July 1, 2016

Summer Traveling with the Mainland Trends Collection

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It's official! We are now in full summer swing! With the short summer season here in New York we tend to take full advantage of the warmer temperatures while we can. This means spending a lot of time outside, not just in our own backyard, but also out and about. We like to take a lot of day trips, whether it's to the zoo, park, etc. Sometimes these trips are a spur of the moment idea. We could be spending up to four hours in the car or only a half hour–either way, it's nice to be prepared for the trip.

One of the ways that I like to do this is by getting my car "summer-ready." This means keeping a lot of basic essentials already stocked in the car. These essentials could be anything from extra clothes, towels, toys/books, sunscreen, etc. I kind of have this "what if" mentality, so I like to be as prepared as possible.




I was recently introduced to a company called Mainland Trends. They're all about making everyday life easier by creating innovative products for both auto and home. From simple CD holders to complete car organizers, they have tons of items to get you organized and ready for your road trip. I recently had the opportunity to give some of these products a test run and wanted to share my personal experience. 



CLIMATE ARMOR

After a long fun-filled day, it's safe to say that we'll be pretty tuckered out. When it's time to hit the road, the last thing everyone wants to do is wait an extra five or ten minutes to air out the vehicle after it's been sitting in the scorching sun all day. That's why the Climate Armor comes in handy. It's very reminiscent of those traditional windshield sunshades and easy to install.



It also comes in a nifty storage sleeve. I previously owned one of those traditional sunshades. It had some sort of built in circular wire, so I'd have to maneuver the thing in a weird twisty motion just to close it up. Once in a while I would do it wrong and it would reopen and smack me right in the face. Okay it was kind of funny, but tedious nonetheless. The Climate Armor easily rolls up and the convenient carrying bag keeps it compact for storing. It's a bit beefier than a regular sunshade, but still lightweight at only 1.82 lbs.

One thing to note is that the Climate Armor does work a little differently that a regular sunshade, since it's actually placed outside. Of course my first thought was that it would blow away or someone would steal it. To prevent this, there is a strap that locks from the inside of the vehicle. If someone is unable to get in your car, then they're not going to get their hands on this unless they actually cut it right off. Hopefully that's something we won't have to worry about.


 
Unfortunately, I did find one problem with this product and that was the size. It is advertised to fit most vehicles, but I have a minivan and it didn't fully cover my own windshield. There were a few inches of space on each side that were still left exposed. While I wish it would have covered the entire windshield, I still found that it did a nice job at keeping the inside pretty cool.


You may be wondering why it would even have to be attached to the outside in the first place. You see, the Climate Armor is not just made for summer usage. The original concept was actually created for winter use. In the cold winter months, the cover can protect your windshield not only from snow, but ice and frost, as well. This is super convenient for those mornings when you're off to work, but have to leave the house a bit earlier just to scrap tons of ice and snow off the car. We get some pretty cold days up here during the winter, so I'm sure we're going to put this to some good use.
 
What about when the wipers ice up and stick to the windshield? Don't you just love that? This product come in two versions one with wiper blade protection and one without.


Overall, I found the Climate Armor to be a high quality sunshade/windshield protector. I only hoped that it would actually fit my entire windshield. On the plus side, I did find that it still works pretty well even with the end areas exposed. The good thing is, it does fully cover our other vehicle's windshield. The fact that we can use the Climate Armor year-round is a nice bonus. As it stands, I have dibs on it during the summer months, since we do our family travels in the mommy mobile. The hubby has dibs on it in the winter months for his daily commute, since he'll definitely need it more than me.



TRUNK TIDY

I'm very big on keeping things tidy and organized. I like having a place for everything, so I know exactly where to find something later on. This keeps me happy and sane. The Trunk Tidy allows me to extend my enjoyment for keeping things organized to my vehicle.


It includes four separate compartments. Each one is large enough in size that I'm able to store a lot of items if need be. What's great about this particular trunk organizer is that it works like an accordion. When not in use, it can actually fold up flat for easy storing. There's even Velcro straps to keep it closed. Each of the four compartments is also attached with Velcro, so you can actually separate them. Perhaps you only have enough enough room for two compartments, or you'd prefer to keep three in the trunk and one in the back seat, you have the option to do so with the Trunk Tidy. There is a lot of flexibility with this product and that is one of the things that I really like about it.



The overall material makeup is very similar to those collapsible fabric covered storage cubes you see for the home. This means it is not necessarily the most sturdiest of vehicle organizers. If you overstuff the bins, they will bulge. I've seen similar products on the market that are more heavy-duty. While I do wish the Trunk Tidy had more durability, I still found it to be adequate enough to hold everything I need and then some, even heavy grocery items. I just wouldn't go around toting a bunch of tools in this one. 

To be quite honest, I really needed something like this for the back of my van. I keep the third row of seats stowed away in the floor. It just gives me more room since nobody is sitting there anyway. Unfortunately, once the vehicle starts moving, it becomes a free for all. One sharp turn and everything shifts. A drive down a windy road resembles a pinball match with things bouncing off one side to the other, scattering everywhere. This is especially the case when I go grocery shopping (picture cans and bottles rolling everywhere). With the Trunk Tidy, I now have an area to keep things, so even if the entire thing ends up shifting in the back, at least all of the contents inside will remain in place.



KID'S PORTABLE TRAVEL TRAY


I can't tell you how badly I have been wanting to get my hands on one of these. My son's car seat has a little snack and cup holder attached, but sometimes we need something with an actual surface. Case in point, while on longer road trips we'll typically pull over to grab a bite to eat. If we keep things easy, it may just involve a simple packed lunch in the car. Let's face it, if my son is eating a sunbutter sandwich and sliced bananas, keeping it on his lap is not an option, unless I want a big mess to clean up afterwards. My son's plastic lap tray didn't quite work out since it's not flexible enough to place over his car seat This portable travel tray is exactly what we needed. It fits just right and even has a strap to keep it snug and secure. The soft surface is easy to clean and there's even a ledge across the top to prevent items from rolling off.

 
Whether you are traveling in a car, plane, or train, this tray is pretty universal and can accommodate many different circumstances, even a stroller ride. You could also remove the straps if your kids prefer to use it at home. I personally find it handy for snacks and meals during our road trips when we stop to eat, but it also works great as a flat surface for playing, coloring, or drawing. There's even two mesh pockets that conveniently roll down on each side to store away toys, books, crayons, etc. When not in use, they can be rolled up and kept in place with the attached Velcro straps.



With all of the summer outings we've been planning, it's nice to have products like the Climate Armor, Trunk Tidy, and Kid's Portable Travel Tray to add a little convenience to our trips. Mainland Trends offers a ton of other products to accommodate many auto travel needs. For more information, you can visit their website.


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