Everything I Am Carrying….. Right Now
Lets face it, this list is gonna change a lot. Like a lot a lot. As new gear comes out, technology evolves and my needs change based on my travels, I am going to adjust my gear list. So lets just jump into it already.
I am a digital nomad, a backpacker and a minimalist (though the extensiveness of this list might make you question that last part). I have 2 categories of items I pack for my travels, things that I absolutely need like clothes, water, a cell phone, and a laptop to do work on. Then, I pack things that will enhance my travel experience such as my camera equipment. Here I will detail some of the important things that I am carrying and I will try to update this list as I make changes to my packout.
BACKPACK: Aer Travel Pack 3 (X-Pac)
Upgraded from my Aer Travel Pack 2, the Aer Travel Pack 3 has some drawbacks from the TP2 but is overall a good upgrade. with 2 more liters of space, the backpack also features some other interesting changes that make it worth the upgrade such as load lifters, zipper placement, and upgraded added compartments.
SLING BAG: Aer Day Sling 3 (X-Pac)
I have upgraded from the Aer Day Sling 3 from the previous model Aer Day Sling 2 and I have not looked back. The improvements and changes have all been impressive and positive (save for maybe one or two). The day sling is excellent for carrying items when you are traveling that you might need to readily access (wallet, passport, glasses, etc.). Slings are excellent for keeping with minimalism while also keeping things safe and out of your pockets.
CAMERA BAG: Instinct London X-Pac Pro Camera Sling
The Pro Camera Sling made by Instinct London is the perfect protection carry solution for a small photography rig. With enough room for 3 large items in the main compartment, I am able to carry 2 lenses (SEL2470GM and SEL1625GM) as well as my DJI Mini 2 , controller and battery pack. I also am able to hold other accessories like batteries, filters and microphones in such a compact bag.
LAPTOP: Microsoft Surface Book 3
My company supplied laptop, not much else to it. Though it was not my first choice or even on my top 10 really, this laptop has proven itself to be a really good device for digital nomads looking for a flexible option. With a variety of configuration options, this laptop can also be used as a standalone tablet. A powerful laptop, this is a strong competitor for Apple’s Macbook Pro though I don’t think it has nearly the same fan base loyalty.
DISPLAY: Asus ROG Strix (XG16AHP-W) 1080P 144Hz
I usually travel with a second display however for backpacking I figured that an external display was not necessary and I was wrong. Having an external display increases productivity tremendously. The Asus ROG Strix display has a long battery life for times where plugging in monitor power is not suitable. With a variety different display input options (Thunderbolt 3 and Micro HDMI) this display is a lightweight versatile tool that is overlooked and a staple for any digital nomad.
MOUSE: Logitech MX Master 3
When working and traveling as a digital nomad, there are few things that I would say are necessary more than highly recommended and I would say a wireless mouse as one. You will be working from a laptop and using the trackpad or touchscreen is not going to be enough. A mouse is a must. The MW aster 3 is one of my favorite wireless mice I have ever owned. From the awesome grip, to the side scrolling, and the infinity scroll, this mouse is a dream for working in the IT field. Make sure to buy a case for this mouse when you travel.
PHONE: Google Pixel 6 (with Google Fi)
I purchased the Google Pixel 6 on release mainly Google’s new tensor chip that unlocks the true potential of the Pixel series. With an updated camera and a low price tag compared to other flagship phones, the Pixel 6 was a no brainer. I paired this with a Google Fi subscription that runs on the T-Mobile network in the US and overseas provides high speed data at speeds much faster than that of any other carrier out there right now.
HEADPHONES: Jabra Elite Active 75t
Headphones are an important travel accessory to have for long flights and train rides but also crucial for taking meetings. Buds are compact and easy to travel with. The battery life on the Jabra headphones coupled with the sound quality and the software updated active noise cancellation (though not the best) make this my number one choice even surpassing the newest 85t model.
WATCH: Garmin Instinct
Having a watch was an absolute game changer for me on my travels. I had quick access to things like altitude, temperature, sunrise/sunset, and of course the time. The Garmin Instinct was also crucial for tracking things like sleep, steps taken, and heart rate for stressful activities. Tracking your health is crucial while traveling and this type of data allowed me to gain unbiased insight into my endurance and energy levels. A fitness tracker watch is a crucial tool in your travel kit. My only regret was not getting the solar version since I had to take this watch off about once a week to charge it (losing crucial data sometimes).
CAMERA: Sony A7IV
I’ll be honest, I have not traveled with the Sony A7IV yet but I have taken it on some shorter trips with me and I have to say while the Pixel 6 is an awesome camera, it does not compare to the power of having a full frame mirrorless camera. The Sony A7IV is one of the best cameras out there in its class. With some of the sharpest lenses on the market and a powerful sensor, the photos taken on this camera bring validity to my travels.
CAMERA CAGE: SmallRig FULL Cage for Sony Alpha 7
Having a camera cage gives you a lot of flexibility with accessories when using a Sony Alpha 7 camera. This cage provides some protection while also allowing the use of modular accessories that can assist with getting the absolute best shot possible.
ZOOM LENS: Sony G Master 16-35 F2.8
Excellent for portraits, landscape, and even astrophotography, this zoom lens its perfect for handling wide angle and close up photos. Whether I want to be personal with what I am shooting or give my audience a wide perspective, this is the lens I choose to do just that. Though prime lenses are unmatched in quality, zoom lenses have come a long way. The wide range I can get from just 1 or 2 zoom lenses matches that of about 5 prime lenses, but with half of the bulk.
ZOOM LENS: Sony G Master 24-70 F2.8
Street photography, portraits, landscape, nature, architecture this lens can seriously do it all. This is my go to lens when I am taking pictures. Its almost always attached to my A7IV due to the versatility of its range. Snappy autofocus and with some good reach (though not as much as a telephoto zoom). If I had to take only one lese with me on my travels, it would absolutely be this one.
TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS: Sony G Master 70-200 F2.8 OSS
A beast of a lens that gives me the ultimate amount of separation from my subject. the quality on the 70-200 is crispy, the focus blur give great division between the subject and the background and the OSS makes taking stable shots completely possible on the go. If I had to leave a lens behind during my travels it would sadly be this one however I would do everything in my power to lug this around just to have access to the capabilities that it provides on the street.
TRIPOD: Peak Design Travel Tripod (Aluminum)
While a tripod is not a necessary tool for a traveler wanting to do some photography, this tool will immediately open doors to the type of photography that you can do such as long exposure shots and also produce some crisp images of whatever you shoot. When it comes to portable, slim travel tripods, there isn’t really that much of a market out there. The Peak Design Travel tripod is (in my best opinion) the only real competitor out there for a full size tripod designed for minimalist travel. While there is a carbon fiber model available, it is a staggering 40% more expensive for ONLY a 23% reduction in weight (1/2 of a lb).
ACTION CAMERA: GoPro Hero10
Before taking my journey to Europe in 2021, I was carrying with me the GoPro Hero7, which by the way is still an amazing camera and is supported and sold by GoPro (as of writing this). I was looking at upgrading to a newer model and when I saw the upgrades in the Hero10, it was a no brainer. The Hero 10 is such a flexible camera that is able to shoot a wide range of scenes like underwater, in the air, cinematic, or action packed. I carry this camera with me for quick video shooting and have a plethora of accessories on hand:
ACTION CAMERA BATTERIES: GoPro Spare Batteries
I carry 3 spare batteries since the battery life on the GoPro isn’t the best. I recommend spending the money and getting the Enduro batteries as these perform exceptionally well in cold weather but also have increased battery performance in normal weather. When I was purchasing the camera they were not yet released and I have not decided on purchasing them as of now.
ACTION CAMERA BATERY CHARGER: MAXCAM Power Triple Battery Charger
FAIR WARNING, this is not an official GoPro accessory and since it charges the batteries that the GoPro uses to function, it can potentially cause damage to the batteries or the GoPro itself (although this is exceptionally rare). I have not had any issues with this as of writing though. I personally love the thin form factor, its easy to slide into a small pouch and very organized. Great as a battery storage case and a charger for traveling.
ACTION CAMERA TRIPOD/SELFIE STICK: GoPro OFFICIAL 3 Way 2.0
There are lots of 3rd part alternatives but I felt that the official GoPro accessory was worth the purchase here. Its flexible and it works great as a tripod, U mount, or selfie stick. Compact and versatile, I keep this thing clipped onto my backpack for rapid access.
ACTION CAMERA ND FILTERS: Skyreat ND Filters
I originally carried a set of Polar Pro Shutter Collection lenses with me however they only included 3 ND lenses and so I upgraded to the 6 set from Polar Pro which also include an ND1000 and a CPL filter. ND filters (while not essential) allow you to get that cinematic look and motion blur in your photos.
ACTION CAMERA WIDE ANGLE LENS: GoPro OFFICIAL MAX Lens Mod
The max lens mod really unlocks the full potential of the GoPro Hero 10. This lens give an impressive 155 degrees of view, allows for 360 degrees of horizon lock and unbreakable footage on HyperSmooth up to 27K60. This lens isn’t going to be for everyone but its an impressive mod for those who can take advantage of it.
ACTION CAMERA ANAMORPHIC LENS: GoPro Skyreat 1.33 Anamorphic Lens
The anamorphic lens gives the compressed cinematic look to video that you would find in an expensive anamorphic lens but much cheaper and more compact. With some fine tuning on shooting and editing, this lens produces some incredible footage. The footage from this lens does need to be processed in post-production with software like Adobe Premiere Pro.
ACTION CAMERA CASE: SmallRig Hero 9/10 Camera Cage
The Official GoPro Media mod was amazing but it was just way too inconvenient to even use effectively. The SmallRig cage offers quick and easy access to the GoPro, allows for rapid battery change, customization with modular accessories and more. The downside is no build in mic, and it does not have the same software features that the Official Media Mod carries. Overall I find it to be a suitable upgrade.
DRONE: DJI Mini 2 (Fly Mode Combo)
I had never thought that a drone was something that I would need when I was traveling but when you see that everyone is getting the same pictures from the same angle, you start to realize that a new vantage point will add some inspiration and excitement to documenting adventures. I thought carrying a drone would be a burden but when I found the DJI Mini 2, I realized that carrying a powerful drone was actually practical while backpacking. I highly recommend getting the “Fly More Combo” as you get 2 extra batteries, a battery charging case, and 2 additional sets of spare propellers.
DRONE ND FILTERS: Skyreat ND Filters
Another set of filters from Skyreat and this time its for the Mini 2. This set includes 6 filters (4 ND Filters, a UV Filter and a CPL Filter). Filters are important for getting that cinematic look on my aerial shots. The filters are a lot smaller than you might think, so small that I have crashed my drone once and spent about 30 minutes trying to find the filter that was knocked off. Wherever my drone goes, these come with.
MICROPHONE: Rode VideoMicro
If vlogging is something you want to do when traveling, the audio quality you are going to get from devices like you phone or GoPro is not going to be sufficient most times but when you want something a step above the rest, you are going to want a standalone mic. The Rhode VideoMicro is a compact yet powerful mic that works well with any device for recording high quality audio. It comes with a deadcat for reducing wind as well as a shock mount that can fix to a cold shoe.
TRAVEL ADAPTER: Epicka Universal Travel Adapter
Travel adapters are important for using when traveling to foreign countries since different regions make use of different wall sockets. The universal wall adapter from Epicka is the perfect companion since it includes major configurations used around the world (Type A, C and G. Type A can be turned diagonally to be used with Type I). If you are traveling to a single destination, I recommend getting a specific travel adapter for that location as these square universal bricks can be…. clumsy but if you need an all-in-one solution, I would not go for this one by Epicka. It even has USB ports for charging devices without having to pull out a power supply.
POWER SUPPLY: Anker Power Port Atom PD4
Traveling light means taking a single power supply for all of my electronic devices. Originally I carried an Anker Power Port Atom III Slim however this power port could really only charge 1 device quickly at 45 Watts, the other 3 devices were stuck sharing 25 Watts of power. While the Slim maxed out at just 70 Watts, the Atom PD4 goes all the way up to 100 Watts. Thats enough to quick charge 2 laptops off of the PD ports and other accessories off of the remaining 2 IQ ports. Considerably bigger than the Slim model, I felt the compromise to space was worth the greater charging power.
PORTABLE POWER BANK: Anker Power Core Elite III
For those times where an external power outlet is not available, having a battery bank can really come in handy. This power bank can provide 87 Watts of power from 4 IQ ports (2 USB C and 2 USB A). With 25600 mAh of charge, this bank has enough juice to power up my laptop and phone in the event that I need a quick recharge. Though bulky and considerably heavy for a single item, the value of this item cannot be overlooked.
PORTABLE POWER BANK: Anker Metro Essential 2000
This smaller portable battery bank sits inside my day sling. I use this to charge things such as my cell phone, headphones, GoPro batteries, and drone batteries on the fly when I am out traveling for the day. It provides plenty of power to handle all of these tasks without the additional bulk of the Power Core Elite III.
CABLES AND ACCESSORIES
Cables are very important for ensuring that not only your devices are charged but that you can transfer data as well. Instead of just bringing a couple of cables and some adapters to all my different needs, I brought a variety in different lengths and connector types. I recommend this approach for digital nomads but if you are just backpacking, you will be able to get away with a few cables and maybe some converters. Cable quality is CRUCIAL! Buy from a reputable brand.
- JSAUX 1m braided (teal) USB C – USB C
- JSAUX 1m braided (blue) USB A – USB C
- JSAUX 1m braided (blue) USB A – USB C
- JSAUX 1m braided (light gray) USB A – Micro USB
- JSAUX 2m braided (red) USB C – USB C (offset)
- JSAUX 3m braided (teal) USB C – USB C
- JSAUX 3m braided (blue) USB A – USB C
- JSAUX braided (red) USB A to SATA
- ANKER 1m braided (dark gray) USB C – USB C (Thunderbolt 3)
- ANKER 1m braided (dark gray) HDMI – Micro HDMI
- ANKER 6-in-1 USB C Hub
- ANKER SD/MicroSD to USB A/C
- GOOGLE Chromecast 3
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE: Seagate Barracuda 2.5 Inch SATA (5TB)
There are probably a lot better hard drives on the market (actually I know there are) but this is the one I chose to bring with me. I actually have a custom built server at home with an ICY Dock drive bay that fits 4 of these drives. They pop out easily when I need to go traveling and when I am home, I just place it back in the server. Its not the fastest but when I am traveling, I am not using this to access photo and video, its mainly for storage until I can get home and unload it.
EXTERNAL SSD: SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.2
This might look like just a normal thumb drive but its not. This s a portable SSD build into a small thumb drive form factor. The transfer speeds are wild. The load times are insane. I carried a 128 GB version when I traveled Europe in 2021, immediately understood its value, and when I got home, ordered 1 TB version. Its pricey, but the cost is absolutely worth it. Most portable SSDs are large, and require cables and can take up space. This SSD is slim, and very fast. With SSDs, you should ALWAYS backup your data to a HHD in case of drive failure. Its easier to recover hard disk platters that it is to try and recover data from a solid state chip.
CASTING: Google Chromecast 3
There aren’t too many moments when I wish I had a Chromecast with me when I traveled but when I did, man did I wish I had it on me. A Chromecast would allow you to directly connect to any TV by plugging this device in an HDMI port of a TV. This is excellent for hotel room whenever you travel for watching whatever you want from the tip of your fingers. Apps like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu work natively on the Chromecast. I would recommend getting the Chromecast with Google TV as its only an extra 10 bucks, charges with USB C (instead of micro USB like o the 3rd Generation Chromecast), however there is a new Chromecast in the works that is going to be released soon so we will see what happens.
SHIRTS: Unbound Merino T-Shirts (x5)
For travel t-shirts, you need too look for a material that is moisture wicking and repels smell and merino wool is the best natural fiber that does just that. It repels moisture, guards against odors (caused by absorbing swear) keeps you cool in the sun and insulated heat in the cold. Unbound Merino is just one of the companies out there that make quality merino wool products and their t-shirts are hands down the softest, highest quality shirt I have ever owned in my life. They come in at a hefty price ($85 USD a shirt) however you will appreciate the value that comes when paying for a shirt like this. I carry 3 short sleeve shirts with me and 1 long sleeve shirt for cooler weather.
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Read More: Unbound Merino COMING SOON
THERMAL WEAR: Smartwool 250 Base Layer
Thermal underwear is a must for colder weather and following the merino wool trend from my t-shirts, I went with a base layer from Smartwool. Not the same quality as Unbound Merino, Smartwool specializes in cold weather clothes and their 250 base layer gave me the warmth that I needed in below freezing temperatures. Layering is important when backpacking because you cannot carry a single item to keep you worm, you have to bulk up in order to reduce space.
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Read More: Smartwool COMING SOON
SWEATER: Unbound Merino Travel Hoodie
Another Unbound Merino item and this one is exceptionally good. I wore the travel hoodie nearly my entire European trip in 2021 (mostly because it was in the winter) and this thing really performed Alone it was not enough to keep me warm in 0C weather but with layers of shirts underneath, It was just as warm as the Rab down jacket I had left on the train in Plovdiv. As with all Unbound merino clothes, this is so incredibly soft you would be shocked to hear this was made of wool.
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PANTS: H&M Skinny Fit Cargo Joggers
When it comes to pants, they aren’t as important as a shirt when it comes to materials. I woulda argue brining a pair of jeans (Levi’s are my favorite) however I couldn’t find m favorite pair before I left, so I went for my joggers (which probably wear more anyways). These hold up nicely, are affordable and have a nice slim fit to them around the legs. Unfortunately, I had slipped while walking around in Istanbul, creating a massive hole on the knees. Once I crossed the border to Bulgaria in Varna I made sure to replace them. Luckily there are H&M’s all over Europe so getting a replacement was relatively easy.
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SHORTS: H&M Shorts
Just like the H&M pants, I packed these as well since they were the same style but shorter (like capri shorts). They lasted me about a week into my journey until I had to switch to pants in and didn’t use then until I made it to Barcelona. Luckily I live in Florida so I wear them all the time and I absolutely love them.
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UNDERWEAR: Smartwool Sport Boxer Briefs
I want to be clear that I cannot recommend these to anyone looking for a long term travel solution. I took 3 pairs with me to Europe in 2021 and they could not even last 2 months after constantly being worn and washed. I think the build quality is pretty poor and in some areas quite thin. I can understand the need for them to be breathable but I think this design compromises the durability of the boxers. I am going to be looking for an alternative so keep an eye out for the replacement on my updated packout.
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SOCKS: Unbound Merino All Season Crew Socks
Socks are still a tricky subject for me since I am trying to find a replacement to the Unbound Merino socks that I took with me to Europe in 2021. They last well on their own but when worn every day and when you put as many miles on them as I have, they wear very quickly. I recommend getting crew cut socks because they work well in warms and cold weather. They are warmer than wearing cotton socks however still can become cold after prolonged time spent out in the cold.
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SHOES: The North Face Ultra Fastpack IV FUTURELIGHT
While the backpack is probably the most important piece of gear while traveling around the world as a nomad, the shoes would have to be up there as the number 2 item. Bad shoes will absolutely destroy your trip and your feet. These shoes by The North Face are waterproof, breathable, have excellent traction and are pretty comfortable. Excellent build quality means that these shoes will also last. I had taken these shoes on paved paths as well as numerous hikes and treks in the wilderness.
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BUFF: BUFF Lightweight Merino Wool
A buff is an excellent lightweight clothing item to carry with you, It can act as a scarf, a face mask, ear warmer, or a head cover. Even though its thin, the merino wool material instantly warm up your skin and help retain heat well in the cold.
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GLOVES: Smartwool Cozy Grip Flip Mitt
Another item from Smartwool made of high quality merino wool. They warm up your hands quickly and keep them warm in the cold. The flip mitt allows you to use the gloves fingerless for when you need to use a touchscreen device and then flip over when you need to warm your fingers. They are secured with a button which is a step up from brands that use velcro.
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RAIN JACKET: Columbia Men’s Watertight Ii Jacket
The Colombia Watertight jacket is not just good for rain but also works well as a wind breaker, When layering clothes, it acts as an extra layer of warmth against the cold weather. It packs down nicely into a small pouch and fits into my backpack as its pretty compact. When you are backpacking, you never know when the weather is going to be and you might be stuck out in the rain all day, having a rai jacket is very useful.
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UV RASH GUARD: O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve
For the warmer months, I carry a UV rash guard with me to protect me from the hard UV rays when swimming. I love to snorkel and scuba dive and so a rash guard (while an unusual thing to bring) seemed pretty natural to me.
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SUNGLASSES: MERRY’S Unisex Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses
I’ve always purchased expensive sunglasses like Ray-Bans and Oakley’s but I have always damaged them or lost the (over time). Glasses might be a fashion statement but for traveling I needed something with polarized lenses, sturdy construction, and cheap to replace. I found these online on Amazon and for the price, they lasted me the entire trio and are still good to go. I kept them in a case when I wasn’t using them and when I was they were amazing. They still look great!
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HEALTH AND HYGENE
TOWEL: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel (XL)
No, this is not a comfortable towel, but it is compact, dries quickly and absorbs all of the moistures from your body after a shower. I love having this towel, it compact and fits into my packout without taking up much room, and it absorbs moisture like nobody’s business. The towel holds an incredible amount of moisture and will dry in just a few hours.
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Medicine is very important to carry when you are traveling. What you bring will depend on what you need. Obviously if you have prescription meds, those need to come along, however I don’t have any. I typically brings Motrin (Ibuprofen), Tylenol (Acetaminophen), and Mucinex (Guaifenesin). I will also carry Vitamin C pills for when I need a little bit more. Check out my article on what medicines I would recommend bringing when traveling around the world.
Read More: Travel Medication COMING SOON
MISC TRAVEL ACCESSORIES
FLASHLIGHT: Streamlight Sidewinder (Aviation Model)
A flashlight is such an underrated piece of equipment that one might not think about when traveling and I honestly hesitated on bringing one but I was so happy that I did. There were plenty of times that I had to walk in the middle of night to catch a train, plenty of times in the pitch dark with no other lights around. Having a flashlight was so useful for getting around not just to see what’s in front of me but also for safety with situational awareness. The Streamlight Sidewinder was a model I carried with me in the military and so I just picked this. I took the “Military Model” with my in Europe (with white, blue, green and IR light) but after I lost this I went and bout the Aviation model in favor of the red light that it had. I cannot stress this but bring a flashlight with you, it doesn’t have to be this one but please bring something.
A sleek minimalist wallet with a good design. Keep all of your NFC cards safe. Great for having a few IDs, a credit card or two and a small amount of cash. Everything else can be carried in my sling bag.
NOTEBOOK: Rite in the Rain
When I travel, I keep a detailed log of my days as well as have fellow travelers put their own personal entry in. This helps me keep memories that will last forever as well as let me recall things for writing and sharing later. My memory isn’t the best and its always nice to look back and see the things that I’ve done on my travels. The Rite in the Rain notebook and pens allow me to write things down even in the rain and the pages and ink will not wash away or become damaged if the book becomes wet. I used one of these books as my dive log for scuba diving and it works perfectly let me tell you.
I carry with me an assortment of carabiner and s-biner clips with me when I travel. They are useful for hanging things up, clipping things onto my bags and a number of other circumstances. I also keep space keyrings and zippers in the event that I might need them. I recommend getting the HeroClip since this clip is useful for hanging up your backpack or bags so they don’t have to sit on the ground. I usually hang them on the poles in trains. One other thing i pack are these miniature s-biner clips from Nite Ize. I’ve found that they fit perfectly in the little lock holes on the zippers of my backpack. These are great theft deterrents and prevent pick pocketers from getting easy access to your main compartments.
LOCKS AND CABLES
Absolutely essential for traveling, having a way to lock up your possessions is important. I bring padlocks with me for hostels that offer lockers but do not have a means of securing them. Cables are also essential for those times that lockers are not available (although this is rare at accommodations) but super useful for when I want to sleep on a long train ride.
Cable ties are super useful for bringing. They don’t take up much space and weigh almost nothing. When you need to secure soemthing, you will be grateful to have brought velcro cable ties.
A credit card sized multitool is a lifesaver when traveling. This one from Cedar Mill was gifted to me by a coworker at DEFCON in Las Vegas and I am so grateful for it because there have been times when I traveled that I have used it when nothing else that I had would have worked. Its not the most convenient tool to use but when you have to be a minimalist, this is necessary.