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As cities all over the world begin to open up after Covid-19, one fact of life has begun to reappear in the lives of millions of people: commutes. Getting to and from work, whether it’s by bus, train, or car, is a fact of life, and it can get pretty boring, if not annoying.
A recent study released U.S. Census Bureau found that the average citizen spends roughly one hour commuting every day — a new record. To help ease you back into your routine, we’ve found 10 pieces of gear that’ll keep you entertained, comfortable, and safe during your trips to and from the office.
1. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX
Noise cancelling headphones used to be a luxury, but they’ve slowly become a commuting essential. They enable you to block unwanted noise from trains, buses, and other passangers without cranking up your music’s volume to levels that can damage your ears.
Our current favorite over-ear noise cancelling headphones are Bang & Olufsen’s HXs. These headphones sound incredible, and their noise cancellation feature really impressed us during our tests. What sets these headphones apart is their comfort. Bang & Olufsen went through great lengths to ensure the earcups and headband rest comfortably on your head, and don’t squeeze it too tightly.
If you’d like to turn your commutes into a private concert, or simply tune out the rest of the world for a little while, you can’t go wrong with Bang & Olufsen’s HX headphones.
2. Sony WF-1000XM4
Active noise cancellation used to be a feature found exclusively on over-ear headphones, but Sony’s WF-1000XM4s prove you can get similar performance in a pair of earbuds.
We’ve worn the WF-1000XM4s on trains and planes, and were stunned by their noise cancellation performance. The earbuds blocked out a significant amount of sound without us playing any music. These results were only possible because of Sony’s custom V1 processor, which was also responsible for optimizing the earbuds’ sound.
We haven’t found a better pair of noise-cancelling earbuds than Sony’s WF-1000XM4s, and if you prefer commuting with this style of headphone, they’re our go-to pick.
3. Moral Code Avery Backpack
The ideal commuter backpack should be able to hold your entire daily carry in an organized way, and look professional. Moral Code’s Avery succeeds on both fronts.
The all-leather backpack looks incredible and feels great when you wear it. Both the main compartment and front pocket provide ample space for a laptop, chargers, books, tech accessories and a packed lunch without being too cramped. It’s not the biggest backpack in the world, so you’ll have to be thoughtful about how you pack.
If you’d like a backpack that’ll impress your commuters and coworkers, Moral Code’s Avery is the one to get.
4. är Face Mask
Face masks are still required to ride public transportation in many major cities, and this one from är topped our list of the most comfortable masks.
It bested the competition because of its light weight, adjustable straps, and disposable filter, which lasts up to 40 hours before needing to be replaced. The mask’s three-layer nanofilter will prevent many airborne germs from getting inside your body, and its silk construction won’t irritate you while you’re wearing it.
Better still, this face mask is currently $14.95 — half its usual price thanks to a sale är is running. Use the promo code SUMMER to get the discount.
5. Ostrichpillow Go Neck Pillow
Commuting will never be a completely comfortable experience, but Ostrichpillow’s Go Neck Pillow can help you get some sleep before or after work.
The memory foam pillow gives you a place to lean your head while reducing neck strain by keeping the top of your spine straight. This is possible because the Go has Velcro strips on two parts of its sleeve, so you can adjust it to fit your neck.
The Ostrichpillow Go was designed for air travel, and can be compressed by 40% to fit perfectly in the included pouch. When compressed, it’s easy to fit this neck pillow in a backpack.
Busses and trains aren’t the most sanitary. places in the world, but Ostrichpillow says the Go’s sleeve is machine washable, so this shouldn’t be an issue if you clean it regularly.
6. Kindle Paperwhite
Reading is a great way to help make your commute go by quicker, and Kindle’s Paperwhite is the ideal way to catch up on the classics.
Amazon’s mid-tier e-reader can hold hundreds of books, and its six-inch e-ink display is easier on the eyes than the LCD panel on your phone or tablet. The Kindle can read digital books in a variety of file formats, plus audiobooks from Audible.
This model of the Kindle Paperwhite is heavily discounted because the next generation is going to be released soon, but this is still a perfectly good pick for casual commute reading. The biggest difference is that the new Kindle Paperwhite has a slightly larger display.
7. Roav Smartcharge F0
If you commute by car, Roav’s Smartcharge F0 is a must-have commuting accessory.
The phone charger also acts as a Bluetooth audio receiver and radio broadcaster, which allows you to play music from your phone to your car’s stereo system using an empty FM frequency. If your vehicle doesn’t have a Bluetooth audio system, this accessory adds this feature for under $15.
We’ve tested a similar model of this accessory from Roav, and the results have been flawless.
8. Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes
Your commute is one of the likeliest places to pick up germs that can get you sick, which is why we recommend keeping a pack of antibacterial hand wipes in your work backpack.
This set of 200 from Wet Ones comes in 10 pocket-sized packs. Each pack should get you through a week and a half of commutes. Wet Ones says its sheets kill up to 99.9% of bacteria, and come in three pleasant scents. If you’d like to reduce your chances of getting sick this winter, keep your hands clean with these wipes.
9. PopSockets PopGrip
The PopGrip is a simple accessory that can make a big difference in your commute. The pop-out “button” attaches to the back of your device (we’ve tested it with both a phone and Kindle), and makes it more comfortable to hold.
If you want to watch videos on your phone or read digital books for an extended period of time, we can’t recommend the PopGrip highly enough. The one thing to consider is that it will protrude from your device, even when it’s contracted. This isn’t a huge deal, but may make it more difficult to keep your phone inside a pants pocket.
10. Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo’s Switch Lite Console is the ultimate video game machine for commuters. It’s small enough to slip in a backpack, light enough to hold for hours without fatigue, and powerful enough to play huge, 3D games that can help a commute fly by.
The system’s 5.5-inch HD touch screen is large and bright enough to get an immersive gaming experience in a train seat, and Nintendo recently added the ability to pair Bluetooth headphones with the console. The Switch Lite’s only downside is its 32GB of internal storage, which isn’t enough to hold more than a few big games.
You can fix that issue by popping in a MicroSD Card, which can adds hundreds of gigabytes of additional space for less than $35. If you’re a lapsed gamer, or aren’t content with playing mobile games on your phone, the Switch Lite is an excellent device for your commute.