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As I mentioned in my newsletter (you can sign up for free here), we’re on a road trip to check out the plush Omni La Costa Resort. Halfway here, I realized I’d forgotten my laptop, which was a first. Fortunately, one item I didn’t forget, because it’s always in the back of our car, is  Black + Decker’s Utility Wagon.

If you remember, over the summer, I wrote about how my wife and I brought our two little kids (2 & 5) to the Los Angeles Zoo. We made a mental note from our first visit two years earlier that it’s a lot of walking for the kids and to bring a wagon like so many parents had because it’s way more spacious (and fun!) than our stroller. Well, we never got around to buying one since COVID-19 hit and the night before jumping in the car we texted our neighbor, asking if we could borrow theirs. We share a lot and it was great.

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Then, a couple of months ago, Black + Decker offered to send us their version of the Collapsible/Folding Wagon (measures 31.1L x 21.2W x 22.1D inches), which can haul up to 176 pounds. When it arrived, I realized it was so much superior to our neighbor’s; it was lighter, moved like it was on rails (the front wheels rotate 360 degrees for smooth rides and also lock if needed when going up or downhill), plus, it’s easier to fold and store.

We now keep it in the trunk of our SUV since it’s just 7 inches thick and great for going to the store, the farmers market, the beach or LEGOLAND like yesterday. The kids love it and we do too because they don’t fight about who gets to be in the stroller, it’s more fun, it’s easy to maneuver and we can put other items in there like our farmers market haul or Natalie’s bag of snacks, diapers, change of clothes, etc that she always carries for the kids or to haul pumpkins back from the patch to the car, like we did when we went to Underwood Family Farms (a must-visit if you haven’t been.)

The telescopic handle helps to comfortably push or pull the wagon and secures it in place when not in use. Buy it here.

Black + Decker Hand Vacuum

Another product Black + Decker sent us that we use after every road trip is their hand vacuum. What’s funny is about two months earlier, my wife had bought me one from a no name company on Amazon because she knows I like to keep our Lincoln SUV clean, which is no easy task with two little rug rats. But when I opened up my wife’s gift, I had a feeling it wasn’t going to do the job sucking up all the crumbs, dirt and sand from the beach and playground. I was right so I just continued lugging our large, heavy Dyson vacuum from upstairs down to the garage.

But Black + Decker sent us their hand vac and it does the job and more. It sucks up everything because it has a strong motor and handy extensions for those tight to reach spaces. I’ve seriously been cleaning places I haven’t been able to in years. It’s awesome to keep it in the car for any time you want to do a quick clean up. More than once, I’ve had valets comment on how clean my car is (especially with kids) and now you know why.

The only negative is that it doesn’t have a huge belly so I have to empty it frequently. But that’s what you get with an “ultra slim and compact device.” But to empty the dustbin takes about a minute since it has an easy twist-off bowl. It also has a washable filter. According to the manual, runtime is up to 14 minutes per charge but it never takes that long to clean and it hasn’t died on me yet.

My wife had the right idea when she bought me a hand vac as a gift but unfortunately, it wasn’t the right one. So if you’re looking for one for yourself or for a great gift idea for the holidays, the Black + Decker one really works and is super handy. My mother-in-law wants one for her home for quick clean-ups on the couch and floor without having to haul out her vacuum cleaner so now I guess I know what I’m getting her for Christmas but shhhh, don’t tell her! Buy it here.

KEEP READING: The Smoothie I Always Drink Before I Travel

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