I would have forgotten about my promise to post this in November if it wasn't for, well, everyone else very tactfully reminding me that I said I'd do it. The timing works, though. My bag is packed for a two month trip that will bring me to thirteen countries by plane, train, car, ship, and even bicycle. I'll be traveling with friends and solo, and will be staying with friends, in hotels, and in AirBnbs. Weather will range from warm and sunny to snowy. In other words-- I'm packed for everything.
Despite being ready for whatever, my bag is extremely light. I keep flirting with my arbitrary ten pound goal, but never quite make it. Last time I checked I was at ten pounds and four ounces. Having such a small and light bag is what enables me to move quickly with minimal preparation. It's critical that I can comfortably carry everything with me in any situation. Even if I have a full day in a city with no hotel, I shouldn't be limited in activity.
If you're new to my gear post, every year I post a full inventory of the items I carry on the road. I've been doing this consistently for eight years and have influenced most other nomads who post gear posts. I'm always trying to strike the perfect balance between agility, preparedness, and adaptability. It's not enough to have everything and to be able to carry it, my gear must be able to span short trips, long trips, formal trips, casual trips, cold trips, and warm trips.
This year I am going to talk a little bit more about how I make gear decisions and provide some alternate choices where they make sense. As I've traveled more and seen investments in expensive gear pay off, I'm more willing to spend lots of money on gear I know will last. However, if you're on a budget or just don't travel as much, you might not get as much utility from the gear as I do. I'm also making an effort to use gear than anyone can buy (unlike the mythical Versace Wool Jeans of years past that are impossible to find). I believe that there is only one item this year that is impossible to get, and one more that requires a trip to Japan.
Most years I remark that when it comes time to write the gear post, I worry that nothing has changed. This year, as I begin to write the post, I feel like almost everything has changed. I think this year will be an exciting one for most people who anticipate this post.
This year I received more free products than ever before. I generally only accept products that I would buy myself (the pants manufacturer this year contacted me out of the blue a week before I planned on buying their exact pants), and I don't write about products I don't love. I would always rather pay for a better product than settle for a free suboptimal one. At the same time, I often get to know the people who run these companies and end up liking them, which may unconsciously bias me a bit. I also really like supporting small companies like Wool and Prince that are single-mindedly focused on making one particular item perfect.
This post is one of very few posts per year on which I earn money. Some or all of the links will be affiliate links. My general policy is to link to Amazon if possible, or to the manufacturer if not. I do this because it's not possible to always hunt down the best price on everything, and because Amazon is generally one of the least expensive retailers.
Despite the fact that I make money when you buy things, I wouldn't encourage you to go out and buy new gear every time I write one of these posts. I hope to be able to give you a couple ideas on items that will make your travels easier and better, but if you bought something I recommended last year, it's probably still good enough to use this year. I go through gear faster than most people because reviewing it is my hobby and I don't have to pay for all of it.
The gear post is coming this week. I'm really excited to share some of the gear I've found over this past year!
Photo is some sea ice from a plane. Didn't want to post any gear pictures and ruin the surprise.
I used to have a bit of an obsession with Zero Halliburton luggage. Look familiar? That's because bad guys in all the movies use the briefcases to hold their money and bombs. Over the years I kept buying these things, and usually traveled with a huge 26" suitcase as well as a matching computer case.
I still really like my Zero Halliburton suitcases, but they're somewhat unweildy. Two day trips don't require a hectare of packing real estate.
Plus, there was the allure of the carry-on only passenger. I never really understood how it worked before. How do people carry everything in such small suitcases? Is it really that much more convenient? What's so bad about checking bags? I was curious.
not mentioned since I now have a more permanent means of expressing myself: * while I was living with the boy-friend (much later, I split from--verbally abusive), I sensed God giving me a dream to not only help me out, but ultimately help a great number of other folks. This dream was a 2-parter: the 1st--shoot a lot of photos with my (then) Minolta Srt101 film camera, post those photos on-line for people to buy. Part 2--from the profits of those photos, I would create a foundation to begin funding a homeless shelter & services better than what's in my community currently--the one I feel I'm led to begin will be strictly Christian policies firmly in place. No one will be turned away, unless the shelter full. Additionally, the message of the Gospel will be shared, gently to those who are in need or to those who are curious There will no ramrodding Jesus Christ's message of everlasting life to anyone who comes through the doors of this shelter or of its services. Then, that went down the the proverbial toilet, when I broke up with b.f--losing everything I owned because of the infestation of 3 species of bugs, I was instructed not to bring anything to my new 'digs'. I thought for certain that 2-part dream was gone, forever!!! Of course, if the Lord God is the one inspires to do something and circumstancesseem to waylay that something, it "don't mean diddly squat", because the Lord is, by far bigger than any circumstance. * I, then, received my 2nd camera--a Minolta X-700 film camera! The camera was already loaded with 2-year-old film. I got as well a package of film and a bag.