Packing For Adventure

Packing is a four letter word to many people. Philosophies of packing really run the gamut, from the bare minimum — tiny backpack, one change of clothes, and a toothbrush — to over the top, with a full suitcase, big carry-on bag, and something for every possible occasion.

My own packing habits have changed some. I admit, I tend to overpack a little more these days. I like to have a few more clothing options, including dresses and nicer-looking outfits. Of course, many of my trips these days are shorter. When I lived out of a backpack for three months in South America, everything had to have its purpose:

That being said, eight years later, I still have and use many of the things you see in that photo above. Of course, the netbook, ipod and camera are all relics these days!

No matter what the adventure, this is the travel gear I don’t leave home without:

Gregory Jade 53L Backpack
Going on a backpacking adventure? My Gregory Jade lasted me many years and six continents. It’s the perfect size — enough space for everything you need without breaking your back.

TravelWise Packing Cube System – Durable 5 Piece Weekender+ Set
Whether you’re living out of a backpack or a suitcase, a packing cube set will keep you from the frustration of searching for what you need. I use them to separate underwear, shirts, pants, and other loose-ends.

Fashionable Camera Bag

Bringing a dSLR with you? I prefer to carry a nice, everyday looking bag instead of an obvious camera bag.

Foldable Day Pack
Chances are you’ll need a day pack for short hikes or day trips. Carrying an extra backpack around can be a huge pain, but with these fold-up backpacks, you can just stuff it into the corner of your bag when you aren’t using it.

Microfiber Travel Towel

If you’re not staying in hotels, you may need to bring your own towel. Microfiber towels are not the nicest feeling towels, but they are light, small and dry quickly.

Wordlock Luggage Lock
It’s a good idea to have a lock to store your things in lockers at hostels, or even just lock your bag when you’re not in your room.

Money Belt
Yes, these look dorky. That’s why you wear it UNDER your clothing. I recommend just wearing it when you’re traveling on night buses or other areas where you want to be able to safely stow your passport, money, phone or SD cards without any worries.

Travel Umbrella

For those unpredictable climates, it’s worth carrying around a tiny travel umbrella in your day bag.

Travel Adapter with USB
Gone are the days when you need to carry around five different adapters for a multi-country trip. Now, one adapter can get you plugged into outlet, and this one also includes two USB ports.

GoPro HERO3+ Silver

I wish they had made GoPro cameras when I did all my traveling in Southeast Asia and South America. I remember buying a bag for my point-and-shoot camera to take it underwater in the Galapagos. GoPros capturing amazing quality images under water, in the rain, and wherever else you think to take them.

Amazon Fire 7 tablet
I used to travel with an iPad Mini, but after it was lost on an airplane, I realized I couldn’t drop that kind of cash again. The Amazon Fire is a bargain replacement for just $50! Download the Overdrive app to borrow library books on your Kindle app. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can stream TV shows and movies. (Of course, you can also download Netflix, Hulu, etc. for more options.)

Waterproof Electronics Case
A great way to keep all your electronics together and make sure they stay dry while you’re hopping between boats or hiking in rainforests.

Sleeping Bag Liner
For those cold nights, or slightly sketchy beds, a sleeping bag liner is a life saver. It rolls up so small, you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it around.

Light My Fire Sporks
If you’re really traveling on a budget, you may find yourself eating a lot of snacks. I know I often find myself eating yogurt when I travel, and having a spoon is pretty important! These sporks are great to keep in your bag for whatever snack you might pick up.

Moleskine – Large, Ruled Journal
A journal is a must on your trip. Moleskine journals are affordable and great quality. I prefer the large, ruled journals for longer journaling and reflections. There’s also an envelope in the back where you can store mementos.

Moleskine – Ruled, Pocket-Size Journals
I love these smaller pocket-sized journals for carrying around with me during the day. They’re great for taking notes, jotting down someone’s contact information or recommendations, and even keeping track of your spending.

Classic TOMS

I have high arches and it is so hard for me to find comfortable shoes. TOMS are my saving grace. They are so comfortable, they look great with everything, and they take up almost no space. They are the perfect travel shoe.

TOMS Sneakers

If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking or hiking, regular TOMS probably won’t cut it. Their sneakers are a sturdier alternative, while still looking nice.

Rainbow Sandals

Nice, leather sandals that conform to your feet. Make sure you break these in before you leave on your trip. Wearing the in the shower a couple times will help them mold to your feet.

Teva Sandals

Tevas are my favorite travel sandals if I’m going to be walking or hiking in sandals. They are comfy, supportive, and look great.

Helly Hansen Women’s Aspire Solli Training Jacket

This jacket is perfect for cool hikes that turn into warm days. It keeps you warm but is also very breathable. It’s also great for plane rides, where you may find yourself freezing one moment and sweating the next.

Alo Women’s Lightweight Jacket

This jacket is a nice, less-expensive alternative to the Aspire jacket. Either one (or both to add a splash of color to your options) will serve as a staple on your trip and are easily stuffed into a purse or backpack when no longer needed.

North Face Microfleece
For those cooler nights and cold climes, a microfleece is a must. It’s lighter and more packable than a coat, but will keep you just as warm. For those really cold times, layer this up over your lighter zip-up jacket.

Rain Shell Jacket

I prefer rain shells to bulky raincoats, as they are smaller, lighter, and will keep you cooler in hotter climates.

Under Armor Women’s Tech V-Neck
Light, plain-colored breathable shirts are ideal for traveling, especially long day hikes. These shirts can also be worn when you’re snorkeling or swimming in cooler waters or more conservative areas.

The North Face Women’s Paramount 2.0 Convertible Pant
OK, they do look a little dorky, but these pants are great for hiking. Especially if you’re going on a multi-day hike, you can pack super light with just this pair. When it gets hot, zip those bottoms off, and then zip those babies back on when it gets cold again.

The North Face Women’s Denali Etip Glove

If you’re going somewhere cold, you’ll need some serious gloves. My hands get especially cold, so I like these North Face gloves because you can double them up over a smaller pair of gloves. Bonus, these gloves have the tech fingertips that allow you to use your phone with the gloves on.