Mike’s Words Below
I tend to be a gear nerd. Which isn’t to say that I travel with a ton of gear, but rather that I take great pains to shop and buy the right gear (right for me anyway).
Here are just a few things I pack on every single trip – the few items that I just can’t live without.
Timbuk2 “Patrol” Laptop Backpack
This mid-sized bag fits everything I need for a weekend trip or a month in Europe. It’s pure minimalist and forces me to constantly evaluate what I take with me.
The dedicated laptop sleeve has plenty of built-in padding so I never need to worry about it while on the road. The capacity is large enough to fit several changes of clothing, all my toiletries, DSLR camera with a couple of lenses and … everything else I might need.
This one’s no surprise to most travelers. Putting aside the actual “phone” functionality, this is one of the most useful gadgets I travel with.
It’s my alarm clock, notepad, point-and-shoot camera, MP3 player, emergency flashlight, portable scanner (for maps, business cards, documents, etc.), time-waster (for Angry Birds marathons and what-not), digital file storage (the Dropbox app has been a godsend for storing copies of my passport, frequent flier cards) and a whole lot more.
Carabiners have come in handy more times than I can count and I now carry a couple with me all the time. They’re great for hooking my backpack on the inside of bathroom stalls (the coat hooks typically found in public restrooms are not nearly sturdy enough to hold the weight of a full pack), crafting a makeshift laundry line to dry clothes, hooking my backpack to my camera bag if need be (to make carrying both easier) … I could go on.
Nylon Stuff Sacks
The Sea to Summit siliconized stuff sacks are perfect multi-purpose travel accessories. They weigh next to nothing, are super strong and water-resistant. They’re great for keeping all of my socks together, throwing a damp bathing suit in, or packing a towel.
Panasonic DMC-GF1 DSLR Camera
I picked this up last year and now wonder how I ever lived without it. With the attached 20mm “pancake” lens, it’s not much larger than a standard point-and-shoot but the image quality is far superior. Plus, it takes HD video. I can’t say enough good things about it.
More about Mike
Vagabondish editor, Mike Richard, lives in Rhode Island – a spit of land in the northeastern U.S. He is a professional web designer and traveler with a self-described unhealthy addiction to backpacking, camping, hiking and seeing the world. He enjoys knit hats, small declarative sentences and speaking in the third person.
Best Travel Credit Cards
Top offers from our partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
100,000 bonus points
The Platinum Card®
100,000 bonus points
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 bonus points