Freshening Up My Travel Gear: Guilty Pleasures for 2018

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Freshening up My Travel Gear

Any of you guys following my whereabouts and “howabouts” know that I managed to cross off most of the goals I had for 2016-2017. I was pretty pleased about it, too.

You’ll also know that I finished 2017 strong by adding a few fascinating countries and hikes to my list – from the Kumano Kodo Iseji pilgrimage to tracking gorillas in Uganda (with a bit of downtime in the Maldives to take the edge off).

Being happier – a slight tweak in my approach for this year

Most of us know that, no matter how much you love to travel, it does take a bit of a toll in the long run and there are fleeting moments when fatigue sets in, whether it’s physical or mental.

So, this year, I decided to keep up the tempo not only by focusing on my goals but by treating myself to a few guilty pleasures when it comes to gear, too.

The logic behind it is simple – if shoe-shopping sprees work for women, I’m guessing a few fresh additions to my gear could help with that #1 goal I set for myself back in 2017 – being happier on my own.

Today, I’ll be sharing a rundown of things I’ve already added or plan to add to my gear closet.


A new hiking/camping air mattress

I said it a few times before and I’ll say it again – I always make sure that I sleep well on my travels, whether it’s setting camp in the forests of Uganda or slumming it in a questionable Los Angeles hostel.

There are few things more important for your ability to soak in the experiences than waking up fresh.

My closet is already a home for a few air mattresses and sleeping pads, but time got to pretty much all of them. My once trusted Intex was already patched a few times and it’s still leaking. It’s high time it became a fond memory.

The research

I was surprised to see how much has changed in the industry since the last time I window-shopped for airbeds. The more I researched, the more I realized it’s a good thing for campers, hikers, and travelers everywhere.

More competition means higher quality standards and lower prices.

I’m not yet set on a specific bed. Hell, I’m not even to set on the brand or size – I’m dwelling on whether to get a Twin or Queen size and whether to go with a classic brand like Coleman or try out some of these new arrivals.

Brands and sizes side, it’s likely to be one of the airbeds I found listed as best camping air mattresses at I did a lot of research over the past few months and liked the testing and reviews I saw there – it’s based on experiences of actual hikers and campers like you and me.

It’s not easy to get these shipped Down Under, but I plan to get one sent to a travel location. I researched this part, too, and it’s the most cost-effective way to go about it.


A new multi-tool/pocket knife

I’m a sucker for these nifty things. When you start researching, it’s hard to see the fine line between advertising lingo and real value.

To be honest, I’m tempted to go with of those zillion-in-one pieces but I also know that 90% of the time, I only used a few tools from my old Leatherman.

Bottom line, I’ll try to be conservative here and go with a practical piece – one that comes with all the tools I need and won’t pull my cargo pants down on the trail.

I might switch brands to see what all the hype is about with those Swiss Victorinox pieces, but one thing is for certain, I’m keeping it minimal. No dead weight for me.


A new backpack

I am nostalgic about my gear and the jury is still out on this one.

But, with the number of backpacking gadgets I carry around, I’ll probably have to open my wallet here.

I like having two backpacks in my arsenal – one for longer and more demanding hikes and a compact one for day trips.

Again, my mind is still not set on a specific product, but I found this guide at to be most complete, so it will probably be one (or two) of these.


I’ll be investing in a good jacket

Okay, so I didn’t cross off point #3 from the list of the resolutions for 2017 – climbing Kilimanjaro. It just wasn’t in the stars.

But hey, who knows, the opportunity might present itself this year so I better make sure I’m prepared. Last-minute shopping before taking on an adventure like that is not a good idea; I’m sure you’ll agree.

So, even if climbing Kili turns out not to be stars for this year either, having a good insulating jacket on standby definitely is. What made my mind up here is reading this packing list on the .

If there is an item on the list that suits the description of a “guilty pleasure,” it’s this one. I’ll probably splurge most on it and I’m not sure when I’ll be using it.

I’m sure of one thing though; I’m going with bright red or yellow. My gear closet could use some color.


“There goes the Aussie in his red Patagonia”

I’m daydreaming about hearing the sentence on one of the Kili trails. This year, next year, or 2022…it will happen.

In the meantime, I’m sure that I’ll get my jollies and keep my energy high by sporting some of the new stuff.

A new backpack on my shoulders and, come evening, a nice air mattress to lay my head on, I’m tackling 2018 with high expectations.

I know that simply adding gear to my “armory” won’t get me places. My restless legs will.

What I’m hoping the gear will do is help maintain the level of passion I have and keep me as edgy as I am today.

It’s what I’m aiming for.

Don’t be a stranger!

Feel free to share your gear plans and let’s brainstorm. There’s nothing like the words of a like-minded soul to keep you going.

Safe trails

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