Make us your home page
Instagram

Clothes that double as carry-on bags

Sunglasses made by Ovvo Optics. The family firm makes lightweight but durable frames from surgical steel and titanium, built to survive the rigors of business travel.

Sunglasses made by Ovvo Optics. The family firm makes lightweight but durable frames from surgical steel and titanium, built to survive the rigors of business travel.

NEW YORK

It is easier than ever to travel light.

The latest high-tech clothes and wearable accessories can also double as small carry-on bags, thanks to pockets engineered to store essentials like smartphones, passports, even iPads and water bottles.

"Briefcases have definitely declined as a business over all," said Steven H. Schwartz, a vice president at Brookstone. "And smaller has become better."

How small? Travel retailers say tablet sleeves — thin carriers that can tote an iPad — are the new briefcase. And given the fight for overhead bin space these days, perhaps you need not bother with a carry-on bag.

Travel apparel companies like ExOfficio are designing lightweight jackets with an array of specialty pockets, like a microfleece-lined pouch for glasses. The company's Storm Logic jackets, coats and vests have hidden pockets marked with icons for cameras, pens, smartphones, keys and identification cards. Such innovations are meant to appeal to next-generation travelers, so-called millennials, whom Carol Blayden, ExOfficio's director of marketing, described as more mobile than their frequent-flying predecessors.

"Everything's on their phone or tablet," she said. In fact, the Storm Logic jacket, at around $150, also has a large pocket and Velcro tabs that allow it to be taken off and turned into an adjustable neck pillow, or lumbar support.

For those in the market for a jacket that can truly hold as much as a bag, there's Scottevest, a company that makes what it refers to as technology-enabled clothing. The brand's jackets, vests, hoodies, shirts, pants and baseball caps have hidden pockets. Even the boxer shorts have pockets for a cellphone and passport.

Scottevest's jackets can hold a drawer's worth of travel gear. The latest model, the Fleece 7.0, at $160, has 23 pockets that can hold staples like pens, cameras, mints, hand sanitizer, identification cards, travel documents, eyeglasses (a cleaning cloth is included), smartphones, an iPod, water bottle, guide book, spare change and keys (on an extendable holder).

In the medium and larger sizes there is also a big pocket designed to hold an iPad, and fabric "arteries" that enable users to run headphones into and around the collar of the jacket. A "clear touch" cellphone pocket allows the wearer to control a smartphone through clear fabric inside the jacket without having to remove the device. The jacket's sleeves pop off so it can be worn as a vest.

Speaking of hands, what business traveler does not have a smartphone (or two) glued to his palm? Pengallan's Genius Gloves, at $175, were introduced last year and are handmade in Italy. Made of kid leather and lined with cashmere, the thumb and index fingers on both hands flip back so that you can use a touchscreen device.

Sunglasses are a travel mainstay, of course, but are notoriously easy to break when jostling in and out of airplanes and hotels. That is why Ovvo Optics makes sunglasses, selling for $300, that weigh only 0.6 ounces, yet are so strong they supposedly can help tow a small airplane.

While many new items are space-savers, some are simply time-savers.

"In our airports we sell a disproportionate amount of a product called Hickies," said Schwartz of Brookstone. Hickies, if you don't already know, are elastic bands that replace shoelaces, making it easier, for example, to slip your shoes on and off at airport security lines.

Clothes that double as carry-on bags 12/20/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 22, 2013 6:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New town homes sprouting in Oldsmar

    Real Estate

    BY PIPER CASTILLO

    Times Staff Writer

    OLDSMAR — City officials have been chipping away for several years on a downtown development plan, bringing new life to a 7-acre site on State Street. One day in the not-far-off future, they want to lively streets and walkways used by residents and …

  2. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  3. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  5. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.