Equipment, Gear, and Things I Never Leave Home Without…

The question of gear and equipment always is a hot topic among travellers and photographers, professional and amateur alike. How light or heavy does the next person pack?! What is their preferred brands?! At Travellers Playground, the thought is that you carry what you pack…NO complaints, regardless of how heavy of a packer you are!

In today’s digital age, I carry with me a a copy of my most personal of documents that I might need access to in the occasion my wallet and/or passport is stolen. Being able to prove identity when items are lost or stolen is very important. These papers include but are not limited too:

  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Flight, Hotel & Transportation Details (often needed for landing cards).
  • List of emergency contacts at home and abroad.

Equipment

Everyone has their own thoughts on camera’s, and what type and size camera you travel with, will be specific to you and your personality. I never leave home without my DSLR, but, it doesn’t mean I don’t also shoot with point & shoots as well as with my phone.

Nikon D700 Camera: Nikon D700

Nikkor 24-70mm Lenses: AF-S NIKKOR, 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikkor 70-300mm Lenses: AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
Nikkor 70-300mm Tripod: Jessop’s brand, TP 220, and it’s light weight, doesn’t have a quick release, however, it does the job until the budget allows something better.
MacBookPro Laptop: MacBook Pro
I do not favor Mac’s over PC’s, I am a cross platform girl, but out of all of my PC’s & laptops, the MacBook Pro is currently the best I own to travel with.
External Hard Drive Backup: 500GB Seagate Passport Drive & external hard case
As internet isn’t always an option, I always make sure I have an extra data backup.
Generally I carry two external drives. One always stays with me.
iPhone Communications: iPhone 5. The unlocked version is great for popping in pay as you go sim cards along the way.

Gear

Pack

Pack: Eagle Creek Switchback Max 25
I love this pack. It’s a backpack when I need it to be and a roller bag when I prefer not to carry it. I own the check size, not the carry on size. This bag also includes a detachable day pack, which is great for checking as a single bag, but even better to be able to lighten my load and redistribute the weight when I don’t want to lug my heavy messenger bag around.

Bag

Camera Bag: Tenba Messenger Bag

This camera bag has a removable insert for the camera section so the bag can easily be used for other purposes. It has a pocket for my laptop and enough storage space for all my chargers and plugs.

Bag

Camera Bag: f-stop Tilopa BC camera backpack

This camera bag has a removable insert for the camera section so the bag can easily be used for other purposes. It has a pocket for my laptop and enough storage space for all my chargers and plugs. Plus has plenty of space for carry on items.

wrap

Padding: Tenba Wraps
These guys are awesome. I own two 16″ wraps for my camera and lenses for extra protection when needed!

leatherman

Tools: Leatherman 831207 Style CS Clip-On Multi-Tool with Scissors
I always need scissors for some reason, and this cool gadget also has a nail file, tweezers, knife and bottle opener. Don’t try and take it in your carry on! It normally lives in my first aid kit.

Compression Bags

Compression Bags: Most people don’t realize how much space is being taken up by there clothes. You have have twice as much space in your bag by compressing your clothes. Keep in mind… it doesn’t make the bag any lighter!

XL Ziploc Bags

Large Ziploc Big Bags: I have always travelled with what I thought was a large ziploc bag… you know, the freezer size. It’s great for putting my wallet or phone into when I am on a boat. Well believe it or not, they sell supersized bags, large, x-large and even xx-large! I have one that my whole camera bag can fit into just incase it starts pouring. I use them as laundry bags, dry bags, compression bags. They take up almost no space to travel with and aren’t so stupid expensive that it I loose one, or it wears down, I can always replace it easily!

MSR Towel Pack

MSR Towel Pack: I generally travel with my own towel, even though I usually stay places that supply them. These are great because they hold so much water and dry so quickly!

Door Stop

Door/Window stop: If travelling alone, especially as a female, it’s advisable to bring a doorstop. Although I have never felt the need to use it to keep a door closed, I have used it plenty of times to keep windows open at night while sleeping. It’s small and doesn’t take up a lot of space.

What I pack

Clothes:
In general, I don’t like to look ragged, even if often my style is sort of mismatched! I am not that big into graphic t’s and a sweatshirt tied around my waste. I don’t always agree with re-wearing the same shirt 3 days in a row and ‘people won’t care because you’re a traveller’. I find I always feel better, when I look better, it gives a better impression, and since I am surrounded by people I don’t know, I would hate to leave a negative impression… why do I care, well I don’t in the fashion sense, but I would like to take something positive out of my experience with these strangers and in return, leave something positive.

Depending on how long I am travelling for and where I am travelling too will always alter what I bring. I tend to pack 4x what I need when I go away for 2-3 days. When I go away for 2-3 weeks, I tend to pack half as many clothes. Some people get away with 3 pairs of underwear for weeks of travel, personally I prefer about 5-6 pairs, as I don’t prefer to do the washing that often! If you are travelling for more then a few days, find out about laundry options. Detergent can be purchased in single sink load sizes, perfect for a few t-shirts, several pairs or underwear and some sox. All of my underwear are quick-dry. I have learned to love the concept of quick dry clothes. From underwear to sox to my t-shirts and trousers, I highly recommend investing if you plan to pack light and be on the road for an extended period of time!

I feel like most people generally bring less, the more often they travel. To tell someone who is on her first ever big vacation to London, to pack in a carry on size suitcase, when she usually packs her trunk full for a weekend in NYC with the girls… well, your wasting your breath! I have never been the biggest fan of carrying a pack on my back, although I have occasionally but I tend to opt for the roller suitcase, which is why I like my eagle creek, best of both worlds! Just keep in mind, that you need to carry (whatever shape or form that might come in) everything you decide to bring.

Shoes:
This gets a special section. Some people always wear sneakers, some always wear sandals or flip flops, some always wear heels. I have been all of these people at least once in my life. I have marched around Europe & the US in 3″ high heeled, knee high boots. Europeans & American’s wear them everyday, my philosophy, “why shouldn’t I when I am in their cities?” However, I strongly recommend not to wear them unless your feet are accustomed to walking long distances in them on a daily basis. When I wore those heels around London, I was living in London and commuting 3-5 miles on foot a day, so when I jetted off to Italy, Germany and Slovenia… I had not intention of buying different shoes. However when I went to Spain this past fall, all I had been wearing the last few years since I have had a desk job is flip flops, so that’s what I packed! The only time I have ever purchased shoes just for a trip where my timberland boots I purchased for Iceland. Shoes are about comfort. Blisters are not comfort! Also keep in mind shoes will vary depending on the temperature you are travelling too.

Time:
Battery operated travel alarm clock or a watch alarm. My alarm clock is about the size of a deck of cards and has 4 preset buttons for different time locations. Sports watches also tend to be great, one’s with alarms. However, since cell phones have become so common place, it has taken over most time related objects, but the clock still tends to travel with me for back up!

First Aid Kit… ALWAYS!
I take a first aid kit with everywhere, I always have one in my car, and have always travelled with one, it really doesn’t take up much space. This is not an exclusive list, its only a few basics…

  • Band Aids, variety of sizes I usually use
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Duct tape, can be used for so many things, they sell these without the cardboard insides
  • Ibuprofen
  • Decongestant
  • Gauze and medical tape
  • Mole skin for blisters