My travel gear has evolved considerably over the last 20 years, and recently a few of you have asked me how I go about preparing and packing for a lengthy trip abroad.
Packing your travel bag can make or break your trip, my goal is always to try and pack as light as possible, with practical items that are both functional and comfortable.
I am not endorsed by any of the following manufacturers, these are all recommendations based on my own personal experiences and preferences. I hope some of these tips may be useful to you !
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag
With many internal asian flights imposing a 15kg check-in limit, keeping the weight of the actual luggage itself down is essential. This bag is practically bomb proof, and easily visible from 50m away on the airport carousel.
Comes with shoulder and compression straps, and is 100% waterproof.
I’m a complete convert to packing cubes. Available in a variety of sizes, they compress the bulk in your bag by around 50%, and allow you to pack your bag in a more orderly fashion. Also great when you arrive at your destination, just pop them in the room drawers and you’re all set.
These are padded to give extra protection to whatever you place inside them, with velcro dividers. Each lid has a handy zip pocket, a good place to store away receipts on the road.
Lowepro Vertex 100 AW Photo Backpack
This is the bag I use to transport all my photo gear for a trip. It’s compliant with airline hand luggage restrictions, superbly padded, with enough storage for all the non-photo gear you may want to keep at hand. I’ve used this bag for over 6 years now, no complaints at all !
Incase DSLR Sling
My favourite walkabout camera bag ever, but now becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of. Can easily store a DSLR with lens attached, plus another lens up to 70-200mm. The sling style I particularly like for ease of access to my gear. The shoulder strap is the most comfortable I have ever experienced.
Think Tank Turnstyle 20
Essentially the same size and style sling bag as the Incase (above), but in my opinion not quite as well made and with an inferior shoulder strap. Having said that, it’s served me very well over the last couple of years, and I still use it regularly.
USB Smart Charger
This has two features that I think are essential when purchasing a USB travel Charger. It automatically detects the charging requirements of whatever device is connected and delivers the right amount of power, and it’s capable to delivering 4 x 2.4A simultaneously. Not many USM chargers on the market can do this, which ensures quick charging on the road.
RAVPower 26800mAh USB Battery Pack
This is a great bit of kit, far too many battery packs have a low capacity and won’t last long. This one has three charging ports, and has enough capacity to charge your smartphone over 6 times. Armed with this, you can be without mains electricity for over a week and still be connected to the world.
USB Extension Lead
You’d be surprised how often I end up in a room with the electrical sockets nowhere near the bed, or at head height in a room where you simply have nowhere to put the device. All of that is simply solved by having this handy USB extension lead.
Portable Speaker (Altec Lansing iM-237)
Great for having music in your room, the model pictured here has long since gone out of production but there are many alternatives available.
Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
An extravagant purchase perhaps, but pure bliss to use during a long flight. Probably one of the first things I pack for any trip.
Petzl Tikka XP Headlamp
The perfect travel torch, powerful with the ability to use hands-free.
A useful way to store your spare batteries on the road.
Especially for India, I don’t like the multi-purpose, multi-country travel plugs that claim for work in 1,729 countries. Instead I go for the simple plug that is dedicated for the job. Note that this one has the larger top pin, which really helps keep your devices well and truly plugged in.
First Aid Kit
I supplement mine with Savlon, Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, rehydration powder, lip salve, insect bite reliever, surgical tape and extra plasters. All of that just about fits into this small first aid kit.
Zip Lock Freezer Bags
Available at all supermarkets in a variety of sizes, these are really useful to have. They will keep uneaten food fresher for longer, but probably most useful as a way of guaranteeing important things don’t get wet. A good example being when I was Jodhpur for Holi last year.
Travel Washing Lines
The woven elasticated cord means you can attach clothes to this line without the need for pegs. Get the ones with hooks so you can start being creative in how they’re set up in your room 🙂 I have two sets of these so they can be chained together if necessary.
Sealing Bag Clips
Useful to have a couple of these for keeping airtight any food items in bags (potato chips etc). They come in a variety of sizes.
For me, the essential items on a penknife are the scissors, bottle opener, and knife.
Travel Sink Plug
Almost all rooms I end up in don’t seem to have one of these attached to their sink !
Merrell Moab Vent Hiking Shoes
Supremely comfortable and well ventilated for those warmer climates. Merrell also do a version of these shoes with a waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
Teva Tanza Leather Sports and Outdoor Sandal
The most comfortable and lightweight sandals I have ever worn, the soles are extremely well padded. As soon as these wear out (no signs of that yet!) I will get the exact same pair again.
Rab Spark Jacket
The most lightweight decent waterproof I have found to date, can pack itself away into one of the pockets.
Paramo Cambia Boxers Underwear
I never thought I’d be sharing my underwear preferences on the internet :-). These are great, lightweight, breathable, quick drying – perfect for traveling.
Bridgedale Men’s Cool Fusion Trail Head Socks
Ankle length lightweight socks, perfect for some moderate hiking in warmer climates.
Many budget hotels don’t even offer their guests a towel, or perhaps the one being presented might not look very appealing. These travel towels pack away easily and dry extremely quickly.
Berghaus Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve Crew Neck Shortsleeve T-Shirt
Made from material that wicks moisture away from the body and dries very quickly. When traveling in hot climates I find cotton too uncomfortable. This style of t-shirt is perfect.
Berghaus Tech 2.0 Crew Neck Long Sleeve Zip T-Shirt
This is basically the same as the above t-shirt, but with long sleeves and a half zipped front. Great for flights or the slightly cooler evenings.
Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Pant Trousers
I’ve got a few pairs of these in numerous colours. Extremely lightweight but tough-wearing trousers, and extremely quick to dry. I particularly like the cargo style, very useful for storing away things like your passport and boarding passes when in transit.
The North Face Sequoia Outdoor Shirt
I have a few of these, quite smart looking but with all the added benefits of a travel shirt. I only have a UK Amazon link for this, it may be branded differently in the US.
Beechwood Army Cap (B34)
I’m really fussy about my caps, I much prefer the army style to the more popular baseball cap. These Beechfield caps are AMAZING, in terms of value for money they cannot be beaten. Having used these extensively abroad and on my archaeological digs, I can also vouch for just how well the colour remains true under sunny and sweaty conditions. Unfortunately, I can only find a link for the UK
Categories: Travel Tips