We buy expensive travel gear, take off on a world tour, and two months later, we are tired of carrying heavy, unused travel gear, and we dump it.
What is appropriate travel gear for travel?
Travel gear is cool but not always appropriate, and often we just need to throw away unused travel gear, regardless of price.
Travel gear is fun! If you read my profile, my Hobo name is “Gadget.” This name was given to me by Richard, a commercial-concrete construction worker over 30 years ago. Dick would say, “Gadget, bring your body and all them toys over here and fix this broken set of concrete forms. This dock lever is F#%ked up.”
Thirty years later, I am still in love with gadgets, but now I call it travel gear, or whatever you want to call these very heavy gadgets we carry in our luggage or backpacks.
Do not fall in love with too much travel gear. There is only room for 50 pounds of travel gear in our packs. After that, the airlines are going to make us choose the most appropriate travel gear. We will arrive at the airport, start to check in, and the nice person behind the airline desk will say, “You need to pay $100 for extra weight. … Mastercard or Visa? … Please sign here.”
What Is Appropriate Travel Gear?
Appropriate to the trip – There are hundreds of different trips, and gear requirements change. You must ask yourself, is this travel gear really appropriate for this trip, or do I just love it?
Simply, daily-use test – Bring the gear you use daily – not the gear your buddy or spouse uses – the gear you use daily. If you actually use it, it is appropriate.
Three-month use test – If you do not touch a piece of gear for three months, it’s time to throw it out, toss it in the bin, or try to give it away. If you do not use it, it is not appropriate travel gear.
Cost test – Are you willing to lose it? Can you afford to have it stolen, lost, trashed or broken? If not, then it is not appropriate travel gear.
Borrowing test – Appropriate travel gear is borrowed because other travelers want to use it, for example, my umbrella. I have stopped loaning my umbrella to tourists and travelers because they want to use it but refuse to buy their own super-small umbrella for $1.
Copied-gear or adoption-of-travel-gear test – I carry with me a plastic bucket and a submersible water heater. Many people think I am crazy. At least four girlfriends mocked my bucket and heater at first. Then they observed me taking a nice, hot-dip shower while they froze, and they came over to my way of thinking: Hot dip showers are great; cold showers suck.
Yet, the truth is, maybe they’re appropriate for me, but as travel gear for the masses, they’re not appropriate. But I darned sure refuse to leave home without them!
Everyone-is-using-the-travel-gear test – When you leave the USA –when you go out and about, on walkabout, on your grand tour of the world –you will see the gear everyone is buying. Consider the water bottle: We have plastic ones, aluminum ones and the soft, Platypus ones. Are they really practical? They travel around the planet and work great until you lose them. They are a grand idea but impossible to replace in off-the-wall locations I am in today.
Boondoggle Travel Gear Defined:
I am going to borrow this word, "boondoggle," to explain the nature of travel gear sales.
"A boondoggle is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations."
Often, you will see other travel sites recommending travel gear that is highly inappropriate – and sometimes downright dangerous. This is against the “Traveler’s Creed” and not allowed inside this travel community.
The Camelpak and Paksafe are appropriate travel gear when explained correctly, but for the most part, they are a useless waste of time and money for true, world travelers.
Stick to asking experienced travelers what to pack. The travel-gear stores and sites have the "extraneous policy motivations" of a boondoggle. In other words, they will tell you anything to make a buck.
This is against our membership’s "Traveler’s Creed." No member is allowed to recommend travel gear that is misleading or recommended for inappropriate uses. In a way, if we refuse to use it ourselves as world travelers, we refuse to recommend it. This is the nature of our travel culture and community – a safe place for good advice.
Where is Andy Lee Graham today? Members can log in now to see.