What’s in my bag
My list of gear for 2015 as I travel the world and make art.
This is everything.
(Well, except for a couple things I forgot to photograph. And my camera.)
This is what I take with me as I travel the world, staying in mostly hostels/hotels/airbnb-places/friend’s-places/family’s-places. I work as a freelance concept artist & illustrator, so I take everything I need to do my work, too.
I really like the Surface Pro 3.
It’s the only machine I’ve had for the past 9~ months. Every painting, article, story, podcast, and website I’ve made since then has been done on this. That’s a sneak-peak of my newest piece on there. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.
It’s the i7 256gb model. To handle Photoshop properly, I need the best processor I can buy. I’m looking forward to a Surface Pro 4 soon.
That’s an Arc Touch Mouse. I picked it up recently and I love it. Incredibly portable and a very smart design.
The keyboard is… excessive. I used to have a lightweight bluetooth keyboard, but I love a great typing experience. I need the extra keyboard in general because to do my painting, I like having a keyboard off to the side for key commands. Using the attached one for painting just feels cramped to me. So a few months back I picked up a Poker 3. It’s a lot heavier and bigger than a travel keyboard needs to be. But when I’m typing on it all of that fades away. Just a fantastic typing experience.
Gadgets & stuff
- iPhone 6 Plus. Can double as a computer for a lot of the daily tasks I have. In fact, most of my prior trips where I didn’t have to have a computer, I would just bring a phone. It’s freeing not having a computer at all. You learn to make do.
- Kindle. I’ve got an older model, but I can’t live without one of ‘em. I don’t care whether you like Amazon as a company or not, this is the future of books. Sorry.
- Audio splitter. For when my girlfriend & I wanna watch a movie together on a plane. Paddington was pretty good, by the way.
- Carabiner with a flash drive & a key to my parent’s house. I’ve taken that key on every trip so far. I don’t really know why.
- External harddrive. Picked up a 1TB drive so I could backup all of the RAW photos I shoot. I’ve had enough close calls with losing photos that now they’re thoroughly backed up online and on this thing.
- Power plug adapter. The tiniest one I could find to handle different countries. Shame it doesn’t have a UK adapter, but I’ll survive.
- Powerpod. My girlfriend picked this up for me in Australia, but I’m sure there are a number of great (and maybe smaller) models of this out there. I love it because I don’t ever have to worry about charging my phone or camera in a pinch.
- Leica D-Lux Type 109. A brand new addition to my bag. My previous camera was a Sony MX-100 II that served me faithfully for a couple of years. I do enough photography (mainly so I can put out free reference packs for artists) and love gadgets enough that I felt I could splurge on an even nicer camera. You’ll note that I still use point-and-shoots, though. And that’s simply for the reason that I find I tend to use them more than DSLR’s. With a bulky DSLR, I’m much more prone to leaving it behind. With tiny cameras like these I have no issue taking it with me wherever I go. Oh, and my first camera I used for travelling was a Canon s95 (they’re on s110 now). Really, really tiny and fully featured.
- Headphones. Just those cheap ones from Monoprice. Sometimes I bring my nice Bose noise-cancelling ones, but they were just too bulky for this trip. I’ll probably move up to some higher quality earbuds at some point soon.
- Tiny flashlight. To make dark stuff less dark.
- Pen for the Surface. Customized with squishy things because the pen is too darn tiny for my hands.
When things need to be connected to other things.
Let me know when we enter a cable-less world.
Sketchbook & journal
Sadly I didn’t have the room for my paints on this trip, but I always bring some sort of sketchbook or journal on every trip I take. I like to make notes, both written and visual, of the places I go and the things I see.
My new sketchbook I got before this trip is one from Baron Fig. I saw a lot of the notebook nerds out there raving about them, so I figured I’d give it a shot. So far I’m loving it. Even did some paintings in it before I left and it held up great. Excited to see them grow and produce more great products.
- Platypus water bottle. Whether out in the city for the day or out on a trail, this is a great way to store a bunch of water. Compresses down to basically nothing.
- Passport & other documents. The ziplock bag is full of other papers, cards, sim-cards, etc. Important stuff.
- Wallet with credit cards & bank card. Main card is an Arrival+, bank is with Schwab (for free ATM transactions anywhere). Transport card for London is in there right now. The wallet is from Saddleback Leather and is another tough-as-nails purchase.
- Case for my glasses. Got my first pair of glasses a couple weeks ago. Figured breaking them so soon would be a bad thing.
- Ray-bans. To make bright days a little easier.
- Earplugs. For noisy nights.
- Fingernail clipper. I freaking hate long finger nails.
- Spork. For every time I forget to pick up some plastic cutlery with fast food. Or if I go camping. Or even if I forgot to do the dishes.
- Aeropress. I drink a lot of coffee. And this lets me make a good cup of coffee no matter where I’m at. Every time I think of leaving it behind I remember how often I use it. Oh and I got one of the metal filters for it because I’m irresponsible and would mess up the paper ones.
- Duct tape. For fixing stuff. Or detaining criminals.
- Athletic tape. I have the bad habit of inflicting small injuries on myself.
- First aid. The usual bandaids, disinfectant, and painkillers. Also some natural remedies like vitamin C and ginger.
- Cash. From all sorts of different countries. I usually hate paying conversion fees, so I end up just keeping spare cash until I’m back in the country I got it from.
- Paracord. Most of the time this gets used as a clothesline, but it has enough uses (like getting a coconut down in Hawaii), that I always take it with me.
- Charizard. Keeps you safe. Must be given to you from a lady who loves you for it to work properly, though.
- Belt. I got sick of synthetic leather belts falling apart. So I picked up a real leather one. I think it’s going to last a while.
- Rain jacket. It’s from Patagonia, but I forget which model it is. Keeps me dry and rolls up super tight.
- Darn Tough socks. Love, love, love these. I’m pretty sure that means I’m halfway to being an old man, but these are truly great socks.
- Buff. Keeps ya warm in the cold and cool in the heat. Also doubles as a sleep mask when you’re camping in Iceland and the darn sun never sets.
- Outlier pants. The single most expensive pair of pants I’ve ever owned and worth every dime. I take just one pair of pants with me on almost every trip and I need something that will work just as well halfway up a mountain as going out to a nice dinner. These have also lasted me a few years and still look fantastic.
- Mizzen & Main button-up shirt. My new go-to dress shirt. I can keep it rolled up in my bag for a week and pull it out and it won’t smell or have a single wrinkle for a night out. Will definitely be buying more of them.
- Icebreaker t-shirt. The classic merino wool t-shirt.
- Ex-officio underwear. The best underwear I’ve worn. I’ve also got a pair of the sport version, but they tend to pill and pick up lint, which is unfortunate.
- Kathmandu henley. Picked up down under. Merino wool henleys are my favorite.
- Mountain khaki henley. Thick enough to look all nice and preppy over top of the dress shirt.
- Icebreaker jacket. For any chilly climates I happen to find myself in.
- Travel towel (not photographed). For drying myself off or whatever I happened to spill my drink on.
- Rainbow sandals (not photographed). I will never wear shoes if I can possibly wear sandals. And these are the most comfortable ones I’ve worn.
- Merrel shoes (not photographed). Minimalist barefoot style shoes. To be worn with or without socks.
…And then put it all in a GORUCK GR2
This is the maiden voyage for my new bag. A touch larger than my last and much, much easier to organize. It’s built like a tank and feels like it can survive any horrible conditions I put it through (and I’m sure I will). Water resistant, carry-on size, and comfortable on my back. It’s just what I wanted.
And that’s it. That’s about all I need to live pretty comfortably on the road. The rest gets purchased when I get there (yes, I do use soap), or I learn to live without it.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas of your own for paring down your belongings and hitting the road. There’s a big, beautiful world out there, just waiting for you.
Let’s go exploring!