Pat’s Holiday Travel Gear

Pat’s Holiday Travel Gear

By Patrick Hemingway Adams 

The holiday season has more than enough pitfalls and stressors without adding compulsory travel to the mix. In your own home, you may apply a kiddie pool’s worth of spiked eggnog until the pain goes away, but many of us are out in the trenches, braving life, limb, and marriages in the name of familial obligation. 

While flying with kids may be my eventual Waterloo, I don’t have to accept defeat just yet. The trick, I’m finding, is to make it through with as many travel companions as you started with; to protect your tribe and return home intact. To that end, here are a few items I bring to help protect my safety–and sanity–on the road and in the air:

Pocket Knife:  Everything is a compromise, so when I don’t check a pistol, I check a Spyderco Matriarch. It’s a nasty little folder with a serrated claw-shaped blade that looks like it could debone an elk. Derived from a blade invented for unarmed undercover narcotics officers, it’s designed to slash defensively by those without martial arts training. I like knives I can deploy with one hand while I have a daiquiri in the other, so it’s perfect for family vacations in the Keys.

Power Bank: If your cell phone dies, you pretty much do too, and those public outlets aren’t always where you need them to be. Portable power banks are great for making sure your phone doesn’t die and your early alarm always goes off, even while that cheap hotel you settled for is without power. And if you are going somewhere in the wild, consider one with a solar charger.

Dental Floss: Growing up amid punk rock taught me that a doubled-up length of dental floss and a heavy sewing needle can fix just about anything. I use fly fishing knots since I don’t know how to sew. The goal here is to get home, not make a wedding dress. Floss has a great deal of stretch and won’t snap like thread. It has enough tensile strength to repair broken bag straps, and yes, I prefer mint flavored.

Defensive Flashlight: Anything with super-high lumen output and a palm-sized metal body is perfect.  I like bezels with a strike face made of sharpened crenellations. (Crenellations are the staggered spaces on top of a castle that defenders could shoot through, or in this case, aid in rearranging the brow bones of an aggressor.) A quick blast of 1,000 lumens to the eyes of some personal space invader will nuke their night vision long enough to make an escape. I like the Surefire Defender 6P.

Travel Shirt: Shirt technology has never been so advanced. Don’t get caught looking overly tactical or unnecessarily dweebish. Get something cool like a Poncho Outdoors pearl snap shirt.  Now, you have breathable vents, thoughtful pocket organization, and classic style equally suited for work disaster zoom calls or drinking beer with your cousins in the alley so you don’t have to help clean up after dinner. Oh yea, and don’t forget your Field Ethos hat, because if the sun is in your eyes, you can’t see the shit sandwich headed your way.

Slip-on Vans or Courteney Boots: Great for airport security and informing passersby that you are immune to the ephemeral nature of trends, I’ve been most of the way around the world with just some Vans. Checkerboards are for the courageous. But if you are going hunting or hiking in any wild place other than the mall or beach, go with the Courteneys. 

Positive Mental Attitude– Meditation on preparedness is zen-like–until it’s not. Don’t forget to relax and make some memories. The holidays don’t last forever and you can always write your angry feelings into a letter rather than saying them out loud and ruining the moment. Do what I do, mail that letter after Christmas.