The latest product for the sophisticated globetrotter
Social media went abuzz last week when an item of travel kit went viral. Funding from Kickstarter for the “world’s best” travel jacket clocked up investment of around $9m, blowing away a target of $20,000 set by the jacket’s creator, Baubax, and becoming the most funded piece of clothing in Kickstarter’s short history. But what exactly will the jacket bring that will add more comfort to travellers?
Well, a lot of pockets. Fifteen to be exact, all tailored to fit the different gadgets a traveller needs. Tablet? There’s a pocket for that. Passport and phone? One each. There are even pouches for phone-chargers, sunglasses and blankets. The jacket has other features: earphone-holders, a built-in travel pillow, an eye mask, gloves, a pen/stylus and a microfibre cloth all form part of the gament.
For the tech-savvy trendy traveller it will be essential kit, freeing up space in hand luggage. But world-weary travellers may be less enthusiastic for what is in effect a lot of pockets. The fact that the jacket boasts “hand- warming pockets” (what used to be known simply as “pockets”) gives the product a whiff of the emperor’s new clothes.
More pockets can actually mean more problems when travelling. There are more places to mislay things like travel documents. Those panicked moments at border control when you frantically search your jacket for your passport will be exponentially extended if you have 15 places to look. Equally, carrying all this kit around in person may not make for an entirely comfortable journey and doesn’t translate between flights and normal usage. A built-in pillow is fine for travel but useless in most other situations. Conversely gloves are good in the cold but haven’t been commonly worn on planes since the 1930s. Pockets for drinks and blankets are useful, but what travellers really want is a cupholder that won’t spill drinks and a blanket that won’t slide onto the floor.
A 15-pocket travel jacket may have its uses on short-haul trips when travellers try to fit everything into their carry-on luggage. Its runaway success certainly means it will feature on a flight near you soon. But business travellers are more likely to be whistling in exasperation than enthusiasm when they get caught behind a fellow passenger struggling to empty his 15 pockets into a tray at security gates.