After eight years of travel, and numerous stints of nomadic living, I've learned how to travel pretty minimally, which means the things that I do buy are exponentially more important to me. It's taken quite a few years time to learn what the best travel gear is, mostly through trial and error.
My travel gear works for me, but it may not work for you. Because I travel so often, and because I don't want to be replacing my gear every few months, the quality of what I choose to use is of utmost importance. Cost is the next determining factor, but I think you'll find that the items I use are pretty reasonably priced. That said, sometimes I do think it's worth forking out for a piece of quality travel gear that's going to last you—quite literally—for your entire life.
I travel with two bags—one on my back and one on the front. This also means I travel carry-on only everywhere I go. For more information on how I pack, and I how I get away with never having to check a bag, you might like this article on how to travel carry-on only or this piece on the best carry-on luggage for every adventure.
Let's start with the basics. The bare essentials. On every trip, you're going to need backpacks/luggage, toiletries, various tools, and organizational methods to keep it all in one place. After years of extensive testing, these are some of the best pieces of travel gear on the market today.
The Osprey Farpoint 40L is, in my opinion, the best all-rounder backpack for travel. The best part? It's sized for carry-on only! If you're looking for something slightly larger, the 55L version (REI/Amazon) is another great option (it comes with a detachable daypack) and is also sized for carry-on travel.
The Nomatic 20L is the perfect daypack for every adventure. It's carry-on sized, serves well as an every-day backpack in the city, but is just as well suited to a hike in the mountains. Made with waterproof materials, this bag is expandable up to 24L. It also has three-point access and removable panels which make it one of the most versatile bags you can buy.
The secret to traveling light? Compression sacs! They're like packing cubes with a vacuum. Put your clothes inside, roll the compression sacs to press all the air out, and seal it shut. You'll fit a lot more stuff into a much smaller space—up to an 80% reduction in size!
Check Price: Amazon
If packing cubes and compression sacs had a baby, they'd be compression cubes. They're packing cubes with a compression zipper to shrink the size! Stay organized and save space at the same time.
Keep yourself organized with these see-through travel sacs. Great for organizing cables, toiletries, or whatever other random junk you have rolling around your bag.
The perfectly-sized toiletry bag, the Sea-to-Summit is water-resistant, durable and has loads of internal mesh pockets. It comes with a shatterproof mirror and easily hangs from any hook which makes it ideal for unpacking and repacking (as in, you never have to unpack it!).
This 2-stage filtration water bottle system is BPA-free. Whether you're hanging out at home, exploring your own backyard, or traveling in developing countries, the LifeStraw Go water bottle has a 0.2-micron filter which physically removes 99.9999% of all bacteria and 99.9% of all protozoa. Take clean water with you wherever you go so you can stop buying so many plastic water bottles!
Measuring only 2.25 in. in length and weighing less than 2 oz, the Squirt PS4 is small enough to take along on every adventure. The stainless steel body houses a pair of regular pliers, needle-nose pliers, scissors, 3 screwdrivers, wire cutters, replaceable tweezers, a wood/metal file, straight knife and a bottle opener. Just make sure you don't try to carry this on, or TSA will confiscate it!
Petzl has been a household name for climbing and caving gear since the 1970's. This headlamp cranks out 200 lumens with a longer burn time in a more compact form. It has three brightness modes, an adjustable strap, and it glows in the dark so it's easy to find. The Tikka comes with 3 AAA batteries and a five-year warranty.
Made from responsibly sourced 800-fill duck down, the Cotopaxi Sueño weights just 2lbs 13oz and is rated to 15-degrees. This versatile sleeping bag is deal for most climates, including fall, spring, summer and mild winter weather.
An essential piece of travel gear, a dry bag keeps your valuables safe whenever you're near the water. Pack a change of clothes or carry your camera, this lightweight dry bag is durable and comes with a roll-top enclosure.
Lock your zippers to keep your belongings safe, whether you're checking your bag on a plane, riding the train or bus, staying in a shared hostel room, or simply browsing night markets. Works great on lockers, too, if you ever need to stash your bags somewhere for a day. Best of all, this lock is TSA-approved and you don't need to carry a key around with you.
My number one travel accessory! I never travel without earplugs. Whether you're sleeping on the plane, in a loud hostel or hotel, or just need to block out the world for a while, these are an essential travel item.
Check Price: Amazon
If you're going to be near the water, you need a way to keep your electronics and important documents dry. This set of four waterproof bags do everything they're supposed to—and nothing more. Waterproof to 200ft.
Running a travel blog means I have to travel with slightly more/different equipment than most. Weight and size of electronics are big factors, but everything here easily fits into my two bags. What you see below is essentially my mobile office!
If you're interested in my photography equipment, these are the mainstays of my kit. For some extra photography accessories, plugins, and courses, check out my post on the best equipment for travel photography.
The most compact, pro-level travel camera you can buy at a reasonable price point. You won't find a better bang for your buck than the X-T3. For other options, check out this post on the best mirrorless cameras for travel.
The elite “standard zoom” for the Fujifilm series with a fixed f2.8 aperture. It's a pricey lens, but if you're serious about your photography, you'll definitely want this one in your arsenal. Because Fujifilm cameras have a 1.5x crop factor, this lens is equivalent to 24-82mm (similar to the standard 24-70).
Every travel photographer needs a wide angle lens, and this is, without question, the best one available for the Fujifilm X mount. Because Fujifilm cameras have a 1.5x crop factor, this lens is equivalent to 15-36mm (similar to the standard 16-35).
It's not the most fancy, but it's not very expensive, it's compact, light and it gets the job done.
WANDRD PRVKE 21
The WANDRD PRVKE pack is a multi-function backpack designed for photographers but usable by anyone. It has a 3-point access system, a removable cube for your photo gear, and a roll-top opening for maximum versatility.
Pacsafe Camsafe V25
Check Price: Pacsafe