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


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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


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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:

Making Your Bed Is Easier Than Ever With These Amazing Sheets

The Button Sheet Collection, Kickstarter
The Button Sheet Collection, Kickstarter

Do you wake up every morning in a stifling cocoon of tangled bedclothes that 1) makes it hard to get out of bed in the first place, and 2) makes it impossible to fathom making your bed more often than whenever you wash your sheets?

The Button Sheet Collection is here to save you. The set contains a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and a blanket, which all fasten neatly together with four buttons that sit along the bottom edge of your bed.

The buttons ensure that your blanket will never slide off your flat sheet, your flat sheet will never slide off your fitted sheet, and you will never slide off the edge of sanity.

But that’s not the only way the Button Sheet Collection simplifies the sleeping process. Slits in the bottom two corners of the flat sheet and blanket guarantee that both items lie perfectly flat—there’s no need to fold and tuck them underneath the mattress. Also, there are extra inches added to the flat sheet and blanket, so you have an optimal amount of wiggle room no matter what your go-to sleeping position is.

In the morning, all you have to do is give the flat sheet and blanket a quick fluff and walk away from your now perfectly-made bed.

The long-staple cotton, 400 thread count, and sateen weave make the sheets just as comfortable as they are functional, and here’s yet another reason you can (literally) rest easy with the collection: it’s Oeko-Tex certified and free from any harmful chemicals.

Prices for the Button Sheet Collection—which includes one pillowcase, a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and a blanket—start at $239; you can check out more buying options on Kickstarter, and estimated delivery is in November.

Since you’re going to spend around one third of your day asleep, it’s worth maximizing your experience in whatever ways you can, from buying Button Sheets, to ending the covers tug-of-war, to finding the perfect mattress, and beyond.

This Adjustable Bag Mate Makes Traveling Anywhere Much More Convenient

NEX
NEX

Carrying a backpack for a long period of time can lead to aching in your neck, back, or shoulders. Plus, keeping essentials in your bag, like a passport or phone, can make them a hassle to retrieve when necessary. NEX, now raising money on Kickstarter, is a three-in-one bag mate that makes traveling with a backpack pain-free and convenient.

This new "bag mate" is designed with air cushions that evenly distribute the weight of your backpack across your shoulders. Since it makes your bag feel 30 percent lighter, it also helps improve your posture.

NEX features functional and hidden pockets to not only make it easier to grab your essentials when on the go, but also keep them secured—since they are much safer on your shoulders than in your bag where people can easily steal them. Each strap is designed with three inner pockets as well as a hidden pocket to store everyday valuables such as your keys or cash.

Cash and keys going in a pocket on a NEX bag mate
NEX

Sometimes a backpack isn't necessary for quick outings, so NEX can act as a cross-body bag as well. Easily clip it on and adjust the fit to your liking, and now NEX can be used when you're simply going out for a run or grabbing groceries. Plus, it's designed with recycled waterproof material, meaning you don't have to worry about your valuables getting damaged due to the weather.

guy walking with blue cross body bag
NEX

With over a week left in its campaign, NEX has already surpassed its goal of $1000, raising over $47,000 as of June 25. By pledging $19 or more, you can get your own bag mate on KickStarter. Shipping is scheduled for August.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and 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!

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