I’m not a person that has a lot of “stuff”, but a lot of the stuff I do have is oriented towards travel, camping, and the outdoors. I get asked about how I pack for different trips, so I just want to share a few of my favorite items that I end up using quite often.
My backpack is the most important thing I have and I love it. The anti-gravity suspension system of the pack makes it very easy to carry long distances for extended backpacking trips such as around Europe or the Pacific Crest Trail. Other things I really love about the Atmos backpack is the superior adjustability of it and the Osprey Lifetime Warranty if anything gets damaged and needs repair. It’s a bit more expensive than some backpacks out there, but in my opinion it has been worth every penny.
Osprey also makes a women’s version called the Aura which is also a 65L anti-gravity pack. You can find it here on Amazon.
My next favorite item is my hammock. When I go camping, I try to use my hammock as often as I can. It’s easier to set up than a tent, and I just prefer the gentle swaying in the open air to any other method of sleeping. In total, I usually own about 4 or 5 hammocks at any given time. I even have one set up in my apartment at home to sleep in when I’m there.
I love to support Hobo Hammocks because they are local to Salt Lake City, because they put out a great product and I’m a big fan of buying from local small businesses. Plus, when you purchase a Hobo Hammock, they provide one free meal for the homeless which I think is awesome. You get to help feed the hungry, and relax in an awesome hammock – everyone wins.
Another very solid and tested brand is Eagles Nest Outfitters, aka ENO. I have one of their Double Nest Hammocks , and the construction of it is pristine. It can easily fit and hold two people, although I usually keep it all to myself of course. It weighs in at a very light 1.2 pounds, which means it’s super lightweight to carry in my pack.
When I’m staying in hostels around Asia or Europe, I don’t need to carry a tent with me, but it’s a much different story when I’m exploring the wilderness of the American Southwest. On camping trips I carry a two-person tent (Even though it’s just for me, I like my space and the ability to comfortably keep my pack inside). The tent I’m currently using is the Marmot Tungsten 2P tent which is sold with a rain cover and footprint included. So far it has held up perfectly and kept me nice and dry through the wind and rain. (And oh boy have I faced some wind and rain – lots of it.) Marmot is another brand that offers a lifetime warranty, so you can have peace of mind when making an important purchase. The Tungsten 2P has a min. trail weight of 4 lb 13 oz, and I can set it up in the dark in about 5 minutes or less.
When traveling in foreign countries, or even just in your own country, I always recommend wearing a safe and secure money belt to keep your cash and valuables hidden while traveling. You never know when you’re going to be mugged. I’ve only had it happen once to me in my life, but I’ve heard it from countless friends again and again about how they have had their wallets or backpacks stolen and were left with nothing. That is not a situation you want to be in, especially when you’re in a foreign country and may not even speak the language.
In addition to whatever wallet I may be carrying, I carry a concealed belt with whatever cash I don’t need readily accessible in my wallet, as well as an emergency debit card, credit card, and copy of my passport. A money belt like this is also a good place to store jewelry such as necklaces and rings when you’re in an area that feels unsafe.
The money belt I wear is made by IGOGEER, and I can wear it snugly and comfortably under my clothes without anyone being able to tell I’m wearing it. You won’t be winning any style awards with it, but the point is for it not to be seen. I was given this money belt as a gift, and to this day it is one of the most useful and practical gifts I’ve received.
No matter where I travel, I always have to have music to listen to. Music makes me happy, it keeps me sane, it gets me dancing, and it makes me feel alive. To listen to music, I need a good reliable set of headphones. There are a couple of different bluetooth headphones that I use, as well as always have an old fashioned corded pair for when I don’t have the means to charge them. For ultimate comfort on long airplane and train rides, I have a pair of around-the-ear Sony MDR Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones. These headphones have an awesome sound quality for the price, and the battery lasts 10 hours or longer on a charge. That’s good enough for a full transatlantic flight! Pair them with the new offline streaming capability of Netflix and you’ve got a great personal theater system to keep you entertained. For when I’m out exploring, I have a cheap pair of sports earbuds that work with bluetooth. And when all else fails (I run out of battery), well, I have the headphones I took from a first class flight on United a few months back that can plug in to any device. (Well, almost any device – looking at you iPhone.)