Product Review: BauBax's Ultimate Travel Hoodie
For the frequent flier, even the slightest bit of disorganization can quickly turn any normal airport experience into a nightmare. Which pocket did I put my passport in? There’s a baby behind me, did I remember to charge my noise-cancelling headphones? Is this overstuffed carry-on really going to fit under the seat? Travelers, and especially anxious travelers, can have hundreds of these thoughts racing through their minds during the course of a single flight. To soothe these woes, BauBax conceptualized what they billed as ‘the world’s most travel-friendly hoodie.' They took the basic idea to IndieGoGo, where it quickly received funding, before materializing commercially at Brookstone. The design is certainly more elaborate than your standard sweatshirt. But does it live up to the hype as the ultimate travel globe-trotting garment? Let’s find out.
Thick in material but limited in color options, the hoodie is available for order online in sizes ranging from XS to XL for women, and S to XXL for men. The fiber is a rugged blend of cotton and polyester, appearing — from the outside — almost identical to a traditional hooded sweatshirt. What sets it apart is only appreciated while you wear it: a wide range of features, each one designed to make your travel experience a little more comfortable. All of this is contained within a shell weighing around 3 pounds, total. Brookstone currently lists the price at $149, with free shipping.
Though the sweatshirt is packed with a treasure trove of features — built-in neck pillow, passport pocket, stylus pen, a tablet pocket — they’re all streamlined into the design. As part of an ensemble, the top is simple and straightforward, so it will pair easily with just about all outfit choices. Brookstone sells it in both slate gray and black, in women's and men's sizes.
Where to Wear
One of the benefits of this sweatshirt is its versatility. While it’s convenient for travel, the simplicity of it makes it perfect for any situation. The material is thick, sturdy and very soft on the inside, making it a great piece of attire to have on a cold day. Whether you’re rushing through Logan to catch a connection or just hanging out around the house, there are few situations where it doesn’t come in handy.
As advertised, the sweatshirt claims 15 features meant to complement the wearer’s travel experience; they range from highly useful to potentially superfluous. For a first-time wearer, these add-ons can be a little difficult to work out. The ensemble would benefit from a handy pocket guide to walk wearers through its many inner and outer pockets. However, it’s not too difficult to figure out what belongs in which compartment.
Of the 15 features, six of them are pockets specially designed to house certain items. Personally, I was most excited about the passport, phone, sunglasses and travel charger pockets. As a constant worrier, it’s reassuring to be able to give your chest pocket a light tap and find that yes, your passport is still there and not forgotten in the seat back pocket of your last flight. Other pockets include an interior pocket by the right hip meant to house a tablet, a blanket pocket and a drink pocket, lined with insulation to keep your beverage at its desired temperature. These could be useful for someone scrambling to free up some room in their carry-on, but for me it felt a little cumbersome.
The remaining nine features range from a few nice touches to some real travel game changers. There’s a pair of loops right by the collarbone to hook your headphones through, ensuring they won’t be yanked out of your ears. One interior chest pocket has a pullout microfiber cloth for phone/sunglass cleaning, the two lower front pockets are advertised as “handwarming,” and there’s a set of fingerless gloves woven into the end of the sleeves which can easily be tucked away if necessary.
The final four features are the most innovative to me, and really geared towards frequent fliers. One of the first things I noticed about the sweatshirt was its large zipper, and I was delighted to find that it contains a hidden detachable pen, equipped with a stylus on the end. Gone are the days of rifling through my bag for a pen when the customs forms come out. Alongside this, the hood contains a removable inflatable travel pillow along with a strip of fabric lining the inner hood that can be pulled down over the eyes as a handy sleep mask. I’m not a huge fan of travel pillows, and it feels a bit clunky to walk around with it in the hood, but it takes about three breaths to inflate and can also easily be stowed in the carry on. The sleep mask, while not the most fashionable mask out there, is very thick and does a great job of keeping any light out.
Although it is machine-washable, you might want to exercise care when drying it, to avoid shrinkage. The hoodie runs small to begin with, so consider ordering a size above what you might normally wear.
Here’s a rundown of all the special features:
- In the hood: built-in eye mask and inflatable neck pillow
- Earphone holder loops keep your earbuds untangled and ready for use
- Insulated drink holder pocket helps keep hot drinks warm and cold drinks cool
- Passport pocket keeps all your travel documents together and easily accessible
- Sunglasses pocket keeps your glasses safe; built-in microfiber cloth keeps them clean
- Smartphone pocket with pass-through for your earphone cable
- Tablet pocket carries any tablet up to 10 inches to free up room in your carry-on
- Portable charger pocket keeps a backup battery close by in case you need it
- Blanket pocket ensures you’ll never get the mid-flight chills again
- Double-lined handwarmer pockets plus built-in partial gloves in the cuffs
- Zipper with telescoping pen (expands from 1 inch to 4 inches) and soft-tip stylus
Overall, this is a solid sweatshirt that probably won’t completely revolutionize the way you travel, but it can make it a lot more convenient, especially for those who are prone to losing track of their belongings during long treks. Personally, it’s come in handy on recent airport excursions — although I did have to take it off when walking through security. It might just make it on permanent rotation for my long-haul flights schedule.
Not a frequent flier? Even so, the sweatshirt is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and offers a handful of practical features that might just simplify your travel routine.