As a kid, I attended a couple of week-long courses at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre near Turangi. The instructors - all worldly adventurous types with great tans, bead necklaces and those little Andean wool hats that hinted at epic tales and worn passports - were pretty cool cats, none more so than the young goateed guy who one day took a bunch of us Waiuku schoolkids kayaking.
"Pay attention - I'm going to tell you the most important thing about kayaking," he said to us in the pre-trip briefing as we settled in and braced ourselves for a tedious safety lecture.
"You've got to look cool," he delivered in deadpan style.
Suddenly, he had our attention. He was kidding of course - a heap of safety stuff about life jackets, rolling the kayak and generally doing what we were told soon followed. But the cool-dude instructor had touched upon a key point. (And he did also show us a few handy ways of looking cool in a kayak - which is not easy, by the way.)
Even the least vain among us like to look reasonably cool, no matter where our travels take us. If we didn't like looking reasonably cool in our travels, bumbag sales would still be going through the roof.
Which is where the Cubed Travel Jacket enters the discussion. It's designed to fit in anywhere that you need to be dressed smartly and to seamlessly work just as well on a decent tramp.
The market for taking a Thing and making it a Travel Thing is pretty much limitless. From rucksacks to travel socks, from travel hats to travel apps, affluent consumers with passports are seemingly in constant need of a product fix that will make their next trip that much more magic.
"Hey, mate. What's that weird passport-sized pocket on the side of your toaster?"
"Oh. That's my travel toaster."
Pockets are the key. This jacket has, at my rough estimate, about 186 different discrete pockets, which addresses one of the core concerns of modern urban explorers: how do I carry all this crap around and not look like a training centre for aspiring young muggers?
A Pickpocket 101 degree course?
This jacket does it well. I feel smart wearing mine and happy knowing there's a slot for my passport, a pocket for my phone, one for a fistful of the local currency and another for the train card I'm always whipping out.
The main pockets can be accessed from the jacket's interior or exterior, meaning you're not always having to undo the main zipper to get at things. There are also very cool little security clips, to keep baddies' fingers at bay.
Crucially, it dries quickly. The waterproof shell has a natural look and feel and the breathable fabric doesn't squeak or shimmer like most waterproof shells. With the travel jacket genre heavily represented in the Garish Colour Hall of Shame, these designers wisely opted to produce their product in stylish shades of black, slate and mountain blue.
In this product, developed by a bloke who quit the finance sector for the life of a backpacker, Clothing Arts have come up with a product that my old kayaking instructor could wear with pride.
Cubed Travel Jacket