Having the correct gear is essential on any adventure.
With years of travel experience this is my list of must have items for any backpacking adventure.
These items have all been travel tested by myself and are things I continue to take on all of my adventures.

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Things I Never Travel Without

The Party Starter

Music is an essential part of backpacking. For me there is nothing better than watching the sunset on a beach with new friends and some cold drinks.

My UE Boom2 kicks more than enough music out for a true party, the battery lasts all night and then some, its lightweight, waterproof and has yet to disappoint me.

Where Can I Put It

This is my best travel hack and carabiners are a daily life saver. I carry at least 6 with me on every trip. I use them for everything. I hang my boots on my backpack, hang snacks on my chestpack, hang clothes, clip my camera to my daypack, practically everything I bring traveling has been clipped to a carabiner.

These are not rated for actual climbing use but they do work great as an impromptu bottle opener.

My Memory Keeper

I've witnessed someone loose all of their photos from their camera's memory card when they put it into a sketchy computer and had no backup. I am extra cautious and have always carried an external hard drive to backup my files.

I actually have 2 of these Silicon Power drives and I have never had an issue from years of use with either one. They are shockproof, rugged proof and waterproof.

I Think She Likes Me

Are you trying to impress someone with your great taste in music? Or finally you have some decent wifi to stream a movie? Don't be that person sharing one set of headphones.

Using a headphone splitter is another one of my travel necessities and a must have to connect on the road.

Stay Charged Up

This is another thing I actually have 2 of. I usually carry a big Anker charger and a smaller version when backpacking. I use the small one for day to day wanderings and the big one for long bus or train rides and overnight camping.

My Anker chargers have been with me from the start of my years of traveling and they still continue to hold an excellent charge. They definitly keep my electronics up and running.

Use Protection

Safety First and help deter thefts by making sure you backpacks are locked when traveling.

I have been on buses where a person is hiding underneath in the bag storage area stealing from luggage. I have also been in crowded areas where someone quickly slips a hand into your backpack and takes off running. Make sure you have a few bag locks to help protect you from thieves.

Gear I Use

Couples Camping

I picked up my MSR Elixir 2p tent in 2017 for a multi-country trip with my girlfriend and it did not disappoint. They do have a newer model for 2018.

This tent is very livable and fit my girlfriend and I comfortably for months of travel. It held up to continuous setup and take down. It also withstood frequent rain and high winds.


Couples Sleeping

I spent hours researching how to camp as a couple, trying to decide if we would want our own sleeping mats or get one to share and I have to say the Exped Hyperlight Duo was perfect for us.

This sleeping mat is very backpacker friendly. Compared to its set up size it packs very small and is super lightweight. It actually packs smaller than my last single person mat! It held up to constant use and has a great split design with two air chambers. We used it with the sheet cover which is essential.

Sleep Comfortably

Honestly the Sea to Summit Traveler is the first nice, expensive, sleeping bag that I have bought and I am more than glad I spent the money to get it for my 2017 adventure.

I did a lot of research trying to find something lightweight that would work not just for myself but for 2 people and this did not disappoint. You are able to unzip it fully and it flattens out to a comforter style, which easily covered my girlfriend and I. Plus it packs ridiculously small.

Leftover Eats

I picked up 2 of these Sea to Summit X-Seal containers to use when camping on my 2017 adventure. I now carry them on every adventure, even if I am not camping.

They are really handy when staying in hostels that have a fridge and a cooking area. Not only can you store leftover food but also fruit and extra street food.

Hike Anywhere

After breaking my foot hiking in 2015 I needed to find a solid pair of boots to take traveling. My Merrell Moab boots have been a literal life saver.

I have continual foot issues and extended walking with my backpack on I need to wear supportive shoes. I get a few looks wandering around tropical towns in these boots but they have saved my foot while hiking and traveling.

Minimalist Style

Before I broke my foot I used to live in minimalist shoes. I wore Walmart aqua socks running and hiking until I came across Vivobarefoot.

These shoes are fantastic. They have great traction and gripping power plus you can still feel the trail under your feet, which is something I like.

Complete Transfer

The Anker SD converter is great for convenience. You can transfer files from an SD or Micro SD card onto your computer via USB port. You can even transfer files from one card to the other without having to save them somewhere else first.

A converter is a handy thing to carry around especially if you share photos with friends. The Ankor is a little bigger than the one I used to use, so if space is key and you want to save a few bucks this IO Gear model is pretty handy and works fine.

Drying Off

It seems like I am drawn to Sea to Summit, but actually this travel towel was my first purchase from them and it has held up for me over the years.

I am slightly over 6 feet tall and the large size covers plenty. I could even get by with a little less fabric but it still packs small and drys quick.

Crisp Images

Of all the various cameras I have used or brought with traveling and not used, because I always feel awkward taking out a large camera in most areas, having the Sony A6000 has been great for me.

It's small enough in size that you don't feel like an out of place tourist when photographing and it has a great sensor that lets you get top notch pictures. I have used mine since it came out but they do now have some newer models the A6300 and A6500.

Shaky Hands

I got this Sirui Tripod for my 2017 adventure and happy with it. It is lightweight enough to carry around and it is not as expensive as a carbon tripod.

It has held up very well. I've submerged it in salt water, covered it in dirt, dropped it, tossed it around and it is still holding strong.

Glass is Key

This was a big ouch for me when I updated my camera system in 2014 but true to what people say good glass matters. This lens has been everything I've needed for a 1 lens only system.

Even though the Zeiss lens costs more than the camera body it sits on I will be able to use it for any future camera updates.

Blow it Clean

I got the Giottos Rocket Blower for my 2017 adventure and it has worked a lot better than my last generic lens blower.

This blower puts out a solid amount of air and gets all that pesky volcano dust away from my lens.

Other Items I Travel With

SD Saver

Most SD cards are now weather resistant but I still keep mine in this waterproof case for extra protection.

I am very cautious with all of my electronic gear and this case keeps me from loosing a card and helps prevent scratches and damage.

Do I Smell

I do a lot of camping when I travel but even if I didn't I would still carry this around. This biodegradable soap works for everything, laundry, dishes, shampoo and even as a body wash.

It is better than using a bar soap, which always seem to stay wet, but you do have to make sure to only use a small amount. It is concentrated and you do not need a lot per use.


I found this gem in Japan during my 2017 trip and will continue to take it with me on every trip from now on.

I use it to store my external hard drive, passport copy, visa photos, important papers like vaccines along with extra camera batteries and small misc items. It really removes a lot of loose stuff from my chestpack.


Not all electricity is created equal and across the world there is a variety of electrical plugs.

This Saunorch adapter is handy, besides being compact, it works with different voltage levels, frequencies and comes with a fuse to protect your devices from any power surges. I've had a laptop fry because of a power surge in Panama, so a little extra protection is always good.

Keep it Safe

You can never have enough locks. This one I use to lock up my stuff when staying in hostel dorms and even for some private room doors.

In most hostels you need a lock with a longer opening to fit some types of lockers. Also the numerical code is a handy time saver, instead of always trying to find your key.

Charge it All

Here is another travel hack item. This works great if your hostel is low on plugs or if you only have one outlet adapter you can still charge multiple items.