Just Returned From → Baffin Island, Nunavut. Headed To → Zoagli, Italy.

Essential Travel & Adventure Gear: 7 Everyday Items I Love

Dry Bag

Seven travel & adventure items I have purchased that I have come to truly love — and I just can’t live without!

In This Adventure Travel Article You Will Discover:

  • 7 Great Travel & Adventure Items
  • Inspiration for Your Christmas Shopping
  • And More!

OK — I don’t usually love “things.” I love people. And dogs. But sometimes I make a purchase that I’m just so happy with I want to — oxymoronically — both covet it and share it with the world. These items enhance my life, my travels and my outdoor adventures, yet are often just the simplest of “things.” You just can’t explain True Love, I guess…

Here are my seven favourite items — what are some of yours? Comment below!

No affiliate links — just honest opinions!

Three-Fold Dry Bags

Dry Bag

Take a DSLR, camcorder, iPod and a Blackberry into a situation such as this and the value of a dry bag becomes apparent.

Half of the items on this list would have been reduced to trash long ago if it weren’t for one of my many three-fold dry bags. Usually made from heavy-duty PVC plastic (or newer, environmentally friendly equivalents), dry bags are the only thing I have ever found to be totally waterproof. No, even high-end waterproof-breathable membranes like Gore-Tex and Entrant aren’t the same. And even taped seams on your $800 Arc’teryx jacket will, eventually, leak — unlike the minimalist and effective design of three simple folds. I’ve left $1,000 worth of digital camera gear outside in a Northern British Columbia rainstorm and found it to be dry as a desert thanks to a three-fold dry bag. Any outdoor adventurer or traveller must have at least one — whether in the form of a lightweight in-backpack stuff-sack or a heavy-duty standalone. They pay dividends tenfold.

iPod Nano

ipod_nano

Remember the first iPods? We’ve come a long way, baby.

Such a tiny electronic device should not be capable of delivering this much pleasure. While I appreciate the Golden Silence of unplugging in the beauty of nature and listening to Gaia speak, I also appreciate the ability to have a couple of thousand songs, a few hundred photos and even a movie or two stuffed into my pants pocket for use whenever I please. I never travel without it. My girlfriend’s brand-new iPod Nano is even better than the one I have… it’s impossibly small yet holds more data than you could consume in a lifetime. And yes, I am specifying iPod, not “mp3  player.” Fact is, while I don’t claim to be a disciple of Steve Jobs (Macbook and iPod notwithstanding)… Apple really has got the portable music player locked down. No one even compares. And that’s why I love my iPod Nano.

Oakley Gascan Sunglasses

oakley_gascan

Normally I’m not so vain, but I just love my Oakley Gascan Sunglasses. (Enjoying Java in Indonesia.)

These are the coolest, most comfortable, most badass-looking men’s sunglasses ever produced. And I love them — not just for their style, but also for their eye protection (from both UV and flying objects) and for their durability. Many of you may be like I once was… “Why bother spend more than $100 on sunglasses — I just lose or break them anyway!” Funny thing is, I always managed to destroy or lose my cheapo sunglasses, but I’ve had these Oakleys for four years. And since they are such high quality, they can actually take a beating and not disintegrate — I’ve stepped on them, sat on them, dropped them — and they are still in mint condition. And as far as the vision protection goes — well, high-end sunglasses actually enhance your vision, they don’t hinder it like the cheap stuff. This came to light for me one day when I was walking through a forested area with a friend, who was wearing a pair of Oakley knock-offs. When we got into the shade, he had to remove his glasses so he could see in the shadows. And I didn’t. You always, always, always… get what you pay for. (Sometimes, love ain’t cheap.)

Yamaha RH10MS Headphones

yamaha_rh10ms

Encased in sound… I love these headphones — I’m listening to them right now!

One of my newest acquisitions… and I am in love! Forget all that uber-expensive, gimmicky, battery-powered noise-reduction hoopla — Yamaha’s studio quality RH10MS headphones create a blanket of rich, deep, engaging sound while their comfortable “earmuff” design naturally blocks out that crying baby next to you on the plane. In fact, they are designed to replicate the experience of standing “in front” of a set of studio speakers, so the sound you hear is natural and multi-textured, not “booming inside your brain.” And I can vouch — you can literally lose yourself to the music coming out of these headphones. They’re not cheap, at about $130, but they still cost a fraction of some of those new-fangled noise-canceling gadgets (I’m talking to you, Bose!). Even when hooked up to a simple iPod  — the sound is transcendent. I love ‘em!

dslr_nikon_d60

Ironically, this photo of me and my DSLR was taken with a point-and-shoot.

DSLR Cameras

The first Digital SLR (DSLR) camera I ever used was the venerable Nikon D70 — at the time, in about 2005, it was groundbreaking as, essentially, the first consumer-level DSLR on the market. My friends were in awe of it. Today, DSLR cameras are commonplace — but that doesn’t make them pedestrian. Even though I use an entry-level DSLR nowadays (Nikon D60), it is still capable of making images captured with a conventional point-and-shoot look like they were scribbled in crayon by comparison. In fact, I read a quote from a great portraitist in Digital SLR Magazine,  “Any modern DSLR can take amazing images.” (And the photog in question was using a $35,000 Hasselblad!) Yes, I know, photographers hate the idea that the “camera” takes the photo… “I” take the photo “with” the camera… But the fact is you, the reader, could flip through the pages on this website and easily distinguish between images taken with a DSLR and those taken via cheapo point-and-shoot. The same hand took the photos… the only difference was the machine. And that is why I love DSLR cameras.

Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS

garmin_gps

“In One-Hundred Metres, Turn Left…” Gotta love modern tech.

This is my pick for the road trip. While I never recommend relying on GPS units as one’s sole method of navigation, when driving in an unfamiliar city, units such as this are invaluable. During the summer, on a trip to Boston, my girlfriend and I rented a car — not knowing that Bostonians are notorious for their aggressive (re: insane) driving, the fact they consider most traffic lights mere “suggestions” and that Boston itself is a labyrinth of one-way streets, tunnels, overpasses, confusing directions, roundabouts and overall chaos caused by hundreds of thousands of commuter cars trying to squeeze down streets built 400 years ago. If we hadn’t had that Garmin GPS with us, I would have turned right around and taken that damn rental car back to Alamo. But with the help of our electronic nanny, we navigated the historic streets of Boston without incident.

Ted Baker Leather Bag

ted_baker_bag2

See? You barely notice the bag. Too bad, because it looks really cool.

Nothing makes me feel like more of a “tourist” than having a nylon camera bag swinging from my shoulder — or worse, a massive DSLR camera swinging from my neck. However, I need my camera! Enter the stylish Ted Baker Leather Bag — insert “man purse” jokes here — and the problem is solved. I keep my Nikon, two lenses, a map and all types of other geeky tourist stuff and maintain a stylish, if a little metrosexual, look about myself. (I also like to throw in a couple silica packs to keep the humidity out and my electronics safe.) Yes, for the urban tourist, it’s easy to blend in — if you try. And you gotta love that!

What travel and adventure gear items do you love?

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

4 comments… add one
  • David Webb Nov 17, 2010

    Thanks. I hear people talk about “unlocked” iphones, and I actually don’t even know what that means, but if it works for you, that’s great!

  • Zablon Mukuba Nov 16, 2010

    another great thing you could add is an unlocked iphone. its very handy

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