Essential Travel Gear: What to Pack

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a newbie, here’s a list of travel gear you’ll want to consider for your next adventure. Adapt this list for your own personal needs.  When packing for a trip, go as light as possible. You need less clothing than you thing you do; try to choose items that will do double duty whenever possible. Keep essentials in your carry-on while traveling so you can still function if your main luggage gets lost.

Backpack – It’s important to have a backpack for your adventure that is comfortable and fits you properly. Please visit our blog post about How to Choose a Backpack to learn how to measure your hips and torso to find the appropriate sized backpack for you as well as the capacity needed for your next adventure.

Silk Sleep Sack – If you’re going to be staying in budget accommodations or planning on hut-to-hut trekking, or staying in a homestay, a silk sleep sack is good to have. It will keep the bugs from biting through and it’s nice to be enveloped in something that you know is clean. It’s also cool enough so you won’t roast in the summer, but ads an extra layer of warmth in the winter.

Quick Dry Travel Towel – It’s always a good idea to travel with a quick-dry towel. We recommend a medium sized towel from Sea to Summit. It’s small enough to pack in a day pack, but big enough to use after showering.

Water Filter & Reusable Water Bottle – When traveling, water is the biggest concern. Sawyer makes the best water filters available and the Sawyer PointONE water bottle is perfect for all of your adventures. It’s more than just a filtration bottle, the Sawyer 4-way filter can be used as an inline filter on your hydration pack, attached to a faucet with the included faucet adapter, or as an ultra-lite system. It includes a 34 oz BPA-free durable water bottle with a fip-top cap and the filter is a .10 micron water filter that guarantees to purify 1 million gallons of water. (Note: this is recommended for US/Canadian travel only. When traveling to most countries including those in Central America, South America, and Asia, you should only drink bottled water with a sealed cap.)

Headlamp – If you’re planning on going trekking or camping, or staying in homestays or hostels, this is an essential item. The red light option is useful when you’re in a room with other people and don’t want to wake everyone up. There are lots of brands out there and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get something good. I’m personally a fan of the Black Diamond headlamps.

Money Belt – A money belt can go around your leg, around your waist or around your neck, and it’s essential for keeping your valuables in while traveling. Eagle Creek, a company known for their travel gear, makes a money belt made of silk that is comfortable, breathable, washable, and sweat resistant (a big plus).

Luggage Locks – It’s a good idea to have locks for every zipper or opening in your pack or suitcase. Combination locks are recommended so you don’t have to worry about carrying (and potentially losing) an extra key. Lewis N. Clark makes one that is TSA approved and comes in a 2-pack.

Universal plug adapter and voltage converter – In the US, we use plug types A and B with 120 volts/ 60Hz voltage. Other countries use different plug types and have a voltage of 220 volts/ 50 Hz. Therefore, if you plan to use your electronics while you travel, you’ll need to use a plug adapter and voltage converter. We recommend a universal adapter that has several plug outlets as well as USB ports for charging multiple devices at the same time. Bestek makes one that has four USB ports and three 110V AC USA outlets and comes equipped with a EU AC cord and different plug adapters for US, US, and AU.

Note: This product will not work with high powered devices such as hair dryers. For items such as that, you’ll need something like the Symtek World Plug HDVC Universal Travel Adapter & Voltage Converter.

First Aid Kit –  We recommend that you start with a standard medical first aid kit and then add any extra items that you might need. Your first aid kit should contain any travel medications that you will get from a doctor as well as lip salve, aspirin, band-aids, decongestants and antihistamines, immodium, Cipro for curing diarrhea and other stomach issues, electrolytes and rehydration pills, water purification tablets, burn and sting relief, Acetazolamide for altitude sickness, topical ointment like neosporin, anti-nauseant, antiseptic, sunscreen, and insect repellent. I also recommend throwing in a dental emergency kit, cuz you just never know!

Compression Travel Socks – Long flights can definitely affect your circulation and cause aches and pains in your legs, as well as swelling. Compression socks exert a gentle pressure on the legs, reducing the diameter of distended veins, and causing an increase in blood flow throughout the body. Unlike traditional dress or athletic socks, compression socks use stronger elastic to create pressure on the legs, ankles and feet. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, the circulating blood is forced through narrower circulatory channels. As a result, the arterial pressure is increased, which causes more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet. The result is relief to tired, heavy legs.

Do you have any other recommendations for this list? We’d love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below:

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