by Erin Kirkland
It’s always about the “stuff.” Little stuff, funny-shaped stuff, stuff that takes up space needed for other stuff. My junk drawer at home is testament to my penchant for keeping things, and when I travel, the “stuff” seems to multiply. Storage of small items, be they batteries or a spare pair of sunglasses and a toothbrush is critical for the organization of any family, but even more so for one that travels as much as my crew.
Walk into any outdoor recreation storefront these days and it’s easy to find storage containers, cubes, or bags that promise the seamless organization of one’s personal stuff. Of course, one could also offer the option of utilizing the big-box store, gallon-sized zippered plastic bag, but they’re not known for their sustainability, I hasten to add. Long on the hunt for a practical, durable, and yes, sustainable sort of container for the myriad tiny items I use every day during a long trip, the arrival of Chums Latitude Series of cases piqued my organizational curiosity.
Made of ballistic nylon (that’s ultra-tough, for those not familiar with the term “ballistic”) and featuring a variety of sizes that range from itsy-bitsy to big enough, Chums hits the mark for storage of smaller items that commonly find their way to the bottom depths of a backpack or bag, and out of sight and mind – forever.
Chums is better known among recreation enthusiasts for eyewear retainers and cord-type watchbands, keychains, and lanyards, but this entrance into the realm of storage just seems to fit like a pair of excellent shades. Additionally, Chums also is dedicated to sustainable business and manufacturing practices, something I can’t say about other storage products on the market today.
Available in three sizes: Small (3.5′ X 5.25′ X 2′); Medium (4.5′ X 7.25′ X 2′); and Large (5.5′ X 9.25′ X 2′), and each is made of the same ballistic material, with water-resistant zippers and a nifty outer see-through pocket, also water-resistant.
I received three Small and Medium sizes, and found them ideal for overnight toiletries used occasionally by my tween son, as a wallet that wouldn’t become saturated in a Southeast Alaska rainstorm, and to carry both reading glasses and sun glasses. While my cases didn’t come with a carabiner or other fastening mechanism, I easily found a few in the trusty junk drawer, and promptly transformed my little clutches into backpacking, no-loss cases that stayed clean, safe, and most important, dry, during a three-week stint in the briny seascapes of Alaska.
Retailing for $15.99/Small; $17.99/Medium; $19.99/Large, these cases are not cheap, but when considered as an investment for a family’s travel sanity, they are a valuable and integral part of my adventure packing. Learn more about Chums, their sustainable business practices, and a history of this Salt Lake City, Utah company that’s been in operation since 1983, visit their website.
Erin Kirkland is managing editor of Outdoor Families Magazine, and publisher of AKontheGO.com, Alaska’s only family travel resource. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska.