Columbia Sportswear Suburbanizer Rain Jacket ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (February 25th, 2015)

Columbia Sportswear Suburbanizer“That looks so Northwest!”

That was my first response when I saw the Columbia Sportswear Suburbanizer rain jacket.

Seriously. Doesn’t it totally look like something you’d see someone wearing in Seattle or Portland?

Under normal conditions, I probably wouldn’t be wearing this jacket until March or April, but we’ve had unseasonably warm weather throughout February. (Sorry East Coasters who are buried in snow!)

Even though the majority of our days have been sunny, we have had some rain which has given me the chance to test out this new jacket from Columbia Sportswear.

For me, what’s most striking about the Suburbanizer is that it’s quite lightweight and, for a jacket that drops below the waist, it packs down pretty small. This bodes well for me being able to roll it up and tuck it into the bottom of a daybag when I’m traveling.

So, it’s practical for travel but it’s also functional (it’s water-resistant to be specific) and well-tailored. I really really like the fact that there’s a drawstring waist so the jacket doesn’t just hang down like most of the other rain jackets I’ve owned.

The cuffs are also adjustable with snaps so if you need to button up a bit in cooler weather, that’s easy enough to do.

Although I say I’m not a hat/hood person, the truth is, when the heavy rain does start coming down, I like to cover up as much as I can and the attached hood (with a mock collar) is handy.

There are three zippered pockets in the front. Two hand pockets and one chest pocket. This makes for plenty of room for a pair of light gloves, cell phone and a snack (I never leave the house without a protein bar or other snack. :-)

Just to be clear, this is not a warm jacket. It’s definitely great for spring weather or when you’ve got something to layer underneath it. But if you’re in East Coast weather right now, buy it but know that you’ll likely need to wait until April before it’ll come in handy.

The Suburbanizer is available on the Columbia Sportswear site and also on Amazon starting at about $80.

Be Bold,


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Disclosure: Columbia Sportswear provided this jacket to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas

by Beth Whitman (February 24th, 2015)

The last time I went whale watching was more than 15 years ago in Alaska. We spent four hours following several pods of orca (killer) whales as they breached and taunted us to follow them. It was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life but was a memory I had tucked away and had nearly forgotten.

Until I went whale watching in Cabo San Lucas, that is.

Being out on the water with Cabo Expeditions brought back that same exhilarating feeling I had so many years ago.

We arrived at Cabo Expeditions’ offices at the marina mid-morning. After checking in, we boarded a small zodiac boat. There were probably eight or 10 people on our boat plus our captain and a naturalist.

Jon and I sat up front. Initially I was concerned we had set ourselves up for getting wet but it turns out we didn’t and that we had prime seats for “the show.”

Cabo San Lucas Whale Watching

Donning life jackets, we were ready and so excited to set off!

Cabo San Lucas Arch

Our first stop was the Arch at Cabo San Lucas. Sea lions were perched on the rocks barking a mating call. We thought this was cool but it so paled in comparison to what was to come.

Whale Watching Cabo San Lucas

We slowly made our way out to more open waters. Soon we started seeing breaching whales way off in the distance. Our zodiac sped up and after a short ride and expert navigating by the captain, we started seeing whales traveling in threes and fours. Moving together, they broke the surface of the water, returned down under and then would come up for a big show with their tails flipping up and then back into the water. What beauty!

Whale near Boat Cabo San Lucas

Probably most thrilling was getting up close to these huge beasts. Really it seemed as though they might come up and knock us over.

Cabo Expeditions Whale Watching

Look how close this whale breached next to the Cabo Expeditions boat that was next to us! Wow! As our captain said, “I think they might need some diapers up there.” :-)

Need to Know
We rented a car from Alamo at the airport in Los Cabos and drove to Cabo San Lucas where we stayed for five nights. From our hotel, the Casa Dorada, it was an easy walk over to the marina to the Cabo Expedition offices.

We met at the Cabo Expedition offices at 10:30 a.m. and got back around 1:00-ish. This was perfect timing as there are a ton of places around the marina for lunch.

Would I do it again? You betcha.

Would I change anything? Hmmm…if I had all the money in the world, I might hire out a private boat, carry a camera with a long lens and image stabilizer, and then spend the day out on the water until I got my fill of whales. It was truly that spectacular.

Be Bold,


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Goal Zero Flip 10 ~ WanderGear Wednesday

by Beth Whitman (February 18th, 2015)

Goal Zero Flip 10I got in a little bit of trouble last year with Jon.

I went to an event in D.C. with a group of travel bloggers. Many of them I had never met in person before and it was thrilling to spend time with these folks. There was an all-day event. There was a dinner. There was me with my iPhone and no external charger. I only had my USB charger but nothing to plug it into.

And there was Jon in the hotel room wondering how my day was going.

Well, dinner went on a bit. There was happy hour with appetizers. There was a sit down meal. There were speakers. And there was dessert.

At some point my iPhone battery died. I can honestly say this has never happened to me before. It’s not that my iPhone has some extraordinarily long battery life, it’s just that I don’t usually spend full days out without access to a USB charger.

As I went on about my merry dinner with new friends, Jon was at the hotel worrying. He had texted me but I never got the message and I hadn’t texted him in hours. He didn’t have my itinerary for the day so didn’t know exactly where I was. When I got back to the hotel, he was upset. In the I-was-worrying-about-you kind of way.

So, I’ve vowed not to let that happen again.

Enter the Goal Zero Flip 10 Recharger.

Yeah, you probably already have a few similar units bouncing around your house. But me? Not so much. So here it is, my very own iPhone recharger!

I’m already a huge Goal Zero fan as their solar panels were what allowed us to keep our cameras, iPhones and other chargeable devices powered up during the Snowman Trek. But now I’m an even bigger fan as I’m sure this little Flip 10 is going to save my butt in the future.Goal Zero Flip 10

So what’s so cool about the Flip 10?

  • It doesn’t require a USB cord to recharge. Jon has a unit (which I bought him for Christmas) that requires a cord in order to charge from his computer or another USB outlet. The Flip 10 has a flip tip (see photo above) that plugs directly into a USB connection to power up.
  • The Flip 10 is compatible with Goal Zero solar panels so it’ll charge easily with the many Goal Zero options.
  • It’s lightweight (2.5 oz), compact and easy to slip into a purse, backpack or even pocket.

Sure, there are a lot of other options out there in terms of rechargers. But I’ve become loyal to Goal Zero after trekking with their solar panels for 25 days. I therefore know I can rely on a good quality product that’s gone through rigorous testing before it ever hits the market.

The Goal Zero Flip 10 comes in four colors including Photo Blue, Brushfire Red, GZ Green and Charcoal Grey. These are available on the Goal Zero site for about $30.

Note that the Flip 10 can only hold enough for one full charge of a smartphone. Still, that would have been enough to get me out of hot water in D.C.

And now I suspect I’ll have to hide this one from Jon as he looks for a replacement for his recharger that requires a cord. :-(

Be Bold,


Want to stay up-to-date on all things Wanderlust? Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or RSS/email.

Disclosure: Goal Zero provided this recharger to me for review. Regardless, everything I have said in the post reflects my honest opinions.

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