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10 luxury essentials for the stylish traveler
A dive watch to make James Bond snarl, a phone-charging backpack and other ways to turn fellow travelers green with envy
True seasoned travelers are as at ease in the bush as they are at a chic coastal resort.
For those who don't want to compromise on their appearance while roaming the planet, here are 10 durable, stylish, functional items that look just as good in the mirror as they do being pulled out of backpack on a journey to anywhere.
1. Canada Goose Kensington Parka
The Canada Goose Kensington brand is known for its comfortable duck-down filled coats designed with harsh wintry weather in mind.
It’s fashionable too -- unusual for quilted and down-filled parka. One of the most popular styles is the thigh-length Kensington parka, pictured above, with its fleece-lined hood and slim silhouette.
The Canada Goose parka is one of the few jackets that is as appropriate for pulling a sledge in the Arctic as it is for going for a spin on the ice-rink or a shopping expedition. Since the brand has spawned a host of imitators, make sure you buy yours from an authorized retailer.
They’re pricey, but a life-long investment.
US$1,049 at www.canada-goose.com
2. Swarovski Optik binoculars
I first discovered these at Zarafa camp, one of the most luxurious tented camps in Botswana. They were a pretty powerful pair of binos, with a good grip and sturdy lens protectors. Added plus: they’re not crystal-encrusted.
Armed with the latest EL32 Swarovision model, I enjoyed crystal-clear close-ups of exotic birds in flight, elephants hiding in trees and hippos.
US$2,495 at www.swarovskioptik.com
3. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean diving watch
This is a watch made with the alpha male in mind -- a man who likes diving into the murky depths of the Big Blue while looking sexy as hell.
It’s hardly a case of style over substance. It displays the date or chronograph and is made with a blend of materials such as grade-5 titanium, zirconium based alloy, ceramic and liquid metal (read: it’s magnificently durable underwater).
The watch comes with steel, rubber or leather straps, and is also available in a vibrant orange.
US$7,962 (orange and rubber strap version) at www.omegawatches.com
4. Globe-trotter Safari Trolley Case
If you’re an old-school Africa hand, fond of sundowners, jeep safaris and luxury tents furnished with four-poster beds, you’ll love the vintage colonial look of the Globe-Trotter Safari Trolley Case.
Established in 1897 by an Englishman, the brand has quite a pedigree: both Queen Elizabeth II and the late Sir Winston Churchill have traveled with the distinguished luggage in tow.
Concierge company Quintessentially runs an exquisite online luxury gift shop featuring the cases. They can also organize your trip too.
US$1,366 at www.quintessentiallygifts.com
5. Travelteq travel towel
Dutch company Travelteq has come up with this clever towel which comes with compartments to stash your wallet, book, iPad or even swimwear.
It’s handmade with Irish linen, which is said to make it lighter, absorbent, fast drying, and by some miracle of design, sand-repellant.
US$125 at www.quintessentiallygifts.com
6. Crosskase Solar 15 backpack
This Crosskase backpack can charge all of your essential devices -- including your phone, camera, GPS and music devices -- while you’re on the go, via solar panels.
It’s as useful on planes and trains as it is on far-flung mountain tops and festivals and hard to top in terms of functionality.
US$222 at www.crosskase.com
7. The Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
Everest climber and TV adventurer Bear Grylls has designed this survival knife as a multi-purpose, all-conditions tool.
It’s even got a fire starter and a whistle for emergencies. And if you still don’t think you’re prepared, you can attend his Bear Grylls Survival Academy -- where you can learn to use your knife properly.
US$62 at www.gerbergear.com.
8. Paolita Mandalay bikini
Paolita is the must-have luxury beachwear label this season.
London-based designer Anna Paola has worked with some top names in the fashion world including Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan and her designs are bright, beautiful and glamorous.
US$206 at www.paolita.co.uk
9. Marlborough ladies' flask
There’s no reason why a very functional bit of kit can’t have a dash of color and gorgeous craftsmanship.
A quintessentially English product, the Marlborough thermos is handmade and comes with a leather case that can be carried over your shoulder for maximum portability.
US$206 at www.marlboroughworld.com
10. Henri Lloyd Ocean King Waterproof Boot
A leader in sailing attire, Henri Lloyd is synonymous with the cool crew look across the globe and has some pretty prolific ambassadors, including Olympian Ben Ainslie.
The brand does a whole range of covetable waterproof gear, including these snug, comfortable boots with a solid grip that will protect sailors from the worst of the elements.
US$317 at www.henrilloyd.com
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