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If you’ve had a look at our guys and girls packing list for Southeast Asia you’ve seen exactly what clothes we’ve brought with us on our 11 month trip, but we thought we’d extend the packing list to show you all the other gadgets and gizmos that are accompanying us for the year. On previous trips we’ve tried to be minimalists, which usually means having to pick up bulky items like toiletries and tupperware along the way. This time we were more strategic with our travel accessories, choosing smartly designed products that have versatile uses. Still, with only 60 liters in Christine’s Gregory Deva backpack and 70 in Jules’ Kathmandu Interloper, we had to narrow down our list of travel gadgets. Here are the ones that made our packing list for Southeast Asia…
Accessories for Southeast Asia
Christine and I always thought that those people you see stuffing their shopping cart at REI full of the latest travel gadgets were just nerds who didn’t know how to survive backpacking. After 4 years of travel, however, we can proudly admit we’ve become those nerds. And we couldn’t be happier about it. Each of these items is designed for and by travelers, making our lives so much easier.
On the Road
Self-Seal Dry Bag – Definitely one item that we’re excited to crack out along our travel. In the past we’ve seen a lot of people travel with them, but never really saw the use. Coming into the rainy season in Southeast Asia, and with lots of canoeing and beach activities, it’s good to have confidence that your electronics and travel gear is protected from the elements.
2 X 2.5L Osprey hydration packs – Kind of like a CamelBak, these water bladders tuck into your backpack, connecting to a mouthpiece for hands free hydration. When temperatures and humidity are always scorching it’s super important to stay hydrated. If not for your health, at least to starve off that killer hangover the next day!
2 X Backpack cover – We’ve never really needed these in the past, but something tells me we’ll get caught out in the rain during this trip. If you’re spending a significant amount of time in the wet season they are invaluable.
Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock – For the secluded beaches and remote countryside locations where you can just string up and kick back. A couple of hammocks were very useful for our last trip through Central America, so we’re saving space with this ultra light and super strong double hammock. Because we didn’t spend enough time together already…
2 X headlamps – Never travel without a decent headlamp. When you’re backpacking around the world you’ll find power isn’t always as reliable as places like the US and Australia. It’s worth investing in a decent one, because the last thing you want to do is be stranded in the dark on some secluded beach. The good brands are all pretty much the same and from personal experience we recommend either Petzl or Black Diamond.
In the Kitchen
2 X Light My Fire 8-Piece BPA-Free Meal Kit 2.0 – We’ve traveled with quite a bit of the Light My Fire gear in the past and have now decided to get the full kit. These are like the tupperware version of those Russian nesting dolls that pack into eachother. Each piece packs into the next making a super transportable kit complete with bowl, cutting board, strainer, utensils and cup! The sporks are pretty decent, but perhaps buy a backup one as we’ve snapped a few here and there along the way.
Rubber pot holders – 400 degree heat redundant, perfect for all those handle-less hostel pots and pans. Although we haven’t found much use for them in Southeast Asia because it’s so cheap to eat out, and most guesthouses haven’t had kitchens.
Korjo pegless clothesline – With nifty little hooks on the end so we can always find a place to hang this line anywhere on the road. Ditch those chunky pegs, you’ll never need another type of clothes line as this will hold everything in place.
20L stuff sack – Just a plain bag that rolls up into basically nothing. Super handy to keep all your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes. You can never have too many bags.
Ultra Compact Quick Dry Travel Towel– The ONLY towel we’d take with us backpacking. Not only do they dry 4 times faster than other backpacking towels, but they are really compact, have high SPF sun protection, contain Silver to combat smelly bacteria growth and they are actually comfortable to use! Other towels stick to you, making you never feel dry, but these are awesome!
Toothbrush sanitizers – a very practical clip on case for our toothbrushes, with built in anti-bacterial substances that keep them fresh and disease free.
Packing cells – Never traveled with them before, wouldn’t travel without them again! Really useful for keeping all of your stuff organized. When you’re on the road for a long time it becomes very tedious packing and unpacking your bags every couple of days. Packing cells definitely help ease the burden by allowing you to organize your stuff into smaller bags, and then just jamming those into your big bag. Problem solved!
Other Travel Accessories and Essentials
Leatherman Skeletool Multitool– Would never leave for a trip without my trusty Leatherman. This multifunctional Skeletool design is light weight and has all the things you need on the road. Knife, pliers, wire cutters, screw driver and of course a bottle opener.
Sewing kit – Better to fix those holes then buy new clothes. I’m a modern day Armani with a needle!
Carabineer clips – Can never have too many. Handy for clipping on shoes, water bottles and all that other stuff.
Electronics for Long Term Travel
Usually we’d travel a lot lighter, but because of all the work we do while traveling we’ve had to take more electronics. Between blogging, freelance work, completing our Masters and our community development work we’ve had to bring along a lot more gear.
Work, Blogging and Study
2 X 13″ Macbook Air – both of us have brought our computers. Usually we’d share one, but between all the things we have to do on the road it’s just so much easier to have a computer each. We’re well and truly committed Apple people and we couldn’t go past the Macbook Air for its lightweight compatibility. Only downsize is storage space, but a simple external hard drive fixes that.
2 X iPhone – While volunteering or working in communities it’s always good to have access to locals via phone to help with planning. Plus they double up with music for those long bus rides we always seem to be a sucker for.
Best Cameras for Travel
With our photography and blogging going to a new level since our last trip we’ve invested a bit of money into some camera upgrades. But you don’t need to be a professional to take advantages of this gear. Granted, the Nikon camera is a litlte more technical for the photography enthusiasts, but the new Sony compacts are sweeping the field in userbility, price and quality!
Sony a6000– with 16-50mm and 55-210mm lenses. Unbelievable camera that is super competitive with most quality DSLR, if not better. And very reasonably priced.
GoPro Hero 4 Black – Hands down our favorite action cam for sports, underwater or general wear and tear situations. Always reliable and the video footage is incredible. Particularly the ability to shoot at 1080 120fps, the GoPro gives you some incredible slow-mo scenes.
Pixter Travel Pack– Pixter makes clip on lenses for smartphones, instantly turning our iPhone into a legit photography machine. The travel pack comes with a wide angle lens and a flexible tripod with bluetooth remote control so you can take selfies with ease. We really love our wide angle lens clip because it allows the phone camera to take in a much wider area (eg. below). Pixter’s lenses are great for people who want to up their travel photography game, without investing in a super fancy camera. For us, its the perfect solution for days when we want to snap photos without lugging around our heavy Sony a7ii.
(The left is shot normally on our iPhone, right is shot with the wide angle Pixter lens)
2 X Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – while we’d choose paper over technology any day back home, this is so much more practical for traveling. Forget lugging around books and chasing down second hand book swaps. It’s super handy to have any book at your fingertips whenever you want it, especially when you’re leisurely swinging in a hammock on that hidden beach in Cambodia.SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Handheld UV Water Purifier – with two sets of rechargeable batteries. Saved us during our last trip through Central America, and wouldn’t travel without one. Drink water from anywhere, without fear of nasties like Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis. Also helps you cut down on plastic bottles that clog up the environment.
Are you packing for a trip soon? What are some of the things at the top of your list? Drop us a comment below, we’d love to know!