Favorite Backpacking Gear?

Before every single on of my backpacking trips, I’ve gone and visited REI here in Seattle for a few new pieces of travel gear. 6 years after my first trip, here are my all time favorite pieces of travel gear:

  1. Amazon Kindle – I purchased my Kindle prior to departing for Europe last spring following the advice of Andrew Mattie (the other co-founder of Oh Hey World). Best purchase ever. 100 times better than carrying heavy books around and trying to find quality English books abroad.
  2. My REI backpack – I used my sister’s backpack for my first few trips abroad, but happy to now have a backpack to call my own.
  3. Macbook Air – What an AWESOME laptop for traveling. Small, lightweight, and a Mac. What more could you ask for?
  4. Polartec tshirts – especially in hot and humid climates (like Ghana), these are a must.
  5. Keens – where would I be without my keens? No clue. Best shoes I’ve ever owned, hands-down.

What are your favorite pieces of backpacking gear?

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Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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  • Pretty cool post Drew. It caught my eye when I saw the title, and was definitely interested in seeing what you posted. Packing up a backpack is one of the biggest challenges. I’ve got to say though, the stuff you mention is definitely flashy, more flashpacker style :)
    -I agree with the backpack, I think choosing the right size backpack is key for your trip. I think you really need to decide what you want it for. Are you going for a 6 month trip or for 3 weeks? How much do you actually need to carry? My backpack can change size fairly easily, but the security on it isn’t great, there are more buckles than zippers, which makes it harder to lock up.
    -iphone. A lot of places have free wifi now, so instead of lugging around a laptop, I a compact phone can get me access to most things. I also found on my last trip that you can get international text plans for like $10. It’s pretty nice being able to text friends.
    -switchblade/knife. At first I never thought I would really use it, I bought it more for a novelty, but I have used a knife for almost everything: instead of scissors, as a butter knife, cutting open watermelons. You name it, the switchblade was great.
    -money belt. Although I feel kind of lame wearing it, I think it’s a great thing to have if you are traveling to sketchy areas. I’ve had my wallet stolen from my back pocket, but the moneybelt is always an extra layer of protection.
    -Adapter. It’s definitely worth getting a good adapter. If you are going for a long trip and are in the same place, a converter is even better, but they are pretty big and heavy. Getting a good adapter is clutch because I don’t know how many times I’ve blown a fuse on an appliance because of a bad converter.