Umbrella Bag

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Umbrella Bag

This is one of those things which you never knew you needed but swiftly discover you cannot do without…

I mean, you know how annoying it is when you go into a mall or get on a bus carrying a wet umbrella. It drips everywhere, sticks to your legs, or water gathers dangerously in the bottom of the flimsy plastic bag you find at the entrance of particularly efficient stores.

Even if you have a bag of your own to hand, it usually ends up spilling water all over your shopping when you take it out later.

The Daily Susu is the invention that will transform rainy days – a slim waterproof bag lined with microfiber which soaks up the water. You pop your (foldable) umbrella inside, zip it up, and can get on with your day knowing that the rest of your belongings will stay perfectly safe and dry. Hang it up inside out overnight, and it will be ready to go again next day.

It is made by Japanese firm Yamazaki-Sangyo, and cost a very reasonable S$24 at Tokyu Hands in Singapore. Where, as the rainy season seems to be continuing way beyond its expected limit, I am finding it especially useful.


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Portable Toilet Bag

Category : Other

There’s a phrase where I come from, used to describe the contents of a suitcase or car that has been over packed … we say it has ‘everything but the kitchen sink’. This portable toilet bag reminded me of that, because it really does seem over cautious to be packing your own toilet.

Mind you, I can think of trips I have taken where the ‘facilities’ have been a huge trial. In the wilds of Western Tibet, for example, the toilets are so basic and horrible that it is actually better when they don’t exist and you have to find yourself a quiet spot in the open. And on some long train journeys, the bathrooms tend to be locked not just during but also for an hour before AND after stops at places where you never know if there is time to risk a quick dash into the station building. Travelling on the Trans-Siberian with 2 small children, this was sometimes an enormous problem…

Anyway, when I saw these in ever reliable Daiso, I had to give them a go. The packet says they are very handy for traffic jams and disasters, although to be honest I cannot see how anyone but a child could get away with using one in a car.

The dark blue bag has a zip lock fastener to prevent nasty spills afterwards, and a strange, foam piece at the neck which ladies are advised to fold over the top. I am not clear how this makes the opening any wider as advertised, and you can’t then fold it inside the used bag afterwards, but never mind.

Inside the bag is a handful of white grains that are supposed to turn liquids to jelly, and absorb the smell. As this gave off a disturbingly savoury aroma like prawn crackers as the bag was opened, I was not optimistic, but in fact it all worked exactly as claimed.

Although the bag is dark blue, it is still fairly see through, so it is nice that the kit includes a small black ‘bin liner’ in which to hide everything until you can dispose of it discreetly.

I can’t say I am ever going to be carrying one of these around on a normal trip, but for just S$2, if I had toddlers in tow, I might be tempted to slip a couple into my rucksack.


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‘Dry’ Tote Bag

dry

You don’t have to live in the tropics for rain to be a nuisance – it is deeply annoying, wherever you are, to arrive home with bag and purchases dripping wet. But what if your bag was actually a ‘dry’ bag?

These incredibly useful things, most often available in lurid colours and basic shapes as a vital part of hiking kit, do exactly what they say. Even the flimsiest of them keep your valuables, especially electronics, safe from horrible weather, sometimes even from an unscheduled underwater dip.

So it was very exciting when I found a smart tote bag made of this special fabric, in black. It has strong handles, a pocket inside and – most interestingly – a covered zip that closes so securely that you have to squeeze the air out first, to keep the bag flat.

It looks so good that I have been stopped and asked where I got this, which was at the Design Centre shop here in Singapore. Although at the time I was hesitant to pay the (for me, pretty expensive) S$70 price, it has proved to be worth every cent.

It comes from Rains, a Danish firm which makes stylish and fashionable weatherproof goods including coats, trousers and rain boots as well as a full range of bags, and it has worked so well that I am now considering one of their jackets as well.


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