An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.
WHAT: Collapsible basket.
AIMED AT: Travelers who can't pass a market without filling up; global picnickers.
HOW MUCH: $30 in black, khaki, red or orange.
BUT DOES IT WORK? There's something romantic about going to an exotic market, stuffing your basket with local treats, then settling along the river (or ocean or lake) and eating till you pop. For this fantasy to work, though, you need a real basket -- not some lame paper bag. Most baskets are clunky and hard to pack; by contrast, CarryBag's basket is deep, sturdy and streamlined when "assembled" and fairly horizontal when folded down: Its hinged and partially padded handle aligns with the aluminum frame, which then flattens into the soft fabric bag. For tighter spaces, you can also take off the Velcro straps and stash the bag and frame separately. The carrier has a small inside zippered pocket but no top, so pack wisely: Tuck in items that can roll and place valuables in a different bag.
-- Andrea Sachs
The CarryBag is available at Garnet Hill (800-870-3513, www.garnethill.com) and the Container Store (888-266-8246, www.containerstore.com).