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Tech and Gear

Published:
February 9, 2018

Tech and Gear

The gear you travel with can make the difference between a comfortable trip where you can focus totally on living in the present having epic adventures, or it can be filled with searching for the right power adapter and taking rests every 5 minutes because your backpack is way too big and bulky.
These are the tools I've been traveling with for years. From backpacks to jeans, these are the must have items for your adventure abroad.

Macbook Air 13"

I originally had planned on traveling solely with an Ipad 3 and a wireless keyboard. After realizing how annoying it was to have no mouse for hours on end, I decided to upgrade.
The Macbook air is plenty powerful. Some people prefer the Macbook pro because it’s superior performance, but in reality the thing that will annoy you is going to be the size and weight of the laptop. As a traveler, blogger or even a web designer I would highly recommend the Macbook air for it’s size and performance. You cannot find something this sleek with the same performance anywhere else it the tech world. Also, the metal structure is great for rough backpacking. I chose the STM hardshell protective case to add a little more protection from scratches and slamming my bag down. It’s thin but it does the job. It’s not water proof and that may be an issue for sudden downpours. A large heavy duty ziplock bag will do for waterproofing your laptop on the cheap!
PROS:
*Light
*Thin
*Powerful
*Beautiful resolution screen for looking at all your great pictures and videos
*Metal frame (Still buy a case to keep from scratching/ denting)
*Easy to use and virus free!
CONS:
*Expensive compared to other laptops/tablets
*Target for thieves
*Traveling with ANY laptop can be cumbersome because of extra weight and less room in your pack.

Kelty Redwing 50L backpack

I have used one backpack for all of my travels except the dreaded first trip to France and Spain where I took a suitcase…..After the first day I knew I needed a backpack.
The Kelty Redwing 50L backpack is the single greatest purchase I have made for travel. I did a ton of research on backpacks after my first trip and this was the one. I’ve never regretted it for a second!
PROS:
*Very sturdy with heavy duty zippers and handles
*Easy access side pockets and front pockets (This is much more important than you would think. I keep snacks and a travel umbrella for quick access in the side pockets. If you choose a top loader bag, you will have to dig through all of your clothes to get to everything at the bottom.
*Perfect size. 50L is enough to travel long or short term and it still fits as a carry on.
*Separate section for the undies/laptop/water pack!
*It fits way more than you would think in 50L.
*Plastic frame with padding for long term hiking or trekking (If it’s good enough for an Everest trek, it’s good enough for anything!)
CONS:
*When packed to absolute capacity, it may not fit as a carry on in smaller domestic planes.
*When packed to capacity, the frame and straps may not be enough to take the weight off your shoulders and hips and it can really weigh you down (Which is an issue for most packs).
*The netting on the bottom left and right can tear or allow things to fall out if you don’t strap them in correctly.
I have taken this backpack around the world and never once wished I had a different bag. Stop searching and buy it.

ECCO Whistler GTX mid boot-

From the wet jungles of the Amazon to the snow an ice of Everest and the Himalayas, these boots held their own. I opted for the mid ankle because the low ankle level seemed like it could allow snow, water or mud inside but if you’re not going to be doing serious trekking I would suggest the low ankle because it’s even easier to take on and off in airports. I chose to not go with the high ankle for that specific reason. High boots and airports do not mix! I spent a while wearing high ankle leather boots from Banana Republic because they were sexy as hell and still had a boot sole. After a dozen airports I was over it! The ECCO whistler Mid level boots are comfortable enough to do very serious long term trekking but stylish enough to get into nice places in Europe like the Parisian opera. I hated the way most boots looked. It’s either ugly and comfortable or stylish and not practical or not waterproof. These blend both together nicely.
PROS:
*Waterproof
*Stylish enough to get into nice clubs, restaurants, museums or the opera.
*very comfortable
*Mid level and high ankle support offers great ankle protection
*Light
*Very well built. I don’t know how long these bad boys will last but they show almost no wear and I’ve put them through a lot so far!
CONS:
*Wearing boots while traveling can be a drag due to taking them on and off in airports and wanting to wear different shoes and not being able to fit them in your pack.
*They take about a month to break in

Air lock compression bags-  

These can be a great tool depending on the trip. I have only needed them for one trip, the 3 month around the world trip. Only because I needed to pack things for my Everest climb that Wouldn’t use anywhere else on earth. So I used the medium sized compression sack. Although I have gotten pretty good at packing my backpack, the compression sack got things down to about 1/3 their folded size. When you are dealing with a lot of items, it can be the difference in fitting the one slightly unnecessary item like a fancy collard shirt or a couple extra paris of whitey tighties! After compressing everything, I placed it at the bottom of my backpack where it would stay out of my way.  Don’t get the Large size unless you have a really big backpack or suitcase because they come larger than expected.
PROS:
*You can actually bring that jacket you’d otherwise need to leave at home
*Separates things from the rest of your items
*Waterproof (think electronics or journal)
*Heavy duty
*Easy to use without any vacuums
CONS:
*The sliding zipper can come straight off easily
*They are much bigger than expected which could cause problems fitting in your backpack.
*Everything inside will have 1,000,000 wrinkles
Banana Republic Travelers Jeans–
These are the first “expensive” jeans I’ve ever bought and I am so glad I did. I haven’t washed them in two months and they look and smell like brand new. Which as a traveler is great because you only need to bring one pair of long pants on a long journey which saves room in your pack. They are the softest jeans I’ve ever worn and they are surprisingly stretchy. Almost like yoga pants for men without being  too tight (they do make your butt look pretty good according to my lady friends). I spent $129 at Banana Republic although they consistently have sales that might take up to %40 off.
PROS:
*Crazy soft
*Fairly water repellent
*Well made
*They look great and feel even better
*You don’t need to wash them for long periods of time
CONS:
*$129 can buy you four flights from Dublin to London…
Currently being tested on a 4 month trip around the world:
Go Pro Hero 4 Silver-
Olympus E-M10 Mirrorless camera-
Hip pocket WIFI-

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