Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018
Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018

Three Perfect Gifts for the Traveler

Pileof scarvesAt, we’re always looking for products that make traveling easier and more comfortable. Here are three we love and know you will too.

MargolisPineoItalia: Buttery Soft Italian Cashmere Blends

MargolisPineoItalia’s fabulous cashmere blend ponchos, scarves, and shawls make elegant, travel-friendly gifts. These luxurious yet affordable travel pieces provide practical and beautiful Italian warmth for all seasons. And they make the perfect gift for your loved ones—or for yourself.

MPI Travel Scarf

MargolisPineoItalia’s fabulous cashmere blend scarves makes an elegant and travel-friendly gift.

Imagine having a travel- and design-savvy personal shopping team journey to out-of-the-way, artisan manufacturers in Italy to bring back cashmere blend travel products? That’s exactly what you get with the Elizabeth and Dave Margiolis-Pineo, the husband and wife team who own this boutique import company. Elizabeth uses her background in art and design and Dave his savvy eye for what looks great to curate a beautiful collection from small, family-owned, Italian artisan producers.

All of the products in the MargolisPineoItalia line are 50% Viscose (rayon), 40% Merino extra-fine lamb’s wool, and 10% cashmere. This blend gives them both durability and a buttery-soft feel. editors enjoyed sampling the three core products of the MargolisPineoItalia collection (they have some other seasonal products):

MPI Roma travel poncho

The MargolisPineoItalia Roma Travel Poncho is stylish and practical.

Ultimate Travel Scarf. I’m a huge fan of travel scarves and never leave home without one. But I’m replacing my polyester pashmina with MargolisPineoItalia’s Ultimate Travel Scarf because it’s so soft, smooth, and warm while still being lightweight. Wrap it around your neck and it feels like the ultimate hug.

Because the Ultimate Travel Scarf is extra long, you can wear it in a variety of ways. Recently, I traveled to Grapevine, Texas, and the plane was freezing. the Ultimate Travel Scarf kept me warm and cozy. This is one item that’s going to see thousands of travel miles with me. In addition to the pretty light Gray one I ordered, the scarves come Denim, Stucco, Indigo, Chestnut, Navy, Sand, Blush, Cyclamen, Lilac, Nutmeg, and Poppy.

Roma Travel Poncho. This is a small, easy-to-pack poncho that’s both stylish and practical. It slips over the head to keep your hands free. The asymmetrical cut makes it stylish and a bit edgy. This one is a hit with travelers.

The Travel Poncho comes in a wide range of solid colors, including Black, Navy, Olive, Gray, Stucco, Sky Blue, Pearl Gray, Pink, White, Olive, Saffron, Denim, Red, Teal, Cyclamen, Nutmeg, Poppy, and Lilac. It also comes in three bold color combos: Pearl with Gray Border; and Gray with Black Border; and Blue with Indigo.

MPI Ultimate Travel Shawl

The Ultimate Travel Shawl is both unfussy yet elegant.

Ultimate Travel Shawl. This one is my personal favorite. Generously-sized and unfussy yet elegant, this travel duster is absolutely perfect for a chilly plane, train, ferry, or movie theater. It’s cut to effortlessly drape on the shoulders and arms. This one can go from plane to a dinner party in stylish elegance.

The Ultimate Travel Duster is perfect for women of any size, including full-figured gals. I ordered the buttery-soft Gray, which I love. It’s also available Periwinkle, Denim, Sand, Nutmeg, Navy, and Black.

For more information about the MargolisPineoItalia collection go to

You can purchase MargolisPineoItalia collection at Etsy

Toilettree’s Sturdy Toiletry Bag

Toilettree bag

Toilettree’s sturdy toiletry bag stands up to the rigors of travel.

As a seasoned traveler who often has to pack and unpack multiple times during a trip, I find the more bags and organizing items I have, the better. For me, Toilettree’s Toiletry Bag does the trick of organizing all of my toiletries in one place. Each bag comes with three TSA approved travel bottles – individually marked as Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash.

I own two Toilettree Toiletry bags. One I take on the road with me. The other I use as a medicine bag in my home emergency kit. At less than $20, this toiletry bag will keep you organized at home and on the road.

Toilettree bag interior

Toilettree toiletry bags keep the traveler organized on the road.

I like the Toilettree Toiletry Bag because: 1) It’s not overly large. I don’t carry a bunch of make-up when I travel, so the Toilettree bag is just right for items I carry. 2) The three pre-labeled bottles are just the right size. I don’t have to wonder whether or not they’ll make it through TSA screening. 3) It features four separate mesh compartments, two with zippers. This enables me to keep things super-organized. 4) It comes with a built-in hook for hanging. 5) It’s sturdy. This is my favorite feature. Many toiletry bags are made of flimsy nylon that easily tears. Not the Toilettree bag. It thick, strong, canvass-like fabric that will go many miles.

You can purchase the Toiletree Travel bag online at



EagleCreek Afar Backpack: Durability Meets Organization

Eagle Creek backpack

Eagle Creek designers created a backpack with comfort and safety in mind.

Anyone who reads regularly knows that in addition to a rollaboard, I travel with a backpack. A travel backpack is ergonomically easier on the body and allows me to keep my hands free. Since I travel for business, I have specific travel needs that include comfort, safety, and a place for my 17” laptop, camera, and more. EagleCreek, a company well-known for quality and their No Matter What guarantee, has created the Afar Backpack, which may well be the Ultimate Travel Backpack.

Eaglecreek has put a lot of thought into the Afar backpack. Here are the things I love about the Afar Backpack:

Eagle Creek black bag

The Afar features comfortable shoulder strips, a waist band, and a safety whistle built into the chest strap.

It’s tough. I want a pack that’s going to last a long time. The Afar is made with water-resistant, rip-resistant Geo Ripstop and ballistic fabrics, and they’ve strategically fabricated the exo-skeleton to strengthen wear points and create a bag that resists abrasion.

It packs large. The Afar weighs a featherweight 1 lb. 11 ounces, yet offers a whopping 1,890 cu inches of storage. It’s got plenty of exterior pockets, including two, extra-deep mesh pockets for beverages and a front exterior mesh panel with a daisy chain where I can stash things like my NY Times.

The pack offers three big, zippered pockets. There’s a front pocket with a big interior zippered mesh pocket, key fob and three interior slots for stashing things like a passport, cellphone, small notebooks. (While I wish this front pocket zipped all the way down, it’s a minor issue.) The middle pocket is the largest and offers a big document slot perfect for files and spacious interior space that has room for all my cameras, lunch, and more. The final pocket, the one at the back of the pack, is padded and features a sleeve can accommodate a 17” laptop.

The Afar also has a heavy-duty grab strap on the top to make it easy to grab and go. It also features two compression straps on the sides to help keep the pack small enough to slide under plane seats.

It’s comfortable. A backpack is nothing unless it’s comfortable and the Afar Backpack is just that. It’s got wide, padded straps, and both an adjustable sternum strap and tuckaway waist strap that help take the weight off the shoulders. The rear of the back that rests against your back is well-padded and made of vented, breathable material that’s cool. I recently schlepped through DFW, a big airport, with this travel pack on my back and barely noticed it.

Eagle Creek Afar Backpack

Eagle Creek Afar Backpack has a handy sleeve  that allows travelers to slip it over a rolling bag handle.

It’s secure. Nothing can guarantee that you won’t get ripped off when you travel, but this Eaglecreek Afar backpack will make carrying your stuff much safer. EagleCreek calls their security measures All Ways Secure™.  This Afar backpack features lockable zippers and a central lock point to keep thieves from opening your pack. The padded laptop space is up against your back, which keeps it safe and secure. There’s also a designed electronics pocket and an interior passport pocket with a Velcro fastener.

One clever safety feature I’ve never seen before is the integrated safety whistle on the sternum strap buckle. The pack also has reflective accents and a place to attach a light to make you more visible at night.

I love this Eaglecreek Afar Backpack. This is one I’ll be using for many, many miles to come. It would make a great gift for yourself or others who love to travel in practical safety and comfort.

At just over $100, this backpack is a serious bargain. You can buy Eaglecreek’s Afar at many outdoor retailers or ata number of online retailers, including Eaglecreek’s site. Hasselbring, Editor


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Bobbie Hasselbring

RFT founder and the website's former editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. She's been an award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook.