• “Route 66 Treasures”
$30, Voyageur Press
Coffee-table books often are so pretentious that they threaten to break the table itself under the weight of their importance and glossy-paged beauty. But how about a little coffee-table kitsch to brighten things up. This 64-page tome about the famous, mostly abandoned Route 66 is chock full o’ photos of retro motor courts, historic postcards, roadside attractions and even a few pages of pop-up art. Author Jim Hinckley wisely has a light touch with the text, rather than getting bogged down in too much history.
• “Can You Drink Your Own Pee?”
The answer is yes, but you’d have to be pretty darn desperate out there in the wild. Backpacker Magazine’s website gives a much less gross alternative as part of its fascinating “Survival Lab” video series. Host “Drop Dead” Ted Alvarez teaches how to make your own solar still to distill your pee into drinkable water vapor. It involves a cup, a tarp and, well, watch the video.
• Oakley 02XL Ski Goggles
The ski-equipment testing site Gear Institute awarded this middle-of-the-line ski goggles its “Best Value” label. They cost half of what most fancy goggles will set you back. They are solid with dual-venting lenses with anti-fog coating and are said to be especially effective for skiers with large faces. You know who you are.
• USAToday’s 10 Cures for the Chronic Overpacker
1. Start with a carry-on: “Limiting yourself to a suitcase that will fit in the overhead compartment is a surefire way to force yourself to pack more efficiently.”
2. Only pack things that can be worn more than once: “This means you shouldn’t pack the really cute shoes that only match one outfit or the blazer that only goes with one shirt.”
3. Pack more tops than bottoms: “No one is likely to notice if you wear the same pair of jeans every day as long as you have a different T-shirt on the top.”
4. Bring multipurpose toiletries: “Things like two-in-one shampoo and conditioner ...”
5. Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes.
6. Minimize electronics: “So many gadgets multitask these days that one or two should serve all of your needs.”
7. Leave “just in case” items at home.
8. Don’t pack at the last minute: “(It) leads to a messy suitcase, forgotten essentials and mismatched clothing.”
9. Only pack what you love to wear: “If you don’t wear it at home, you’re probably not going to wear it on vacation, either.”
10. Pack half the clothes and twice the money.
From tennis star Maria Sharapova @MariaSharapova: “A girl simply can’t live out of one suitcase on a month long trip.”
— Compiled by Sam McManisfirstname.lastname@example.org