Gear We Love

We have lived out of our suitcases year-round since January 2013, so finding the BEST gear to travel with is important. It’s taken a bit of trial & error over the years, but we have found some gems! If you’re looking for some inspiration for short or long-term travels, take a gander below at some items we live with.

While it’s certainly not a comprehensive inventory of our luggage, they’re some items we think you may want to consider. We’ve also included some non-travel items we think you should know about, too!

We’ll also include our favorite apps and even a few websites that may help you in your journeys.

You can click on a category below to jump to that section. 

Luggage & Accessories

Eagle Creek Tarmac 26 Luggage

The two large wheels on this bag make it sturdy enough for uneven pavement and even “off-roading” to your hotel!

Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Organize your suitcase with these portable “drawers”–separate tops, bottoms, undergarments & more. Don’t make your luggage contents a guessing game!

eBags Professional Weekender Bag

Looks slick, has a compartment for everything + a big “main cabin” for clothing if you are truly using it as a carry-on for weekend trips.

Hikpro Lightweight Daypack

This is an incredibly lightweight, water-resistant extra bag for heading to the coffee shop with your laptop or an overnight trip on a longer vacation.

eBags Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit

Provides enough space but still keeps your lotions and potions safe & secure in their own compartments.

Cameras, Electronics & Accessories

Sony RX10 IV

This camera’s 600mm zoom has endeared it to both BJ and Lauren and they’re a two Sony RX10 IV family!

All-in-One Universal Adaptor (with USB ports)

Once you have an all-in-one adaptor, you never have to worry about which adaptor to bring with you!

Smartish iPhone Wallet Case

This iPhone case can easily hold credit cards & business cards, lightening your wallet load.

Adjustable Wrist Lanyards

When you attach one of these lanyards to your phone case, you can take cellphone photos  over the edges of boats and bridges without fear of losing your phone!

Portable Photo/Sticker Printer

This is a relatively new toy but I know we’re going to love it! This 6 oz printer doesn’t need ink, it uses special paper. We can’t wait to share photos & stickers with kids (of themselves!) around the world!

Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

OK—full disclosure: we both use Airpods now, but I STILL carry these around as back-up! I’ve been using these from Audio-Technica since 2013, and they are a perfect lightweight, compact companion for air travel, long car rides, or noisy coffeeshops.

MeFOTO Carbon Fiber Tripod

BJ’s preferred full-sized tripod is MeFOTO’s carbon fiber classic–lightweight & a great value.


Acure SPF 30 (for face)

This sunscreen is nourishing and protecting, without leaving a white film on your face.  PLEASE see our How To Choose a Safe Sunscreen blog right here, with other product recommendations as well. 

Bare Republic SPF 30 (for face)

This Bare Republic formula is mineral-based and matte, without leaving a white film on your face.

Reef-safe Water Resistant Sunscreen (for body)

This water-resistant sunscreen does not BUDGE, and more importantly, it’s mineral-based formula is safer for you AND the environment.

Banana Boat Mineral-based Sunscreen (for body)

This is a more budget-minded mineral sunscreen appropriate for places for day-to-day travels. Also reef safe!

Natrapel Picaridin Insect Repellant

When we’re on safari, we prefer a Picaridin-based formula as opposed to DEET. Here is a great lotion version for reapplying within your safari vehicle. 

Weleda Skinfood

We both love this rich moisturizer so much, we wrote a whole blog about it you can find right here!

Radius Travel Toothbrush

Radius toothbrushes & their replaceable heads are already better for the environment; this travel version becomes its own case!


I used to make fun of this pricey floss…until I tried it. Now I’m hooked. Cocofloss comes in fun flavors (I like the vanilla), has eco-friendly refills, and it’s woven, textured threads clean marvelously! 

Clothing & Shoes

Downlight Jacket

These Eddie Bauer downlight jackets somehow always provide the perfect amount of insulation without being too warm.

Lightweight Merino Wool Shirts

Lightweight merino wool is not only cool to wear in hot climates, but more important, it stays smelling fresh forever! And they’ve gotten much more stylish over the years! Icebreaker, Smartwool & Arc’teryx are our favorite brands.

"Darn Tough" Wool Socks

Odor-resistant, made in the USA, and unconditionally guaranteed for life (!!!) What more could you hope for in socks?

Icebreaker Merino Women's Siren Bra

If wool clothing is moisture wicking and anti-odor, merino wool undergarments are even MORE so! A wool bra is crucial for sweaty days, counterintuitively enough. TMI, but y’all need to know this!!

Longsleeved Rash Guard

Longsleeved rashguards provide phenomenal sun protection that is safe for you and the environment. Lauren likes Carve Designs, but there’s a ton of great ones out there.

Altra Escalante 2.5

Lauren usually veers towards barefoot-style shoes—or just being barefoot–but this is the first pair of sneakers she has loved! Altra shoes provide support while still allowing you to feel the terrain. The wide toe box is a lifesaver!


If you have wide feet, Lems is a revelation! They have a full line out sneakers, slip-ons, and boots. Lauren has 2 pairs of the Boulder Boots; they are so remarkably lightweight (at about 9 oz per boot), you won’t travel with any other boots again! 

Adidas Men's Terrex Swift R GTX

BJ’s go to shoes–extremely supportive (even better than Salomons!)

Spenco Kholo Slide Sandals

BJ’s sandals that are not only supportive but are almost literally indestructible!

Columbia Minx Slip iii

These boots are made for WARMIN’! At just 11 oz per boot, these are made for travel in cold, icy, wet climates! Honestly, they’re sometimes TOO warm for me!

Odds & Ends!

Manta Sleep Mask

BJ is in love with these–they block out the most light & are the most comfortable he’s ever tried (and he’s tried a LOT).

Howard Leight Ear Plugs

These Howard Leight 33db earplugs (also sold at Walgreen’s, CVS, and other drugstores) can make the difference between sleepless nights and restful slumber!

Portable Door Lock

Give yourself an extra layer of security with this lightweight, portable lock that fits on nearly any door. Even if someone has a key, they won’t be able to enter from the outside when this lock is in place.


BJ is a huge fan of this lightweight, collapsable Hydrapak SkyFlask with its handstrap and spill-proof cap. (This is not a filter, only a fantastic bottle!)

Katadyn water filter

This is Lauren’s go-to water filter and collapsible bottle. It filters water quickly and makes it simple to refill other water bottles. It’s fantastic for filtering tap water in countries where you really have no business drinking the tap water!

Cressi Mask & Snorkel Set

We both independently settled on this make & model for our time in the Galapagos & the Yucatan, unbeknownst to each other!

Deep Blue Gear Swim Fins

If you are determined to bring your own fins on a snorkel vacation, these are as lightweight as they are powerful!

Travel-sized Pillowcase

Want a travel pillow but can’t justify carrying another object? Just stuff your jacket (or extra clothing) into a travel-sized pillowcase & you have a readymade pillow.

Luggage Locks

If you’re in the market for new luggage locks, we really love these lightweight cable ones that are TSA-approved. 

Electronic Resources

We’ve found that Agoda, part of the family, is the VERY best way to book hotels in Asia. Plus you can accumulate points you can redeem for big discounts!

Outside of Asia, we still prefer for our hotel-finding needs. The cancellation policies can be quite generous!


The first time we used Airbnb was in Ireland & we’ve never looked back. If you use this link to sign up to Airbnb (must be a new customer), you’ll get $40 in travel credit when you sign up!


Using Uber abroad closes the language gap & eliminates haggling. Use this link to sign up for Uber & get your first ride free or discounted (value amounts vary by location).


This currency conversion app is a must-have when traveling abroad. It doesn’t have to be online to work, it just pulls the conversion rate data from the last time you were online.


This photo editing app has become a necessity for editing photos on the go. I only wish there were a desktop version! Visit your app store to download.


Both users must have WhatsApp installed and be connected to the internet (wifi or SIM card), but then it’s all the free messages, calls, and even video chats you care to make—even internationally!

Google Translate

Indispensable! Although you do need an internet connection for it to work, you can download certain languages for offline use. Or, take screenshots of certain phrases when you do have wifi.

Units Plus Converter

For those of us who have yet to precisely master the metric system (thanks, Amerca!), this handy app is a lifesaver.


We use WhatsApp when we can, but sometimes you just need to call a landline or cell (your bank, a local hotel, a WhatsApp-less friend, etc) and in these situations, Skype fits the bill.
Disclosure: Most of the links above are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through those links, we earn a small commission from at no extra cost to you. We take your trust very seriously and would never link to a product that we do not personally endorse! The small commission affords us the time to carefully create resource pages like this.

For clothing & shoes, we like to use and their easy return policy, so we can try on different sizes & styles. For camera gear, you can also consider

Follow us