Preparing for the trip of the lifetime? Whether you’re flying across the Atlantic to Spain or hitting the highway for a road trip to your favorite National Park, this pair of Revo shades, Stio short sleeve shirt and lightweight CamelBak daypack will get the job done.
For a laidback, casual pair of sunglasses, the Revo Lukee packs an impressive punch. While road tripping across Northern Spain, the Lukee’s blue Serilium lenses defeated their fair share of expected challenges: glare on winding highways, glinting sunsets across the Cantabrian Sea, and scoping waves along the rugged shore. However, it was a week of mountain biking technical trails in Basque Country that truly put these Revo frames to the test. While adrenaline-seeking along the Basque Coast, one of our testers flew over the handlebars and splashed face first into a rocky riverbed. Expecting both broken cheekbones and a fractured sunglasses frame, we were pleasantly surprised to see that both our tester and the sunglasses emerged from the river crash unscathed, with only a few scrapes on the tester’s elbows and the faintest of scratches across the Lukee’s brow.
Revo Lukee Starting at: $179.55 In urban environments, the style of this frame can’t be beat. It follows the RayBan Wayfarer formula — but only to a point. Then, Revo veers off sharply, elongating the wings of the lenses and adding a welcome curvature to the body. The result is a city-slick pair of sunglasses that provides decent wind protection during high-octane activities.
Tester Comment: “I’ve tried quite a few Revo sunglasses over the years. They really hit their stride with the Lukee. Aesthetically, it’s my favorite pair of sunglasses I’ve ever worn, and from an adventure travel standpoint, I love how I can wear them in the city one minute and on a trek the next. Plus, the blue lenses are more than just a style point — they work wonders on the water, whether you’re fly fishing, looking for surf, etc.”
Best For: Putting style first, knowing that performance is following closely behind.
Stio Eddy Short Sleeve Shirt
Stio’s crafted what our testers believe to be the best adventure travel shirt of all time. It may seem expensive, but the Eddy holds true to the idiom, “you get what you pay for.”
Many brands fall short on claims that their gear holds up from the “tavern to the trailhead,” but this short sleeve shirt delivered on both accounts. Testers wore the Eddy on the muddiest mountain biking trails of their lives, at formal Michelin-star restaurants, and everywhere in between. Eddy can handle dirt, but when it’s time to clean up and hit the town, it handles that, too.
Stio Men's Eddy Check Shirt SS Starting at: $47.52 When backpacking across Europe — or any minimalist adventure travel scenario, for that matter — it pays to carry along a shirt that you can wear in semi-formal situations without looking like a dirtbag. Our testers were stoked to rock the Eddy on the trail given the lightweight nylon/poly fabric (UPF+ 50 protection), but it was when bar-hopping in Barcelona that they were glad to have such a versatile travel shirt.
Double-chest pockets and sharp, black polished buttons add to the functionality and panache of the Stio Eddy. The only negative our testers could muster is that the nylon/poly blend doesn’t have the multi-day stink-fighting capabilities of a similarly priced 100% merino wool shirt.
Tester Comment: “Every adventure traveler needs a shirt like this: a button-up style that looks as good as it performs.”
Best For: Adventure travel, mountain biking, hiking — a do-it-all short-sleeve adventure shirt.
CamelBak Arete 22
When looking for a quality travel daypack, less really is more. You want approximately 20-25 liters between a main pocket and a smaller organizational top pocket, a hydration bladder, minimal padding and maximum comfort. This is the Camelbak Arete to a T: a 22-liter workhorse that impressed our testers with its compact size and multi-sport usability.
CamelBak Arete 22 Hydration Backpack Starting at: $74.36 Size-wise, the 22-liter is perfect for an airplane carry-on. We were able to stuff a DSLR camera, an extra lens, a laptop, external hard drive, a puffy, a book, and a spare pair of boxers in the main compartment, with wallet, phone, keys and passport in the top zip pocket. It comes with a 70oz (2-liter) bladder, which is adequate as opposed to overkill. The most impressive aspect of the Arete’s size, however, is not the volume of packable space, but the volume of space it takes up when packed down. With the thin layer of foam removed from the back panel — which offers minimal yet appreciated comfort — the Arete packs down to the size of a grapefruit.
Our testers were amped on this CamelBak backpack, and used it every day, from mountain biking over foggy ridgelines to perusing local markets. Its size and simplicity make it a go-to for adventure travel, as well as a smart summit pack for hiking and backpacking trips. That said, don’t purchase this if you’re looking for a luxurious amount of padding and features — this is a simple, basic daypack and both the price and lack of bells and whistles support that fact.
Tester Comment: “I was able to wear it for hours without too much discomfort. That said, it’s definitely not the most cushy pack out there. The straps aren’t very padded, but they lie flat and are fairly comfortable as long as the load isn’t maxed out. It’s perfect to stuff in your bigger backpack (we had 60-liter packs) and use as a daypack, whether you’re flying to a foreign city or taking off for the weekend from your local trailhead.”
Best For: Use as a summit pack, daypack, or for international stuff-and-go adventures.