11 Thoughtful Gifts for Commuters

iStock.com/LeoPatrizi
iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

Whether they get to work by bike, car, train, or foot, most commuters could use something to make their twice-daily trips a little easier. This holiday season, consider giving a gift that may actually make the commuter in your life look forward to heading to the office.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Sykes Wood Fenders


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @sykeswoodfenders on

The fenders from Sykes do more than protect bikes and bikers from rain, mud, and dust. Each piece is crafted from stain-free, dye-free wood, which means it will add rustic style to any ride. Sykes fenders come in a variety of woods, including walnut, white oak, blond bamboo, mahogany, and cherry. Epoxy lamination and multiple coatings of marine varnish help them last through years of travel.

Find It: Sykes Wood Fenders for $175 and up

2. Hub Mini

Portable phone charger.
Amazon

Stranded in a car or train with a dead smartphone is a commuter’s worst nightmare. The Hub Mini ensures that a smartphone will outlast any traffic jam. The external battery pack comes with a lightning cable built in, eliminating the need for commuters to carry their phone charger with them at all times. It also includes an integrated micro-USB cable and a USB-A port, so it’s possible to plug three devices into the charger at once.

Find It: Amazon for $50 and at these other retailers:

3. Tapplock; $100


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by tapplock (@tapplock) on

Give the commuter in your life the gift of peace of mind this holiday season. The Tapplock keeps bikes secure throughout the work day with stainless steel shackles, a double-layered lock design, and anti-shim and anti-pry technologies. It opens after scanning the owner's fingerprint, and thanks to its adaptive algorithm, it works faster and more accurately with each use. The Tapplock is waterproof and weatherproof, making it great for locking up bikes, but it works anywhere a padlock does.

Find It: Tapplock for $100

4. Wall-mounted Bike Rack and Shelf; $140 and up

Bike mounted on wall.
Etsy

Etsy shop Quartertwenty has made the space-saving wall-mounted bike rack even more practical. This rack doubles as a shelf, and it can be used whether or not the bike is on display. Just select the materials you like best (maple ply, walnut, and white oak are some of the options) and Quartertwenty will ship the rack for you to install in your home.

Find It: Etsy for $140 and up

5. Plugfones

Ear buds that look like ear plugs.
Amazon

Noise-blocking headphones don’t have to be bulky. The Plugfones take design inspiration from the earplugs people where to concerts and sporting events, muffling environmental noise by up to 26 decibels while allowing wearers to listen to their preferred audio discreetly. They’re great for public transit commuters looking to tune out the world (or the loud sounds of public transit) on the way to the office.

Find It: Amazon for $20 and at these other retailers:

6. TravelPro BackpacK

Backpack with pockets.
TravelPro

If commuters ever need to take their work home with them, the Travelpro backpack gives them the option. The bag has special compartments for laptops, tablets, pens, headphones, and chargers. And if wearers are traveling with sensitive materials like a passport or credit card, they can store those items in the ID TheftBlock pocket where they’ll be protected from identity theft scanners.

Find It: TravelPro for $240 and at these other retailers:

7. Moko Travel Mug

Collapsible travel mug.
Amazon

Travel mugs are great—until you’re stuck lugging around an empty one all day. The Moko travel mug solves this problem for commuters. It’s collapsable, making it easier to carry or slip into a bag when it’s not being used. Unfold the cup and it can hold up 12 ounces of liquid while keeping the contents warm.

Find It: Amazon for $9 and at these other retailers:

8. Audible Membership

Women listening to phone on train.
iStock.com/Pekic

Rush hour goes a lot faster when you’re listening to a good audiobook. If you know a book lover who drives or takes public transit to work, make their commute more enjoyable by giving them an Audible membership. You can pay for a one-month, three-month, six-month, or 12-month membership. Each plan comes with one book credit per month plus access to monthly Audible originals.

Find It: Audible for $15 and up

9. Storm Glass

Glass with crystals in it.
Amazon

There are many apps out there that will give you the weather forecast, but not many do so with the same flare as Storm Glass. Using 19th-century technology, this desktop device reacts to changes in air pressure and temperature to signal the day’s weather. Based on how many crystals form at the bottom of the glass, owners can decide whether or not they should grab a jacket before heading to work.

Find It: Amazon for $42 and at these other retailers:

10. Kensington Chelsea Boot

Beige rain boot.
Cougar

There’s no reason to sacrifice comfort for style when hoofing it to the office. These slip-on boots from Cougar are comfier than most professional footwear, with memory-molded insoles and knit lining. They’re also waterproof, so they’ll keep feet feeling snug and dry even on the rainiest days.

Find It: Cougar for $70

11. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag

Air purifying bag in car cup holder.
Amazon

Not all car air fresheners smell like pine trees. Instead of filling a car’s interior with an artificial scent, this bamboo and charcoal bag absorbs odors in the air, leaving it smelling naturally fresh. The air purifier is an effective tool for car commuters, but it can cover up to 90 square feet in a home as well.

Find It: Amazon for $10 and at these other retailers:

This Smart Ink Poster Changes According to the Weather

Typified
Typified

With detailed weather data available at a glance on smartphones or on the Weather Channel 24 hours a day, checking the forecast has never been easier. But Typified, a Melbourne, Australia-based company, believes that some people would rather hang their weather forecast on the wall than look at their phone or television. Typified is currently enjoying a successful round of funding on Kickstarter for its Weather Poster, a mountable “screen” that depicts current weather conditions.

Look closely, though, and you’ll see it’s not really a screen at all. Instead, Typified is using paper and digital ink to create a dynamic display that can react to the changing weather with a Wi-Fi connection.

The silk-screen printed poster has a simple layout, with three weather icons—rain and snow, cloudy, or sunny—that correspond to four-hour intervals throughout the day. Using input from a tiny built-in computer, the ink in the icons changes color from blue to white to indicate current conditions and the forecast.

Typified is betting that people aren’t looking for another high-tech display for their home or office—the poster, which emits no light at all, is unobtrusive, and lightweight enough (3.4 pounds) to be hung on a wall with adhesive strips.

Buy one for yourself on Kickstarter, where a pledge of $135 earns supporters one Weather Poster and two years of free weather forecasts (subsequently $7.50 per year). The campaign runs through March 4, and the poster is set to be shipped to backers in July 2019.

This Interactive Toy Plays With Your Dog When You're Busy Folding Laundry or Watching Your Favorite Show

Wickedbone, Amazon
Wickedbone, Amazon

Let’s be honest: Energetic dogs are wonderful, but they can also be exhausting. Some pups never seem to grow tired of running around, and it often takes a little extra effort (and exertion, on the owner’s part) to keep them entertained. If you’re looking for a way to help your dog beat boredom without wearing yourself out, the Wickedbone might be a good one to keep in your toy bin.

Available on Amazon, this robotic, interactive toy spotted by Designboom is ideal for busy pet owners as well as dogs that could use a little extra exercise or stimulation. The bone-shaped smart toy spins, jumps, and rolls around autonomously on both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

One of the advantages of this toy is that users can be as hands-on or hands-off as they'd like. They can either set it to interactive mode and step away to take care of other business, or take control of the toy’s movements through a smartphone app that pairs with the toy via Bluetooth. In drive mode, the app’s virtual joystick lets users control the direction and choose between nine different motions, including “quick jump,” “front flip,” “shake body,” and “quick spin.” Other settings can also be customized, like the surface (hard or soft), area (small or wide), speed, acceleration, and swerve speed.

The toy’s battery lasts the longest in interactive mode—about four hours—while the app mode can be used for about 40 minutes. In the event that the Wickedbone hits a patch of mud or dog poo, the tires can be popped off and cleaned under running water.

The product has a nearly four-star overall rating on Amazon, and many of them are rave reviews. One reviewer called it a “lifesaver,” while another said the toy is great for “tough chewers.” (Small bite marks won’t affect the product, the company notes.) At $140, the Wickedbone is a bit steeper than most dog toys—but for the price of having a happier, healthier pooch (and a saner owner), it might just be worthwhile.

Buy it on Amazon or at these other retailers:

[h/t Designboom]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER