May 21, 2020

For the first time in two decades, AAA is not issuing a Memorial Day traffic estimate. The report usually kicks off a summer of road trips, congestion, and sweltering aggravation in the U.S. But not this year.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions across the county will have a severe impact on traffic. "Anecdotal reports suggest fewer people will hit the road compared to years past," said AAA in a p...

May 13, 2020

Given the times we live in, running outside far away from people has become essential for many of us--no matter what the weather. While shoes may matter the most, the one critical piece of running gear for me has become Black Diamond's Distance Wind Shell ($129).

Initially part of a testing trip in the Swiss Alps, it turns out the Distance Wind Shell is great for running, too. Its gossamer nylon material is imbued with an envi...

May 7, 2020

The trouble with standard photos is that they fail to capture the magnificent expanse of exotic locales and natural vistas. Ricoh's Theta Z1 360 Degree Camera ($1,000) is intended to get around the problem, literally. On a trip to Zermatt in the Alps last fall, it did an excellent job capturing the stunning views without a lot of fuss. You can hold it aloft to take a shot or put it on a tripod and control it remotely using you...

April 28, 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7, starting at $1,400

Being  mobile these days is critical and one the essential tools for any digital nomad is a laptop. Lenovo's lightweight 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one of the best. In my testing, it has endured tens of thousands of miles of travel without a hiccup. It's also fast but light at 2.4 pounds and is just over a half-inch thick. The Windows 10 machine comes with a 256 GB sol...

April 21, 2020

Having trouble getting some shuteye at altitude? The Liberty 2 Pro earbuds ($130) will lull you to sleep and include a handy charging case so you get up to 32 hours of listening on a single charge. For superior sound, they support the aptX wireless format, and there's an app to tailor the music to match your personal hearing profile. Moreover, you don't have to be traveling to appreciate the Liberty 2 earphones. They pair just...

April 14, 2020

When you're weary and a little oxygen deprived, trekking poles are an invaluable aid along perilous trails (at least I find them comforting). But you don't need to be traipsing along at 10,000 feet in the Alps to find sticks useful. You'll see plenty of experienced young backpackers and hikers using trekking poles because the poles can not only give you extra confidence on narrow mountain trails but also save your knees from e...

April 7, 2020

The three most important features of a sleeping bag should be warmth, weight, and packing size. The Therm-a-Rest Hyperion ($340) gets an A+ in all three categories. It's filled with RDS-certified hydrophobic 900 down, weighs around a pound, and it cinches down to the size of a water bottle.

The Hyperion has a Comfort EN rating of 41 degrees fahrenheit, meaning that's the lowest air temperature at which the average woman can sl...

March 31, 2020

When you're on the road, staying warm and dry is critical, and the HH Verglas ($325) will keep you that way. I married it to the company's Odin Stretch insulated jacket ($260), which uses Primaloft Gold Active + insulation. The Primaloft layer is warm but breathable so that you don't get soaked with sweat. Definitely worth the weight.

March 24, 2020

Many people swear by vitamin packs and other nostrums to keep colds away; hikers and campers swear by Nuun. Drop a tablet in water and you'll get the electrolytes and potassium you need to keep from cramping. Nota bene: Not all flavors are created equal. The Sport strawberry lemonade is questionable, but the Immunity blueberry tangerine is refreshing. ($7 a tube, 10 tabs per tube) 

March 17, 2020

No one wants to haul bottles of water up a 4,000-foot trail--but you absolutely need to stay hydrated. Grayl's filter bottles offer an ideal solution. Parched after reaching the Fluhalp hut outside Zermatt, Switzerland, I immediately filled my 24-ounce Grayl bottle ($90) at the fountain outside. Only later when my head cleared did I notice the "Do Not Drink" warning above the faucet. Thankfully, the bottle's filter kept me saf...

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AAA Memorial Day Traffic Forecast: Suspended Due to Coronavirus

May 21, 2020

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© 2023 by John R. Quain

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