Courtesy of GoSleep

Welcome back to Travel Non-Essentials, where T+L editors Mark Orwoll and Nikki Ekstein  sound off on a different breed of travel product—sometimes ingenious, sometimes just plain odd. Today: The Gosleep Travel System.

Nikki Ekstein and Mark Orwoll

What It Does: This oversize sleep mask and travel pillow set from GoSleep ($39.99) allows a traveler to sleep in an upright position without his or her head bobbing forward. Orwoll and Ekstein check it out to decide if it’s a must-have, or just a nice-to-have.

NE: So this is a GoSleep travel pillow and mask. It’s a little set: the mask actually fits inside a compartment that unzips from the pillow, so it’s just one bundle that you pack away.

MO: That mask is really oversized, which looks kind of funny.

NE: It looks like something a villain would wear in a comic-book series.

MO: But it would really keep the light out effectively. Let me just put it on real quick. [Mark slips it over his head.] Just pull it low over your nose… It’s comfortable.

NE: The signature feature here is that there is an adjustable elastic cord that fits around the headrest cushion on your airplane seat.

MO: I get it. So this piece of elastic goes around your head, and the cord goes around the back of the chair behind you. The question I have is that, if you’re on an airplane, is the person sitting behind you going to freak out because your cord is invading their space?

NE: And maybe even infringing on their in-flight entertainment? The answer is no. This is meant to be used on seats that have an adjustable headrest, where you can adjust the wings on either side of the cushion and tuck this cord behind those wings.

MO: I just got off a flight from London on Virgin Atlantic, and it had that kind of headrest. But do most planes have that kind of headrest these days in coach class?

NE: I’ve been trying to test this out on an airplane for a couple of months, and I haven’t done very many long-haul flights in those two months. I flew to Tennessee, I flew to Chicago, Florida, Costa Rica. None of my planes had the adjustable headrest.

MO: So you couldn’t use this?

NE: Couldn’t use it. My suspicion is that long-haul flights are more likely to have those adjustable headrests. But guess what? I had a 6 a.m. flight out of Chicago and really wanted to catch up on my sleep, so this would have been great on that flight.

MO: How does the pillow fit into all of this? Does it connect to the sleep mask?

NE: No, no. No connection, just added comfort. It’s just basically a bulky carrying case that doubles as a pillow. I’m not sure it’s a hundred percent necessary. The cord is the real innovation here. It’s meant for those people who doze off and doze off and… [Nikki starts to bob her head.]

MO: Oh! I get it. The cord connects the sleep mask to the headrest and prevents your head from falling forward! Beautiful. Brilliant.

NE: I’d pack it on a long-haul flight. And I would also say pack it on a road trip.

MO: Use it in the car?

NE: Use it in the car.

MO: Nice. Great idea.

VERDICT: A must-have.

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