Monday, December 11, 2017

Uncommon Goods: Wonderfully Unique Gifts Travel...

We have even more wonderful gifts from Uncommon Goods to add this season. This time we're focusing on travel and/or fitness. Uncommon Goods has been a staple in our gift guides for ten-plus years because their gifts are clever and unique. We always know we can count on them for the perfect gift. If you love the "oohs" and "ahhs" reaction from your lucky recipients, you'll be happy to know there will be plenty of those. Just about every item in their catalog is wonderful, and its loaded with hundreds of sweet surprises. Uncommon Goods offers great gifts for family, friends, teachers, stocking stuffers and grab bags.

In 1999, their founder Dave Bolotsky visited a Smithsonian Museum craft show in Washington D.C. and was captivated by the variety of unique handmade goods and the talented people behind them. He saw there was a significant public demand for beautiful design. At the same time, he realized that the artists working to make those pieces were often traveling great distances in order to sell their wares at the show. Inspired by his experience, Dave had a vision to create something that had never existed before—an online marketplace to connect makers and their creations with individuals looking for truly special goods, regardless of the physical distance between the maker and the shopper. Dave turned this idea into UncommonGoods. He continued traveling to craft fairs and trade shows, meeting artists and finding stand-out merchandise, while running the business out of his home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Before long, the company had outgrown Dave's apartment, and moved through three successively larger offices in downtown Manhattan, eventually settling in our current location in Brooklyn, NY.

Here are some of our favorite travel and/or fitness gifts...

Anti-Theft Backpack. What a great idea for travelers! You'll feel more calm and confident on your daily commute with this high-security backpack keeping your valuables safe. Its stylish exterior camouflages a range of anti-theft features, from hidden zippers to slash-proof materials. Clever pockets tucked into the straps and back allow you to easily access your transit pass, cash, and other quick essentials. Roomy interior pockets not only keep your laptop, books, pens, and peripherals organized, but they also balance the weight carefully against your back, making it feel up to 25% lighter than the same load in a standard pack. The exterior is water- and spill-proof, with a layer of spongy, breathable cushioning against your back. For those long days on the road, an integrated USB port lets you access your phone while connected to your charger (not included) inside. And for those whose rush hour is spent pedaling, there's illuminating reflective strips to keep you visible.

Oh, the places you've gone! And the adventures that are still ahead of you! Travel can make the world feel smaller but also more grand and beautiful--which is exactly how this interactive map presents it. The map is printed in a refined gold-and-black palette, but take an eraser and scratch off the places you have visited, and vivid bursts of color are revealed underneath. Additional discoveries can be made along the bottom of the map, which features a row of infographics with interesting facts about world geography. Printed on sturdy cardstock. Made in the UK.

The ideal travel companion is always ready to spring into action-- and promises not to take up a lot of space. Pop this silicone water bottle open to quench your thirst, then collapse it flat (just over an inch) to stash it in your pocket, pack, or almost anywhere for space-saving travel or a light day hike. The collapsible bottle is BPA and odor free, and dishwasher safe. Designed by Niki Singlaub.

Running, fetching, and showering your human with love can be thirsty work. Designed just for dogs, this water bottle keeps your canine companion well hydrated on the go. With just a squeeze of the bottle, the attached dish fills with water at an inviting height for dogs to drink. This patented design is leak-proof and excess water drains back into the bottle to minimize waste. The adjustable velcro strap lets you attach the bottle to a backpack, belt, or wrist. Fits any standard car cup holder for easy one-handed access when driving. Food safe and BPA free. Made by Gary Ross in California.

This traveler's jacket has such an astonishing array of built-in pockets and conveniences that you might just leave your carry-on bag at home. Do you get cold on a plane or bus? It has gloves built into the sleeves and double-lined pockets for keeping your hands warm. Do you like to stay connected? It has a microfiber cloth for cleaning your screens, a pocket for your charger, another for your ear buds, and even one for your tablet. Are you traveling far? There's a built in air pillow and eye mask for a comfortable journey, and pockets for your passport and sunglasses once you get there. There's even a pen and stylus hidden in the zipper pull, and a unique, neoprene-lined pocket for your drink. All of this is housed in a water-resistant windbreaker, and it's machine washable.

Jean and Kevin Wu found it unnerving that many public places accumulate so much plastic waste every day and decided to create a water bottle that's pliable, portable, and matches your personal lifestyle. For their collapsible bottle, the BPA-free, food-grade silicone is molded into a spiral design that springs into shape to hold 20 ounces of cold or hot beverages. This versatile vessel scrunches down so small it'll fit in your pocket, so you can squeeze in a drink anywhere, anytime. The wide-mouth top can easily be filled with ice cubes, and the stainless steel cap twists shut, providing a secure, leak-proof seal. Flexible, light, and shatter resistant, silicone is an FDA-approved, food-safe material that doesn't react with food or liquids, so it won't impart your drink with any unsavory flavors.

Phone Charging Bracelet. Your nephew flew across five states to visit, and boy is he cute. Moments you want to capture: 987. The charge in your phone battery: 0. Luckily, you're wearing your Phone Charging Bracelet. With its lightweight, minimalist styling and polished metallic shine, it’s so cool you forgot it was a tool. You juiced up its rechargeable lithium battery two months ago, and the hidden LED indicators say it’s still charged. Slip off the bangle, insert the hidden Lightning Connector into your iPhone, and charge it up to 50% (depending on the model) in just 40 minutes. After you've distracted him awhile with candy (his parents don't need to know), it's time to record that joyful sugar high before he crashes. Designed in New York City.

Magnetic Bike Lights. Stand out and stay safe on your next ride around the block or through the trails with these powerful, palm-sized bike lights. The petite LEDs—white for the bike's front fender, red for the back—shine in three different settings: a steady beam, or a slow or quick flash. Simply click the lights on and off your bike's steel frame using their powerful magnets that stay put even on the bumpiest of jaunts. When you've reached your destination, snap it together and can pop it in your pocket until the next time you hit the road. Set of 2.

In a perfect world, bike rides would be traffic-free and locks would never be needed. But in reality, road hazards and thieves are par for the well-pedalled course. That's where our nifty bell comes into play. Its three digital sounds are loud enough to warn oncoming cars and oblivious pedestrians. Plus, its magnetic, feather-light design lets you toss it in your pocket or bag much to the dismay of bell bandits.

According to the traditional Hindu system of medicine, the Water Element nourishes our self, soothes and softens us, and protects us from damage. This body-conscious bottle seeks to do the same thing for you. Not only does the double-walled, insulated bottle keep water at the ready when you're on the go, but it also has a textured, high-density foam sleeve that transforms the bottle into a portable massage roller for those overworked muscles and joints. Such a mindful multi-tasker will be especially welcome at the gym or yoga studio, or even at work after a taxing commute. The sleeve is removable for easy cleaning, and the stainless steel bottle can keep 25 ounces cool up to 24 hours, or hot up to 12.

Recycled Wetsuit Yoga Mat.
Retired from surfing and diving duty, neoprene wetsuits complete their California life cycle in this yoga mat. The cushioning, insulating material is recycled to create generously sized, premium quality mats that make great companions for your practice. Neoprene is a closed cell foam, so it won't accumulate dust and bacteria from yoga studio floors. Production of these mats keeps wetsuit waste out of landfills, and the mat itself may be recycled when its yoga days are done. Made in California.

Scratch Travel Journal. Perfect for the travel enthusiast, this planner combines the functionality of a travel planner, a checklist, a diary, and an interactive map. This journal is the ultimate travel companion. Ideal for the person in your life who always seems to be jetting off on their next adventure, it allows them to plan one complete trip and record every experience along their journey in their own words. Plus, they'll be able to keep track their travels with the cool scratch-off-where-you've-been maps of every continent. They can scratch off the countries and cities they've visited to reveal adventurous pops of color. From backpacking across Europe to setting sail for a month-long cruise, this kit is designed to channel and chronicle their wanderlust.

Collar Perfect-Compact Travel and Touch-Up Iron. Jet-setting go-getters won't leave home without it. Studio apartment dwellers adore its compact design. This compact travel and touch up iron makes it easy to subdue stubborn curling in collars, puckers between buttons, and other hard to reach spots. A morning routine necessity with 5 temperature settings and international power support, this unique winged design allows for smoothing creases on the fly and rotates to offer a traditional shape for when your work duds need an all-over wrinkle eradication. Designed by Brandon Dierker.

Pocket Bike Pump. Sometimes, to move forward all you need is a little air. This compact bike pump fits in your pocket or pannier bag, keeping an easy supply of air at hand. Made from a tough but lightweight aluminum alloy and just 4.75 inches long, the pump fits any Presta valve tire and provides 90 PSI for on-the-go emergencies. It's a smart addition to your road kit that won't weigh you down

42291 Solarpuff Light. Keep the mood at the campsite bright with this inflatable SolarPuff™ that harnesses the sun's energy and provides up to 12 hours of illumination in three settings. With its sturdy shell made of water-tight sailcloth and weight of only 2.6 ounces, this versatile tool can weather any storm, and a flat-packable design allows it to slip in seamlessly with your camping gear, car glove box, or emergency kit.

Men’s and Women's Organizing Travel 4-Packs . Travel is complicated enough without fishing around in the bottom of your luggage as you try to find your specific items like charging cords and pairs of shoes. But it gets a lot easier when you're using these stylish pouches from designer Jennifer Jansch. Inspired by the pleasure of unwrapping a gift, she created this set of handy travel bags, each printed with a bold, black-and-white image of its content and sealed with a grosgrain ribbon. Use them to pack your shoes, blow dryer, lingerie, and laundry, and everything you need will be neatly contained, untangled and right where you need it.

Bike Multitool Keychain. Keep your keys on this beautiful stainless steel keychain that also happens to have a bottle opener and other utilities built right in. A pocketful of keys can be heavy, bulky and uncomfortable. That's why Michael Khamsot invented this handy multi-functional tool that not only keeps your keys organized and tucked away, but even keeps your prepared in an emergency. It starts with a stainless steel cast, stone tumbled and hand-finished for smooth, rounded edges. The eye at one end allows you to include bulky keys, such as some car keys, via the included keyring. The opening on the other end allows you to slip it seamlessly onto your belt loop. In addition to all of that, there's even a built-in bottle opener, for refreshment emergencies. Made in Portland, Oregon.