Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack
This is the best backpack I could imagine. I don’t foresee ever switching. It more than holds everything I need, yet still fits into all carry-on spaces. I just recently squeezed it under the seat of a minibus where everyone else had to have their belongings tied to the roof. I also feel like due to it’s smaller size, you’re slightly more inconspicuous as a backpacker. Even packed full I can walk long distances (kilometers and kilometers) without ever feeling like it is especially heavy. Favorite item, for sure.
Sea to Summit Quick Dry Towel
I decided to try a different brand than whatever I had used on the Birthright trip. Not because I had been unsatisfied, just to see the difference. I do like the snap loop on this one, which is endlessly useful for drying it or keeping it out of the way when showering. It also has survived two months without washing in Southeast Asia without smelling, which, puts it a level above the Birthright one, which started smelling after like a week.
Terra Vista Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
First of all, their customer service is some of the best I’ve encountered in my entire life. On that alone it’s worth the price. But the actual product is superb as well. It was such an awesomely luxurious item to have throughout southeast Asia. Despite the high price tag, I am definitely satisfied and would recommend the investment.
Lifesaver Water Bottle
Back on US soil I was not excited about this giant contraption. But as I’ve been traveling with it, I’ve come to appreciate it. The downside is that, despite its large size, it doesn’t hold that much water. But it’s been well worth it. I figure I refill it a few times a day, saving myself at least $1/day. My trip is 92 days, so it has almost paid for itself. I’m sure I’ll start taking it on hikes once I get back home, too. I’m definitely a fan of having drinkable water without contributing to the plastic bottle industry. Yeah, I’ve saved $90+, but the amount of bottles I have refrained from using is well over 200.
Olympus TG-3 (tough) Camera
I have three qualifications for any camera I am willing to use, and especially travel with:
1. Has to fit in my pocket.
2. Has to be able to handle rough wear.
3. Has to be inconspicuous.
I refuse to carry around a bag for my camera. I like having pockets and that’s it. I don’t want to be constantly worried about it getting scratched or wet or dropped or smooshed. I’m very careful with my belongings, but I just don’t need that extra stress. And finally, I don’t want something that’s going to paint a target on me for thieves. I’d much rather have a small, tough camera that looks not-especially-expensive. This one does all of the above, and I’ve been really happy with it. I wanted to take it scuba diving, but figured I should probably focus on actually diving since it was my first time. Seeing as it survived taking a dive off a waterfall, I’d say it’s worth its salt.
Apple World Adapter Kit
I use this kit for all of my charging needs. So all I take is my USB plug, the country adapters (didn’t actually need them for southeast Asia), and the USB cable for my iPhone/iPod and camera.
Aladdin Collapsible Spill-Proof Bowl
I’ve never really heard of anyone traveling with something like this before, but I’ve found it really useful. I like to buy meals before long bus or train journeys and throw them in this. It’s nice to not have to rely on marked up tourist stops. And you can choose whatever you want. I tend to buy my favorite meal I had in each particular place and savor it one last time. Also, note: it is perfectly leak proof. Kudos.
I’ve gritted my teeth at smartphones ever since they started popping up. But now I probably wouldn’t travel without one. Previously I had just used my iPod touch and connected to wifi, and that’s fine. But it’s so useful to have a full on smartphone with Internet available anywhere. It’ll be an especially useful tool for future hitchhiking ventures. Getting local SIM cards seems so intimidating until you actually do it. But in reality it’s so simple and not worth stressing about. Also, you can get a month long data plans in most of southeast Asia at least for under $10. That said, if I couldn’t take an iPhone with me, I’m still totally comfortable taking just and iPod or something similar that works solely on wifi. It’s okay. There are plenty of cafes and hotels with wifi.