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Wow, last week I received a notification stating this blog has just turned 6! I’m completely stunned, how has time gone by this fast? I swear just yesterday I was standing in the aisles of my local REI trying to figure out which backpack would be the best for my trip to Spain. Now, 6 years, 3 jobs, and 30 countries later I still have that same exact pack accompanying me on my adventures. To honor this fun (abet scary) anniversary I have decided to talk about a few of my favorite things. My backpacking must haves.
- My beloved backpack : Osprey Porter 46
This is honestly my absolute favorite item I own. At last count 3 of my friends/family have purchased (and loved) the Osprey poster 46. I sometimes think about buying two more of these bags just in case, god forbid, they decided to stop making the pack. I love the size. You can use the straps to turn the bag into a small enough bag to fit under an airplane sit and yet somehow also manage to fit 4 months of clothes and souvenirs. I love the convertibility; wear it as a backpack or tuck all the straps in and carry it like a duffel. It honestly is like magic. I love the front entry and the top pocket. There’s a secret pocket in the lining in the inside pocket that’s also fabulous. I bring this pack everywhere with me and its still in great condition. However, if it wasn’t and I needed to have something repaired all I would only have to contact Osprey and they would fix it for free! Gah it’s just so great.Note: I don’t care what the reviews say it’s absolutely 100% a carry on bag. I think once in the literal 100’s of flights I’ve taken have I ever had to check it.
2. Pack it Cubes: Eagle Creek cubes
These babies are wonderful! Whether I am taking my sweet time and nicely following/rolling my clothes, or I have 5 minutes to pack everything and run out the door, the pack-it cubes help me stay organized. These also have been with my these past 6 years. They look a little worse of the wear (thank you tweezers that cut like a knife) but they are still completely functional. I have the following sizes (2) large (1) medium and (1) small. I keep my tops in one extra large, my bottoms in the other, my under garments in the medium size and my electronics in the small. Now, side note, my 20 year old self thought it would be fun to color coordinate all the pack it cubes.While I still really like the color I wish I would have gotten different colored cubes. Different colored cubes would make it so much easier for me to quickly grab the right bag. At the moment I currently have to open each of the big ones to figure out what’s inside. Note: I would recommend getting the set of 3 and then buying one extra of the big size in a different color. Saves money and at the same time helps you organize.
3. Stuff back pack: Sea to Summit Ultra Sli Travel Day Pack Whenever I travel I only ever bring carry on. Two bags, my beloved Osprey porter 46 and my camera bag. This means that whenever I want to walk about town or do some exploring and NOT bring my camera I need a bag. My solution to this problem has been a sea to summit pack able backpack. This pack is big enough to hold my 13 in Microsoft surface laptop, go pro, canon 7d, a coat, and my journal, AND packs down to just under the size of my fist. As much as I have enjoyed this pack however, I have recently had some pack envy of my mom’s stuff backpack. She got hers on a crowdfund for a company called Arkadia Supply Co. I love that while her pack fits down into the size of my fist (slightly larger than the ski to summit pack) the pack has multiple zippers, TWO water bottle slots and a detachable fanny pack. I will probably purchase this version.(Note: the Arkadia is significantly more expensive than the ski to submit – $35 vs $80- as a life long traveler I’m going to take the hit and invest in the bag, if you’re not sure how much traveling you want to do then I would probably recommend going with the cheaper version first)
4. Camera Bag: Thinktank Retrospective 7 (v.2) Ok yall, I’m a bit hesitant to put this on the list but seeing as I still use (and mostly love) it after 6 years together I couldn’t keep it off. I first bought this bag when I was shooting with a Canon Rebel T3i, two stock lens’s, a gopro 3, and a ipad. For all that hardware this bag was perfect. Exactly the right size to function both as a camera bag AND my personal item while on the plane. I love the tiny little side pockets which I honestly didn’t know what to do with as first and now use to story spare tissue and plastic bags (Pro tip: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS save any extra tissue or toilet paper you may get, you never know when you’re going to need it). The front pocket was great for my journal and a book. I also loved the sling style meaning I didn’t need to wear a backpack on the front like a kangaroo. Now however I have upgraded all of my hardware and find the bag is too small for what I need. I currently travel with a Canon 7d (although I’m lowkey thinking about switching to mirrorless) 3 lens’s, a gopro 7 black, and a Microsoft surface laptop. This gear is not only substantially bigger, but also heavier making the front carry of this big a challenge. However until I decided what I’m going to do about the camera I’ll stay with this bag. Note: They now have a newer line to this bag that looks greatly improved upon. I put the link for that bag because it’s the most updated while I have the 1.0 version
5. Odds and ends
When I first started traveling I spent hours looking at different posts trying to have the perfectly packed pack. It wasn’t until I become more experienced that I realized there is no universal perfect pack. What you pack and how you pack it is largely dependent on you and what you like. That beginning said here is a collection of random stuff I always pack.
- Stuffable neck pillow: planes, trains, cars, buses, even boats. I attach it to the outside of my bag and away I go. While this is definitely the best one I’ve found so far when this one gets lost (I’m on my forth neck pillow) I think I’m going to try the ones that are semi foam, semi inflatable. *shrug* who knows.
- Towel: I’m still searching for the perfect travel towel. Like yours? Share it with me in the comments. I currently use Pack towel Lux Large and it’s alright but nothing fantastic.
- Lock: I have gone through my fair share of locks and think I’ve finally found a keeper. At the very minimum I recommend getting one with a flexible hook. Often times hostel lockers are unreliable in how tightly they shut and you need to do some maneuvering to get the lock to fit.
- Toiletry bag: I have just recently switched from a standard roll out bag with three separate compartments to one with one main compartment and two size zippers, 2 weeks into using it I like it a lot more than the traditional type, although you might want to ask me again in a year or two.
- Little carabiners: These little guys are amazing. I use them from everything to attaching my stuff sack backpack and stuff-able neck pillow to opening my beer. At the moment I have 2 basic small ones and one that clips on both sides and doubles as a bottle opener. #productive
- Rain fly for my Osprey Porter: I know, I know you’re sick of hearing how amazingly awesome my pack is but suck it up loser you’ll have to hear about it at least one more time (during this post). Seeing as I love my bag so much I invested in a rain fly to cover it. This turned out to be a great investment for basically anytime I travel. I use it when traveling on buses, trains, BOATS, ect. I’m actually due for a new one because the last one got trashed and then lost.
As always if you have any questions/comments/concerns let me know! Also if you have any suggestions on travel towels OR an opinion on mirror vs mirrorless cameras let me know