“If I forget something I’m going to be screwed!”
Many of us go through this thought process while packing for a trip. The feeling that you are going to forget something important always looms as you go over your checklist a thousand times.
What about the little things that you may never think of?
Throughout my trip to New Zealand I realized that a few small items I chose to pack were some of the most critically used. Some I hadn’t thought of sprang to mind at the time it would have been useful. All of them, packed or not, seemed so minuscule at first.
Turns out — these minuscule items below could be the most important to pack on a trip.
I can’t freakin’ stress this enough. If you have been following my adventures and social networks, you’ll know just how obsessed with my hammock I am. My love affair with a few yards of netting doesn’t stem from relaxing days swaying to a gentle breeze on a beach (though that is a plus!)
Small roll up hammocks can be purchase at most outdoors or army surplus stores, and never broke on me.
The hammock saved my travel noobie ass more times than I can count.
- -Road trip with random Germans that had no place left in their car to sleep? Throw the hammock up!
- -Ran out of money and cannot afford a room at a hostel? Guerrilla camp in the woods!
- -Discover a private cove paradise and want to stay a couple of weeks? Find a good tree and hang out!
Just imagine: You pull up to an area of cave networks which can be freely explored, but there is a problem. A sign warns travelers that theft is high in the area. What to do with all of your electronics?
This happened to me when we went to explore the Abbey Caves in Whangarei, NZ. Luckily, I had all different sized ziplock bags to shove my passport (important!), chargers, phone, AND laptop into. We got SOAKED! The result — nothing valuable could be stolen and no electronics were ruined in the wet caves. These cheap bags saved the day.
- -Tooth paste and sun lotion just LOVE to explode all over your clothes and backpacks. Pop them in a bag.
- -Backpacking on a budget and living on peanut butter sandwiches? Keep snacks fresh in a baggie.
- -Thousands of chargers, adapters, and other electronics? Keep them dry and organized in a bag.
Travelers love to live with less. More often than not, we become walking RV’s. Our packs expand from clothes and toiletries to sleeping bags and tents.
These little clips have been more versatile than most of the other items I brought with me. I have used carabiners to transform my laptop bag and carry-on bag into one. Since I have my Chucks, sandals, and hiking shoes, I clipped one pair on the outside when I run out of space (or when they began to smell bad).
- -Taking along a camera case and laptop for the day? Clip both together as one.
- -Need a sleeping bag now? Attach it the back of the backpack.
- -Sandals and shoes won’t fit in the pack anymore? Latch them to the sides of your pack.
While I was sleeping all across the Northland I was completely reliant on the plastic forks and knives I picked up before we left. Only having those limited me to foods like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Have you ever tried cutting vegetables for a salad with a plastic knife? Total fail.
Sure, you can find canned foods with pull tabs on that top, but the asshole manufacturers only include them on expensive brands. I was stuck paying extra for tuna with pull tabs, and I was so jealous of other travelers that had pocket knives with can openers.
- -Need to carve a stick to roast s’mores or hotdogs over a fire? Ya’ got it.
- -Forgot to bring along a fork or spoon to eat with? No problem.
- -Creepy person bothering you? Whip out the knife and scream, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” (Okay, try to refrain from violence.)
All of the adventuring has taken a toll of your clothing. You don’t realize it but a hole has made it’s way through your pocket. You slide your phone into the pocket and don’t even realize it has fallen right through and into the grass. Sucks if you don’t realize it.
Having a tiny sewing kit handy will let you repair little things like that. Even bigger hassles may arise such as tears in your pack. You can now fix this. It’ll also let you sew memories on to your pack if you are into that sort of thing.
- -Torn strap on a camera or laptop bag? Easily fixed.
- -Ripped jeans, shirts, or pockets? Patch it up, it adds character.
- -That cool Peace patch you bought like every other traveler? Make it permanent on your pack.
FIRST AID KIT
You are stoking a fire as you and your fellow travelers strum guitars and play harmonicas by the fire. You lean back and put your hand on a smoldering log that had rolled out of the fire behind you. HOLY SHIT!
Been there, done that. It fucking sucks. Luckily I had a first aid kit with bandage and burn gel.
Let’s get real. When you are running around the world or exploring the wilds anything can happen.
- -Cut yourself carving sticks to roast marshmallows? Luckily you have band aids.
- -Burn yourself like an idiot (Me)? Stop crying, you have burn gel.
- -Hit your head while exploring a cave? Most have aspirin or ibuprofen.
FILTERED h20 BOTTLE
Thirsty? Pop into a convenience store and pay $4 for a bottle of water. Get thirsty 4 times in a day? Yeah, talk about a budget buster. I went through this hassle when I arrived in New Zealand, and especially when exploring the wild Northland.
They make these nifty reusable water bottles now with built-in filters that are good for up to 300 refills! If you think about how much water you drink while traveling, especially when hiking, you can save a hell of a lot.
Obviously not made for filtering natural streams, but faucet water will be fine to drink after filtering it. Just don’t be like me and lose these bottles. I’m an airhead and left 3 behind.
iPhone charger cords, camera charger cords, laptop charger cord, oh my! How the hell do you keep all of this nonsense organized? These archaic stretchy bands of rubber are making a comeback, at least it was a huge help for my pack.
Buy a handful of these for a buck and it will be a headache saver for all of your little gizmos.
Are there any very small, but significant items you have found extremely useful when traveling?