Travel Gear

A light that needs only water; anywhere espresso; and the umbrella reinvented

Eton Blackout Buddy H2O At first glance, Eton's product range seems to reflect an apocalyptic world view, with "survival" tools to the fore. That said, it's a company boasting a strong association with American Red Cross. This is emergency lamp is one of its latest innovations. The Blackout Buddy H2O needs only water to stay activated for 72 hours of continuous use. That's a lot of light. No batteries to run out. No lit-candle hazard. Thanks to its internal magnesium-oxide power unit, you simply leave it submerged in a glass of water and the LEDs glow on. Good as a power-cut backup at home, emergency light on travels or post-apocalypse if you've made it. $16 from, though cheaper from Eton's online store when available.

Minipresso Light anywhere wet is all very well, but what if you’re gasping for an espresso to get the heart going? Pull out the Minipresso. The size of a small flask, portable real coffee makers seem to tickle the creative fancy of many a product designer worldwide. The Minipresso takes capsules or loose ground coffee. Add hot water. A few squeezes of cunningly integrated piston – 18 for an espresso – and a steaming java is yours. No compressed air, gas cartridges or electricity are needed. $39 from

UnBrella Deliberately inside-out and sort of upside-down, the UnBrella retracts back down toward the handle so that the umbrella's wet outside is folded to the inside. It means you don't soak fellow travellers when, for example, jostling on a packed train in Tokyo. The brainchild of Japanese designer Hiroshi Kajimoto, the UnBrella comes with a fairly hefty price tag, though it'd be quite the conversation starter. $241 from