By Kim Taylor

Every so often you’ll encounter new products that seem so obviously helpful, and so clearly useful, that you can’t believe they weren’t invented sooner. And you wish you had thought of them yourself. Here are a few inventive new products from creative, problem-solving minds.

If you want to tote wine or other spirits to or from your destination, the inflatable Vinnibag forms a protective bubble around the bottle so wear-and-tear on luggage won’t take its toll. Use it for fine collectables too, or jewelry – or for anything breakable. It can protect your phone and other gadgets in water, or even be used as an ice pack or comfortable airplane pillow. It’s reusable, TSA-approved, and can withstand extreme changes in temperature and air pressure:

The Scrubba Wash Bag is the world’s tiniest washing machine and a veritable godsend for travelers and campers with socks and clothes on the ripe side. Extreme sports enthusiasts, hikers, and anyone on the go without access to laundry machines will appreciate this handy, lightweight item that doubles as a knapsack. Inside there’s a scrubber board, and all that’s needed to freshen up your attire is a little bit of soap and water. Fits two days worth of dirty clothes. Sound like your thing? Read more at

Traveling with lightweight headphones for music and more is a given, but why not support a charitable hearing aid initiative in the process? That’s where LSTN headphones come into the picture. LSTN uses reclaimed wood from flooring and furniture scraps to craft the perfect, acoustic-friendly headphones in various shapes and sizes. Plus, in collaboration with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, they donate hearing aids around the globe with every purchase;

You want to repel insects while trekking, hiking, camping or simply hanging out poolside in the Hamptons, but you don’t want to douse yourself in chemicals simply to keep them at bay. Solution: North American Herb & Spice’s Herbal Bug–X, which is steam distilled at the source and comprised of oils of wild oregano, bay leaf, lavender and basil. This works well on ants, gnats, ticks, mosquitoes and black flies for up to three hours (while you admire the butterflies, fireflies, ladybugs and grasshoppers). Load up this summer for yourself and children going off to camp at It’s even safe for babies!

Originally published July 2013
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