What to Pack: Gentlemen Edition – part 2

In part 2 of the Gentlemen Edition packing list, I’ll focus on a variety of miscellaneous items that will come in handy at various times during our travel, as well as my photography gear. For details on clothing and other everyday items have a look at part 1.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

    • Multi-tool: Lots of travel blogs recommend against carrying a multi-tool or knife since it always needs to be checked for flights. However, since we knew we would always be checking a suitcase anyways, this didn’t apply. A good multi-tool comes in handy on so many occasions, and while I’m not using it every day, I’m already glad I packed one. My trusty Leatherman Charge Ti is perfectly suited for the job, so I didn’t even need to go looking very far.
    • Paracord: Similar to the multi-tool, having a bit of string can come in handy on a lot of occasions, primarily for hanging laundry! Paracord is durable and strong enough to last the whole trip, and when it comes in awesome colors such as Apocalypse, you know you’re ready for anything.

      Paracord in Action
  • Laundry Wash Bag: We haven’t used our Scrubba Portable Laundry System yet, but anticipate that this will be really helpful in some of the locations where we won’t have easy access to laundry. Some travel blogs advocate to simply use large ziploc bags, but we wanted something a big sturdier that can handle enough laundry for two people without having to do too many loads.
  • Water filter: Of course, we plan on drinking bottled water in locations where tap water is not safe, but since I already owned a Sawyer Mini portable water filter for hiking purposes, I decided to pack it. It is small and light enough to not be an issue. It is a bit of a “just in case” item which we generally avoided packing, but I figured drinking water would be important enough to warrant it.
  • Power adapters & cords: When traveling the world, dealing with electrical outlets and power adapters is a necessary evil. Besides ensuring that all my devices support the full range of voltages (110-240V) and AC frequencies (50 and 60Hz), the biggest issue are plug shapes and the adapters needed for the outlets. Most of my equipment is chargeable via USB, so my solution here was to buy a USB charging hub that would allow me to plug in multiple devices at once with only a single outlet. This has two advantages: It limits the number of plug adapters i need to carry, and it limits the number of outlets I need (which can sometimes be hard to come by depending on where you’re staying). There are still some devices that I can’t charge via USB (my beard trimmer, for example), but between the USB hub with one universal plug adapter, and one additional adapter for non-USB devices, I should be able to cover all my simultaneous electricity needs.
  • My Kindle: Makes schlepping books A LOT easier than it used to be.
  • Eye Mask & Ear Plugs: I’m a bit of a light sleeper, so these two items were essential for me to pack. I don’t anticipate using them a ton, but they will definitely come in handy on long overnight flights, as well as other locations where a noisy room or flimsy curtain that doesn’t block light get in the way of a good night’s rest.
  • Sleeping bag liner: While we’re not carrying sleeping bags, this is a versatile little blanket that’s very lightweight and compact and can help keep us warm in a pinch. Our itinerary goes through mostly tropical locations, so we didn’t prepare much for cold weather, but we’ll encounter at least a little bit of it in some locations such as at the top Mauna Kea, or New Zealand for example. It can also function as a bed sheet, picnic blanket, or anything else that a blanket can be useful for.
  • First Aid Kit: Similar to the multi-tool, a lot of travel sites recommend not carrying a first aid kit. This came as a surprise to me, and I definitely disagree with their assessment. We’re not doing any back-country hiking and so, yes, most locations will have medical care and pharmacies available. And yes, it takes up a bit of room and weight, and if a serious accident occurs, it won’t be terribly helpful anyways. However, when you do get an injury that needs some care without needing to rush to the emergency room, you really do want that first aid kit handy. You don’t want the hassle of finding a pharmacy or buying band-aids in a foreign language from the corner store while your finger is bleeding all over your clothes. I simply packed my lightweight hiking first aid kit, (which I already owned) and that was it. I hope we won’t need it, but if we do, I know it’s easily accessible.
  • Medications & Supplements: If you have any prescription medications you’ll obviously need to figure out how to get a long enough supply, or how to replenish them while on the road. Luckily, I don’t have to deal with any of those, but my doctor recently recommended I take a Vitamin D supplement, so I needed to pack that. Plastic bottles are a huge pain to carry, so transferring everything to a ziploc will save a ton of space. Make sure you have everything carefully labeled though, especially with prescription medications. I found that often I was able to peel of the label of the bottle and stick on the ziploc bag. Besides the Vitamin D, I also grabbed some Melatonin to help with all the timezone adjustments, and Zinc to help with colds we’re almost guaranteed to pick up on some of our flights.

PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR

Photography is a hobby of mine, so I made the conscious decision to carry around some extra equipment. If you’re traveling and are only taking casual photos, these days most smartphones will be more than up to the task. If you’re a photo enthusiast however, it’s worth considering going beyond the smartphone. Of course this gets complicated because it’s too easy to try to pack too much, or gear that won’t get you the shots you want. Here is what I picked:

  • Google Pixel XL: While this primarily is my phone, it also comes with one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. Bonus. And since the best camera is the one that you have with you, this is the one that I will almost always carry.
  • Sony RX10 III: After our honeymoon safari, I realized that the zoom on compact cameras just doesn’t cut it for really great wildlife shots. Compact cameras do fine with landscapes and people, but when it comes to wildlife they fall far short. I had picked up a pricey compact camera for the safari because I wanted to avoid lugging around a DSLR. The RX100 was a fantastic camera, especially because of the 1″ sensor, but the zoom just fell short. Afterwards, I spent a lot of time weighing pros and cons of various cameras. I wanted something with a good zoom, but didn’t want to lug around a DSLR with multiple lenses. I wanted the biggest image sensor I could get, without the camera becoming unwieldy. After a lot of research I landed on the RX10. What really sold me on it, was the 24-600mm optical zoom. There are some trade offs of course (smaller 2/3″ sensor), but overall this camera had exactly what I was looking for: it has a fantastic zoom, it is compact enough to take for travel, doesn’t require lugging around multiple lenses, it is weather resistant (light rain or dust won’t hurt it), and takes great pictures. It is missing a GPS sensor, and it is a bit heavy due to the zoom lens (1.5kg) but it was the best all around package I found that had the zoom I was looking for, and so far I’m very happy with it.
  • GoPro Hero 5: The GoPro was a Christmas gift from Sally and is a really great addition to my gear. Yes it’s one more item to carry around, but it is very compact, comes with a great wide-angle lens, and is fully waterproof – making it the only way for me to capture swimming and snorkeling shots (And there will be a lot of that on this trip!).

And just a few auxiliary items:

  • Tripod: I do plan on doing some night-time and stargazing shooting, so a tripod was essential to include despite it’s bulk and weight. Albeit a bit pricey, the MeFOTO Roadtrip Air was the best all around solution I found. I also already owned a mini-tripod which is really easy to keep with the camera case, and will do in a pinch, when I didn’t anticipate needing the full-size tripod.
  • GoPro Gear: Just the basics to get the most out of the GoPro: Camera stick, clamp and dive case for added protection (bonus: comes with a blue light underwater filter).
  • Batteries and Chargers: I also bought an additional battery pack with chargers for both cameras. I simply take too many photos and videos to get by on the lone battery that comes with the camera.

That’s it! This seems like a long list, and along with all my clothes it seems hard to believe that all this fit into two carry-on sized pieces of luggage, but it did! And at a total of just under 50 lbs (22.7kg). Of course, we’ll keep updating our lists with what we learn from actually traveling, and any additional tips if it’s warranted.

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