The Travel Mate is one of the most innovative billiards accessories to hit the market in recent memory. I first saw the concept of the Travel Mate at Super Billiards Expo in 2016. I waited on line for ten minutes just to sign up to be on the mailer. Ever since then I have been looking forward to getting my hands on the Travel Mate and a year later, I finally did, and it was worth the wait.
In reviewing the Travel Mate, I set it up in the rec room in my home and also travelled with it, using it in several tournaments and league matches. I found the Travel Mate to be an extremely high-quality product that is as functional as it is attractive. To see if the Travel Mate is right for you, read on for my comprehensive review.
Disclaimer: This review was authored prior to the Travel Mate being made generally available to the public and was based on a pre-release version of the product. There may be slight variations in the final release of the product that differ from this review.
What is the Travel Mate? The Travel Mate is a portable cue holder designed to hold up to 4 cues safely and conveniently. What sets it apart from other cue holders is that it is a free-standing floor unit that does not require affixing to a table, chair or other surface. A high-end unit, it has the elegance to replace the types of stands that you might see in a home rec room, while at the same time, being portable enough to take with you on the go. It’s made out of aluminum with a super clean powder coated finish that reminds me very much of the Delta 13 Rack.
What I Liked About It • Extremely High Quality, high end product • Very well made, this product should last you forever • Very versatile, can use in the home and also take with you on the go • Ingenious Engineering • Looks Fantastic • Very stable, will not easily tip • Free standing, no need to have a table or chair to lean the cue on • Holds cues safely and securely • Holds the cues from the butt end which helps prevent shaft dings • Holds a jump cue as easily as a standard cue • Holds up to four cues • Carrying case holds everything and makes it convenient to take on the go
Considerations • Expensive, especially as compared to other cue holders on the market • For a portable unit, it’s large and heavy at 9 inches high and 2lbs in weight • While the unit sets up and breaks down in under a minute, it’s not as convenient as other cue holders
Now let’s look at the Travel Mate.
What you get: The Travel Mate comes with a carrying pouch with clip and the core unit with ring and base attachments to house up to four cues. There are additional accessories that can be purchased, such as a tracking device, which were not part of this review.
All the accessories are stored within the pouch. Setup takes about a minute. The following are the four steps involved:
1. First, unscrew the legs from the center of the core unit. They are housed this way for convenience and it also serves to protect the unit during storage. 2. Second, screw the legs into the base. They screw in at roughly a 45 degree angle which gives the unit the stability. 3. Third, assemble the base cups that the cues sit in. They fit in like puzzle pieces, which is designed to lock them into place and further add to the stability of the unit. 4. Finally, Slip the ring guides over the top of the unit, which is in the shape of a triangle. Stack the ring guides on top of each other, positioning the rings opposite of each other as you slip them on.
Here is the final assembled unit,
As a free-standing floor unit, it is easy to differentiate the Travel Mate from other cue holders on the market which typically clip onto, or rest on a table. One final note on portability. Given the fact that the Travel Mate is designed to be portable, it is important to understand the size of the unit with some context. In the bag, the unit is slightly larger than a half-gallon container of milk.
Final Verdict This is a fantastic product, perfect for professionals, serious tournament players, private owners of billiard tables and all players who cringe with the sound of their expensive cues hitting the floor. Casual players who have not made a significant investment in their cues, may not see the value in the investment of this high-end cue holder. While I do think it is a very expensive product relative to other cue holders on the market, you get what you pay for. For the money, you get a great looking product you can use in your home as well as on the road, it is extremely high quality and will last you forever. It also provides safety and security for your cues in the unpredictable environments of the bars and pool halls you play in. You will not have to worry about finding a table to clip the holder to, nor worry about whether there is room for your cues. With the Travel Mate, your cues will always remain conveniently, safely with you. The considerations regarding the size of the unit, cost of the unit, inconvenience of having to assemble and disassemble the unit and perceived value vs. the lower cost cue holders available really comes down to personal preference.
For me, I have already determined that I have to have one and have already pre-purchased one for myself. The cost is worth it for the value, quality, versatility and beauty of the unit, and frankly, it’s just cool. It is the same reason why I purchased a Delta 13 Rack. Sure, you can spend $9 for a plastic rack, but why would you want to?
Author: Steve Sherman
Editor: Chris Freeman
Sponsored by Jacoby Custom Cues