I haven’t had the opportunity to write very many entries in our blog since we left home. Shooting, cataloging, editing and uploading all of the photos I have been taking has taken a lot more time than I anticipated.(By the way, take this opportunity to check out the photo links up in the website menu for the Google Photo albums. There are many more great photos in those albums than the few posted here in the blog.) In order to get posts out in a reasonable timeline, Andrea has been doing most of the writing and I have been helping her with editing and ideas.
That being said, I wanted to take the time to talk about our gear. We spent plenty of time doing research, reading reviews, blogs, going into various shops and generally trying to figure out what we really needed to bring with us on a “Round the World(RTW) trip”. We have now determined that no matter what, we are sure to have over packed some items, and not packed others, because no matter how many opinions you read, we really don’t know how to anticipate every need. We fully anticipate that we will need to buy items and clothes as our needs change, and will update this post as we go. Some of this may be boring to you, if so just skip right over it. I wanted to make this post for people who are going to travel or maybe have just traveled. Maybe you will learn something, maybe you can teach us something. Please comment below if you have questions or ideas for us. I have broken our list down into sections, so here it is:
Backpacks – We chose Osprey Porter 46L backpacks to hold our gear. I originally got mine when we went to Europe almost 2 years ago and loved it. It can fit in an overhead compartment easily, comfortable to wear, and Osprey is a brand we both love. It has backpack straps that can hide away and make it into a regular carry-on. Everything we have bought from Osprey has lasted for years. They are sold on Amazon, and received many positive reviews, but we bought ours with gift cards from REI.
Purse – Travelon Cross Body Bag. Andrea’s purse is RFID protected, with zipper locks, and cut proof strap. It is not the most attractive purse, but it serves the purpose.
Day Bag – I use this day bag for our camera, lens, computer and hard drive. We decided on the Pacsafe Venturesafe 350. Andrea has been very happy with her PacSafe purse, so when we needed something for me to carry our electronics in, we knew where to look. This has a little padding and is an over the shoulder bag which I can wear while also wearing my main backpack.
Folding Backpack – We wanted to have a little backpack that we could use as a daypack when needed, but that didn’t take up much space. We went with this one by Outlander Gear, that folds up no bigger than a poncho.
Wallet – Sticking with RFID protection, we opted for a Travelambo minimalist wallet with the protection.
Sleeping Bag Liners – The Friendly Sweed. Folds up very small and quite useful in hostels/hotels with questionable sheets.
Towels – Sea to Summit Drylite Towel. Lightweight, small and like a chamois for your body. In case we don’t have a towel in our accommodations.
First Aid Kit – We went with a small first aid kit with just the bare essentials. We didn’t want it to be too big or bulky, if we need something we should be able to find wherever we are.
Footwear – We will be doing a lot of walking, and already have on our journey across the US. We wanted something that would function well across multiple uses. We were drawn to trail running shoes. These versatile sneakers are great for walking around town but with enough tread to substitute for heavy hiking boots in most situations. It wasn’t easy to find a pair that wasn’t in horrendously bright colors but I think we managed to get some of the most subtle ones available. In addition to the trail shoes, we brought lightweight Xero Amuri Z-Trek Sandals. They are extremely light and almost feels like we are walking barefoot, yet supportive and comfortable. Our last pair of shoes were something a little more “dressy” should the need arise, but can also have other uses. I went with a pair of casual lightweight loafers I have had for years and if I don’t use or they fall apart I will just get rid of them. Andrea went with something even smaller/lighter her goto Tieks. Both of these can be used as a dressier option over the other shoes or as a slipper.
Scarfs – After reading several blogs who recommended a tactical scarf, we thought it was worth bringing with us. Tactical scarfs can come in handy for several reasons: warmth, dust protection, worn over Andrea’s head in modest areas, for cool down with water, and towel if needed. We did our research and chose Rothco Shemagh Tactical Desert Scarf from Amazon.
Hats – We take sun protection seriously, and for this reason we chose the Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Hat. We have already broken in this hat on our road trip, and love it. It breathes well with the venting, provides enough shading, and is a quick dry material.
Andi’s Skirt – Andrea wanted a maxi skirt that could be used in areas of modesty as well as everyday comfort wear. For this she picked an ExOfficio Goto Maxi Skirt. It is super comfortable, and can be rolled to make the skirt longer or shorter.
Everyday Shirts – For this, we went simple. We figured shirts will get worn out easily, and we will end up buying shirts as we go. For this reason, we went to target and bought Champion dry fit shirts from Target. Thank you for our family for Target gift cards!
Dress Shirts – I picked a few Columbia button up long sleeve shirts that can also be rolled up. They work great, dry fast and are breathable.
Socks – Smartwool socks. They are quick dry and so far, very comfortable.
Outerwear – We still have our fleece jackets we took to Europe. I am wearing North Face Fleece, and Andrea a Columbia Fleece. We have had them for multiple years and they are still in great condition, and black goes with anything.
Rain Jackets – These were wedding gifts, thank you Jeff and Ann! We love our Marmot Precip Jackets! Extremely lightweight and waterproof.
Summer dress – Columbia Sportswear Women’s Freezer III Dress. Lightweight, breathable and fashionable.
All Other Travel Clothes – We have a lot of ExOffico clothing, as well as cheaper quick dry clothing. In order to pack light, we only have clothing for about four days Because of this we wanted to make sure everything we had is breathable and quick drying as we will be doing a lot of laundry in the sink.
Macbook – We bought the newest Macbook right before we left on our trip, as it is very small and powerful. This will be our main source for writing and posting the blog as well as editing/storing/and posting photos. We have an external hard drive to back everything up, which we store separately should anything happen to the computer.
iPhones – We have both brought our iPhone 6’s as a means to communicate with home as well as a quick way to look up directions or information. Our cellphone plans in the US are frozen so we won’t get phone calls or texts to those numbers, but iMessage and Facetime will still work on WiFi. We also have Google Voice numbers that should work and WhatsApp (very popular outside the US especially in South America). iPhones also make great discrete cameras in case we don’t want to be pulling out our DSLR
Camera – Speaking of a DSLR we went with a Nikon D5500 which worked wonders for us in the US. It is small for a DSLR but still takes great images. We have small zoom, telephoto and wide-angle lenses which compliment each other well to get the best shots possible. We have a padded liner that fits in my day bag to keep the camera and lenses safe from bumping around while hopefully not looking like I am carrying an expensive camera bag.
Camera Accessories – The most important of these is a small portable tripod. I went with the Gorilla Pod Hybrid. This one is designed for mirrorless and smaller DSLR’s. I did switch out the mount so it would work with our existing tripod mount/camera strap. This thing is great. It fits in my bag and will attach to almost anything and is rock solid. I also have various filters, lens wipes, a duster, sensor cleaners and of course tons of memory cards. I plan on sending the memory cards home as they fill up, so there is a backup that we aren’t carrying with us.
Skyroam – This handy little device is essentially a wireless hotspot that works almost everywhere in the world that there is cellphone coverage. All you have to do is power it up and hit the connect button and you have 24hrs of continuous internet access. You can connect up to 5 devices to it at a time. When there isn’t WiFi around, this will be our goto way to connect to the internet. Pricing is per day, and can be as low as $8 if you buy in bulk.
Other Accessories – We have world plug adaptors, a flashlight, a mini power strip with usb plugs for charging everything at once, a folding bluetooth keyboard for Andrea to work on blogging on her iPhone while I am editing photos on the laptop, and all the chargers for our many devices.
Overall, I think we did our research and hope we have what we need. I know there will be things we don’t use or things we missed. We will get rid of things or add them as needed. If you think we are missing something or have a question about how an item is working out for us, please comment below, thanks!