I get a lot of questions about my gear that I am using. I have an interesting backpack (Aarn Mountain Magic 50) that draws attention due to the front pouches, and that inevitably leads to other questions about my gear choices. Every travel blog you read will consistently remind you to pack light and that you will not need half of what you bring along. They also will remind you that you can find most every modern convenience in the places you will go, even the more rural areas. I have stuck to that as much as possible, but there are some items that I had to bring with me to fulfill all the ambitions that I have for this adventure, and to stay connected to, and grow, my audience.
So to start with, I packed clothes that were lightweight and layer-able, as well as things that were comfortable and lacked any brand logos to start with. I did this to preserve value to my sponsors that I have gathered and continue to gather as I go. It is only fair for the sponsors that have provided their support that I try my best to not inadvertently advertise for other companies as well.
- 2 – 3 Pairs Pants (2 jeans, 1 black slacks)
- 1 – Blue Dress Shirt
- 2 – Long Sleeve Shirts
- 1 – 3 T Shirt (Replaced 1 w/ I/O Merino Shirt, got rid of one)
- 1 – Pull over jacket (Replaced with I/O Merino Jacket)
- 1 – I/O Merino wool T-Shirt
- 1 – I/O Merino LS Shirt
- 1 – I/O Merino light Jacket
- 1 – Pair Pajama Pants and Shirt
- 4 – Pair Socks/Underwear
- 1 – Wool Cap
- 1 – Pair beach shorts with cotton belt (Picked up in Florida thrift store because it was too hot!)
- 1 – Pair flip-flops (Also picked up in Florida due to the heat)
- 1 – Belt, black/brown Leather, reversible.
- 1 – Sturdy black shoes. Cross between a work-shoe and dress-shoe.
For a coat I am sporting the water resistant Scottevest Expedition. It has 37 pockets and many technical features included that make it the most versatile coat I have ever owned. It has a removable hood for when the weather gets snotty, and is warm enough to use an outer shell in most conditions. This coat is loaded with storage space. I am pretty sure that if I were flying somewhere for a short stay, say a weekend getaway or business trip, I could use just this coat, with no addition luggage! There are enough pockets that I could fit everything I would need on my person (Except maybe a laptop). Clothes, toiletries, ID, paperwork, camera around my neck, spare gear in pockets, Phone, music. Would be interesting to test that out when I get back.
The other items I have are as follows:
- A lightweight sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping mat.
- A laptop with a wireless mouse (and charging equipment all in a sleeve case)
- Tablet/E reader w/ stylus and keyboard case (sent home because I wasn’t using it enough to keep carrying it)
- Passport and Vaccination card, other travel documents in a plastic zippered pouch
- Wallet (ID, money, cards)
- Notebook and pen/pencils
- Sponsor Stickers
- DSLR Camera with a versatile lens (18-200mm) and Extra battery, Charger and Micro Fiber Cloth
- Tripod and Trigger release for camera
- Multi Tool (Note – I am not flying during my adventure!)
- 1st Aid Kit, Chap stick, other Toiletries
- Business Cards (Mine, to pass out and ones I have collected)
- Spare Charger Cords for phone etc.
- 2 – US to EU plug adapter
- Small Towel and hand cloth
- Sunglasses (Broken)
- Para-cord (ROPE! You never know what you’re going to need it for, you just always do!)
- Electrical Tape
- Goggles and Nose Plugs
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Sewing Kit
- Acoustic Guitar/Case
- Recording equipment for live sound
- Extra set of strings
- Capo, Strap, Picks
- Note Book and Markers (To Sign Guitar and keep track of who/where/when its signed)
- Various sized Glow in the dark Googly Eyes
- Coins (Collection)
- 2 Decks of Playing cards
I feel these last things need some explanation. The googly eyes are simply little sticker backed eyes that you put on things that look like they should be a face. Posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook always generates a few laughs, and having fun is important on any adventure.
The coins are various coins that I collect as a numismatics collector. I have a certain set of coins that I collect, so when I get them in change I pull these out and send them home periodically. I’m also collecting foreign coins in the places I go because I am, at heart, a big nerd. My nephews back home also enjoy getting coins sent to them from foreign places too!
The Decks of playing cards are simple enough, as there are many games that can be played as well as little card tricks that can be done as well to pass the time and break the ice. They are two different colors to accommodate a handful of games and tricks.
I am also constantly adding and subtracting items from this list as the trip goes. I found I had too many shirts at one point and sent a few home. I found I needed lightweight shorts for Florida so I picked some up at a thrift store. I know there will be more changes as I go. Broken, lost, stolen items, worn out clothes, changes in climate, new sponsors gear to promote. The main thing to do is be flexible and keep weight in mind when adding anything to your pack. Ask yourself if you will really use it.
3 Things You Absolutely Don’t Need In Your Backpack:
I thought it might be useful to give some advice on things you don’t need to take with you. This applies for short vacations, and long adventures as well.
- Extra shoes. Unless you have specific reasons to take them, such as you plan to cross the frozen arctic ice flows or reach the summit of the frosty giant Everest, you can get by with two pieces of foot wear: Comfortable shoes (a multipurpose hiking/walking shoe is perfect, a single solid color like black is better as it can look decent enough for a night out), and a pair of flip flops. Before I left I never wore flip flops. I actually really disliked them. Then this little Alaskan boy reached the Florida sand, sun and heat and I realized something. My feet were melting. I have worn them quite a bit in other places as well. Aboard the cruise that took me from Florida to England, and all over the place in Ireland. After a long day on my feet, relaxing with my flip flops on is much more comfortable than shoes.
- Guide Books. They are heavy, expensive and go out of date quickly. The internet however, is always up to date. There are numerous free sources of guides online for most any location, and you can even find deals and sales on many attractions, tours and other items by looking around the various travel related sites. It’s good to have some kind of guide, but carrying a book along with you is impractical and takes up a lot of useful space and weight in your bag.
- Too much toiletries. I see this a lot. A person comes into the hostel with a whole bottle of shampoo, another of conditioner, a full shower loofah, yet another bottle, body wash this time. A big bottle of aspirin, some decongestant, cold medicine, Alka-Seltzer, a full tube of tooth paste and a bar of soap. In reality you only need a little bit of any of these things! Even for my long journey, I have condensed all my toiletries into a small pack (It actually is made to carry ostomy supplies, from when I was undergoing surgery). I took 4 small hotel bottles for shampoo and cleaned them out. I filled one of each with shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and SPF 75 sun screen. I take a small wash rag instead of a loofah as it is easier to clean and dry. I take a small pair of scissors to trim my beard, my electric razor (A compact model) and a comb. Sometimes I think this is too much even. I refill my bottles of soaps as I can, and sometimes you might end up buying a full bottle and filling off it, but basically, you only want to carry a small supply with you, to reduce weight. These are common things and can be bought at any convenience store in the world, even the more remote places will have these basics. If you are so far out that these are not readily available to you, then washing your hair is probably the least of your worries.