Travel Gear List

Considering that I almost never travel with more than 9 kg (19 lbs) of stuff, my complete list of travel gear is probably much smaller than you were expecting :) However, for 12+ years this is all I’ve needed to keep me traveling comfortably and over the past few years, running my internet businesses as well.

If you have any questions about the gear listed below or any other gear that’s not on this list, feel free to send me an email and I’d be more than happy to reply!

Backpacks/Luggage

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack- I traveled with the same Kelty Redwing 2900 backpack for 12 years and when it finally came time to replace it, I simply went with the newest version, the Kelty Redwing 50. It’s intelligently designed, incredibly durable and extremely comfortable to carry, making it the perfect backpack as far as I’m concerned.

Eagle Creek Load Warrior Wheeled Duffel 22 – For those shorter trips when I don’t need to carry anything on my back, this lightweight, 45 liter piece of luggage has been great to have. Plenty of space, plenty of pockets and it’s easy to carry, not to mention that it fits as a carry-on when I’m flying, even when the suitcase if completely full.

REI Flash 18 Daypack – This daypack is tiny when rolled up but when I’m ready to use it, I can easily fit everything I need for a day trip. It’s lightweight, easy to carry, I can open and close it with just one hand and it only costs about $30. Overall, it’s just a brilliant daypack.

Tip: When traveling to certain countries, consider placing your backpack in a potato or rice sack before boarding any long-distance buses or trains. This disguise helps keep potential thieves away from your stuff!

Computer

Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-6651 – This 11.6 inch laptop has blown my old Sony Vaio away in terms of performance, making it my new laptop of choice. For just over $600 US, I ended up with a powerful, amazingly lightweight and portable machine, which is a perfect combination for the world traveler.

UPDATE: I have now made the switch to a Macbook and while I absolutely love my 13.3″ Macbook Pro with Retina Screen, the above Acer computer is still an incredible travel laptop, especially for any traveler who plans to work on the road. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more powerful, user-friendly and fun machine, and you don’t mind shelling out some extra money, the newer series of Macbooks is definitely a great option in my opinion.

WD My Passport External Hard Drive – After a long debate over which hard drive to purchase, I finally went with the My Passport, and I’ve been more than happy with my decision as it has performed exactly as I’ve needed it to. It’s also super-thin and weighs practically nothing.

Tip: When traveling, consider putting pieces of duct tape or even stickers all over the outside of your laptop. This helps make your computer appear less valuable than it really is, which again, keeps potential wrong-doers away from your valuable gear.

Camera

Panasonic Lumix ZS20 Digital Camera – Ah, what can I say about my Lumix ZS20. I absolutely love this camera, as it has been the ideal companion for someone who wants great photos but doesn’t feel the need to spend $1000+. Photo quality is excellent, as is the video quality, there’s a 20x zoom and the camera is slim and light. This amazing thing is capable of turning anyone into a respectable photographer, making it $349 well spent.

XShot Camera Extender – It’s such a simple, yet wonderful, idea. Lightweight and it takes up no space at all, this piece of travel gear instantly allows you to capture photos of yourself with ease and to take shots from angles that otherwise would be impossible. Definitely a very cool, must-have piece of travel gear!

Other Gadgets

Kindle, 6″ E Ink Display, Wi-Fi – This one is easy. One gadget, all the books I could ever want to read. The Kindle saves space, it’s very reasonably priced and one charge lasts for a month at least. I went with the standard Kindle version and I’ve been reading more than ever since I bought this thing.

Telecomsquare Mobile WiFi Router – This is the easiest way to ensure that I am connected to the internet while I travel. I just sign up online, receive my device via mail and then I turn it on once I arrive at my destination, giving me unlimited WiFi as I wander around. And when my trip is over, I just drop the device in a prepaid FedEx envelope and send it back. Too easy.

Google Nexus 5 Unlocked Phone – I spent a long time researching phones and I could not be happier with my final decision. This phone is a blast to use and everything works quite seamlessly. And for the price, it has to be one of the best value Android phones out there.

NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner and Digital Filing System – If you run a mobile business, this thing is more than ideal. I pop every receipt into the tiny scanner & it files it away according to tax category. And just like that all of my expenses are tracked.

Random Items

Crocs Modi Flip Flop – My search for the perfect travel sandal ended once I found these Crocs. Lightweight, comfortable and surprisingly tough, I’m hooked on these things and am now a loyal customer.

Himalaya Healthcare Face Lotion / Neem Face Wash – I’m been a huge fan of this company and these products for over 10 years now. Not only do I use these items quite religiously myself (if you don’t use face wash, give it a shot and you’ll be convinced!), but my family and friends always ask me to buy a variety of Himalaya products for them every time I’m in India. Now it’s all available online and I stock up every time I’m back in the US.

Chandrika Ayurvedic Soap – Ever since I stumbled upon this popular ayurvedic Indian soap on my first trip to India, I make sure to have a bar of it in my backpack at all times. I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but your showers will never be the same once you try this soap. Plus, it’s not tested on animals and consists only of pure vegetable oils.

Moleskine Red Pocket Notebook – I was hesitant at first but it didn’t take long for me to become addicted to carrying around my sleek-looking red Moleskine notebook everywhere I go. It’s great for jotting down all of the random thoughts that enter my head as I wander around the world.

Lenmar AC5 World Travel Adapter Plug Set- As far as universal travel adapters go, this set has now been the most reliable one I’ve ever owned. Instead of one hefty adapter, you get a small set of individual adapters (one for every kind of plug outlet) that easily fit onto your plug and take up almost no space at all.

Sea to Summit Tek Towel – I bought this travel towel last year and it was my first one, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. However, this towel takes up almost no space at all, dries super-quickly and has proven useful more often than I would have imagined. For $20 (for the medium size) it’s worth sticking one of these in your backpack.

66 Responses to Travel Gear List

  1. Robert Balicki says:

    Hi Earl,
    Love the site! I’m about to start traveling indefinitely (leaving tomorrow) and this site has been a tremendously useful resource. I’m wondering – do you bring a laptop bag? Or do you keep your laptop in a sleeve in another bag?

    -Robert

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Robert – I put my laptop in a thick sleeve and just but that into my daypack. That has worked just fine for me over the years.

  2. Khnom says:

    Wow, I did not add up your stuff but seems like several thousand $$$ as well as a load of stuff to lug around on your shoulder. However, you are a very good salesman for what is very difficult to do… that is what you do.
    Why not state how many hours and times you had to pass up a local event or hot spot during traveling so that you could put the 50+ hours a week into your blog and sales?

    You are a hard worker. Your life is not possible for the usual slacker backpacker.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Khnom – You are absolutely right and I mention it quite often on the site that it takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to achieve such a lifestyle. And any kind of slacker who isn’t interested in putting in the effort required, will have a hard time achieving any of their goals in the end.

  3. Ricardo says:

    I will buy my backpack from amazon using your referal, very helpful!!!

    Thank You!

  4. Vini A says:

    Awesome!! Thanks!!

  5. Vini A says:

    How about clothes? Shirts, pants and all that?

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  7. trevor simpson says:

    thanks earl I’ve got my hep a&b shots and just got my typhoid shot. the health clinic is telling me about malaria pills and seem like they’re quite worried about it. but after reading a lot of peoples experiences with them I’m thinking i don’t really want it (especially the side effects of lariam really freaks me out). ill be travelling all over the north rural areas and never use bugspray. I’ve been reading your blog nonstop and this is the best travel material I’ve found even the generic/monotonous rough guide/lonely planet guides pale in comparison of readability and first hand experiences to your blog i just can’t stop. thank you for all your travels ,advice, and shared experiences,(especially the bat eating ha)

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Trevor – Taking malaria pills is a personal decision…some people prefer to take them, others don’t. And I’m happy to hear that you’re finding the blog useful. If you have any other questions, just let me know!

  8. trevor simpson says:

    i am 35 and doing my first international trip so I’m reading blogs and yours is great informative w/links. I’m going to india in the north in january to march and my uncle who has been travelling there for 30 yrs has given me a lot of good advice and a family to stay with the first week and a local contact to help me but is a slightly different traveller than me i think. I’m curious as to what shots you recommend i get in canada before i leave and what do you do for money exchange/debit card/credit card and where do you keep your passport

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Trevor – Shots are a personal choice so it’s really up to you which ones you get. But I can recommend Hepatitis A & B as those are useful no matter where you go in the world. As for money, I just use an ATM card while in India and take out money from the ATMs there as they are all over the place. However, just make sure your bank doesn’t charge you a high transaction fee every time you take out money overseas or else it will become extremely expensive. And I just keep my passport in my room while I am out during the day and then I just keep it in my daypack whenever I’m moving around from destination to destinations.

  9. Taylor says:

    Hi Earl! firstly, might i say, you have truley inspired me and opened my eyes to so many possibilities! ones that i always thought were most likely not even possible because i never even tried to see such possibility in living a life of travel!
    now to my questions:
    do you have travel insurance? or do you find that it is completely unnecessary for the type of travel you do? is it something that is worth investing into?

    also, say i wasn’t lucky enough to score a job on a cruise ship and earn some decent money. do you have any advice when it comes to looking for work overseas? does choosing what country to work in play a major role in this? for example must it be an English speaking country? or not necessarily?
    (sorry, i realize this has nothing to do with this particular blog. but my mind is spewing with questions, but I’m just asking few at a time :) )

    thanks heaps! and i hope your travels are still going strong!

  10. Susan says:

    Hi Earl, I really like your idea about putting ducttape on your lap top to make it look less valuable. One of my big issues is traveling with expensive gear and keeping them safe from damage and theft. I generally just keep everything on me at all times in my backpack. Do you recommend any “theft proof” techniques to keep all your tech items secure?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Susan – I actually do the opposite. I keep my valuable gear in my hotel room at all times and never take it with me out for the day unless I need it. If I have it all on me, the chances of me leaving my bag somewhere or someone noticing my gear and trying to steal it are much higher in my opinion than if I just leave it in my room.

  11. Keith Morgan says:

    What do you think of the battery life on the Lumix? and does it have an external battery that you can get extras for? Is it a problem for you when you are somewhere with no electricity?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Keith – The battery life has been fine for me and you can always buy a backup battery as well, which I have done just in case I am somewhere without electricity.

  12. William says:

    Hey, just to start with, your website has given me the confidence to begin my journey, thank you. I am a middle aged man who has spent a lifetime living the dream, house, car, holidays, grown up family and dog. Earlier this year (2013) I spent two months walking in France and then took in The Camino through northern Spain and now my life is about to change. Being older, with more to lose and more to fear I thought I would start my new life by working abroad (Austria) and get a 5 month contract with a holiday company. basically I am a “seasonaire”, a man with as little responsibility as possible. After that… who knows? Maybe TEFL training then teaching English, maybe a season working in Italy or even a work for food and accommodation exchange website can offer me ‘safer’ travel options. Making the decision to travel is one thing – acting on it is quite another. A little afraid – yes. Going to do it – definitely.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey William – Awesome attitude you have, the kind of attitude that is bound to lead you to success in terms of achieving your goals! Your life is certainly about to change but from what I can tell, you’re headed towards some extremely rewarding life experiences.

  13. elu says:

    Hi Earl,
    I was wondering about the internet portable wifi adapter, does it work from everywhere you want? did you find it reliable and fast?
    best,
    Eli

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Eli – They just released a new version that works in dozens of countries around the world so you just need one device. When I used it, even in India, it worked from almost everywhere, including while on trains in the middle of nowhere and it was decent speed. You are still using a local network operator’s signal so it depends on the reliability of that operator but there were times in India when I had a signal and a friend who had a local USB stick connection couldn’t get online.

  14. Toni says:

    Squeaky Green Solid Shampoo by LUSH

    Link does not work!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Toni – Looks like Amazon has stopped carrying Lush products unfortunately. We’ll try to find a new link to buy.

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  16. Dave says:

    Great list!

    I wish I had found this website when I first started traveling. I’ve been traveling for about 3 years in China now.

    I love your pack-idea. I’m currently using the Duluth Wanderer pack (http://duluthpack.com/wanderer-backpack.html) and a Fire Hose & Leather Duffel (http://www.duluthtrading.com/store/mens/mens-accessories/mens-bags-briefcases/49010.aspx).

  17. Saskia says:

    Hey Earl :)

    I’m curious…How many pairs of clothes do you carry? I made the classic mistake of grabbing a massive travel bag and stuffing it as full as could go. After six months solo traveling it’s a pain to drag around and is hardly inconspicuous at 18kg. Thanks!

  18. Erica bach says:

    Hey earl,
    Love love reading your stuff. Me and my fiancé have been dreaming of traveling the world our whole lives. But wanted to get married first. So step one, we found each other. :) step 2 is getting married! Which we will this October! After that we will be ready to travel! Except we really want to do what you do and have a small income while we are doing it to keep us out there. We’ve saved up but now are wondering what ways we can realistically make some money. Neither of us have degrees but are willing to work! Tour guides, blogging?, etc. just thought I’d get a opinion of any couples you’ve seen. We are 25 years old. Thanks!
    Erica. Texas USA.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Erica – There are many couples out there doing the same thing as I am. A few off the top of my head are NeverEndingVoyage.com, UncorneredMarket.com, ThePlanetD.com. Luckily, there are thousands of ways to earn a little income. The tricky part is being determined enough to face the challenge of getting started. If you can overcome that, anything really is possible!

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  20. J. E. Porter says:

    I’m absolutely in love with your site. It reminds me so much of my travel to countries like Africa and being terrified the first time not knowing what to expect then being surprised at having had a wonderful adventure and eye-opening experiences. I did learn, if anything not to leave home without multiple packs of Kleenex and hand sanitizer. I’m planning to travel in order to learn more about health care in various countries. Did you find a lot of alternative ways of battling common ailments like colds, stomach upset, etc especially among the locals?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey J.E. – Welcome to the site and I am always open to trying out local methods of dealing with certain ailments. The most unique one I found was putting hot cabbage in your socks to deal with frozen feet during an Eastern European winter. Didn’t try that one out though!

  21. Hey dude,
    It was time to get a new digital camera and I didn’t want to spend a ka-gillion dollars. After reading your post I decided to check out the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 and absolutely love it!! When I was home a few weeks ago my parents saw my ZS20 and decided to go get one too. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s a shame you don’t get commissions.

    Now I’ve got to get the hang of my x-shot.
    Safe travels in India!
    Christopher

    • Earl says:

      Hey Christopher – Glad you love this camera as well! And it’s an absolute bargain these days…

      And too bad we didn’t have an XShot while you were paddling us around Lake Bled back in Slovenia. That would have resulted in some good shots for sure :)

  22. France Lessard says:

    Bonjour Earl and Doug, Years ago, I bought a thin silk sheet in Vietnam and transform it as a sleep sack. Easy to do, cheap, takes up little space,very light and dries quickly. Save me many times ;0)

  23. Kaila says:

    Hey Earl,
    What do you do about clothes? And when you first started out, did you just sell everything you owned or put it up in storage? Also, would it be harder for a married couple to travel together regarding finding places to sleep, getting jobs, meals, etc? And one more thing, what if you’re on medications? How do you make sure you keep up with your prescriptions, especially if you get a job like working on a cruise ship? Sorry to bug you! Big fan :)

    • Earl says:

      Hey Kaila – When I first started out I really didn’t have many things. I had just graduated university, I didn’t yet have an apartment of my own and so I had yet to collect anything. All I had were some extra clothes, some books and a box of junk :) As for clothes, I carry what I need and whenever it’s time for new clothes, I just buy them wherever I am. You can find anything you need in any corner of the world these days. As for it being harder for a married couple to travel, that’s definitely not the case. As a couple you can book hostels/guesthouse/hotels and eat in restaurants/cafes just like everyone else :)

      With medications, you can make sure you take enough with you from home for your trip and at the same time, I found out that in many countries, they will accept a prescription from your doctor at home. Your insurance may not cover it but you can always get your medicine. If you were on a cruise ship, you simply would make sure you have enough medications for the duration of your contract or else you can always get a refill whenever the ship is in port somewhere.

      It’s all much easier than most people imagine!!

  24. Halsey says:

    Hey Earl! I’ve just been getting into your blog, and I am blown away by this. I am 19 and psyched to start college after taking a year off to do a NOLS Semester course and travel to Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru! I am hoping to do a 5 year masters program at WPI and then start traveling! This summer, however, I am going to Italy and Holland for 2 weeks each, and I was hoping to test out my packing skills to see how little I can manage to travel with. I see that this page is over, actually exactly, a year old and I was wondering if you have updated the contents of your backpack?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Halsey – Thanks for the comment! And while the page is over a year old, I have updated the content list regularly, any time something changes. So the list is current!

  25. Mark says:

    That scanner looks pretty cool.

  26. Richard says:

    Hi Earl,

    I am planning to travel around the world like you do in less than two years. I will be taking with me a laptop, a smart phone and an eBook reader. I wonder how you make sure that those are not stolen while traveling. In the past, I simply put them in a safe box but I was staying in good hotels where there is always safe boxes. Now I will be staying in cheaper place and I am not sure if I will be able to find safe boxes there. What is the alternative? Do you bring your laptop with you all the time?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Richard – I don’t really worry about that stuff and have never had anything stolen in my 12 years of travel. Usually I just leave my laptop and kindle in my room and if I’m staying in a hostel, I’ll lock them up in the safe that they provide. Other than that, I just leave them on my bed or in my big backpack while I’m out wandering around and I never carry my laptop with me. So far this has worked for me as the world is a much safer place than we imagine :)

  27. William says:

    Hi Earl,
    Beside all this stuff, do you carry important documents? I assume you have your passport but is there anything else as important that you should carry? Another thing, in another post of yours I saw you carry few clothes on the road, do you often find places to wash them or do you just buy new stuff after a while? One last thing, how about a pocket knife, have you had any experience needing one or not at all?

  28. Emily says:

    I just found your blog, and think I’m in love with you. Just sayin’ :D Happy travels!

  29. Kathryn says:

    This is totally something I want to do when I finish college. But I’m curious about how girls go about it? I’m assuming you’ve run into a few nomad girls by now and I’m wondering do they bring around hair and makeup supplies or do they just go without and rough it? :D And what about safety? Is it more dangerous for a woman to be traveling the world than it is a man?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Kathryn – I’ve run into more than a few female nomads! There are plenty out there and I’m quite sure that they don’t worry too much about makeup while on the road :) As for safety, the world is a much safer place than most people imagine, even for solo females. In general, you just need to use the same common sense you use at home while traveling. That’s normally enough to stay away from trouble. Of course, there are some places that are more challenging for women but overall, there’s nothing stopping you from wandering all over this planet as well!

  30. Bill Sherrill says:

    Earl -
    Stumbled upon your site while googling PDC. Love what I’ve read so far – and I think my daughter wants to follow in your footsteps.
    I’ll be going to Italy later this year and have a question about your / the Kensington adaptor – is it both an adaptor and converter or just an adaptor? Many countries – as I’m sure you know – are not 110 / 220 like the US.
    Thanks in advance.
    - Bill

    • Earl says:

      Hey Bill – Thanks for the comment! The Kensington Adaptor is not a converter, just an adaptor. But these days, a converter is really no longer necessary as almost every charger (for laptops, mobile phones, cameras, etc.) is capable of handling the entire range of voltage. For example, if you look at the ‘brick’ on a laptop power cord, you’ll see that it says 110-240 volts. This is the standard these days, thus eliminating the need to lug around a converter.

  31. Doug says:

    Earl,

    Curious to know whether you pack a sleeping bag and/or tent with you at all? Looks like from some of the videos that you have posted on your site that you don’t worry too much on minimizing costs by camping. Do you travel with a sleeping bag/sac? Have there been times where you have had to camp/pitch a tent somewhere? I’m curious because I would love to travel Europe and/or Asia someday and I’m interested in how people do it i.e. do some people camp? stay in hostles? Is it best to at least be on the safe side and bring a sleeping bag just in case?

    Thanks man!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Doug – I actually don’t carry a sleeping bag or a tent, or a sleep sac for that matter. I can only remember a couple of times when I wandered into very remote areas where I wasn’t sure if there would be any places to stay and I had rented a tent/sleeping bag for those particular outings. But apart from that, I’ve never needed anything as there are more than enough hostels, budget hotels, guesthouses and now, couchsurfing.com opportunities in every corner of the world!

  32. Michael says:

    Hi Earl, what jacket(s) do you wear when going to cooler climates?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Michael – I normally carry around just a normal Northface fleece to keep me warm, however, I rarely travel to cold climates :)

  33. Geoff says:

    I have a question about the kennsington travel adaptor
    Is it US electrical converted to UK, european, and other.

    I am looking for a adator that will convert by Australian Power plugs on lap top etc to US, European, UK and other Systems

    • Earl says:

      Hey Geoff – It actually is a complete universal adapter so you can fit in any plug and covert it into any other. So it would work with your Australian plugs as well!

  34. Peanutplus7 says:

    As a newby to your site, I was looking at all the links and the one to your Red Pocket Notebook doesn’t work. Just fyi. Really enjoying reading all the helpful information so far! Hubby and I (& the 6 bambinos) just made a library trip and are planning our “Family Sabbatical” soon and very soon! Btw, my husband has a Kelti backpack and he’s had it since ’87! It still looks great! Will be talkn to ya’ as we plan to leave Texas…

    • Earl says:

      @peanutplus7: Thanks for the heads up about the link…I’ve just fixed it! And that’s good to know that your husband’s backpack has survived for so long, hopefully mine will do that same. I imagine it will as it has taken a beating already and still looks quite good. And definitely send me any other questions you may have as you begin to plan your trip!

  35. Michael says:

    I noticed in this list you have the Sea to Summit DryLite Towel but in your “How Does A Permanent Nomad Pack?” you have listed ’1 “Tek Towel” travel towel (20 x 40 in.)”.’

    Do you currently use the Tek Towel or the DryLite and which do you prefer?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Michael – Sorry about that and thank you for pointing it out! I do use the Tek Towel (not sure why I listed the other one) and have now updated the Travel Gear page and link.

  36. Rebekka says:

    Thanks for the advice! I’m going to Australia soon with little saved, but know that I’ll be okay!

  37. Lider Restrepo says:

    Hi Earl,

    I’ve recently graduated from high school and subsequently dropped out of college. I work day to day saving what I can to one day travel the world much like you. But enough of my story, I’m curious about how you communicate with others. Do you have a cell phone that you carry with at all times or do you use internet resources like Skype and instant messaging formats?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Lider – I do have a cell phone with me but I almost never use it to communicate with family and friends back home. Usually I just jump on skype and make my calls from there. It is by far the easiest method of staying in touch with everyone and these days, you can find an internet connection almost everywhere in the world!

  38. Matt says:

    “Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.” – Douglas Adams

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