The Travel Gear

What an epic journey, but what the hell are you taking with you?

With a long road ahead of me- from London to Lhasa– and undoubtedly the extremes of this planet’s weather to contend with along the way, I’m taking just enough kit to travel light and yet not freeze to death in a furious Tibetan snowstorm.

There’s nothing I hate more than unnecessary baggage. On my first extended travel trip on the backpacker trail of South East Asia, within weeks I’d dumped half my kit on the floor of the hotel room and left in a tuk tuk without a second glance back. This time I’m more prepared. And by prepared I mean I’m travelling as light as I can.

I won’t just be taking a satchel bag and a pair of flip flops though- I don’t want to lose my toes to frostbite before I even make it past Budapest- but each item has been carefully considered and will serve a purpose, primarily to keep me warm, or to allow me to travel for longer. And hopefully it will all last me for a few years of travel too.

If you think I’ve made a bad choice on the kit front, I’d love to know. Comment below or drop me a message with your own suggestions.

The Backpack

The key to my survival. The key to travel. Where would we be without the trusty backpack? I live by the rule that the more space you have then the more stuff you are going to take, so rather than having a thousand litres of space to fill with tacky t-shirts I’m sticking to the Osprey Kestrel 68 Litre. It’s light, compact and designed for walking. Admittedly, if I wasn’t planning on camping out to keep costs low, I would probably just take the 30 litre version. But I need some space for that sleeping bag and tent this trip. The downside is the bigger the bag the slower you travel. It’s harder to fit on trains and buses and you can’t just stroll casually around town with it. If you genuinely need the space though for kit that you definitely need, the Osprey 68L is a good shout. Any larger and you must be climbing Everest or something.

The Day Bag

I spent a long time looking for the perfect day bag. It needs to be small enough to pack away easily and robust enough to carry, well all of my ‘day’ things. This could be the laptop, coat- whatever I need. And importantly whatever I need to keep on me when the big bag inevitably has to be stowed away in a bus hold. While there are plenty of cheap day sacks that pack away like a pack a mac, these were just too flimsy, and standard rucksacks are horribly bulky when you aren’t using them.

That’s where Kathmandu came to the rescue with their Dash 20L lightweight bag. It’s folds down small and you can even take out the back support and use it as a seat. Perfect.

The Sleeping Bag

If you are setting out on your own journey, you’ve got to really question if you’ll need this. And if you do, what season- and what size- bag you need. If you are heading to Thailand in summer, you’re just going to need a liner, and if you’re staying in hotels the whole time, you can probably even ditch that. I’ve opted for a 4 season down bag though- after much thoughtful consideration and laboriously intense internet browsing. This is mainly because I want to be prepared for the worst weather Central Asia can throw at me in December. I’m planning on camping where possible to keep my costs down and to allow me to ultimately travel for longer. For this trip I’d rather be prepared than cold. I’m taking my trusty silk liner too- even if it’s just to keep away those hostel bugs. And who knows, maybe it could stop my feet falling off in a snowstorm.

The Mountain Warehouse 3/4 down bag is my bag of choice. It’s compact and warm. And fantastic value too for what you get.

The Tent

With 2 of us travelling, a 2 person tent is all we need. There’s plenty of lightweight backpacking tents out there at the moment, to suit ANY budget. I opted for our trusty Berghaus Snowdonia. Mainly because it’s the one I already had available for the trip. I did look at a few lighter options, including the Vango, which is ultralite and fairly cheap. Failing these you can always pick up a Tesco Value festival tent. One of these got me from Calais to Berlin a few years back on my bike. That was summer though and I doubt it would survive even a mild winter.

Travel Tramp Gear

The tent in full pitch

The Camping Gear

This mainly consists of a Pocket Rocket Stove and lightweight cooking bowls. Again, your trip will determine if you need these. If you are backpacking to inexpensive countries it may be cheaper to eat at restaurants- but if you are planning on camping out then these are a necessity. In more expensive countries it will save you a lot of cash if you cook your own meals up every now and then.  The cooking pans also double as eating utensils, which always come in handy at some point anyway.

At this point, you might start to realise there isn’t a lot of room left in the Osprey for anything else. And you’d be right. Luckily there are 2 of us travelling- we can split the loads. And I’m not taking a whole let else.

The Boots

If you’re on an adventurous trip then boots are a must. If you’re walking every day, go for a proper pair. But you could also save space and weight by taking a hybrid walking shoe- but you’ll sacrifice the ankle support. It depends on how many miles you are hiking. If you are just strolling through a European capital, just pack the trainers.

The Trousers

Zip offs. A creation of genius. I will be taking 2 pairs of walking trousers which also function as shorts. Madness I hear you say. Incredible creations I say. I’m taking a pair of Berghaus and a pair of Mountain Warehouse trousers. This also gives me 2 pairs of walking shorts.

I’m also taking a trusty pair of board shorts for those dips in the sea.

The Coat

I’v gone for the layer method. So my coat is lightweight, waterproof yet also warm. You could just take a pac a mac, but I’ve decided on a Colombia gore-tex coat. It’s also a beautiful shade of green. Your destination and time of travel though will really determine what you need to take.

The T- shirts

I’m taking 1 x long sleeve and 3 x normal t shirts. Not a lot, so things will undoubtedly get a bit filthy…but I’m starting to run out of space.

The Socks

Simple. Walking socks and a few casual socks. Got to keep the frostbite away after all.

The Technology

Keeping this website going takes technology. So the rest of my kit space is taken up by electronics and the dry bags I’m keeping them safe in.

If your blogging frequently on the road or trying to earn a location independent living, it might be worth investing in lightweight, portable equipment to help you achieve your online goals.

The laptop

The Lenovo Yoga 300 is my blogging weapon of choice. It’s light, with decent battery life and has the functionality of a laptop and the feel of a tablet. A lot of bloggers tend to go the for the MacBook Air, but weighing it up, the Lenovo Yoga has all the power I need and ultimately ins’t so expensive that losing it on the road will bankrupt me or be the end of this site!  There’s plenty out there though. Check out Nomadic Matt’s great source of info on the choices available.

And a solid waterproof case for the laptop is a must too. This one’s by Aquaquest.

The Cameras

What do you use to take such incredible photos for Travel Tramp? A question I’m not usually asked. But I’ll graciously tell you anyway.

Most of the pictures are taken on a Canon EOS 1000D. A fairly entry level DSLR that right now is great for taking decent pictures. I’m not much of a photographer anyway, so anything more would be wasted on me.

I’ve also got a Go Pro. Pretty cliche. But you can’t beat them for quality and survivability. And it’s tiny. And you could literally hurl it off a cliff and pick it up again later for the pictures.

Richard Collett

Find out more about the Travel Tramp Journey here.