Adventure travel is very different than other kinds of travel. You’re often more active and participating in activities that are above the caliber of the casual traveler. For that reason, it is important to have an arsenal of what I like to call Adventure Gear –items that are more investment pieces versus just something on sale – that are high quality and can serve you well no matter what kind of adventure you’re doing.
I recommend starting with some core items that are easily packable and portable and can serve you on almost every trip. You can add to your inventory as your experience, activities and travel increases.
Here are items worth the initial investment:
Invest in multi-purpose shoes and boots. Teva is a brand that I prefer for both open-toe and closed-toe sandals that are rugged and can handle everything from ziplining to leaping onto on elephant in the jungle. I recommend buying a pair of sandals AND a quality, rugged, waterproof pair of boots so you are covered for the widest range of activities. There are lots of great brands out there – base your purchase decisions on quality and comfort, not on price.
2. Backup power source
Phones, iPads and electronics are no longer travel “extras.” These are important tools and sometimes even our only link to safety while engaging in outdoor adventure activities. A backup power source is essential to keep with you so you can charge your devices while you are away from civilization. Keep in mind that extreme cold drains batteries very quickly, which I learned while standing on a glacier in Iceland. You can find small backup chargers that are easy to carry with you. Make sure chargers are compatible with the brand of your device – if they are cheap generic knock-offs, they can actually damage your electronics.
3. Packable all-weather jacket
I’m a huge fan of items that pack down into small portable pouches. Investing in a lightweight, hooded, waterproof all-weather windbreaker will serve you well in almost every destination. Plus, the compact size makes it easy to throw into your suitcase and daypack. I use Eddie Bauer brand which carries a nice selection of these packable jackets.
4. Packable backpack
Another item that will quickly become a travel staple for you is a packable backpack that folds down into a small pocket. Eagle Creek makes great, durable, and water resistant backpacks that are perfect bags to carry along during your adventures.
5. Packable duffle
Are you noticing a theme? Packable multi-use items that fold into compact compartments are functional, durable and in my opinion, necessary to keep your packing to a minimum. A packable duffle is important for adventure travelers that like to go off the beaten path via airplane or other transportation that requires you to downsize your luggage. A compact duffle allows you to transfer only what you need for a trip segment and it can serve as an extra bag for your return trip if you have extra things to bring home. Eagle Creek carries a variety of durable, waterproof, traveler-friendly packable duffle bags.
6. Base Layer
I’ve used base layers for everything from ice fishing to whitewater rafting in sub-zero rapids as a layer beneath my wet suit. You would be surprised how often you use a base layer once you have one in your inventory. Sophisticated technology keeps base layers incredibly thin, yet moisture wicking and able to offer superb insulation. I like Cabela’s brand base layers, but you can find similar products in many outdoor stores.
This is not often an item at the top of your packing list, but adventure seekers are typically in some of the harshest conditions –in the sun, snow, on the water or in the mountains. Protecting your eyes is important. I often buy several inexpensive aviator glasses to keep in my travel closet as I come back from many adventures with them destroyed. Inexpensive glasses are easier to toss. If you participate in a lot of water related sports, invest in polarizing sunglasses.
I may not have put this on the list before as an “essential,” but now that I have used a lightweight down vest in many different scenarios, it’s become a travel staple. I use a Cabela’s brand down vest that serves well as both a layering item and as something to keep me just warm enough over lightweight clothing.
I do not work for, nor does any particular company sponsor me, so all of my recommendations come from personal experience and trying products in the field – which often perform differently than they do when you examine them in the stores.
By investing in a few multi-use staples that can serve you on most trips, you are stretching your dollar and buying high quality products that will enable you to truly enjoy your adventure travel experiences.
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