TRAVEL // Pack Your Bags :: Part 3 – Other Gear

This week in the travel series I’m gonna talk through pieces of gear outside our typical camera gear that has been helpful for me.  So let’s jump into it.

Gaffers tape: This stuff works wonders. I think my good friend Austin Mann takes the cake on the amount of creative uses he’s come up with for gaffers tape.  Be sure and read his guest blog post on Scott Kelby’s site here for a top 10 list.  One time Austin and I taped a piece of rope to a roll of 12′ white seamless to hoist it to his balcony on the 8th floor because it wouldn’t fit in the stairwell or elevator.  But that’s beside the point.  Nevertheless the tape is strong, durable, you can reapply it, and most of the time it won’t leave a nasty residue.  There are tons of uses I’ve found for it this year and I am so glad I brought it.  Austin also taught me a little trick that I have to give him credit for, and that is to roll the tape around a piece of a pencil or something small like that; this creates a small tight roll and take up a lot less space than the roll it comes on.

Water Filters/Tablets: There are a lot of options out there to purify your water.  You can have iodine drops or tablets to clean it.  You can get those laser pens that purify it.  There are filter systems.  And there is good ol’ fashioned boiling the water.  I typically take a sleeve of iodine tablets or a bottle of drops.  I also have a backpackers water filtration kit I’ve had for a few years from backpacking and it works good as well.  There are pro’s and con’s to all methods and I would suggest you do some reading on each method.  Just make sure you can filter the water you have if you get to a spot where you can get clean water.  The amazing thing is you can get bottled water just about anywhere these days.  I will usually always carry a nalgene or water bottle with me on my trips even with bottled water being so prevelant.  The reason is that if I end up in a bush village and have to purify my water… I can store it.  For more information visit some great articles here and here and here.

GPS: I absolutely love my GPS.  I use a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx.  It is great.  You can buy all sorts of maps for it from garmin.  You can make waypoints of places you visit,   get barometric and altimeter readings, track yourself so you can follow that route back in.  This has come in handy many times.  I used this when on a boat ride in rural Zambia going through a bunch of channel ways through reeds and on the way out the driver took the wrong route.  I was watching my GPS and waited for awhile in case he new a different route.  When it became evident he was lost I was able to navigate our way out.  It has tons of other features that are great.  If you go to Africa much, I would highly recommend purchasing Tracks-4-Africa maps.  They are a third party map-making company based in South Africa and their maps provided incredible amounts of detail in all 8 African countries I visited this year.

Medicine: Along with taking whatever medicine you might be required or advised to take for a certain location like malaria medication, I would suggest getting a prescription of a general antibiotic and one that is geared for upper respiratory and one for your GI tract.  I’m not a doctor so I won’t suggest specific drugs.  I will tell you that I got pretty sick a couple times on this trip.  Meds that I found helpful were Cipro, Augmenten, and Flagyntil. But these were after consulting a doctor.  Please seek your doctors council before you go out and get meds.

Along with taking medicine… Know that you can get a lot of medicine in other parts of the world.  I’ve done it several times.  Sure you might worry if it’s the real deal or not.  But the 2-3 times I’ve done it just this year, I’ve had no problems.  Most of the time, depending where you are, they are cheaper than in the west.  And a lot of time you don’t need a prescription either.

I would also suggest doing some research and study on the common travel bugs you can get.  Learn the common symptoms of each and methods of treatment.  If you can access a doctor, by all means, do.  But sometimes that’s not possible and you need to treat yourself.

SIM cards & phone: I’ll do a whole post specifically on communication while traveling where I’ll address in detail methods of communication.  But I’ll say here that I would invest in a cheap GSM worldphone (phone that is unlocked and not tied to a network provider) and take it with you.  SIM cards in most third world and developing countries are less than $5.

Dry Sacks: great to have a few for extremely wet areas

550 Cord: This is small strong cord, I’ve used it for numerous things.  It’s gets its name because the test weight is 550lbs.

International plugs: Goes without saying you need these.  Also look into a multiplug that works on both 110 and 220.  Never fun when your hotel room only has one outlet and you need to charge a bunch of stuff.  Multiplugs come in real handy.

Car inverter: great little way to get things charged if you are on the road a lot.

Battery connector to cigarette lighter: So I’m not sure what the technical term is for this. But you can buy a cable that has car battery connections on one end and a cigarette lighter on the other.  This is a great little tool especially along with an inverter if you are going to be in the bush for awhile.

Headlamp & flashlight: super important.

Remember… be prepared.  Take the items you need for your trip.  But don’t take more than you need, not everything you want.  Remember travel light as mush as you can help it.

I wanted to highlight just a few things.  For all the other items… Visit my full list here and shoot me an email or leave a comment below if you have any questions.