packingI pack aggressively; through a combination of extreme preparation and minimalism I’ve made trips around the globe on a bag that some people would carry their lunch in. This latest foray, however, was going to be upwards of 20 days, with my travels taking me across the international date line and upwards of 15 hours of flying there and 23 hours of traveling on the way back.

It was an amazing trip and I was prepared, but I couldn’t help but think it might have been more fun with some of this stuff I’m about to list.

10382450.jpgStretching your time away

Moving to Vancouver took me from a cheeseburger-chomping Ontarian to a fully-fledged, sushi-noshing, yoga-pose-holding West Coast Hippie™. As such, any chance I get to show off my graceless moments is something I revel in (maybe I misspelled “revile” there). Seriously though: being able to take some time to stretch out those sore muscles can be an absolute godsend.

Rather than sticking with a rolling yoga mat, Merrithew makes a folding model that is a great fit for a carry-on or a shoulder bag. It’s light at about 0.6kg (taking up less of your allowed 23-ish kg) and can be machine washed to keep it clean. That’s neat thing I wish I had #1.


Power on the go

goalzeroI’ve blogged about the Goal Zero Nomad in the past, and it’s safe to say that my affection for it has not waned. It’s a 13W solar panel charger that’s super handy if you’re hiking or walking. It’ll charge your notoriously hungry iPad (it’s generally looking for at least 10W) over USB (along with any other USB rechargeable devices as well as charging 12v car-charger devices. You can even connect up to four of them together for even faster charging.  That’s pretty slick, and it’s something I like. If you’re headed to places that aren’t particularly nice you’ll find that the Nomad is weather resistant. Handy.

10377812.jpgSir, you can’t have liquids beyond this point

This one’s simple: if I had a dollar for every time I have been ordered to dispose of a water bottle when going through the security theatre, I’d have at least enough to buy the 6-in-1 Öko Odyssey 650ml filtration water bottle. This thing is pretty awesome, it has a 2-stage water filter for the removal of bacteria and chlorine, it has a flashlight which can double as a lantern (which can use an emergency beacon or strobe, and there’s a storage unit at the bottom for snacks, keys, medication, or to be used as a drinking cup. Zip through the TSA checkpoint, and fill it up at the water fountain right after it, and you’re good to go, no waste, and no expensive water bottles!

 10326658.jpgRoom with a view

 One thing I think is a must-have for anyone taking a trip anywhere is a way to get up close and person without moving your feet. Nikon Travelite 10×25 Binoculars have a 10 times magnification, and they’re shock resistant for those moments where the view is so jaw dropping that your binoculars drop with it. They’re light, they’re small, and they come with a 25 year warranty. When was the last time you saw anything that had a 25 year warrant?

 10261056.jpgBuild a little strength on the go

 This one might actually be particular to me, but a flex band is a handy tool to have on vacation for me. Why? Well, back in November I managed to tear my rotator cuff at work. It hurt like heck, involved a WCB claim, and a lot of physio. Between Zhoosh Fitness and Columbia Integrated Health in New Westminster I managed to get myself on the road to recovery, but you’ll find that you always need a fitness takeaway on any sort of rehab. My treatment involved a number of exercises with a flex band; I found that performing them with both arms actually helped limber me up and prepare me for my day every day. I’m going to be taking a flex band with me on my next trip, hopefully not for rehab, but just to warm up before a day on the go.

 We get by with a little help from our friends

 10373480.jpgThe worst part about traveling is leaving my little buddy in the care of others; his name is Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, and he’s going to be 4 years old on March 17th. My cat is one of the most important things in my life, and without him I find that days feel a little empty. So this one may be a little selfish, but on my next trip I’d really like to bring Stormy with me in something like the Sunfast Deluxe Pet Carrier.  This one’s made for dogs, especially those up to 21.5” tall, and it has a bowl for food and water, as well as having a space for their name and a handle to carry it with. Stormy would be comfortable in there, though I’d probably make sure that he has his favourite blanket with him.

Yeah, I’m cat people.

Anyway, that’s a pretty comprehensive list of stuff I’d love to take with me on my next trip, and they’re things that might make your next trip a whole lot more fun. Have some ideas of your own? Leave them in the comments below!

Bonus: Cat Tax

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