After a decade of travel, and numerous stints of nomadic living, I’ve learned how to travel pretty minimally, which means the things that I do buy are exponentially more important to me. It’s taken quite a few years time to learn what the best travel gear is, mostly through trial and error.
My travel gear works for me, but it may not work for you. Because I travel so often, and because I don’t want to be replacing my gear every few months, the quality of what I choose to use is of utmost importance.
Cost is the next determining factor, but I think you’ll find that the travel accessories I use are pretty reasonably priced. That said, sometimes I do think it’s worth forking out for a piece of quality travel gear that’s going to last you—quite literally—for your entire life.
I travel carry-on only—with two bags—one on my back and one on the front. For more information on how I pack, and how I get away with never having to check a bag, you might like this article on how to travel carry-on only.
If you’re looking for what I believe to be some of the best travel gear on the market, look no further than here!
Let’s start with the basics. The bare essentials. On every trip, you’re going to need backpacks/luggage, toiletries, various tools, and organizational methods to keep it all in one place. After years of extensive testing, these are some of the best pieces of travel gear and travel accessories on the market today.
The Peak Design Everyday Backpack comes in 20L and 30L sizes and is the best travel daypack for every adventure. It’s carry-on sized, serves well as an every-day backpack in the city, but is just as well suited to a hike in the mountains.
This is like the Swiss Army knife of backpacks, and where many others have failed, Peak Design has come through with a remarkably elegant and functional design. With top and side access points and removable internal organizational panels, this is one of the most versatile bags you can buy.
This 2-stage filtration water bottle system is BPA-free. Whether you’re hanging out at home, exploring your own backyard, or traveling in developing countries, the LifeStraw Go water bottle does it all.
It has a 0.2-micron filter which physically removes 99.9999% of all bacteria and 99.9% of all protozoa. Take clean water with you wherever you go so you can stop buying so many plastic water bottles!
As a male traveler, myself, these are all my top picks, and the clothes I always take with me when I travel. Everything below is a piece of performance travel gear that will keep you warm, dry, ventilated, or whatever your particular travel situation calls for.
The female members of the TravelFreak team weighed in and provided some recommendations for their favorite travel clothes. Similar to the men’s section, these are all performance items as opposed to fashionable ones.
Invest in quality gear once and you’ll save money over time. The Zeta SL by Arc’teryx is the epitome of this mantra.
It’s a top-of-the-line, superlight rain shell that you’ll use for the rest of your life. Though it comes with a heftier price tag, it’s the only one you’ll ever need, which means you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
This is, by and far, the best travel rain jacket I’ve ever owned.
The Atom LT Hoody belongs in every traveler’s bag. It’s a warm yet breathable midlayer that also serves as an outer layer when you’re not dodging the rain. Surprisingly lightweight given its warmth rating, there’s a reason Arc’teryx is one of the best outdoor clothing brands on the market.
The ultimate travel t-shirt, the Polly by Ably is made from 100% premium cotton but treated with Filium. It’s a revolutionary technology that makes fabrics water-repellent and stain- and odor-resistant.
Wear it for days on end and nobody would be able to tell!
A pair of leggings are a must for any female traveler, but a good pair of leggings will elevate the entire travel experience.
You want leggings that will last—and these ones will. Built with breathable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric, these Athleta leggings have light compression properties and a buttery soft feel with 4-way stretch for full range of movement.
Running a travel blog means I have to travel with slightly more/different equipment than most. Weight and size of electronics are big factors, but everything here easily fits into my two bags. What you see below is essentially my mobile office!
If you’re interested in my photography equipment, these are the mainstays of my kit. For some extra photography accessories, plugins, and courses, check out my post on the best equipment for travel photography.
We never leave home without travel insurance. In the same way you’d insure your home, health or car, it’s equally important to insure your trip. Whether your trip gets canceled, you get injured on the road or your smartphone gets stolen, travel insurance covers your back.
It could, literally, save you thousands of dollars.