Essential Travel Gear

The Travel Gear We Use Every Day


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So what travel gear do you need for long term independent travel?  You can buy as much or as little travel gear as you want, but here are the things that we find most useful when traveling long term.

You want to strike a balance between traveling light and traveling comfortably.  We could make a list of 100 cool travel products, but we want to keep this real and only talk about the products that we love and use.  Here is our list of most essential and best travel gear for independent travel, with or without kids.


Our electronics packing list is fairly large because we document our travels on the blog, we are a family of 5 and Paul often works remotely when we travel. We don’t carry too many travel gadgets, but these are the electronics we use every day.

6 PORT USB CHARGER – sometimes you only have one plug in a hotel room and this 6 port USB charger allows us to charge all of our devices at once.  You want a 40-60W one, which has enough power to charge everything at once.

POWER BANK – we use our phones so much when we travel that they rarely last the whole day without a charge.  This power bank allows us to keep them charged when we are out and about: priceless!

GOPRO – great for taking photos in the water and during adventure activities. Click here for the latest model.

DRONE – not necessary, but we have a lot of fun with our DJI Spark.

TRAVEL ADAPTERS – these universal adapters work well and have an area to charge directly with USB.

HEAD PHONE SPLITTER – our kids often listen to audiobooks or podcasts on travel days and a splitter allows them to only use one device.

HEAD LAMPS – invest in a good one and you will have it for decades. We love the Black Diamond head lamps.

WATERPROOF PHONE BAGS – we always use waterproof phone bags when we are out on the water.

ELECTRONICS ORGANIZER – with all this electronics gear, you need a good way to keep it organized.  These cheap organizers are great.

IPHONES – we no longer travel with a camera, but use our iphones for photos.

HARD DRIVE – we regularly back up our photos on one computer and one external hard drive.  We have lost photos over the years, so have learned the hard way.

LAPTOPS – we carry two: one for Paul’s work and one for me and the kids.

Travel Clothes

I really don’t think there is any specific clothes you need to travel with and would never recommend going out and buying tons of new clothes before a big trip.  That being said, there are a few pieces of clothes that we love to travel with.  I would recommend gradually investing in a few pieces of quality outdoor and travel clothes each year.

THE BEST TRAVEL JACKET EVER – this mid-weight jacket has a cult following and for a good reason.  We wear it all year long, when we are traveling or at home.  It’s an Arcteryx Atom, comes in mens and womens and comes in three different weights.

TRAVEL UNDERWEAR – we are slowly making the switch to good, quick-drying underwear.  For men, we recommend Bn3th and for women we like the Ex-Officio line.

ICEBREAKER MERINO LAYERS – when travelling we definitely wear the same clothes multiple times without washing and have found Icebreaker merino pieces don’t smell and keep you warm or cool as needed. I am not going to lie – they are expensive, but worth it!

MY FAVOURITE TRAVEL DRESS – I love this Toad & Co dress so much, that I have two that I travel with.  It is good quality, fits great and can be casual or dressed up.

My favourite travel dress

RAIN JACKET – We love our Black Diamond rain jackets that always keep us dry and can also provide an extra layer of warmth when needed.

BUFFS – such a versatile piece that can be used as a hat, neck warmer, sun protection and more.  We each carry a buff in our packs.

Packing Necessitiestravel packing

PACKING CUBES – once you start using packing cubes, you will never go back to disorganized bags again.  As a family, it is particularly useful because each of our cubes are colour coded so we can find our stuff quickly.

GRAYL FILTRATION SYSTEM – we strongly believe that it is irresponsible to use bottled water when traveling.  We drink filtered water when we can, but if it isn’t available we filter water ourselves with our Grayl filtration system. If you are traveling in developing countries, a filtration system is one travel item you definitely need to pack.

LARGE BACKPACKS – we currently travel with 10 year old MEC backpacks, but have our eye on new Osprey packs.

DAY PACKS – the whole family travels with a day pack sized bag.  I am loving my new Gregory Jade womens pack.

COLLAPSIBLE DAY PACK – we don’t always want to empty our day packs for a day out.  Instead we use this Osprey collapsible day pack that we love.

WATER BOTTLES – we always travel with our own water bottles and prefer narrow mouth Nalgenes or Klean Kanteen stainless bottles.

MESH LAUNDRY BAG – another way we stay organized is by traveling with a simple mesh laundry bag so it is easy for the whole family to put their laundry away each night.

SLEEPING SHEET LINER – as a family we always travel with one of these.  Sometimes we aren’t sure how clean the sheets are or sometimes one kid has to sleep on a couch, and a sleeping sheet comes in handy.  You can buy the nice silk ones, but any one will do.

MOSQUITO PROTECTION – we don’t travel with a mosquito net because we have found that if they are needed, they are provided.  When the kids were younger we used these great mosquito bracelets and always travel with an Ultrasonic Repeller.


In addition to all the regular toiletry items we travel with, these are the essential things we bring.

HANGING TOILETRY BAG – as budget travelers, we stay in some pretty sketchy places with not so great bathrooms.  But, they always have a rack or hook to hang our toiletry bag from.  We think this is the best hanging toiletry bag – we have had the same one for over 10 years.

MEDICAL KIT – we have a standard first aid kit, as well as a small toiletry bag with medicine.

TRAVEL TOWEL – we travel with 1-2 small compact travel towels for the whole family.

MENSTRUAL CUP – I am a convert and love my Diva Cup! So convenient, eco and no more trying to find tampons.

Packing for Kids

If you are traveling with younger kids, you will want to bring a toddler travel bed, crib, or bassinet.

Since our kids are 7+, they each carry a daypack with their packing cubes, and an assortment of games, activities, tablets, e-readers and books.

These are our favourite travel games and these are some of the unplugged activities we use for or kids.  Our eldest loves to read and we couldn’t keep her in books without her e-reader.

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