Travel Gear

An unsorted list of travel gear I pack in my backpack. Inspired by Matt Mullenweg's "What's in my bag" post, Polle de Maagt's travel notebook.

I like to travel with only the minimal essentials. Everything that I'm not using regularly, I simply don't want to take it with me. IMHO there is no need to pack your backpack for all the possible "What if" moments. Here are 23 other reasons why you should travel with just one carry-on backpack.

My preferred backpacks

Goruck Echo
My 16L daily EDC backpack that I use for commuting to work when I only carry essentials. And still some space available for an extra jacket or some groceries.
Goruck GR1
This is my other daily EDC backpack that I use when going to the gym before or after work. It always contains the same EDC gear as the Echo, plus the extra gym gear that I need for the day. It has a volume of 26L. This daypack is also big enough for a weekend or midweek away.
Goruck GR2
The GR2 is great for longer trips. I used it to travel around Japan for 3 weeks, and Mexico for 2 weeks. And the best thing is, it is still a TSA carry-on compliant 40L backpack, so a great travel backpack.

For me, the pro's of the Goruck backpacks is first of all the aesthetics. It has a low profile, it is not obvious that you are a backpacker or tourist and thus carry value stuff. Plus it looks good when traveling for work. The bag opens flat, this makes (un)packing so much easier. It has a separate compartment for my laptop, which you can easily access, but still safe because it is hidden and closest to your back.

A big con is definitely the steep price. (Be patient and wait for a discount moment like 4th of July, Veterans Day or Black Friday). But I also think it will pay itself back because of the robust build of the bag. It feels like it will last a lifetime. Another thing is the outside front pocket. It is not very accessible when your bag is full with your belongings. Unfortunately it is not really a quick access pocket. For that purpose, I use the one small pocket inside the bag. And the front pocket to put away small flat items and I irregularly need.

Reviews by others:

Size comparison of the Goruck backpacks

Centimeters and Kilograms are converted from Inch and Pounds mentioned Goruck' website.
Goruck Echo Goruck GR1 Goruck GR2
Volume 16 Liter 26 Liter 40 Liter
Width (Centimeter) 29.21 cm 30.48 cm 31.75 cm
Height (Centimeter) 41.91 cm 50.8 cm 55.88 cm
Depth (Centimeter) 10.79 cm 17.15 cm 22.86 cm
Width (Inch) 11.5″ 12″ 12.5″
Height (Inch) 16.5″ 20″ 22″
Depth (Inch) 4.25″ 6.75″ 9″
Weight (Kilogram) 0.88 kg 1.45 kg 2.15 kg
Weight (Pounds) 1.95 lbs 3.20 lbs 4.75 lbs
Laptop Compartment Up to 13″ Up to 17″ Up to 17″
Price Discontinued $295 $495
Source - Warranty & Customization

What travel gear is in my backpack?

Goruck Field Pocket GR1
3L field pocket that carries all sorts of small EDC and valuable items. Like all the Apple adapters, cables and power plugs. I also have the Echo and GR2 field pockets that I can use if I'm packing more or less.
Sea to Summit See Pouch (medium)
Handy and light 2L dopp kit for my toiletries. Because you can see through it, makes it very easy to go through security at an airport when traveling with only carry-on.
Ikea packing cubes
The field pockets by Goruck are great for holding EDC or valuable items. So I was still on the lookout for lighter and slightly larger packing cubes for my clothing. For now, I'm going for the packing cubes by Ikea. Simply because they are cheap. Put some cedar wood chips in them to keep your clothing fresh. I do have my eye on the packing cubes of Peak Design.
Goruck American Waterproof Jacket
Super straightforward jacket to block out any wind or water with enough big pockets to put a lot of stuff in.
Patagonia Nano Puff
Warm lightweigt jacket that can be warn underneath my wind and water jacket. Together they make an excellent winter jacket. And it is packable so it doesn't take up a lot of space.
Apple MacBook
With charger + cable.
Apple World Travel Adapter Kit
Handy kit with all the adapters that you may need. They work for the laptop and iPad charger. I always take an iPad charger and cable with me for charging my iPhone. And only the adapters that I need to take for the specific trip.
Apple AirPods
Maybe the best gadget purchase I have done in the last couple of years. I don't miss untangling the cables. And I feel totally comfortable wearing them while biking through Amsterdam or rushing to an airport gate.
Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Canceling headphones
I can't imagine flying continental without noise canceling headphones anymore. To me, they are essential for a comfortable flight.
Anker Powerbank (20.100 mAh)
ABC! Always be Charging. To charge my iPhone and MacBook a couple of time. I noticed it can charge my iPhone at least 5 times.
Dopper water bottle
Stay hydrated. Drink water. Alcohol doesn't count. Reduce plastic waste. But make sure it's empty before you go through security at the airport. Fill it up after security for free and you will easily save €5,- every trip.
Secrid wallet
I actually have 2 wallets. One is in my pocket with the most important cards that I use daily. And a second one with less important cards and some emergency cash.
Other small items
Lip balm, tissues, pen (to fill in forms at airport border control), eye mask, earplugs, nail clipper, painkillers, sleep aids, multivitamins, protein bars (for a healthy snack), and energy gum (to battle jetlag and hangovers).

My favorite apps when traveling

Google Maps
IMHO the best app to find my way around in a city, because it now also include public transport information.
Foursquare & Swarm
To find hidden local gems, and keep a logbook of all the places I've been.
Google Translate
Before I go on a trip I download the local language in the app. Live translations to English by the camera even worked for Japanese.
Get around a city quickly. Especially handy for traveling to and from an airport. When I'm tired or a bit stressful because of catching my flights. I don't want to deal with obnoxious cab drivers, and even negotiate about prices.
Reisapp Buitenlandse Zaken
The app from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that provides information around travel advise, safety and contact details for each country. Always handy if you get in to an emergency situation.
For podcasts and my favorite music playlists (already downloaded at home!) when feeling a big down or to get to sleep.
Awesome to-do list app.

Basic words to use when traveling

English Dutch German French Spanish Italian
Hi Hoi Hallo Bonjour Hola Ciao
Thanks Dankjewel