Nov. 8, 2011 at 7:25 AM ET
There’s power packing — filling your suitcase with exactly what you need — and then there’s packing power.
If your gadgets run out of juice when you’re on the road, you might be a candidate for powered luggage that not only transports your devices but charges them while you’re traveling.
“Powered bags are a current travel trend,” said Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the nonprofit Travel Goods Association. “And as our wired society becomes more aware of the availability of powered bags, I believe the demand will grow."
Some companies, such as Voltaic Systems and Eco Traveler, offer solar-powered bags, backpacks and briefcases that produce and store power to run phones, cameras, laptops and tablets. These are popular with hikers, bikers, cyclists and eco-travelers who want to operate electronics off the grid.
But many business and leisure travelers — and their gadgets — spend most of their time indoors and out of the sun, in museums, meetings and airports or on planes, trains and in cars.
Those travelers are the target audience for a new collection of powered bag called, appropriately enough, Powerbag.
"While on the road, it's easy to leave charging cords at home or at a hotel. And you might struggle to find an outlet at the airport before take-off," said Ron Ferber, President of RFA Brands, creators of Powerbag.
The Powerbag line of backpacks, cross-body messenger bags, tablet bags, slings and wheeled travel bags each have a built-in charging system that can charge up to four mobile devices at once. The bag can be turned on and off and, when plugged into the wall to recharge its own onboard battery, is smart enough to know you’d like your connected devices charged first.
Of course, if you know you can charge all your gadgets on the go, you may be tempted to bring along a few extras. And that may weigh your luggage down.
For those situations, a powered bag from Live Luggage may come in handy. Created by Clive Hemsley in Great Britain and only available online in the United States, the hard-shell suitcase doesn’t power your gadgets but instead has power-assisted wheels that automatically kick in when they sense a curb, an incline or a set of steps.
“It’s really only for the serious traveler,” said Hemsley. “The reason we developed it was because carrying luggage up hills is seriously bad for your health.”
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