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Boring Gadgets You Shouldn’t Live Without

We get it. Everyone loves the latest TVs, newest game consoles, and coolest phones. But, we implore you: spare a little love for the humble power bank. The useful extra-long cable. The dashcam. These gadgets may be boring, but they’re practical, inexpensive, and it’s better to acquire before you need them. 

Portable Charger / Power Bank

A phone with power is so many things: Internet browser, calculator, weather forecaster, note taker, video player, music player . . . and it still makes calls. But a phone without power is a paperweight. That’s why a portable charger or power bank is so handy. Running between $20 and $100+, some power banks are specific to phones while others can be used for laptops and other gadgets. There’s a whole range out there with different power capacities, weights, colours, and fast charging options. 

Important note: these can be lifesavers if you’re travelling with children and it’s really important that their tablets don’t run out of power. 

6- or 10-Foot Charging Cable 

An extra long phone charging cable is the easiest way to spend five bucks and change your life. Chances are your phone came with a measly two foot charging cable. That’s fine, if your phone needs to live right next to an outlet at all times. Get a longer cable, though, and your phone suddenly has way better range. Want to charge, text, and watch TV at the same time? With a longer cable, you don’t have to sit right next to an outlet. Keep your phone on your bedside table instead of across the room at the outlet? A longer cable makes that possible. Need to plug in while watching a cooking video on YouTube but also need to move around your kitchen at the same time? A longer cable is your friend. 

Pro tip: most stores, including online vendors like Amazon, have a store brand of cables. These are usually the best balance between reliability and affordability. 

Handheld Luggage Scale

Handheld luggage scales cost around $10 and give you piece of mind before you hit the airport. Have you ever seen a family unpacked at the check in, removing stuff from their 65 lbs. bag and migrating it to their 39 lbs. bag? With a luggage scale, you’re never those people. Of course, they’re handy on the way back from your trip too. After all, those souvenirs can add up. 

Flashlight / Headlamp 

Sooner or later, you’ll experience a power outage. And when this happens, you want to be prepared. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a flashlight ready to go. Store it with spare batteries to avoid possible problems. Even better, get a headlamp. That way you’ll have both light and two free hands when you need them. 


A dashcam is a little camera that sits on the dashboard of your car and records traffic. Even very inexpensive ones record in 1080p and hold hours of video. Of course, you can opt for more expensive models that record multiple angles and audio. 

Anyway, the main reason to keep a dashcam is piece of mind. What happens if you’re struck by someone who runs a red light and no witnesses stick around? In cases where it’s your word against someone else’s, a dashcam is important evidence. 

The Bottom Line

Sure, extra long charging cables probably won’t be featuring in any magazines or highlighted in any catalogues anytime soon. Cables and spare batteries aren’t that exciting. However, they’re pretty useful, and they’re exactly the kind of things you want to get before you’re confronted with an emergency and need them. Plus, they make great gifts for all your practically-minded friends—and those who could use a little dose of practicality.