Best Hiking Shoes For Travel


Harmony Lace by Hi-Tec

Going hiking but dreading taking your heavy hiking boots with you?  At Best Rated Reviews, we always aim to pack light.  We recently discovered a truly amazing pair of hiking shoes that we recommend as the “best of the best” for lightweight travel.

Harmony Lace by Hi-Tec is a pair of hiking shoes designed to function as a lightweight hiking boots without the bulk.  We tried them and found them to be some of the best hiking shoes we have ever tried.

Here’s why:

They are very comfortable for hiking shoes.  They are designed with just enough stiffness to give you the support you need while hiking.  Yet they are made of a comfortable, lightweight material.  Mesh allows your feet to breathe so they do not get as hot as they do in most hiking boots.

We also liked the design of the Harmony Lace.  They are stylish and their smoky brown/aloe color combination lends to professionalism.

These shoes also contain a moisture wicking lining and anti-odor, anti-microbial Ortholite sockliner.    Their durable Vibram rubber outsole gives added protection to your feet.

Harmony Lace Women’s Shoes Rating: 5 Stars!  Best!

Also, if you are looking for a well-built, affordable pair of sandals to complement your active travel wardrobe, we recommend Hi-Tec’s Waimea Falls.

These sandals are made with a durable rubber outsole and a sculpted footbed to provide sure-footing.  These are some of the most affordable sandals we have seen for the quality at $40 a pair.

Waimea Falls Women’s Sandals Rating: 3 Stars!  Good!

Find these great shoes and more at



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Best Mosquito-Beating Hammock

Ultralight Skeeter Beeter Hammock

When the weather turns warmer and flowers start to bud, Spring is here.  And that means Summer is just around the corner.  If you’re looking for a great way to relax in Spring and Summer, we recommend getting a hammock.

When most people think of a hammock, they envision a thick-roped hammock hanging between two palm trees on a beautiful blue beach.  When we think of hammocks, we think of Grand Trunk Goods.  We have considered recommending hammocks from a variety of companies.  But Grand Trunk Goods outshines them all.  The design of their products is superior–and they are especially appealing to the adventure traveler because they are lightweight, durable, and bear a design that takes all your travel needs into consideration: comfort, weight, and economy of space.

We recently tried the Ultralight Skeeter Beeter Hammock.  On first glance, we liked the way it is packaged.  The Ultralight Skeeter Beeter comes in a mesh sack which easily contains the hammock, mosquito netting, and net suspension kit.  It only weighs 20 oz.

This amazingly lightweight hammock can hold up to 250 pounds.  It contains two interior storage pockets which provide a handy corner to store small essentials.  Another cleaver feature?  You can just flip it over and lay on it without mosquito netting as well.  The mosquito netting fastens to two lines that overhang to create a mosquito net canopy.  Then, you can read a book without being draped in mosquito netting.

As we said, Grand Trunk Goods designers think of everything when they design gear.  The Ultralight is also great for backpacking, hiking, and taking anywhere, really.  And don’t forget you can even just use it in your backyard!

Grand Trunk Goods has also recently come out with 9 new, innovative products.  We know many of our readers have inquired to know what we think of them.  We are on a waitlist to test them.  We will let you know our findings as soon as possible.  Thanks for your patience.

Find this great hammock and more at

Rating: 5 Stars!  Best!



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Best Hands-Free Umbrella

Hands-Free Umbrella

Have you ever tried to juggle the dog, the paper, and the umbrella at the same time in the rain?  When it rains, do you ever wish you had a free hand to make sure your valuables stay dry?  Or maybe you need two free hands to walk your kids to the schoolbus.  Now, you can have it all!

The Hands-Free Umbrella (a.k.a. Backpack Umbrella)  is the perfect solution to being hands-free in the rain!  We tried it and it works great.  It’s sturdy, durable, and the backpack is adjustable to fit securely for all sizes.

You can find it here at

Rating: 3 Stars!  Good!

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Photograph Yourself Anywhere!

XShot Camera Extender

Now You Can Photograph Yourself Anywhere!

Taking photos and preserving wonderful memories are half the fun of a great trip.  But if you’re the one who’s always behind the camera, you rarely get to be in the picture!  We recently discovered a product that makes that a problem of the past: the XShot Camera Extender.

With the XShot Camera Extender, you can photograph yourself anywhere.  You can get picture-perfect photos for Facebook!   If you are hiking to the top of Mt. Everest or anywhere else in the world by yourself and you want to take a stunning picture showing you are there, you can do it with the XShot camera extender!

Also, you will never have to ask a stranger to take a photo when traveling again.

We put the XShot Camera Extender to the test.  It worked great for traveling, hiking, camping, and family photos.  You just have to make sure you point the camera in the right direction.  XShot staff give this wise advice: “Make sure the lens is pointing at you and you’ll be in the picture.”  In short, if you can see the lens, it can see you!

This product is made for use with compact digital cameras and camcorders weighing no more than 1.25 lbs.

You can find it here at

Best Rated: 3-Stars! Good!


Buy It Now!


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Waterproof Binoculars Great For Travel

Legend Ultra HD

With today’s amazing technology, Bushnell makes binoculars that give clear visibility even on a cloudy or rainy day. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars are compact, portable, and easily accessible. They offer high definition visibility. They also come with a sturdy carry case.

The Legend Ultra HD Binoculars contain a Rainguard coating which keeps them clear and waterproof in rain. They are a great pair of binoculars to take along when traveling, since you never know what the weather will do.

When we tried them, we found all of their features useful for traveling. They also contain ED Prime Glass and a special coating which allowed us to use them for extended periods of time without getting tired eyes!

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Binoculars offer high-quality visibility yet are compact enough to be portable. These binoculars include a neckstrap, which makes them extra portable.

We recommend them!

Rating: 4-Stars! Very Good!

You can find them here at



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Best Birding Accessory 2011

I-Flyer Birdsong Scanning Wand



If you like birding, you’ll love this! The I-Flyer BirdSong Scanning Wand by Identiflyer allows you to recognize birds and hear their songs immediately!

The BirdSong Scanning Wand packs neatly into a compact, hard travel case which is efficient for storing the Scanning Wand and BarCode ScanBook. The Identifyer BirdSong Scanning Wand is built like a jumbo pen. It has built-in volume control.

We tried out this product in a wooded pine forest in the Central United States. We put bird food in a feeder and waited. Soon, a cardinal arrived. So we turned on the I-Flyer BirdsSong Scanning Wand, found a picture of a cardinal in the I-Flyer BarCode ScanBook, and played it for the cardinal. Suddenly, 3 other gorgeous red cardinals arrived and a female, also. Their curiosity got the best of them, so they had to come see what all the fuss was about.

It was thrilling to know that we had called the birds and they came! We began to call several other birds as well, including yardbirds, such as Blue Jays, Robins, Crows, and a Woodpecker. Each bird began responding in the forest and some of them flew overhead or perched in a tree nearby.

When we played the woodpecker, the forest really stirred up as three woodpeckers began calling back. They were quite persistent. We set out to find them to discover why. To our delight, we got to see a momma woodpecker feeding a baby woodpecker in the hole of a hollowed-out tree.

Now, we call the I-Flyer BirdSong Scanning Wand our “magic wand”. It brings so much joy and delight into our lives to be able to interact with birds and the beauty of nature on a closer and more educated level that enriches the lives of everyone who enjoys nature as a part of their travel or leisure. Whether you are a seasoned birding expert, a novice, or just someone who enjoys the beauty of the outdoors in your backyard, this is a must-have product.

Editor’s Note: This really is a product for the whole family. Kids love it, too. It gets them out of the house and inspires them to explore our wonderful world. This product is an editor’s favorite!

You can find it here at

Rating: 5-Stars! Best!

This product was rated as “Best Birding Accessory 2011” by Best Rated Reviews.

iFlyer Birdsong Scanning Wand Video:

Courtesy of Identiflyer

Buy It Now!

Posted in Accessories, Awards 2011, Beach, Best Rated Reviews, Editor's Pick, Electronics, Hiking, Identiflyer, Kids Travel, Outdoors, Outdoors/Nature Guide, Picnics, Sports Equipment and Apparel, Travel, Travel Accessories, Travel Essentials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Beach Mat

Sandless Beach Mat

What if you could enjoy the beach without that gritty feeling? The Sandless Beach Mat, available at Hammacher Schlemmer, makes it possible to enjoy the beach, camping, and picnics sand-free! This amazing mat contains layers of sturdy material that sift sand beneath your feet. All you have to do is rub it in to the mat and it disappears right under your feet, leaving you sand-free.

Our reviewers tested the Sandless Beach Mat at the beach. It really works. The Sandless Beach Mat folds neatly into a sturdy, streamlined bag for easy transport and storage.

You can find it here at

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A Travel Chair That’s Man-tastic!

Life is a game. Those who play the hardest win the most. The average person, works 40-60 hours a week, makes time for family, carves out a little time to exercise, and oh yeah, rests. Lounging outdoors with family is one of my favorite past times. The rest and relaxation is much more enjoyable since I discovered “Big Bubba” by the Travel Chair company. This is not one of those cheap, flimsy chairs you see at the grocery store for five dollars. This is a heavy duty, very comfortable, man-sized chair. It has a removable head rest, reclining capability, and a trusty cup holder for a cold one. The Travel Chair even has a foot rest. The chair collapses and the carrying case makes for easy transport. When I use it in public, people look at my chair with envy. Some ask about it, but most just have a look on their face that let’s me know that they wish it was theirs.

We work hard, we play hard, so why not relax in style, too? Just be sure to set an alarm so you don’t sleep too long!

~ Keith

You can find the Big Bubba Travel Chair at

Rating: 5-Stars! Best!

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Best Hydration Belt For Athletes

Camelbak Delaney Plus


Walking, cycling, or running all takes hydration. All exercising creates one problem, where do I put my drink? I have a two bottle rack on my bike, and a Camelbak Hawg 100 0z hydration pack, my favorite, for longer programs. The problem I had was the shorter “one bottle” excursions. That was until I found the Camelbak Dalaney Race system. This thing is just what I needed for the mid-range workout.

The Delaney Plus is simple and well-thought-out. It has one quick release buckle in the front, an energy gel squeeze bottle on the side and a bottle pouch in the back. The bottle sets at an angle for easy retrieval and replacement while on the go.  The bottle pouch can also be tightened or loosened in a flash if necessary. The Camelbak “Podium” bottle fits my hand well and has a feature that allows me to adjust the flow of water by turning a knob on the lid. It can also be closed to prevent spills. I quickly discovered that my Camelbak insulated water bottle fit in the same pouch, oh yeah!

I went on a 40 mile bike ride with the Delaney Plus to give it a good try. I could not even feel it while riding. There are two storage pockets, one mesh and one solid material. both zip and one has a key clip. I had room for my wallet, keys, and cell phone. The bottle is somewhat insulated by the pouch and my water stayed cool until empty.

The next day, I hit the trails for a 2 mile run/walk to see how it worked with the rigors of trail running. The padded mesh waist band rode easy and did not bounce when I ran. While walking, I loosened the waistband with one move of the adjustment band on the side. The padding prevented the pack from irritating my lower back and having the bottle set at an angle, about 45 degrees, so it really is easy to get to.  Camelbak also makes Delaney Race, which runners prefer because it is lightweight and gives increased ventilation around your midsection.

Camelbak really hit a home run with this lightweight pack in my book. I makes a hot day in the Sun much easier to enjoy. I’m sold.

Another great product which we highly recommend is the Groove Stainless. It’s a stainless steel water bottle with a no-drip spout and a built-in water filter.  The Groove Stainless is a must-have if you want fresh, purified water anytime, anywhere.

Rating: 5-Stars!  Best!




You can find Delaney Race, Delaney Plus, and the Groove at

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