Every man and his dog has an opinion on what gear you should take when travelling… And that’s a good thing, because every man and his dog travels these days.
Problem is, with so many opinions, how do you know who is actually right?
The answer is me! The Enlightened Bro Traveller! I’m never wrong!
I’m just joking of course, but hopefully I can point you in the right direction with the following –
EBT’s Travel Gear Guide for Hot Climates
Go straight to my Complete Travel Gear List further down.
Before you start packing though, you need to ask yourself …
“What type of traveller am I?”
How Do You Travel?
— Do you even lift bro? —
On one end of the spectrum there is – “The Doomsday Prepper” traveller – These masochistic creatures take pleasure in hauling obscene weights for the small, and seeming unnecessary, luxuries of life. Think portable coffee making machines abroad…
The other end – “The Zen Ultra-light Minimalist” traveller –
These folks are obsessed with keeping the volume and mass of there gear as low as possible. This is usually done by only taking their passport, one pair of socks, a 0.5 litre backpack and a toothbrush (optional). Every extra gram is like another knife to the heart for these Bro’s. Feather-light gear is mandatory!
Figuring out what type you are requires trial, error, experience and guesswork. So just get stuck in and your bag will start to change organically. But if that’s not enough for you, here’s some advice to get you Bro’s started:
- What’s the climate like where you are travelling, and how much is weather going to change during you’re trip?
- Do you mind having to check-in your bags at airports?
- How much time are you going to spend with ALL your gear on your back and how mobile do you need to be?
- What kind of things do you enjoy doing and do they require specialist equipment?
- How easy will it be to get any missing gear whilst travelling?
- How gutted will you be if your gear gets stolen or broken?
The Enlightened Bro’s Complete Travel Gear Guide – The List
So like I’ve said before, gear is a personal thing, and for you some of these items will be unnecessary . My budget is more than your average backpacker but I believe in investing in good quality equipment. My travel style is – praying mantis AKA as minimal as possible, whilst taking some specialist gear with me. This means I’m gonna have to bite the bullet an check-in my main pack.
This list is heavily based around: Martial arts and training, Photography, Blogging, Hiking rough terrain and Adventure activities.
There’s a million and one reviews out there for each item, so I’ll save a few precious moments of my life and let you do your own further research.
My breakdowns will include:
- How each item fits my needs.
- The price I got it.
- Where I got it for that price.
Backpack – Osprey Farpoint 55 L – Volcanic Grey
After going travelling with a 75 litre pack, multiple times, I’ve learnt less is better when it comes to carrying weight on my back.
This cool little bag has a 40 litre main pack and a 15 litre detachable day bag. The day bag can be attached via zips and straps to the back of the main bag when not in use. Alternatively, it can be clipped onto the harness of the main pack kangaroo-stylee.
Day pack is a bit small but still big enough to carry my tripod, camera, lenses, a hoodie and some water.
Ear Plugs – Hearos Xtreme Protection/ 3M 1100
Two different types of ear plugs might seem like over kill, but I’m a light sleeper. The Hearos (blue) are more comfortable, but not as sound defending as the 3M’s (orange) which are made of denser foam. This item is absolutely essential in my opinion.
EDIT: after further testing the 3M earplug win hands down, Hearos fall out the ears too easily
Eye Mask -Bedtime Bliss Contoured Sleep Mask
Because waking at sunrise (for no reason) is for weridos, or old people. Plus, these help with the whole light sleeper thing. This particular eye mask is moulded so they doesn’t push on your eye balls, a feeling that’s both annoying and unpleasant.
Head torch – Black Diamond Spot
Super bright, dimmable, waterproof, red-light mode, strobe mode (in case you like to party in wilderness I guess?).
The bad-ass of head-torches leaving your hands free to get shit done.
Water Filter – GRAYL Quest Trail
After having a look at different travel water filtration (there’s no cool way of saying that) the Grayl looked like the most cost effective and least annoying to use. No need to carry another container to put the water in and you can filter a full cup in 20-25 sec.
I went for the plastic version and “Trail” filter as it was the only option available to me. But there are a range of styles and filters if you order from the U.S.
Apparently you can filter about 150 litres on one filter.
As it’s made by a small American company it can be tricky to get hold of outside the U.S for a reasonable price .
- RRP- £ 40
- Bought for £30 (clearance sale at Newitts.com)
Waterproof Storage Bag – Karrimor 25L
Waterproof sack to thrown my camera stuff and other electronics etc. For protection when my adventures start getting wet…
- Bought for – £10 (Amazon– including the £5 delivery charge for something the weight of an anorexic mouse)
Storage – Homdox Packing Cubes
Not gonna lie, you can probably find better packing cubes for cheaper. Also I really should have checked the sizes as one is way too big for my backpack. Helps compress and organise clothes etc. Will have to see how long I last before I just start just chucking things in my bag in one big messy pile.
- Bought for – £17 (Amazon)
Travel Towel – PackTowl
It’s obvious that no travel towel is going to be as soft and absorbent as a normal towel, but life is about compromises. Travel towels have the advantage of being lightweight, compact and super quick drying. Whilst there is no chance of getting too dry with this towel, it does a decent job, and it sure beats a hostel towel.
Bought for – £25 (Amazon)
Combination Lock x 2
Keeping your gear safe is essential whilst travelling. I’ve never had any issues with theft during my travels but I have heard some outrageous stories from other travellers. Putting your stuff in lockers at the hostel is probably your best bet so your gonna need a lock. Combination locks have the added advantage of having no key that could be potentially lost.
Multi Tool – Leatherman Squirt Ps4
You never know when a muti-tool might come in handy. Has a small knife, scissors, bottle opener, etc. This ones very small, hence the name Squirt, about 10 cm long and weighs next to nothing. There are definitely cheaper options out there. In all honesty I didn’t realise it would be as small as it is. In optomist mode i would say it does come with a 25 year guarantee.
- Bought for – £40 from Leatherman.com (available cheaper on amazon -should have done my research better)
Sleeping Bag Liner – Rab
Apart from making you feel like ancient Chinese dynastic royalty, this 100% silk sleeping bag liner has a number of added benefits. Mainly protecting you from potential bed bugs and grime during questionable sleeping arrangements. It can also help keep you cool in hot climates but also provides a bit of added warmth when you’re sleeping out under the stars. Cotton is too heavy, bulky and is nowhere near as breathable as silk, so I feel in this case the price tag is worth it.
Underpants – ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs (x 2)
Apparently you only need 2 pairs of these bad boys for any trip. So the manufactures says anyway.
One of the advantages of being made out of merino wool, the holy grail of travel clothes material, is it stops these boxers from absorbing salty ball-sweat odours.
They pass the comfort test and I’m a harsh judge. I do go luxury on all underpants by the way, anything that goes against your junk needs to be gooood quality.
Also gonna take a pair of my Calvin Klein’s for date nights. So the bitches know what’s up, you dig?
Merino Wool T-shirts (x2)
Icebreaker Oasis Men’s Short-Sleeved Crew T-Shirt
- RRP- £ 55
- Bought for £37 (On Amazon)
Quechua Men’s Techwool 155 T-shirt
- Bought for £16 (Decathlon.com)
Merino wool is the ultimate material for hot climates, and in cold for that matter. It’s a great insulator and wicks sweat away so keeps you cool in the hot humid air of SE Asia. It also doesn’t stink after half a day of wearing it, which is always useful.
Icebreaker is a well know and respected merino wool brand but their stuff comes with a hefty price tag. Decathlon sell clothes made from Techwool (merino wool/synthetic hybrid) for a quarter of the cost. That being said, Icebreaker is definitely more comfortable and made of finer, higher quality material.
Both are easy to hand wash and dry, unlike the standard cotton/synthetic t-shirts you usually get.
Long Sleeve Shirt – Quechua Techwool 155 Base Layer (x1)
Bought for the same reason as the merino t-shirts. Its always useful to have a long sleeve top for when the mosquito’s come out to feast… little bastards.
Super-light Insulated Coat -North Face Thermoball Hooded Jacket
A colleague at work had one and said it was the shit. After trying it on, I agree.
If your going to be hiking at high altitudes or in desert environments it can get cold and windy. That’s were North Face’s Thermoball’s come in to play. Made from a synthetic version of down-feather this jacket is light, compressible and keeps you warm-ish even when wet! It is a slightly worse insulator than down but its not as fragile. Being North face it is expensive, as you would expect, but I saw it on sale for half price. It would be rude not to really.
- RRP – £160
- Bought for £80 (Tauntonleisure.com -Sale and I bought the last one…sorrrrwwyyy) (On Amazon)
Hiking Boots – Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX
Unless you plan on hiking a lot like me, these are going to be over-kill.
Hiking trainers are better. They are lighter, more breathable and cheaper. They don’t give you as much protection and support around the ankle though. I hike around the U.K as well where its very wet and muddy so these are perfect for me. Super comfortable footwear but probably not the most stylish.
- RRP – £126
- Bought for £90 (Go Outdoors store – fuck up on their part pricing the shoes. Consumer rights FTW)
- Full sleeve shirt
- Shorts (x 1)
- Jeans (x 1)
- Lightweight pumps
- Socks (x 4)
- Travel trousers (x1)
- Sweater (x 1)
- Board shorts
Tech and Electronics
External Hard-drive – Silicon Power – 1TB Armor A65 (Shockproof /Waterproof)
Military grade external hard disk. Great for if you’re a clumsy fuck or regularly HALO jump out of planes into enemy controlled drop-zones… near water.
USB – Corsair 16GB Flash USB 3 – Waterproof
Similar to the Armor HDD above. Useful if you need to use internet cafes and don’t want to log your laptop onto questionable networks for data security reasons (bank details etc). Can be used to transfer files and keep easily portable backups of data.
Universal Travel Adaptor
Portable Phone Charger
Camera – Sony A6000 Mirrorless DSLR
Portability and size were my main criteria so I naturally went with a crop-sensor, mirror-less DSLR. I plan on taking pictures for this blog and I enjoy the art of photography. This camera is more than good enough for someone with these requirements. A number of great reviews and a reasonable price made me pick the A6000. Simple as.
Bought for – £479 (Jessops in store)
Wide Angle Zoom – Sony E10-18mm f4 OSS Lens (used)
If you plan on doing landscape photography you’re going to need a wide-angle lens. Varying focal lengths, ranging from wide to ultra wide.
- RRP- £669
- Bought for – £469 (Wex – Used)
Prime Fast Lens – Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS Fixed Lens
Super sharp images, easily the sharpest out of all the lenses I have. Being a F/ 1.8 means this lens can handle its own in low light situations. Great for portraits and street photography.
Long Focal Length Zoom – Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS (used)
I mainly got this lens to complete the set. Didn’t think a lens with these focal lengths was going to be necessary originally. I was wrong. Sometime using your legs just doesn’t give you the composition you want.
Tripod – MeFOTO RoadTrip Convertible Tripod
And so, it was written in the bible of landscape photography-
Austin 3:16 – “Thou must have stability, whence one shoot-eths with long exposures and in low light. Unless, of course, thou like-th blurry photos, the most unholy of all sins.”
Lightweight, compacts small enough to fit in my day pack and also converts into a mono-pod. Win-win-win.
Action Camera – DB Power w/ waterproof case and accessories
Every action man needs an action camera to document his actions. If money were no object a GoPro would be the obvious choice, unfortunately the world don’t work like dat son. For a fraction of the cost this camera holds its own. (Youtube has a number of nerd comparisons of GoPro vs DBpower) The picture quality is awesome in video mode. As a camera its pictures are OK and the super wide angle lens can give you some cool shots. It struggles in low light though and you’re Iphone will probably do a better job. This bundle comes with a waterproof case and a ton of mounting accessories.
First Aid And Health
(by By SuSanA Secretariat – flickr)
- Azithromycin – zapack
- Oral Rehydration Salts
Bites And Injuries
(by Photographer Mircea Costina – photo.net)
- Savlon Dry Antiseptic Iodine
- Small sutures/stitches
- Repel 55 Deet Insect Repellent
- Large dressing
- Sun cream (travel size)
- Body hair trimmer
- Hair wax
- Nail clippers
- Wet wipes
- Alcohol gel
- Ziplock bags
- Passport size photos – for visas
- Copies of important document
- Laminated copy of passport
- Duct Tape
- Point-it dictionary
- Emergency funds (USD)
- Decoy wallet
- International Driving Permit (IDP)
There you have it gang. Hopefully I’ve been a guiding star on your path to getting the ultimate load out for you’re trip. I still have a number of items on this list to acquire, so check back for more breakdowns soon.