Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Travel Gear Review: Kehei Traveler Seat Cover

When I think of the travel gadgets that I own, they fit in three categories. The first are the essential gadgets that I always carry with me due to their indispensable utility. This category includes items such as ear plugs and security devices. The second category are things that I occasionally use, but ones that are handy when I need them. This category includes items such as soap leaves and toilet seat covers.

While these first two categories can be labeled essential items and useful items, there is a third category of travel gadgets that are neither essential nor even useful to most people. These are items that no one really needs and it's only by the graces marketing ploys, gimmicks and fear mongering that they ever see the light of day.

If you are not familiar with this type of product, all you have to do is crack open a Skymall catalog on your next flight within the United States. No flight within the States planned? No problem. Skymall has a website in which you can view all kinds of things that nobody needs. I've written about Skymall before (The Wonderful Things That Nobody Needs), so why am I mentioning it again? I'm glad you asked…

Not long ago, I joined a group of Boston area travelers for a Tweetup (track us with #bostontravelers or follow me at @ghtravelblog). To this meeting, I suggested that we bring along unloved travel gadgets for a travel gadget exchange. One of the attendants that works for a local travel company had asked her coworkers for unloved gadgets and brought quite a few things to share. We all put in our contributions into a box and then we got to pick something new to take on our future travels. From this communal box of unloved gadgets, I took a couple items including the Kehei Traveler seat cover.

This device claimed to create an effective barrier between travelers and the germs that are common on airplane seats. While there were other equally useless items in the box, I figured that it would be the most fun to try out.

When I took this "device" I had two goals in mind for my testing of it. Firstly, I wanted to know if this was a practical device to carry during regular travel and does wether or not it worked as advertised? Secondly, I was interested in seeing what kind of response I would receive from my fellow travelers when using such it.

The travel cover, which is made of a durable and washable material, was easy to use. One does have to be mindful of blocking the aisle while boarding, but other than that, there were not any points that the instructions failed to cover. The most surprising thing that I discovered while using this seat cover was how easily it was to repack it provided stuff sack.

The documentation notes that the cover is infused with tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties. I did notice that a 2 ounce tea tree spray is available for those wishing to reinvigorate their seat covers. The availability of such a spray is a nice touch.

Deluxe, children's and disposable versions of this product are also available. I personally think that the disposable version is wasteful, but some people that are seriously considering this product may be more comfortable with a product that they do not need to wash. When it comes down to it, this product works, but you are seriously looking into this product then you should be prepared for the reactions from your fellow travelers.

When using this seat cover, I found that people avoided direct eye contact and made no attempt to talk to me. I did get a few inquisitive stares, but that was about it. It turns out that in addition to being an effective barrier against germs, the Kehei Traveler seat cover is also an effective people repellant. I'll admit that there are times that I don't feel like talking to my seat mates, but I think that a good book is just as effective at warding off unwanted talkers.

For those that are interested in Kehie Travel products, you can find the entire line at with prices ranging from $20-$30.

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