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Compression cubes are AMAZING! I never travel without them. They allow you to sort and organize all of your things to allow for easy access and repacking (necessary if you are hiking or otherwise switching locations a lot).
They are basically just little zipper bags with an expanded middle and a separate zipper that you use to.. wait for it.. compress the bag! Imagine a ziploc bag when you lie on it to smoosh all the air out before closing it - it is the same idea.
Compression cubes take the convenience and organization of travel cubes, and make it so you can fit more stuff - a win-win in my book, especially since I have started primarily traveling with just my 55L pack - even for month-long trips!
I have owned two brands of compression cubes, both of which are really similar, and both awesome. The TRIPPED ones appear to be a better deal, so those are the ones I would go for if I needed to buy more right now - but if you just need two you could save a couple dollars and go for Eagle Creek.
Dog Life Jackets
We LOVE to travel with our dogs. We love it so much, in fact, that we are currently doing it full-time! In our road tripping around the country, we are always on the lookout for dog-friendly places to hike, eat, or swim.
While our giant dog Chaski is an excellent swimmer, our puppy Raya is not. She hasn't quite figured out how her legs work or what waves are. SO, when we take her swimming, she gets to wear a handy dandy pup-friendly life jacket! Not only does it help give us peace of mind that she is not going to disappear into the depths, it also comes with the added benefit of making her look like a ridiculous bear/mermaid hybrid. Pro Tip: many places that rent out canoes and kayaks will also let you bring your dog in the boat, but ONLY if they have a life jacket! So even though Chaski is a great swimmer, he also has an adorable Nemo life jacket. Want some pup life jackets for yourself?
Check out the ones we have:
Cutypet Mermaid: Good for medium to large pups, not recommended for giants
Outward Hound 'Fish': Good for giants. Currently out of stock in the Nemo print but the plain orange will do the job also.