Never leave these 5 things at home
- Is there anyone I can ask about the best travel accessories?
- Tim! Ask Tim! That dude has climbed Kilimanjaro with native people and rescued animals on Madagascar. ”
- Yeah, sure. Never mind, I’ll just google it…
- Hey, Tim! Come here! We were just talking about you…
- Oh, God…
So, regardless of what we believed about his stories, we asked Tim’s opinion about the accessories we should bring with ourselves for backpacking and other wild adventures.
Most of his stories were pretty shocking, but we didn’t mind. We just grabbed a notebook and took notes only about the interesting part: the best travel accessories according to a globe-trotter, who has rescued animals on Madagascar, climbed Kilimanjaro with natives and prayed with monks in Tibet.
The greatest story ever told (by Tim)
Imagine you are standing on Amalfi Coast, balancing with an enormous backpack that’s stuffed with everything you think you’ll need for a journey like this. You’ve been preparing for this since long ago: walking on steep coasts while admiring magical small bays, narrow rocks and fabulous canyons. You wander around in muggy small towns, in which you can smell the scent of the centuries. You drink a cup of coffee at the square next to Amalfi dome. You cram your belly with a good lunch in Atrani, at the Piazza. You sit down on the ruins of the ancient Roman villa in Positano and the only thing you think about is the legacy of the past.
Then, later on your journey, suddenly a small bay appears. It has a narrow, sandy beach, and you see maybe 7 or 8 young girls wearing bikinis, swimming and sunbathing. At first you don’t believe your eyes, but then you notice some people in the distance, who are packing some camera accessories in a truck. My god, these girls are supermodels who have just finished with a photo shooting session on the beach! What should you do now? Normally you would just take on your swim shorts and join them, but then you notice that you don’t have any with you. You’re not that type. Okay, then at least you should just take some photos of the scene with your compact camera, else your friends wouldn’t believe your story. You start doing this, and as you are sneaking closer to the girls, they notice you, and tell you to join them. They just smile over your problem: “You don’t need no swim shorts for this!”
You take some more photos with the girls, drop your backpack and your camera in the sand, and spend the best afternoon of your life in that hidden bay. You only notice on the next day that you left your camera on the beach. Nobody believes you at home, and the story fades.
Except, two years later you get a letter with a short message and your SD card included. Someone found your camera, but it didn’t work anymore. However, he hopes you’ll be glad about your photos. Your wife receives the package, only one week after your return from a mysterious business trip in France, Europe. That’s embarrassing. How will you explain this?
Bottom line: Never leave your bathing shorts at home!
#1: Sleeping bag, pillow and blanket
As Tim says: “Sleeping and getting some rest is a must!”
Whether you go camping or backpacking, a comfy sleeping bag, a soft pillow and a foldable but big blanket should always be essential parts of your package. If you set higher standards, you can also buy travel sheets. Ideally they are made of washable silk and provide extra comfort and warmth, even if you get to sleep in a bed instead of a sleeping bag. Maybe this is the most expensive part of the pack. You can get a sleeping bag with a pillow and a blanket for about 50-100 bucks. The most important part here is that it should be as compact as possible. The less space it takes up, the happier you’ll be when it comes to packing and carrying. It’s also a big advantage if they’re waterproof.
#2: Survival kit
Things that can help you out in any kind of situation and don’t take up as much space. Tim made a checklist for us:
- raincoat (or poncho)
- bag (in which you can carry your money, ID cards and other small necessities)
- USB travel adapter (which supports electrical outlet sockets of most countries)
- earphones (for listening to music)
- sun protector hat
If you choose your bag wisely, you will be able to pack all of the above in it, except the USB adapter. We will get to that in the next point.
#3: Electronic organizer
You might think this is some kind of masculine stuff, but it’s not. Everyone could make use of it.
You can pack your small, but important electronic gadgets into the electronic organizer, for example:
- SD card, USB drive
- chargers and cables
- USB adapter
- A well-designed organizer protects all these accessories. Everything can be held in place with the help of mesh zippered pockets and elastic straps. It’s also waterproof, and it fits even into a notebook case.
#4: Compression socks
You might think this is a bit feminine, but it’s not. Yeah, maybe they’re flashy and colorful to be more appealing to women, but that’s not the point of these socks. They are comfortable, provide more support and make your legs feel less tired after long periods of sitting or standing.
Keeping your feet warm is not the only benefit of compression socks. They also improve blood circulation, and by this they can reduce the risk of blood clots.
#5: The best hiking backpack you can buy
So what would you pack all this stuff into? You’ll need a hiking backpack that’s comfortable to wear and provides enough space for your stuff. No matter what your destination is (Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, whatever), a good hiking backpack endures normal hiking and extreme all-day hikes in the wilderness. However, we should note here that conventional hiking backpacks might not be the best choice for traveling by bus, train or airplane, because you can only pack them from the top. Similarly, if you want to go hiking, you wouldn’t want to carry a backpack designed for traveling.
Ideal travel backpacks zip open like a normal suitcase, don’t have shoulder straps and hip belt nor suspension system, but it’s easy to pack them and provide a lot of space. On the contrary, hiking backpacks are covered with all sorts of straps, they are long and narrow, and you can only pack them from the top.
And then of course there are the fancy ones, which we wouldn’t take outside, despite they were designed for that. Our favorite is the Energy-Pro Power Backpack. This one could serve as a good solution for people who just can’t live without technology. Techies are able to charge up to 3 devices at the same time with the help of a built-in lithium-ion battery, while its 12 inner pockets and built-in cables serve as a perfect home for all the different accessories.
+1: Best GoPro accessories
So, which 3 of these are the best?
- EVO GP Handheld Gimbal is a powered three-axis stabilizer which keeps the camera steady to shoot silky smooth videos. Of course you should only use it if you have a free hand. You don’t want to risk the gimbal, as it costs $280.
- A waterproof selfie stick, like the Polar Pro PowerGrip H2O. Because adventurous people are not afraid of getting wet and are prepared for taking some cool photos of a shark when it gets close. The PowerGrip H2O has two extendable arms, a 450 lumen light source, and you can even charge your GoPro underwater for your maximum convenience. Smart stuff, isn’t it?
- An action video light, like the Knog Qudos. This powerful tool with three XB-D CREE LEDs will provide sufficient light in lowlight shooting conditions. It’s waterproof and weighs only 150g, so… yeah, it’s lightweight.
So, 5+1. Is that all? What about all the other gadgets? Sleep bracelet, portable hair styling products for the ladies, portable fitness solutions, or the white noise machine, which will help you fall asleep?
“Just throw them into the trash before leaving.”
Of course for Tim it’s easy to speak. He was only talking about the really essential stuff.
If you keep these travel accessories in mind and don’t leave them at home, then you probably won’t get into awkward situations, and gaining new experiences will be the only thing you’ll have to focus on.