If you’ve read my previous post on what to pack for your trip, you should already have a pretty good idea of what to take with you on your travels. If you’re anything like me, you’ll now spend hours researching different products to find the ones that best suit your needs. You absolutely should. There are lots of options out there and some will undoubtedly work better for your situation than others. To help you get started, I’ve put together a list with some of my go-to gear.
Despite my impressive array of single-colored t-shirts, you will be shocked to learn that I am by no means a fashion expert. I’ll leave the trendy portion of your outfit up to you, but I do have a few suggestions for the less flashy aspects of your travel wardrobe.
Two years ago while researching gear for my own trip, I came across Wigwam socks. I should mention, I’ve never been the type of guy to buy anything other than the 6 pack of socks you find in the department store bargain bin for a few dollars. I didn’t realize other options existed. The day I got my first pair of Wigwams, however, I was a changed man. Seriously. These socks are super comfortable AND they breathe well, which is vital, because you are going to be putting a lot of miles on them. They dry very quickly too; an important factor if you’re going to be sink washing your clothes.
If you don’t think you’ll be doing any hiking, you can probably just stick to comfortable walking shoes. If you plan on hitting the trails though, you’re going to want a good pair of waterproof hiking boots with a bit of ankle support. I can’t stress the word waterproof enough here. There is nothing more miserable than walking around for hours in wet socks. I have a pair of Merrell Moab boots that I’ve owned for 3 years now and are still holding up great in spite of how much I’ve put them through. They’re highly cushioned for long hikes and you can splash through all the puddles you’d like without fear of water getting in.
Embarrassing to talk about, I know, but if you’re going to rotating the same few pairs for months on end, it pays to make a smart choice. There are a couple different brands of underwear out there that I’ve used and enjoyed while on long backpacking trips. The biggest thing I can recommend is looking for ones made with a breathable microfiber. It’s highly moisture wicking, which is great not only while you’re wearing them, but for air drying them after a wash as well. Check out ExOfficio for a very lightweight feel and Pair of Thieves for something a bit more fashionable.
Where space is at a premium when traveling longterm, I like for things to take up as little as possible when considering what to bring with me. That’s why I like Platypus water bottles. They’re incredibly durable soft bottles that hold up to one liter of water but fold down to practically nothing when empty.
This may seem like a silly recommendation. I mean, soap is soap, right? Wrong. Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap is a miracle in a bottle. I use this stuff for everything; shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent, insect repellant… you can even brush your teeth with it! I always keep a bottle on hand because of how versatile it is. The best part is that you don’t need much. A few drops goes a long way. I recommend the peppermint scent if you’re going to use it to keep bugs away, as they’re naturally deterred by the peppermint oil.
This is the one product category that I can’t recommend copying what I do. I’m big into photography, so I carry a massive DSLR with me everywhere. Trust me; if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. Big cameras weigh a ton and will most likely require their own separate bag. That’s why I would recommend something like this Canon Powershot. It’s compact, lightweight, and as an added bonus, it’s waterproof too. It’s the same company I use, and it should cover every situation from city sightseeing to seaside cliff diving.
As I’ve mentioned before, when staying in hostels, empty outlets can be hard to come by. If you have multiple devices to charge, this is especially difficult. I found a great solution to be a mini power strip. It fits easily into any bag and will save you a bunch of time by charging multiple things at once.
Hopefully that helps to narrow down your choices a bit when you start choosing what to bring with you. If you have questions about any of my recommendations, feel free to contact me! In my next post, I’ll be discussing several services I suggest signing up for before you leave.