Best Travel Gear for Your Next Adventure

Best Travel Gear for Your Next Adventure

Individually, Scott and I have been traveling the world for about 10 years. As a couple, we have been traveling for about 4. My traveling style has evolved quite a bit over time.

To give you a bit of an idea, in 2009 I arrived at Logan airport an eager Peace Corps volunteer about to depart on an international journey to change the world, bring about world peace and end global poverty. I was ready for anything that came my way, literally. I packed 2 full-sized suitcases, 1 personal item, and 1 carry on which happened to be a guitar I did not yet know how to play. After two years, I came back and worked a little, wandered a little, and then six years later I was off again. This time, I arrived at Dulles airport an experienced traveler ready to take on grad school in the UK. I had one Osprey backpack and one personal item.

In those six years that had passed, I had learned to appreciate quality over quantity. It is better to invest in a few quality items that will last you a lifetime, rather than waste money on more things that will fail you when you need them the most. Thanks to Scott, I also discovered light-weight packing and the magic of multi-use items. Scott and I now pack strategically when we travel both internationally and domestically. As light-weight packers, we have to be picky about what makes it into our luggage.

This article will serve as a live resource for some of our best adventure travel gear. It will be updated regularly so that you will have access to our best finds, so read on and check back often.

Electronics:

Garmin VivoActive 3 Music

The VivoActive 3 Music is a GPS Smartwatch with music storage and playback. With the capacity to store up to 500 downloaded songs, there is no need to carry your phone with you when you run, strength train, or whatever else you decide to do. The VivoActive also pairs with your cellular device allowing you to view calls, texts, calendar alerts, emails and more.  There are over 15 preloaded sports apps including yoga, running, swimming, and strength training.

For the habitual adventurer, there is no better option than the Garmin line of watches. I personally selected the VivoActive 3 Music to wear for my marathon. I loved how simple and easy the interface was to manage. With fewer options than other smartwatches like with Apple or Samsung, I had only the necessities allowing me to focus on what matters most. I used the watch for the entire duration of my marathon (3 hours and 54 minutes) using both GPS and music and it lasted long after I crossed the finish line. I highly recommend the VivoActive 3 and any other Garmin.

Price: $249.99
Where to buy it: Amazon

Best Adventure Travel Gear - Garmin VivoActive 3 Music
I wore the VivoActive 3 Music for the Miles or the Missing 5k, Richmond Marathon and the Bourbon Chase Ragnar Relay. 5 out of 5 stars.

Clothing and shoes:

Nike Flyknits

There are several versions of the Nike Flyknit shoe for both men and women. What characterizes this line of Nike shoes is the high-strength fibers providing both lightweight and targeted support. The shoe mimics the feeling of a sock, hugging the shape of your foot while maintaining maximum breathability.

I originally purchased my Flyknits for a half marathon. They did a fine job of getting me through those 13. 1 miles, but I decided to retire them for normal use after exceeding their recommended mileage. I began using them as travel shoes due to their lightweight and flexible features. Nike Flyknits are incredibly easy to pack in your luggage while taking up minimal space and weight. They are flexible and pack flat making them preferable to solid shoes that take up precious luggage space. Scott ended up purchasing the men’s version and never leaves on a trip without them.

Price: $120 – $250
Where to Buy it: https://www.nike.com/

Best Adventure Travel Gear - Nike Flyknits
Nike Free Flyknit 5.0

Accessories:

Airhole Facemask

Whether buying a balaclava, tube, or mask, the specialty air hole is standard on all Airhole products. This feature is designed to “allow breath to escape freely, avoiding the buildup of condensation to keep you dry, warm, and goggle fog-free.”  The materials are quick-dry, water-resistant, and block 98% of harmful UV rays. Better yet, many of the Airhole products use yarn that has been made from recycled PET plastic bottles thereby reducing the impact on the environment.

We used the Airhole Facemasks while climbing Kilimanjaro. It was great protection against the clouds of dirt and dust whirling around at the lower altitudes. Higher up, the facemask provided much-needed warmth as we hiked past snow and ice-capped peaks. The best part for me was the ability to breathe freely. I have used the multi-functional Buff tubes on several occasions but always find them uncomfortable to wear after long periods of time. Condensation builds up making it wet and difficult to breathe.

While summiting Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet above sea level, I was already having difficulty breathing due to the low levels of oxygen at that altitude. I was thankful for my Airhole facemask that kept me warm, dry and breathing comfortably. Since Kilimanjaro, we have used our facemasks snowboarding, hiking, and even just walking to work on those really cold days. They are highly practical and are one of our favorite adventure purchases.

Price: $34.95
Where to Buys it: Amazon

Best Adventure Travel Gear  - Airhole Facemask
Hiking in the Shenandoah Mountains on a cold autumn morning.

Gear

Sea Eagle 370 Pro Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle has been selling inflatable kayaks since 1968, so their products are some of the best when it comes to portable watercraft. In addition to kayaks, they sell canoes, fishing boats, and boards all of which are inflatable and easily portable making them convenient for all of your travel adventures.

We were given the Sea Eagle 370 Pro as a wedding gift (thanks Ben!) and absolutely love it. Although it is a bit heavy to carry, it is easy to transport in the canvas bag that is provided. Rather than having to secure it to the roof of a vehicle, you can just throw it into the back of any car.

Once you figure out how to do it, set up only takes about 10 minutes. Deflating it takes maybe 2 minutes. The kayak itself is surprisingly stable but also comfortable. We have taken this kayak everywhere from the Potomac River to the Chesapeake Bay.

Price: $265
Where to Buy it: Amazon

Best Adventure Travel Gear - SeaEagle inflatable kayak
Kayaking around Smith Island, Maryland.

Osprey Fairview 40/Farpoint 40:

Osprey is without a doubt our favorite line of packs. Every single item is made with high-quality materials making them both durable and comfortable. Osprey’s all mighty guarantee is the icing on the cake. “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday.” Collectively, Scott and I own about 6 or 7 different Osprey packs, however, our recent favorites have been the Farpoint and its female counterpart, the Fairview.

The Farpoint was named the “Best Overall Travel Backpack for 2020” by US News & World Report. The frame suspension transfers the weight of your pack from the harness to the hip belt, alleviating some of that strain on your back and shoulders that many packs often create. A mesh back panel improves ventilation on your backside reducing all that gross sweat that can sometimes accumulate. Talking functionality, there are plenty of compartments on both the inside and the outside of the pack to carry all of your travel essentials. At 40 liters, this is one of the largest packs that you are permitted to use as a carry-on. Other great features of this pack include stowaway harness and hip belt, exterior “straightjacket” compression straps for added stabilization, 2 internal compression straps, and a laptop sleeve.

The Fairview was designed as the female equivalent of the Farpoint. Having compared the two extensively, there is little difference between the two with the exception of the fit. Because the Osprey Fairview is designed specifically for a woman’s body, the shoulder straps are set lower on the back allowing the bag to sit higher on smaller body frames, and they curve into the body rather than going straight over the shoulders. This results in a fit that I found noticeably more comfortable.

We have used our respective Farpoint and Fairview packs on trips to Sayulita, Jamaica, and San Diego. They are durable, easy to use for any length of trip, and most of all comfortable.  

Price: $160
Where to Buy the Fairview: Amazon
Where to Buy the Farpoint: Amazon

Best Adventure Travel Gear - Osprey Farpoint and Fairview
Osprey Farpoint (left) and Fairview (right). Photo Cred: https://packhacker.com/

What are some of your favorite adventure travel gear? We would love to hear about your best finds in the comments below.


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Best Adventure Travel Gear 
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Cecilia is a bubbly Filipino-American with an affinity for constant change...that or a 10 second attention span. Refusing to sit still, she travels the world, in pursuit of adventure, excitement and meaningful experiences. She holds a Masters degree in International Development and Public Policy, and a BA in Business Management.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. I’m a big fan of travelling light too, so it would never have occurred to me to take a kayak!! But a blow-up, foldable, packable version you can throw in the back of the car sounds great. I’m always on the lookout for lightweight footwear too – I’ve never tried the Nike Flyknits, but they’re certainly worth a look. As a less fit non-runner I’ve found hiking poles a valuable new addition to my travel gear – use either one or both depending on the terrain. And down here in Australia they double up as a snake deterrent too 😀

    1. Oh goodness, we have been lucky enough to not encounter any snakes during our hikes. That is definitely a good point to make the case for hiking poles!

  2. Looks like some interesting gear. I specifically like the Nike shoes you’ve recommended. Also, I love the colours of the Osprey Farpoint bags you’ve recommended, they look sturdy, small and easy to manage. Not sure if it would be of use to me but I imagine getting myself an inflatable kayak someday!

    1. The Nike shoes really are great for travel because they are lightweight and smoosh down barely taking up any space in your luggage. They also come in awesome colors which is always a perk 🙂

  3. I am the same as you guys, always upgrading and looking for the next best thing when it comes to traveling. I think I have changed my backpack about four times in ten years just to suit my needs. However I haven’t got a face mask, never even worn one in the Arctic during the winter months, I just get my scarf and wrapped it round my face, but that is just lazyness. I think that is the next item I should invest here.

    1. Never wearing a face mask in the Arctic?! I can’t even imagine haha. I (Cici) am half Filipino so I am all about warmer temperatures. Anytime I go into colder weather I am all wrapped up like a mummy.

  4. Quality over quantity it’s true. I agree with you that it is better to invest in a few quality items that will last you a lifetime, rather than waste money on more things that will fail you when you need them the most. But you need time to learn it 🙂 We travel for the last five months and living in a camper truck, so less is crucial for us 🙂 Our space is limited, and we had to make good choices when we packed for our long road trip. I like your Osprey backpack. It seems perfect for one-day hikes.

    1. That’s a perfect example. Living in a camper truck means your space is very limited, but it also means that you need to make sure you have reliable equipment in case you get stranded. It definitely took me a while to learn the minimalist method, but now that I have embraced it I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  5. You have introduced me to some very interesting travel gears. And you rightly mentioned its very important to have good and useful products than those which just don’t solve your purpose. The Nike shoes are my favorite. Airhole facemask looks very promising. I did not know about Osprey bags. Will check them out.

  6. Its amazing how travel styles evolve throughout the years. I love the backpacks. I own other Osprey ones and they are great quality. The air hole facemark is a great idea will need to look into it. And how fun that you have your own inflatable kayak. We enjoy kayaking but don’t own one yet.

    1. We have found the inflatable kayak so helpful. It actually saves us money in the long run too. For example, when we went to Smith Island (https://www.lovicarious.com/17-things-to-do-on-smith-island-maryland/), we didn’t have to pay the additional transport fee to take the bagged up deflated kayak from the mainland to the island. We also only have to pay a nominal launch fee when we take the kayak to certain locations.

  7. Wow air hole concept is great! I have not seen the similar kinds yet. Indeed very helpful for breathing. It can get stuffy with full covered masks in high altitudes. Will check out for these in the stores here. These Osprey packs look strong and sturdy, I am sure they will last long. Super useful tips on the products.

    1. You really can’t go wrong with Osprey. We have multiple different kinds of packs and they are always sturdy, comfortable, and durable.

  8. Great post!! I always love reading more on products which would make my traveling easier and this post has some great tips. I would love to travel with the Airhole facemask, it seems really convenient.

    1. We love those masks. We have tried many comparable products, but that little hole for the mouth on Airhole products is a game-changer!

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