GEAR TO GET

6 Made-to-Squish Items That Are Perfect for Travel

Let’s face it: Anything you can cram into your overstuffed suitcase stands a good chance of getting utterly crumpled. So why not embrace the chaos by choosing items that were built to be balled, wadded, and bunched? These six rough-and-tumble travel items crush the competition with style.

By Colleen Clark, Thursday, Mar 24, 2011, 4:00 AM

Crumple gear

Rough-and-tumble gear that begs to be crumpled, wadded, crunched, and bunched.

(Levi Brown)

Water Bottle
A cut above its bulky, hard-plastic competition, Vapur's 14-ounce, BPA-free Anti-Bottle stands upright when full and collapses to about the size of a ChapStick tube when empty. Bonus: These sturdy, stain-resistant canteens are freezer- and (top-rack) dishwasher-safe. vapur.us, $16 for two.

Map
Nothing screams tourist like awkwardly wrestling a paper street guide in public. Rand McNally's 7.5" x 11.5" microfiber fabMAPS for 20 U.S. destinations provide tear-proof, waterproof toughness and incomparable ease of use. Simply unfurl, scrunch up, and repeat-no folding necessary. amazon.com, $6.

Tote
When it comes to choosing a carry-on, functionality comes first-but that doesn't mean you want to haul the same heavy-duty bag on your entire trip. Enter Riesenthel's sling-shaped Mini Maxi Ladyshopper, a surprisingly polished purse that comes in eight crisp colors and folds out of a flat, 6" pouch. touchofeurope.net, $19.

Rain Jacket
Consider this hooded nylon Pack Windbreaker from SCOTTE-VEST a triple-threat travel pick. Beyond warding off bad weather, it packs 17 specialized pockets, including gadget holders with clear, touchscreen-friendly panels. The coat also folds into an 8" x 11" portable pillow. scottevest.com, $75.

Keyboard
Tired of tapping out e-mails on a netbook's tiny keys? The 17.5" inland Pro Foldable Black USB Keyboard weighs just under a pound, rolls up to roughly the size of a soda can, and withstands most spills, thanks to its rugged, water-resistant silicone. Take that, tray-table turbulence. amazon.com, $20.

Multitasking Teddy
Like Superman in a phone booth, Frédéric Perigot's Bear Tote Bag transforms in an instant to solve two crucial travel problems. In stuffed-animal form, it distracts a fussy kid who is tired of his other toys; unpacked to form a 13.5" x 17.5" nylon tote, it's a lightweight way to transport a surplus of souvenirs. aplusrstore.com, $36.