My 2017 Gear List

Updated June 7, 2017

Welcome to my new and updated gear list.

I put together the original gear list in preparation for my year long trip around the world in 2012/2013. 

I haven't stopped traveling since then, but as I have continued to live out of carry on luggage over the years I’ve been making little tweaks here and there to better suit my lifestyle (you can see my 2016 gear list here) .

My lifestyle morphed from backpacker who stays in hostels to a Digital Nomad lifestyle.

This means my gear shifted to be more suited for looking nicer in a city setting, where working in cafes, going out for dinners and grabbing beers is more common than mountain treks.

Nevertheless, I still travel out of carry-on luggage. I’m carrying more everyday clothing, instead of gear to protect me from the elements. There’s still a focus on high quality, long lasting gear, but the purpose has slightly shifted to fit a different lifestyle.

Currently, I carry enough clothing for a week, and when I’m staying somewhere for longer periods of time I’ll pick up new (cheaper) shirts to give my wardrobe some variation, and then get rid of unnecessary clothing when I hit the road again.

What to Expect in This Gear List

This updated version will show you what I carry now, as well as some tips and things I learned along the way after all the time I have spent traveling long term, as minimally as possible.

As I said, you’ll notice much less cold weather gear compared to the original gear list. If I need cold weather gear I plan on either buying what I need or renting from an outdoor gear shop.

One of the major things I learned from traveling and from numerous discussions on the road with other travelers about their gear choices is: everyone’s different.

People have different interests and travel styles and this manifests itself in the types of gear they choose to bring on their trip.

However, everyone agrees on one thing:

It’s terrible to lug around unnecessary items while you travel.

My advice has always been to pack less. A good metric to shoot for is to keep your luggage to carry-on only.

What follows is the gear and organization working for me and my travel style. It’s a versatile set-up for how minimal it is and it allows me to experience many different activities comfortably.

Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.

Bruce Lee                  

This updated list is organized as follows (you can use these links to jump to whatever section is interesting to you):

Hopefully this helps you if you’re getting ready for a trip or if you’re mulling the idea of long term travel over.

If you have any questions or are looking for advice on your travels, feel free to contact me and I’ll help you the best I can.

Also, if this gear list helped you at all, I'd love if you left me a testimonial! It's super easy, just click here (as a thank you I'll share a gif that always brings a smile to my face).

My Irreplaceable Gear  

When people ask for gear recommendations these are the items I find myself always recommending and the items I get the most positive feedback about.

If you have any travelers in your life, everything in this section makes a great gift. 

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief

Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs RTW Gear List

My Rating:

These are still the only undies I wear

I own 7 pairs. 

They are form fitting, don’t ride up and have a pee-hole.

If you’ve been traveling for a while and haven’t washed them, my go-to-advanced-move was to fill a sink with water and soap, hand wash them, roll them up in my towel like a burrito and then sit on it for a few minutes to dry and they were good to go.

Seriously the best undies I’ve ever owned.

Kikkerland Universal Travel Adapter

2017 Gear List Kikkerland UL03-A Universal Travel Adapter

My Rating:

One of the best designed adapters I've ever seen, and I've had it since 2012.

Every other multi-country adapter is MASSIVE.

This one lies flat so it's easy to pack away during transport, but THEN when you arrive...

It can transform (look out for this bad boy in the next transformers movie) to fit any plug, so you can use it in any country you're traveling in. 

A must have for any international traveler.

Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask

Gear list Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask

My Rating:

This eye mask has been with me since 2012. I don't use it very often, but when it's needed, boy does it come in handy. 

I lost the earplugs and the bag it came in disintegrated pretty much immediately, but the mask itself works amazing. It blocks out a great amount of light and because it’s contoured you can blink your eyes without interference.

Eagle Creek Undercover Neck Wallet

Gear List Eagle Creek Undercover Neck Wallet

My Rating:

This bad boy has been with me since 2012.

When I'm being extra cautious or in transit I wear this strapped around my waist under my pants (can also be wore around the neck under your shirt).

It carries my passports, immunization documentation, extra cash not needed for the day, ID, credit cards, etc.

Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

Gear List Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks

My Rating:

I bought five pairs of these socks in 2014 and haven't had to spend money on another pair.

That doesn't mean these socks don't wear out, because they do. I find each pair will last about a year...

However! They come with a lifetime warranty.

So at the end of the year I'll send my worn out socks in and they will send me all new pairs.

This is enough awesomeness in itself, but the socks are also extremely comfortable, thick and well made.​

Icebreaker Men's Tech V-Neck Shirt

Gear List Icebreaker Mens Tech Short Sleeve V-neck

My Rating:

This is my go to shirt since 2012. I carry three of them and replace them when they get old.

They are made of Merino Wool so they are odor resistant and quick drying, which is why I recommend them so highly.

In my original gear list I only had 2 everyday shirts. While this lasted me the year, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I also carry 4 “throw away” shirts. I update these every 6 months. This allows me to give my wardrobe some variety and it’s easier to keep things fresh.

20oz Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle

Gear List Klean Kanteen Insulated Water Bottle

My Rating:

This is another piece of gear I've had since 2012.

Many people say it's unnecessary, but because it's insulated it keeps things ice cold for 24 hours and steaming hot for 6 hours.

When you're traveling full time. Sometimes it's the little things that can really make all the difference...

For me, that includes taking a drink of ice cold water after scootering through the sweltering heat of Bali all day or having steamy tea on an frigid London walking tour.  

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Planning on Camping or Hosteling?

Depending on your travel style you can easily get away without the following items, however, if you plan on doing a lot of camping or staying in hostels, these will be your new besties.

I swap them in and out of my gear depending on what I think my year will look like. For example, as of this update I'm traveling the US and living in a van, so these come in EXTREMELY handy.

Kiva Travel Gear Clothesline

Gear List Kiva Travel Gear Clothesline

My Rating:

The clothesline is made out of braided surgical tubing so you can stretch it to accommodate all kinds of living situations.

Because it’s braided, you can separate the braid and stick your clothes in to hang without clothes pins.

It's well made and comes in super handy when you need to hang dry clothing (which most travel clothing requires) while camping.​

Packtowl Ultralite Towel XL

Gear List Packtowl Ultralite Soft Texture Towel XL

My Rating:

I've had this same towel since 2012.

It's extremely compact (folds to the size of a large notecard), absorbs a ton of water and dries extremely fast.

The main complaint I hear from people is it's not fluffy like a normal towel. I don't mind at all, but if you're someone who does, look for something different.

Fenix E12 130-Lumen Flashlight

Gear List Fenix Flashlight E12 130 Lumen

My Rating:

I don't use this very often as I have the light on my phone, but choose to keep this around for emergencies.

It's extremely small (a bit bigger than a AA battery), puts out a ton of light and only needs one AA battery to power it.

Back to the Table of Contents

New (and Noteworthy) Gear

Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag 15"

Gear List Peak Design Everyday Messenger

My Rating:

So I've finally gotten rid of my reusable grocery bag as my side bag and stepped it (way) up to this bad boy.

I bought it because I wanted a more organized bag I could fit all of my work & photography stuff in as I do a lot of my working outside of the apartment and in local cafes.

I also purchased the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip and their Camera Strap for Mirrorless Cameras because I travel with a camera. They are awesome additions to any photographers gear (with or without the bag to go with them).

The thought, workmanship and design that went into this bag has absolutely blown me away. The following video showcases all of this much better than I can:  

Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

Gear List Sony a7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera, Body Only

My Rating:

One of my favorite activities while I travel has become photography because of how much it forces me to explore new cities looking for good shots.

I can't tell you how many times I've found something I wouldn't have found if I wasn't intentionally exploring with a camera in my hand. 

I finally outgrew my Nikon D5200 and decided to make a huge upgrade to this beast. Check out my Instagram if you want to see photos it takes. ​

It doesn't come with a lens, so I picked up this wide angle lens because I take a lot of landscape shots:​ Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens

This camera body and lens is EXPENSIVE and I wouldn't recommend it for your first camera. If you're looking to get into higher end photography I'd recommend either of these two setups:

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm and 55-210mm Power Zoom Lenses

Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR with 4 lenses, an auto power flash, a UV Filter Kit, 24GB memory card and more accessories.

Dell XPS 13.3" Laptop

Gear List Dell XPS 13.3 Laptop

My Rating:

I work from my computer full time (often needing process heavy software like Photoshop and Premier pro) while I travel so I need something powerful, portable and price conscious.  

This laptop hits all three.

It weights just over 2.5 pounds and is .6 inches thick. It runs Windows 10 Pro and has a 7th Generation Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD for a fraction of the price you'd have to pay for the Apple equivalent. 

Lululemon 5 Year Basic V Shirt

Gear List Lululemon 5 Year Basic V

My Rating:

I have friends that rave about Lululemon and so when I saw they came out with a v-neck I had to try it out.

It's less expensive than the Icebreaker shirt I have above but it's not holding up as I would have expected.

Everything is starting to stretch out, which is a bummer because I like the way it feels and fit when I purchased it. We'll see how it holds up for the rest of the year. ​

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The Rest

Miscellaneous Gear

Moleskine Classic Large Plain Notebook

Gear List Moleskine Classic Large Plain Notebook

This notebook is unreasonably expensive (otherwise it would get 5 stars). BUT! It's still the only notebook I'll buy for my daily journaling (one of the best habits I've ever created for myself).

I use it to track where I am, what I’m eating, how much I’m spending and highlights from the day. I also use it to keep track of travel recommendations, flight information, directions, etc.

Most say you can use your phone for this. However, I like the feeling of the physical pages, but more importantly, I don’t like to take out my phone in sketchy places to look for directions, which could signal to a potential thief I have something to steal

My Rating:

Pilot G2 Retractable, Ultra-Fine Point, Black Pens

Gear List Moleskine Classic Large Plain Notebook

As you travel you’re going to need to write something down.

Directions, restaurants, adventures or customs forms (don't be that person filling out your form to the side of the line while it grows longer and longer).

It’s a pain to always be looking for a writing instrument.

I keep a daily journal, so I write every day. I like precision and writing small, which is why the ultra-fine (0.38mm) has been my go to. I go through about 6 pens per year so I buy them by the box.

My Rating:

Decoy Wallet

Gear List Black Trifold Decoy Wallet

You can use any wallet for this.

The idea here is to carry something that looks real, but if you get robbed or pick-pocketed, you don’t lose much.

Fill the wallet with old hotel keycards, business cards, etc. and then put 10 one dollar bills and no more than $50 dollars worth of the local currency.

This gives you easy access to daily cash, so you don’t have to get it from a hidden money-belt and is a great decoy in case you are robbed you have something to give your assailants. 

Note: You can make your own or buy one from Decoy Wallet. You can read this guest post by Chris, the founder of the company, on how he used kickstarter to start this business to fund his travels.

My Rating:

Fitbit Charge 2 Fitness Wristband

Gear List Fitbit Charge 2

I use the Fitbit to track my steps throughout the day to help me better track my diet.

It’s also great for tracking sleep and it’s fun to see how far you walk while exploring during a trip.

My Rating:

Seagate Backup Plus 4TB External Hard Drive

Gear List Seagate 4tb External HDD

I take a lot of high resolution photos so having an external HDD is essential to keep all of them.

This one is slim enough that I can fit it in my money belt if I’m in a sketchy area and worried about keeping all of my photo memories safe.

I also have a backup in the cloud using Backblaze, which is unlimited cloud backup for $5/month.

My Rating:

Apple iPhone 6s 64 GB Unlocked Cellphone

Gear List iPhone 6s 64gb Unlocked

It’s very important for me to have a way to connect to the internet. It allows me to do research on a new area before showing up, stay in contact with friends/family back home (and new friends I meet on the road) and book places to stay. I also use it for my alarm, flashlight and as a going-out/quick camera when I don’t want to bring out my nice camera.

Whether you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop, it doesn’t matter, but I think you should have at least one while you’re traveling for extended periods.

The unlocked version allows me to get a new SIM card in any country so I can use the phone without WI-FI. I HIGHLY recommend this option if you’re a frequent traveler.

My Rating:

Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod

Gear List Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod

This tripod is nice to have if you’re traveling solo. You can set it up by wrapping it around trees, poles or just setting it on the ground and it’s much smaller than a traditional tripod.

However, I'll probably be getting rid of it pretty soon as it doesn't work with the bag setup I have above, which means if I want to use the tripod I have to do a lot of screwing and unscrewing to get the new plates in.

My Rating:


Nike Men's Tech Fleece Shorts

Gear List Nike Men's Tech Fleece Shorts

These are my go-to pants if I'm having one of those days where I don't feel like leaving the apartment or if I'm going on an outdoor adventure. 

They are longer than normal shorts and the back pocket comes with a zipper, which is key in big cities. ​

My Rating:

Mizzen + Main Hampton Blue Check Dress Shirt

Gear List - Mizzen and Main Hampton Blue Check Dress Shirt

Having at least one nice shirt with a collar comes in handy from time to time and I've been really digging the ones by Mizzen + Main.

This thing NEVER gets wrinkled so it never needs to be ironed or taken to the dry cleaners. It's made from a lightweight athletic style material so it dries quickly and doesn't get all sweaty.

Don't know how they do it, but this is an awesome dress shirt for traveling.  ​

My Rating:

Mizzen + Main Performance Henleys

Gear List - Mizzen and Main Performance Henley

After how much I enjoyed the dress shirt I decided to try some more of Mizzen and Main's stuff. Their henleys are stylish and I like the way they fit. However, they are made out of different material so they don't dry as quickly as the dress shirts. 

Even though it's different material, they also NEVER get wrinkled and are still super breathable. 

I have two of them and will likely get a third soon. 

My Rating:

Mizzen + Main Performance Chino

Gear List - Mizzen and Main Owens Gray Chino

This is my second pair of these as the first pair got a hole in them rather quickly. Too quickly.

However, I sent Mizzen and Main a picture of the hole and they sent me a replacement pair for free.

Besides that, these pants are great. They have the best fit and are quick drying and breathable. They also don’t need to be ironed or dry cleaned—a travelers dream!

Also, these pants require professional hemming, so keep that in mind. It means you get a pair of pants that fit perfectly, but require extra time to get them that way.

My Rating:

Icebreaker Men's Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hood

Gear List - Icebreaker Men's Quantum Long Sleeve Zip Hoodie

Right now I'm still traveling with the Icebreaker Men's Rover Long Sleeve Hoodie. However, Icebreaker has discontinued this model and updated it to the "Quantum" hoodie.

This hoodie is all I carry for cold weather gear. It’s perfect for those early morning or late night outings when it gets chilly. It’s made from Merino Wool, so I’ll even wear it when it’s hot outside instead of putting on sunscreen, which is nice when you’re in a country where sunscreen is hard to find (and ultra-expensive).

The hood makes it great for sleeping in public. I’ll put it on backwards and pull the hood up over my face. Since it’s ultra-breathable I never feel like I’m suffocating.

My Rating:

Icebreaker Men's Strike 5-Inch Running Shorts

Gear List - Icebreaker Men's Strike 5-Inch Running Shorts

Fitness has become a priority for me so it's important for me to have a pair of workout/running shorts.

There's nothing too special about these and any running shorts will do if you're looking for something to workout in while you're traveling.​

My Rating:

Arc’Teryx Spiro Cap

Gear List Arc’Teryx Spiro Cap

A hat is right on the brink of needed and not. 

But, if you do a lot of hiking and outdoor activities it’s a must. This my friends is the dad hat of dad's hats.

The back unrolls for full ear and neck protection, which is huge if you are fair-skinned like I am and don’t want to deal with sunscreen all the time.

It also dries quickly and can fold up without damaging the brim.

My Rating:

Fossil Men's Reversible Belt

Gear List Fossil Men's Reversible Belt

Brown and black belt in one. Not the highest quality of belt but it does the trick for what’s needed.

My Rating:

Under Armour Micro G Engage Running Shoe

Gear List Under Armour Micro G Engage

I still haven't found the perfect combination of dress shoe and active shoe. So for now I travel with two pairs of shoes. 

I have grey dress pants, which is why I picked these. However, most of the time I wear these with the Nike pants above or when I'm working out. ​

My Rating:

Custom Made Dress Shoes

Gear List Under Armour Micro G Engage

​You don't really need dress shoes if you're doing more backpack style traveling, but as I work while traveling I find myself in more situations where I want something nicer than sneakers. 

Unfortunately for you I had these custom made for me while I was in Mexico by Goodbye Folk so you won't be able to buy a pair if you want the same ones.

You'll just have to take a trip to Mexico City or pick a different pair from their website if you like their style.

My Rating:


Lulu Lemon Sojourn Backpack

Gear List - Lulu Lemon Sojourn Backpack

This Lulu Lemon bag is 26L, and has some features I like: a rain cover, top and back access to main compartment, and a separate bottom pocket for better organization.

What I don't like about it is that it doesn't have a hidden water bottle holder and the straps on the back are made to hold a yoga mat and are poorly designed to hold anything else. 

​Note: Lululemon has discontinued production for this bag. You can still find them on Amazon though. However, I wouldn't highly recommend this bag (I've only given it a 3 star rating. I'd recommend the Tom Bihn Smart Alec (previous bag) and also the Minnal Daily Bag, which is what I'll probably be getting next. 

My Rating:


Tom Bihn 3D Clear Organizer (Liquids)

Gear List - Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube

​I've had this since 2012 so it's super well made and durable. However it's $32, which seems a bit excessive for a toiletry pouch, which is why I've only given it 3.5 stars. 

This Carries: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, sunscreen, toothpaste, cologne and eye drops

My Rating:

RuMe Reveal Quart (Non-Liquids)

Gear List - RuMe Reveal Quart

This was actually a gift and it has worked out really well. The bag is super durable (I've had it for over a year now).

In it I carry all of my non-liquid toiletries: toothbrush, floss, razor, nail clippers, first aid/sewing kid, Nyquil, Imodium AD, Motrin, Claritin, Excedrin, deodorant, comb and hair pomade.

My Rating:

Humangear Gotoob 2oz. Travel Bottle

Gear List - GoToob 2oz Travel Bottle

Yes, these are $18 travel bottles...

Before I used some $2 bottles I found at a camping store. However, after a few years of refilling they were becoming quite gunky (especially the toothpaste one) as I couldn't really clean them out because the openings were so small.

These ones have a wide opening so I can keep them clean and are well made so I don't see myself ever having to buy replacements. They are nice, but you don't really need them. ​

My Rating:

Tom Bihn Padded Organizer Pouch (Small)

Gear List - Tom Bihn Padded Organizer Pouch (Small)

I've had this since the beginning and it's a great and durable pouch.

I use it to store my external HDD.

My Rating:

Tom Bihn Clear Organizer Pouch (Small & Medium)

Gear List - Tom Bihn Clear Organizer Pouch

I've had these since the beginning and they are great for organization.

The small holds: Kikkerland travel adapter, Sony battery charger, iPhone charging cable, USB Drive and Fitbit charger.

The medium pouch holds: copy of passport, driver’s license, extra pens and other travel documents.

My Rating:

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