12 Essential Products to Keep in Your Bag at All Times

iStock/unomat
iStock/unomat

Pretty much everyone has been out and about and faced something they weren't prepared for, whether it was a gait-busting blister or a cringe-inducing wardrobe malfunction. But disaster doesn't have to strike! With these items in your bag, you’ll never be unprepared again.

1. SMIRTI Canvas Bag; $13

Amazon

First things first: A bag to keep all of your essentials secure and in one place so they’re easy to find. We like this one because it’s big and because it’s made of canvas, so you can hand wash it if it gets dirty.

Find it: Amazon

2. Scotch Essentials Instant Buttons; $7 for Four

Amazon

You never want to find yourself in the embarrassing situation of being down a button with no way to fix it. Scotch’s Instant Buttons do away with the needle and thread—all you have to do is place the fallen button on the sticky surface of the pin, then stick the pin through your shirt and secure it with the provided backing. Lost your button? No problem: The pack comes with four buttons.

This isn’t the only wardrobe malfunction-busting product Scotch has made: The company's wardrobe strips, white mark eraser, and adjustable hem tape are on-the-go essentials, too.

Find it: Amazon

3. Baggu Bag; $12

Amazon

Keeping a bag in your bag might seem silly, but you never know when you might have to lug a bunch of things home from the office or the grocery store. Baggu offers nylon bags in a variety of bright prints for every personality.

Find it: Amazon

4. Brush On Block Powder Sunscreen; $32

Amazon

Applying sunscreen before you leave the house is great, but its protective effects will likely wear off by your lunch break. Experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours to protect your body’s largest organ from harmful UV rays. Keep this reef-friendly, vegan powder sunblock in your bag for those times when you need to reapply on the run (and don’t forget to dust your scalp and ears!).

Find it: Amazon

5. Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes; $7 for 80

Amazon

Sometimes, breathing on your glasses and wiping them with a cloth just doesn’t do the trick. These wipes from Zeiss will leave your lenses crystal clear.

Find it: Amazon

6. Band-Aid Family Pack; $13 for 280 Bandages

Amazon

No one wants to get caught with a cut and no way to cover it up. This 280-package of various sizes and fabrics will keep you covered no matter what, or where, the injury.

Find it: Amazon

7. Compeed Blister Cushions; $17 for 10

Amazon

Sometimes, a regular bandage isn’t enough to take on a blister. Instead of limping along, make sure you have these cushioned gel blister bandages in your bag. Each case holds two pads for heels, two for the side of the foot, and one patch for the toe; the waterproof patches fit like a second skin, keeping the blister protected from dirt and bacteria and providing comfort.

Find it: Amazon

8. Everyone Hand Sanitizer; $15 for Six 2-Ounce Bottles

Amazon

Not all hand sanitizers need to smell like the doctor’s office and leave your hands feeling extra dry. Instead, combat germs with these cruelty-free gels, which are rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They’re made with plant-based glycerin, jojoba oil, and essential oils, so they smell delicious and leave your hands soft.

Find it: Amazon

8. Kleenex Packets; $9 for Six

Amazon

These packets—which are slim enough to fit in the pocket of your jeans—have “very attractive multi pattern packages [to] bring out your personality,” according to one Amazon listing. Patterned packaging or no, you’ll want these on hand in the event of a runny nose.

Find it: Amazon (also available in packs of 18)

9. Portable Phone Fan; $10 for Four

Amazon

Yes, it seems silly. But should you find yourself stuck on a sweltering subway platform, or just out and about in a place with no breeze, you’ll be thankful you have this little phone fan in your bag. Just plug it into your Lightning port and feel instantly cooler. (If you’d prefer to listen to music and pretend to be Beyoncé, might we suggest this necklace fan?)

Find it: Amazon

10. Oral B-Floss; $6 for Two

Amazon

There’s nothing worse than having something stuck in your teeth and not being able to get it out. If you have floss in your bag, you’ll never have to worry.

Find it: Amazon

11. Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle; $26 to $32

Amazon

You might not necessarily need to drink eight glasses of water a day, but staying hydrated is still important. This water bottle will ensure you always have a vessel to prevent parchedness, and packs down small for when you’re not using it. (It’s great for travel, too!)

Find it: Amazon

12. Bamboo Cutlery and Straw Set; $13

Amazon

Maybe your city has banned plastic straws and utensils, or maybe you want to do your part to help the environment. Either way, consider keeping a handy pair of reusable utensils in your bag. This set from Bambooster has two knives, two forks, two spoons, and two pairs of chopsticks, and two reusable straws with cleaners—all for just $13.

Find it: Amazon

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10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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22 Creepy Cryptids From Around the World

Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.
Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cryptid is an animal "that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." But as Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts are often quick to point out, it’s pretty difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s much more fun to indulge in the idea that giant sea monsters and hairy humanoids are roaming the uncharted corners of the planet.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is taking viewers across time and space to unearth legends about lesser-known monsters that, again, haven’t been proven to not exist. Take the Mongolian death worm, a lamprey-like nightmare that supposedly lives in the Gobi Desert and radiates a poison so strong that you could die just by standing near it. If you’re an ill-behaved child or a Catholic who scarfs down steak every Friday during Lent, watch out for the Rougarou, a Louisiana-based werewolf that sniffs out those two demographics.

Learn about more fearsome, fascinating cryptids of all kinds in the video below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for future episodes of The List Show.