I should be recording my podcast right now, but after over a dozen false starts and too many mid-sentence brain-farts, I’ve given up for now, grabbed a bottle of Stella Artois and am moving on to something infinitely easier – writing. And probably a nap. The jet-lag’s still kicking my mind awake in the early hours. The way-too-early hours.
Last week’s travel to Ethiopia and back is still fresh in my mind, so I’m doing a quick review of some of my favourite, and new-favourite, travel gear.
This is the first trip I’ve used my ScottEVest. I packed it in my duffle in case I needed it, and with the intention of using it on the field once I arrived. I got to Addis Ababa, put it on and only took it off to sleep. I loved it. For travel and working, it’s a dream. It’s got enough well placed pockets to keep my money, passport, sunglasses, snacks, boarding passes, Moleskine notebook, pens, and assorted other goodies easily at hand for travelling through airports and in transit. Once working it also holds lens cloths, Hoodman loupe, cf cards, spare batteries, model releases, lens caps and all that other junk you want on hand. The fit is great, it’s very comfortable, and it’s got enough room in it that I know I can load it up with stuff at the airport if the gate agent decides to weight my carry on. It was a little warm for Ethiopia, but that’s not the fault of the vest – it was perfect in the highlands but once we got south to the lowlands I was wishing I had bought the tropical vest instead. Either way, this one will go with me any time I travel in moderate temperatures.
It’s a small thing but one of my must-haves for travel is the Eagle Creek Travel Agent, a bi-fold, zippable organizer for passports, cash, cards, etc. You can find them HERE. I can’t explain why I’m so loyal to this one but it’s gone around the world a couple times now and each time I take it out I think, boy am I glad I have one of these.
In Vietnam this January I bought my second silk bed liner, a simple black silk sleeping sac, for something like $5. You can buy them at MEC or REI for closer to $40. The silk is lighter, more comfortable, and more compressible than the cotton ones. Makes dodgy accomodations a little more endurable.
My PacSafe 85. I can leave anything I want in a vehicle or hotel room with peace of mind. I never travel without it. A really determined thief with the right tools and some time on their hands could still get your stuff, but most theives don’t want to stick around to cut through steel mesh. I own the 55 and the 85, as well as their WrapSafe which stays in my large Stormcase for chaining my stuff to furniture.
My Blundstone 510 boots. These boots are incredible, fit like slippers once they’re broken in, and with a polish at the airport on the way home look brand new. They’ve been all over the world, been beaten to death, and they’re better than ever. The fact that I can kick them off at airport security or the door of a mosque or temple, and pull them back on just as easily makes me never want to look at another pair of lace-up boots or shoes ever again. Is it wierd for one man to love a pair of boot so much?
Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise-cancelling headphones. My wife bought me these for Christmas about 6 years ago and for a while I didn’t travel with them because of the bulk but now I make space for them everytime. The flights are just too long to put up with the drone of the engines. Must be getting old. I’ve worn out the vinyl earcushions once already, replaced them for $40 and aim to get another 6 years out of these babies. Love them.
Other must haves? A couple large bandanas I got from a cooperative in India, my Serengeti sunglasses, earplugs, and still my two favourite carry-on bags, the Think Tank Airport Acceleration 2, and the Urban Disguise 60.Also: a box of matches and some mosquito coils, a 1L Nalgene bottle stuffed with Wethers caramels, a small compass, AA Maglight, and my Leatherman. What’s on your list of favourite, pry-it-from-my-dead-hands travel gear?