Getting the right travel gear is a fun but challenging task. It’s challenging in that there are so many choices and so many questions you have to ask yourself. At least that’s what I’ve found so far in researching different gear – looking at all the options is fun, but can also be overwhelming.
Example 1: finding the right shoes. The challenge: What kind of shoes do you bring in a RTW trip to five different continents and over 10 different countries with varying seasons and climates when you can only fit two pairs in your bag? My ultimate answer (after much deliberation): hiking sandals. Given that many of the places that we will be visiting are in warmer weather climates, I wanted to be able to wear a breathable shoe that would prevent my feet from getting super sweaty and stinky when hiking the Amazon jungle or the hills of Thailand. Hence the sandal part. But I obviously also wanted to have a shoe that I will be comfortable walking in for long distances/periods of time. Hence the hiking part. So where does one find such a hybrid shoe?
Well, there are actually tons of different companies that sell tons of different models of a hiking sandal shoe. I went with Keen Footwear because their products were highly recommended by the Matador Network (a source I deem very trustworthy). And after much deliberation and hours of trying on different models (I kid you not, I am a very indecisive shopper, especially with shoes, and doubly especially when I’m by myself), I went with the Newport H2 sandal (see the Matador review here). Functional for adventure trekking, water-resistant, and most importantly, extremely comfortable, these shoes will be perfect for the trip! And if I get cold? I put on socks (despite the dorkiness factor). I’m stoked to put these shoes to the test.
And in addition to the Newports, a slightly nicer pair of flats and some grungy shower flip-flops should do the trick.
Example 2: finding the right bag. Packing will be a challenge in itself, especially given the fact that we’ve got a ton of equipment to bring and we need to be able to carry all of it with us for long periods of time. I know that just on the equipment side, my mom and I will already each be carrying a backpack of the necessary tools. So what about our personal stuff? We ideally want something with wheels, but something that could also go on our backs if we want it too. We ultimately found Eagle Creek’s Switchback Max 25, a beautiful creation of functionality, versatility and overall perfection. If we had a designed a bag to meet our needs, this would have been it. Not only does it have wheels, but it can be turned into a backpack (with a padded hip belt), AND it has a detachable day pack. It’s our dream bag, but it’s also really expensive – so we’ll see how this pans out.
Other items I’ve been looking at: Eagle Creek’s Travel Clutch, an essential for any woman traveler; SmartWool socks, known for their “woolology,” which attributes their temperature regulation, breathability and durability features to the type of wool used; clothing such as nylon pants, micro-fiber underwear and wrinkle-free items that wash and dry fast; and a scarf.
I’ll keep you posted on future gear purchases and planning. And if anyone has any recommendations or advice regarding helpful items, please share them!