Foldable Carry-on

Enjoy the functional flexibility of a duffel bag reinvented via this brand-new four-wheel carry-on. When empty, it folds to half its size, maximizing your storage at home—or minimizing the space it takes up while not in use on the road. Hinges that lock and panels that snap into place help ensure that it’s sturdy when in use: In other words, it’ll only collapse when you want it to!
How Much: $149
Buy It: Visit Biaggi.com.

5. Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Folder 18

This 18-by-12-inch folder provides an efficient system for packing up to a dozen tops and pants. Look for easy-to-follow instructions and a board to help you fold everything to just the right size. Wrap up the final package courtesy of two sets of flaps joined by hook-and-loop closures. Touting a silicone-nylon material that’s lightweight, see-through, and water-resistant, it comes with a carrying handle, primed for easy transport and unpacking.
How Much: $32
Buy It: Visit REI.com.

6. London Fog Windguard Umbrella with LED

This is a great umbrella to have on the stormiest of nights. Not only does it automatically open and close with the touch of a button and boast a built-in LED light in the handle (perfect for illuminating the rainy path ahead), but it’s also layered in a way that allows really strong winds to vent through. That, along with the steel and fiberglass frame, means you’ll avoid being caught with an inside-out canopy. Models come in standard black or fun leopard- and snake-inspired patterns.
How Much: $40
Buy It: Coming soon on eBags.com.

7. KIVA Designs Packing Genius Aircraft Toiletry Kit

Made from 100-percent recycled polyester, this kit’s main compartment—available in wasabi, persimmon, and granite color schemes—offers a system of several mesh pockets and elastic loops to hold your sundry items in place. A wide lower compartment provides easy access to what you need, especially when it’s hanging, while a clear, detachable liquids’ compartment helps you get through airport security in a snap.
How Much: $29.95
Buy It: Visit eBags.com.

8. 03 Kids Cooler Luggage

This luggage for the little ones offers one cool way to make sure your children have their snacks handy while on the go—without having to lug around an extra bag. In addition to an easy-access outer pocket and two drink holders, it features an insulated front compartment that’s great for drinks and munchies. Stocked with pockets and straps inside the main compartment, books, blankets, toys, and more, can make the trip, as well. Butterfly, camouflage, peace symbol, and motorcycle prints adorn these fun-yet-functional kids’ suitcases.
How Much: $79.99
Buy It: Visit O3USA.com.

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Fodors.com Travel Technology Columnist Scott Tharler is an expert in gadgets, gambling, and travel. He’s written four books, plus hundreds of mobile and wireless tips for Sony and PC World. In addition to his daily Discovery News gadget blog, you can find links to other gadget articles, social feeds, and lists of his current favorite gadgets at about.me/gadgetfans.

Photo Credits: courtesy 1. Scottevest, Inc.; 2. TriPad; 3. Cabeau; 4. Biaggi; 5. Eagle Creek; 6. Iconix Brand Group; 7. Kiva Designs; 8. O3 USA