Best Travel Gear (My Ultimate Travel Packing List)

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Curious about the travel gear I bring with me on my international adventures? I’ve put together this gear page to share my long-term travel packing list. Obviously, I recommend traveling with high-quality, lightweight & durable stuff.

The travel gear I use may not work for everyone. I carry extra photography equipment to maintain this travel blog, along with camping equipment for trekking up mountains, hitchhiking long distance, or exploring rainforests from time to time.

All travelers have different tastes & requirements while on the road. The following gear list is just what I’ve found works best for MY particular “adventure” travel style.

Luggage for Travel
All My Travel Gear

While I often travel on a budget, my gear can be expensive. I want it to be functional, multi-purpose, comfortable, and very tough. I don’t want to keep replacing worn-out equipment every few months while abroad — plus I have a slight obsession with keeping travel gear as lightweight as possible!

“He who would travel happily must travel light. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(One of my favorite quotes about travel!)


Top Travel Gear List For 2021

Travel Luggage: Suitcase VS Backpack

Ah, the eternal question. Travel backpack, suitcase, or rolling duffel? This is going to come down to personal preference — and what kind of traveling you plan to do.

If you’re riding chicken-buses through Central America or hitchhiking around Africa, you’ll probably want a travel-friendly backpack. If you spend a lot of time in cities or fly frequently, you might prefer a rolling duffel or suitcase.

I started vagabonding around the world with a backpack, but my travel style has changed over the years, where I now find a suitcase more convenient for most trips.

Mainly due to carrying a lot more photography gear, plus traveling with kids.


My Main Travel Bags

I currently travel with up to 3 different bags. A rolling suitcase as my main bag, a backpack for trips that entail hiking mountains or trekking, plus an airplane carry-on camera daypack.

I usually only need to check one bag, the hard shell suitcase. The hiking backpack can lie-flat inside it. For bigger trips that require more technical gear (like trekking or winter camping), I’ll check both.

Travel Suitcase

Victorinox Suitcase

My favorite lightweight travel suitcase with lots of room, strong locking zipper and a tough outer shell. Quiet 360 degree wheels that can take plenty of airport abuse.

Travel Backpack

Hiking & Travel Backpack

This lightweight, comfortable hiking & travel backpack includes full front-zipper access to all my gear. It lies flat in my suitcase if needed.

Camera Backpack

Camera Daypack

Amazing carry-on camera & laptop backpack. I use this for day hikes with my camera gear, but it has room for things like snacks, water, jacket, full-size tripod, and more.

READ MORE: How To Choose The Perfect Travel Backpack

 

Basic Travel Gear

This is my basic, standard travel gear that goes with me on every trip. From items that make flights more comfortable to gear that helps me stay organized while traveling.

READ MORE: Best Gifts For Travelers In 2021


Backpacking & Camping Gear

As an adventure addict, I do a lot of overnight backpacking, trekking, and camping when I travel. So I pack some specialized outdoor gear for these types of journeys, much of it pretty high-end (super lightweight & durable).

READ MORE: My Complete Backpacking Gear Checklist


Travel Clothing & Apparel

You don’t need a huge wardrobe to travel. Here’s some of the clothing I pack when traveling around the world. I try to buy stuff that’s lightweight and wrinkle resistant. As for how much?

  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 5 t-shirts
  • 2 dress shirts
  • 2 sweatshirts/sweaters
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of shoes

READ MORE: How I Do Laundry While Traveling

 

Tech Gadgets For Travelers

I would not be able to produce a travel blog of this caliber without some computer equipment. Other electronics are not absolutely needed, but they improve my quality of life on the road enough to be worth the weight.


My Travel Photography Gear

For the photographers out there, this is the camera equipment I use for adventure travel photography around the world. While I shoot images for this blog, I also sell images to magazines, brands, and national tourism boards. I carry more camera equipment than the average traveler because it’s part of my business. You can see all my camera gear here.


READ MORE: Best Travel Cameras For Different Budgets


Why Not Travel Carry-On Only?

Both my wife & I have traveled carry-on only before, and still do occasionally for short trips. However as I’ve collected more camera gear for the travel photography side of my business, and because we have kids now, I check a bag again.

And you know what? After ten years of regular travel, the airlines have only lost my checked-bag 4 times. In all but one of those cases my bag showed up the next day — it was not a big problem. Losing a bag for a day is not the crisis some travelers pretend it is.

Only once did it take a week to get my bag back. While this particular situation certainly sucked, having this happen once in 10-years, with all the flying I do, does not make it a frequent occurrence.

Checking a bag is not the end of the world… and odds are very high it will be waiting for you at luggage claim.

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, beautiful photos, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (9)

  1. Thank you for your rental and driving tips! We are planning 3 weeks in Morocco this summer/fall, and prefer more vagabond adventures than strict itineraries. Were nervous about driving, however, in a country where we don’t speak the language and the culture is so vastly different, but your blog makes it seem doable. Shukran/Merci!!

  2. This is a very informative article on packing for a trip. Covers every area possible, even backpacking and camping. It was great that all the necessary accessories needed for a good trip were included too. Losing your luggage once is bad enough. I think four times in ten years is way too much even for a day. The airlines need to get their act together with respect to people’s luggage! It can ruin a perfectly great trip!

  3. Interesting! However all links to the gear direct me to… Amazon France!? Hmm… Viewing this from Belgium, I’d presume the link would lead to Amazon Netherlands as most Belgians are Dutch-speaking…

  4. This is a great list! I feel like my travel packing list is similar…except it’s not as much! Love some of the ideas I don’t carry either!

  5. Great content, i still prefer just carry on. In a trip my bag got lost and they returned 1 month after, the good thing is that credit card insurance helped to purchase all needed for keep on my trip.