Curious about the travel gear I bring with me on my international adventures? I’ve put together this gear page to share my long-term travel packing list. Obviously, I recommend traveling with high-quality, lightweight & durable stuff.
The best travel gear I use may not work for everyone. I carry extra photography equipment to maintain this travel blog, along with camping equipment for trekking up mountains, hitchhiking long distance, or exploring rainforests on my own.
All travelers have different tastes & requirements while on the road. The following gear list is just what I’ve found works best for MY particular “adventure” travel style.
While I often travel on an extreme budget, my gear can be expensive. I want it to be functional, multi-purpose, comfortable, and very tough. I don’t want to keep replacing worn-out equipment every few months while abroad — plus I have a slight obsession with keeping travel gear as lightweight as possible!
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Travel Luggage: Rolling Bag VS Backpack
Ah, the eternal question. Travel backpack, suitcase, or rolling duffel? This is going to come down to personal preference — and what kind of traveling you plan to do.
If you’re riding chicken-buses through Central America or hitchhiking around Africa, you’ll probably want a travel-friendly backpack. If you spend a lot of time in cities or fly frequently, you might prefer a rolling duffel or suitcase.
I started vagabonding around the world with a backpack, but my travel style has changed over the years, where I now find a rolling duffel bag more convenient for most things.
Mainly, due to carrying a lot more photography gear for my work on this travel blog.
My Main Travel Bags
I currently travel with 3 different bags. A rolling duffel as my main bag, a backpack for mountain trekking or wilderness trips, and a carry-on camera backpack.
I usually only need to check one bag, the rolling duffel. The hiking backpack can lie-flat inside it. For bigger trips that require more technical gear (like winter camping), I’ll check both.
North Face Rolling Thunder
My current favorite travel bag with plenty of room, heavy-duty lockable zippers and a waterproof shell. A seperate compartment for hiking boots, and big wheels for dirt roads & cobblestones.
Gregory Zulu 55 Backpack
This lightweight, super comfortable overnight trekking & travel backpack includes full front-zipper access to all my gear. It can lie flat in my roller bag if I don’t need to check both.
Lowepro Whistler Camera Bag
My amazing carry-on camera & laptop backpack. I use this for day hikes with my camera gear, but it has room for things like snacks, water, jacket, full-size tripod, snowboard, ice-axe, etc.
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Basic Travel Gear
This is my basic, standard travel gear that goes with me on every trip. From items that make flights more comfortable to gear that helps me stay organized while traveling.
Filtered Water Bottle
Travel Neck Pillow
Why Not Travel Carry-On Only?
Both my wife & I have traveled carry-on only before, and still do occasionally for short trips. However as I’ve collected more camera gear for the travel photography side of my business, I was forced to check a bag again in order to fill my carry-on with camera gear.
And you know what? After 9 years of regular travel, the airlines have only lost my checked-bag 4 times. In all but one of those cases my bag showed up the next day — it was not a big problem. Losing a bag for a day is not the crisis some travelers pretend it is.
Only once did it take a week to get my bag back. While this particular situation certainly sucked, having this happen once in 9 years, with all the flying I do, does not make it a frequent occurrence.
Checking a bag is not the end of the world… and odds are very high it will be waiting for you at luggage claim.