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Buyers Guide

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Ultimate Travel Gear List That Will Change the Way You Travel

by , September 5, 2023

If you’re not familiar with Zeke Kamm, he contributed to Carryology with his Best One Bag Travel Minimalist Ultralight Gear video back in 2017. Since then, he’s directed The Last Blockbuster and traveled around the world. In doing so, he’s tested hundreds of pieces of travel gear. And, well, compiled one of the most monumental products round-ups in this history of travel gear. Truly, this is madness. Please enjoy!

Unless your travel plans involve a nude cruise, you’re looking for awesome clothes, gear, and a killer bag to put it all in for your next trip. Lucky for you, I’ve got over 200 pieces of the best gear right here.

So much has changed with travel, gear, and the world in the seven years since my last oversized travel gear review! But there is one thing that hasn’t changed, and it’s the single most important secret to having the best travel experience. I’ll share it at the end, so stick around for that.

How do I know what the best travel gear is for you? I don’t. As a filmmaker and brand consultant, I get to travel the world – A LOT. As a person obsessed with great, functional design, I’m a tough customer to please. I’ve tested a crazy amount of gear. You’ll need to figure out what travel gear is best for you, but so you don’t have to spend seven years figuring that out, I’m going to give you a head start with the gear I’ve found that’s best for me. 

I’m not going to dive much into specs (or this article would take seven years to read), but click on the product links if specs are your jam.

An important side note! If you already have gear that works for you, just use that. A well-loved bag where you know the location of every zip and pocket without looking – that’s a thing of beauty, and costs nothing (you already bought it a long time ago). And even the best new bag, if you’re not used to it, could sometimes be a pain in the neck. But if you’re in need of something new and want it to be the best, I’ve got some things you just might like. Let’s start with bags, yeah?


I used to obsess about traveling light and, okay, I still do, but I don’t worry about the weight of a specific object that much. I’m much more focused on the functionality. In other words, I’d rather have less things that work better and last longer than bringing the lightest weight bag that won’t last a whole trip, won’t hold everything I want to bring, or even if I just don’t like how it looks. Yes, as I’ve gotten older, I actually care MORE about the aesthetic of an object. 

The North St. The Weekender Backpack checks all the boxes for me and is one of my favorite backpacks for most trips in the five-plus day category. I know, I know, it’s called the weekender, but most of the time if I’m only going somewhere for a weekend, this American-made 28L bag is overkill for my weekend getaways. I LOVE the visual style of the bag and if I had to bring a bunch of stuff around with me to work or school, this would be my top pick for best everyday bag, too. It easily swallows even large laptops with its dedicated padded compartment that keeps it away from the bottom of the bag so you don’t need to baby it. From the rugged EPX600 fabric to the seatbelt webbing removable waist belt and water-resistant zippers, this bag is made to last. It’s also incredibly usable with plenty of built-in organization (if you’re into that sort of thing) and several easy-access outside zipper pockets. There’s even attachment points for lashing down jackets or additional bags – the North St. Pioneer 12 Handlebar Pack works particularly well, but plenty of bags from other companies will work, too.

North St. The Weekender Backpack

North St. Pioneer 12 Handlebar Pack

I’m a big fan of all the features they’ve added specifically for travelers that don’t get in the way of making it dominate as a daily driver. There are internal compression straps like a suitcase, but also large Velcro sections for adding their optional accessory bags like their 10″ Velcro-In Organizer Pocket and Medium Velcro-In VX Pocket.

The backpack straps tuck away for easier maneuvering through skinny flight aisles and clean stowage in the overhead bins. There’s a luggage strap if you’re one of those cavemen who still uses a roller bag. And then there’s the handles. This bag has two top handles and a side handle. Would I have liked a matching side handle on the other side? Yes, I would. I also would like to see the bag made with lockable zippers, but that’s a nitpick. I love that the bag has a hidden water bottle pocket – I’m not a fan of those ugly mesh pockets on some bags. And the external compression straps are always a welcome feature for me, as traveling with a bag that holds the contents tightly but can expand when needed is the way I like to fly. If you love quality-made gear that looks great, too, check out the Weekender from North St. Bags.

If it looks a bit too Special Ops for your style, check out the EVERGOODS Civic Panel Loader 24L w/ Glow Patch. This bag has beautiful, clean lines that shouldn’t clash with your fancy duds if that’s how you fly or if you roll into the boardroom with your pack. But don’t let the good looks fool you, the Civic Panel Loader is built with abrasion-resistant fabric and plenty of smart features to make traveling and daily use easier. My favorite feature is the horizontal pocket that lets you quickly and easily live and work out of this bag by just swinging it around to the front of your body. I can’t overstate how incredibly usable this makes this bag when you are on the go. There’s also a padded and suspended laptop pocket that should be able to hold even 17″ laptops in case you’re in need of a giant screen. Like the North St. Weekender, the Civic Panel Loader 24L (which also comes in a 28L version) has both top and side handles. It’s also got a similar, main panel zipper that lets you get access to nearly everything in the bag without having to unpack it.

EVERGOODS Civic Panel Loader 24L

There’s no question a lot of usability design went into this great bag. And then they went and hit it with the premium stick. So it is as easy to use as it is easy on the eyes. This is my first EVERGOODS bag, but it won’t be my last.

Able Carry’s Max Backpack is great for those looking for another (and slightly larger) option similar to the Weekender and CPL. This bag is an absolute masterpiece of materials, construction, and design. If you love bags, there is so much here to appreciate. You may never want to let it out of your sight. With its 30-liter capacity, the Able Carry Max provides ample room for all your essentials. The back panel features a grab handle that you can slip over a wheeled bag and tons of padding that’s arranged to maximize airflow. It’s an incredibly comfortable bag even for long days of travel. If you like bags with built-in organization, you won’t be disappointed. Outside you’ll find 14 attachment points, the nicest top and side handles I’ve seen on any bag ever, and multiple pockets. There’s a large front pocket with additional internal organization, there’s an expanding zippered water bottle pocket on one side and a hidden zipper pocket on the other. The main compartment has a lockable zipper that runs all the way around the bag so you can access everything in there all at once. And there are multiple sub pockets inside here. The back lockable zipper compartment is overly padded (thank you) and could easily hold two gigantic laptops along with organization for other traveling office necessities. The Able Carry Max combines style and function. The comfortable shoulder straps and sternum strap ensure a secure fit, even during long days on the go. At nearly 4 lbs it’s not the lightest bag, so if you need ultralight weight and find having too many pockets overcomplicates your usage, keep looking. But if you want a bag that oozes modern style, masters functionality, and can last through your adventures circumnavigating the Earth, get your hands on the Able Carry Max.

Able Carry Max Backpack

I got the ALPAKA Elements Backpack in the limited edition Multicam Black for a bit of street vibe – ‘cause I’m so street! Though it’s rated at 24L it does not feel like it has as much capacity as the 24L EVERGOODS Civic Panel Loader. So keep that in mind. The Elements’ quality of construction and materials are top-notch and it feels like it could last a lifetime. The outside has one small zipper pocket big enough for a phone charger, backup batteries, and a few other small items. There’s also a water bottle pocket on each side that is beautifully designed. I forgot to mention, the main compartment zipper is lockable! Much appreciated. 

ALPAKA Elements Backpack

ALPAKA Elements Backpack

Inside the bag there is not much more organization than outside – which is fine by me as I tend to organize by using pouches so I can quickly switch between bags as needed. Inside you’ll find two zippered pouches, eight attachment points for accessory bags and pouches (sold separately), and a padded laptop pouch. I don’t mind the pouch, but it leaves the top half of your laptop exposed, so depending on what else you carry in your bag, you may still want to use a separate padded sleeve before you put tech in here.

ALPAKA Elements Backpack

So what’s my favorite way to use this bag? It’s perfect for when I’m heading out of town for the weekend and need to bring my editing laptop and a little bit of clothes and toiletries. It’s also great for my EDC around town. This bag isn’t as impressively usable on the go as the Weekender or the Civic Panel Loader, and it certainly holds less, but it looks and feels quite premium, so if you’re the kind of user who packs up at home and doesn’t work out of your bag much until you unpack it at the destination, or want a high-quality and attractive EDC that’ll hold all but the biggest laptops, I think you’ll like this bag a lot.

The TRAD 26 S from ORTOVOX (Black) is made for climbing, but it’s also one of my favorite travel bags. It holds 26L but weighs less than 1 ¾ lbs! On the outside it has tons of attachment points for water bottles, pouches, whatever you want quick access to. There’s a zip pocket in the top lid for quick-access items like sunglasses, snacks, or a book. At the bottom it holds the included and removable helmet net – meaning if you’re traveling with a helmet it doesn’t take up any space from inside your bag. Next to that is another zipper that gives you quick access to the bottom of the main compartment so you don’t have to dig down from the top. There’s also a side zip that runs nearly the full length and also opens up to the main compartment of the bag. This means you can quickly grab almost anything from the bag no matter where it is. There is hide-away elastic cord for attaching an ice ax if you need that sort of thing, rope attachment webbing, and side ski attachment loops. Have I used any of these for their intended purpose? No. But I have used them for things like yoga mats, jackets, and weiner dogs. The back panel is perfectly padded with a big air channel to keep that back sweat to a minimum. Inside the bag are two rows of elastic webbing for a bit of organization and a zipper pocket that holds the aluminum frame and an optional water bladder. If you need a bag with a fair amount of built-in organization and a built-in padded laptop compartment, this is not the bag for you. But from the looks to the usability, light weight, and extremely comfortable wear, this is one of my favorite bags I’ve used in years.


The Gregory Nano 18 is a lightweight backpack that is perfect for day hikes and everyday use. It has a capacity of 18 liters, which is enough space to carry all of the essentials, water bottles, snacks, a jacket, and an ancient dagger. The Nano 18 also features a built-in hydration bladder pocket, so you can stay hydrated on the go. It’s lightweight, super breathable, and extremely comfortable. The three zipper pockets help keep me organized and let me grab what I need quickly. It’s not a huge pack – which is just how I like it. I’m a big fan of traveling to distant lands with nothing more than will fit in an 18L pack and with this bag’s good looks and light weight the Nano 18 is one of my top choices for ultra-light world travel as well as a solid daypack.

Gregory Nano 18

The Mafia Bags Deep Blue Bag is a stylish and sustainable option for everyday carry. And at just 1lb. With room for 20L, it’s also a solid option for ultra-light travel warriors. Made from recycled sails, this bag is both environmentally-friendly and durable. It has a spacious main compartment that can easily accommodate a laptop, notebook, and more, as well as pockets and compartments for smaller items. The Deep Blue Bag also features comfortable padded shoulder straps and a durable water-resistant exterior.

Mafia Bags Deep Blue Bag

In addition to its stylish design and sustainable construction, the Deep Blue Bag is also packed with features that make it a great choice for everyday carry. The main compartment is lined with a water-resistant fabric, and the bag also features a padded laptop sleeve and a dedicated pocket for a water bottle. The Deep Blue Bag also has a number of external pockets, including a front pocket with a magnetic closure, a side pocket for a phone or keys, and a bottom pocket for wet gear.

 Mafia Bags Deep Blue Bag

Mafia Bags Deep Blue Bag

The Deep Blue Bag is a great choice for anyone looking for a stylish, sustainable, and functional everyday carry bag. It is perfect for students, professionals, and anyone who wants a bag that can handle everyday wear and tear. If you are looking for a stylish, sustainable, and functional everyday carry bag, the Deep Blue Bag from Mafia Bags is a great option.

Mafia Bags Deep Blue Bag

My top pick for a budget backpack definitely goes to The North Face Jester Backpack. It’s a great all-around backpack for school, work, and travel. At 28 liters, it’ll easily carry all of the essentials with dedicated pockets for a laptop and water bottles, and there are a variety of other pockets and compartments for smaller items. They have included just enough internal organization to be helpful, but not so much that you forget where everything is. One of my favorite travel features is the shock cord on the front of the bag that can be used to hold bulky items like jackets or a yoga mat.

The North Face Jester Backpack

This is usually my go-to bag if I walk to the grocery store. I can fill it up with all the bananas and onions I can carry and it’s still comfortable to wear. I wouldn’t recommend this bag for big hiking or adventure travelers. This bag is primarily aimed at college students and is very popular there, but I think the attractive design and built-in 15″ padded laptop sleeve make this a great option for business casual EDC as well as digital nomads.

The North Face Jester Backpack

The North Face Jester Backpack

The North Face Explore Fusebox is a stylish and durable option for EDC and world travel. Despite its size and water-resistant fabric, it weighs only 2 ¼ lbs. Design-wise, it’s a thing of beautiful simplicity. The outside has two rows of attachment points for adding external storage if needed. And then around one side in the back is a hidden zipper for quick access to a water bottle, passport, and an emergency snack. Inside is equally sparse with the only organization being a zip mesh pocket inside the lid and a massive plush, padded (and suspended) laptop pocket. It’s essentially a 26-liter tote bucket with backpack straps. That way you can fill it up with your dreams. If you don’t like to stand out in a crowd, this one is not for you. It’s an original shape that is fun and functional, letting the bag easily stand up on its own. The top handles also turn this into a tote carry style. I do wish they made the backpack straps stowable for use in this mode as I’d often use it this way. If you’re in the market for a stylish bag that looks like it can take a beating and is going to wow you with simplicity, The North Face Explore Fusebox will not disappoint.

The North Face Explore Fusebox

The North Face Verto 27 backpack isn’t just for climbers; it’s also an attractive option for minimalist travelers looking for an ultralightweight pack. Despite holding 27L it weighs just 1 lb.! Its sturdy materials and reinforced stitching make it feel durable for such a light bag. The backpack’s compact size and sleek design make it ideal for navigating crowded airports, packed city streets, or rugged outdoor environments.

The North Face Verto 27 backpack

Despite its streamlined profile, the Verto 27 provides ample storage space for all your travel essentials. The main – and only – compartment is spacious enough to accommodate clothing, shoes, etc. Plan on using additional pouches to keep your gear organized as this has none other than an internal pocket for a wallet, phone, and keys. There is a spot and hanger for a water bladder if that’s how you get your drink on. If you’re looking for a bag you could drag behind your car or one with lots of quick-access pockets and organization, this ain’t it. But if you want a bag that stands out visually with weight that disappears almost completely, the Verto 27 deserves a closer look.

The North Face Verto 27 backpack

The North Face Verto 27 backpack

The Mission Workshop Sanction: AP is a premium backpack that combines simplified functionality, durability, and weather-fighting design that is dripping with style. Designed for urban adventurers, this pack is built to withstand the demands of city life while offering plenty of storage and just enough organization options for travelers. I grabbed one in the weatherproof yellow VX fabric and it definitely attracts attention. The main compartment offers a 20-liter capacity, providing ample space for daily essentials or a weekend getaway or even minimalist trip around the world. The internal laptop sleeve isn’t padded, but will accommodate your screened gizmos up to 15 inches. On the outside there is a quick-access slip pocket large enough to hold even a 64 oz water bottle, a rain jacket, books or snacks. Then there are two full-length water-resistant zip pockets and a smaller 3D flap pocket all placed center on the bag to keep your doodads organized but easily accessible. While this bag excels in urban environments, it may not be the best choice for those who require a larger capacity or specialized features for outdoor adventures or longer trips. The pack’s 20-liter capacity might limit its suitability for heavy packers or travelers needing to carry bulkier items. If you are a commuter, student, or minimalist world traveler who appreciates quality materials, construction, and design check out the Mission Workshop Sanction: AP. 

Mission Workshop Sanction: AP

The Slot Canyon 26L Backpack is a reliable companion with a fun style for outdoor enthusiasts, day trippers, and weekend travelers seeking a balance of functionality and durability. In fact, it looks like it’s going to be one of the most durable bags I’ve ever used. It was born to be dragged through rocks and canyons, but don’t let that scare you away. With its spacious capacity, durable construction, and fun design, this backpack is designed to enhance your travel adventures, not just survive them. The back panel features extreme padding with large air channels to keep that back sweat to a minimum. The shoulder straps have lots of lashing points and the absolute perfect amount of padding. Some of the big players in the backpack world could learn a lot from Slot as these are hands down the best designed shoulder straps on any bag I’ve ever used. They’ve even made the minimalist waist strap removable! I rarely use waist straps and hate to have them dangle. Around the top you’ll find a simple quick-access zipper pocket for sunglasses, a phone, or a bag of GORP. Around front there are several more places to connect items to lashing points. Inside you’ll find a zipper pocket for a water bladder and another pocket with a zip area and a place to stash a couple pens and a small notebook. Other than that it’s a cavern open to the imagination. If you want a bag specifically designed for work with laptop and EDC gear storage built in, or need something more buttoned up for the office, or if you can’t manage to wedge what you need into 26L, I guess you’ll have to give this gritty masterpiece a pass, but if you want a bag that can withstand whatever you throw at it and still wake up in the morning with a smile on its face – and with a fun design that’ll put a smile on yours, you’ve got to see the Slot Canyon 26 in person.

Slot Canyon 26

Slot also makes the Tower 36L pack and it’s as rugged and fun as the Canyon 26. Like the Canyon it has several attachment points around the front, and a zipper quick-access pocket at the top, along with a similarly padded back panel. But the Tower adds compression straps on the sides and additional attachment points on the lid. Inside there’s a dedicated compartment for your hydration bladder and a simple zip pocket in the top flap along with two super rugged attachment points for hooking just about anything. The shoulder straps, though nice, are designed for very heavy loads and could feel like overkill if you’re just packing for a casual trip. It’s very rare that I need a bag that will hold this much, but when I do, this is the one to grab.

Slot Tower 36L pack

The Rickshaw Large VELO Backpack is a unique and customizable pack that stands out from traditional backpack designs. With its customizable fabric options and distinctive features, this backpack offers a blend of personal style and unconventional comfort. It’s basically a one-handled tote with backpack straps. About those straps – though padded straps are available, I went with the seatbelt-style webbing that has no padding and I haven’t regretted it once. It has a spacious interior with ample room to carry everything I need for a week out of town. Keep in mind the back has no padding, but pack your soft items in the rear and you should be fine. Despite it being a relatively unstructured pack it will stand up on its own flat bottom if you’ve packed it right. There’s a 3D zip pocket on the front of the bag that’s great for quick access and inside is a simple organizer pocket. The only other zip (which is water resistant like the first) is the one to the wide open main compartment which features Velcro on both sides to accommodate their stick-in pockets and organizers if you like your insides nice and tidy. If you need padding and lots of pockets and fancy bits, this bag will leave you cold. But my love of Rickshaw bags is no secret and this bag is no exception. Premium materials and master craftsmanship combine with a sophisticatedly simple design to create one of my favorite and most used bags.

Rickshaw Large VELO Backpack

The Peak Design Everyday Totepack is an interesting creature. I wasn’t sure if I should put it in the backpack section or the tote section. I’m still not sure. I think it must be the world’s only padded camera bag tote. That’s a good place to start describing this mystic creature. The Totepack is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile and durable bag that is fully padded and includes padded flexible dividers for camera gear.

Peak Design Everyday Totepack

 Peak Design Everyday Totepack

It is made from high-quality materials and has a number of features that make it a great choice for everyday carry, travel, or photography. For instance, the side access waterproof zips that let you into the main compartment. I greatly appreciate the backpack straps can be tucked away to turn this into a full tote style carry, but would have liked if there were attachment points for a shoulder strap to make it cross-body carry, too. The grab handles are luxurious and well-padded. In fact, everything about this bag screams deluxe. It even comes with detachable lash straps so you can carry a jacket, yoga mat, or similar on the outside of the bag. That’s going to come in handy when you realize the bag, though rated to hold up to 25L, feels like it holds closer to 18L. I’m not complaining. It’s a compact bag and I like that. But if you’re looking for something bigger or something that folds up flat, this isn’t going to do that.

Peak Design Everyday Totepack

All the padding gives this bag a ton of structure. If the size and structure of the bag works for your load, I think you’ll love the usability. The quick-access outside pocket is perfect for air travel as are the 6 handles located around the bag (love this!) and the securable zipper pulls to annoy anyone who wants to see what you’re packing. Add this to the professional, clean look and a built-in padded 15″ laptop and tablet sleeve and you’ve got a highly usable and unique-looking bag that can take you from college campus to corporate boardroom, to first class flights around the world.

Peak Design Everyday Totepack


Oh boy. Is anyone else as excited about totes as me? They must be because it seems like every bag manufacturer on earth has added totes to their line. Totes usually get small when you’re not using them, but are super functional when you are. Your standard tote might not be perfect for every situation, but for running errands or as a solid second bag when just one won’t cut it – totes are totally tubular. And my favorite tote which I’ll get to in a second has so many features, it just might replace your EDC.

When it comes to versatile carry options, the Ancoats Bag Company’s Standard 4-Way Tote truly shines, taking your tote game to a whole new level. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, this bag effortlessly balances functionality and style, making it a standout choice for urban adventurers and daring world travelers. Its four-way carry system, with top handles, shoulder straps, and a detachable crossbody strap, offers unparalleled versatility to suit any situation.  Hidden behind the main water-resistant zip, the thoughtfully designed interior compartments and pockets keep your essentials organized and easily accessible. The Standard 4-Way Tote’s sleek design and minimalist aesthetic make it an ideal companion for both work and play, effortlessly elevating your style while accommodating all your carry needs without losing any usability.

Ancoats Bag Company Standard 4-Way Tote

In the realm of totes, the RUX Waterproof Bag stands out. Designed for adventurers who refuse to let the elements hold them back, this bag delivers on both performance and style. The first thing that strikes you about the RUX Waterproof Bag is its unique waterproof material and exceptional build quality. It almost feels other-worldly. Whoever is designing these bags is a genius. The rolltop ensures protection against water, dust, and dirt. But it tucks away when you don’t need it, converting it to a more traditional tote for everyday use. I recommend adding the optional RUX Pocket which attaches seamlessly to the bag, providing extra storage and organizational options. 

RUX Waterproof Bag

It somehow manages to be highly usable, stunningly attractive, and even comfortable. The adjustable shoulder strap is made of the same alien material and I love it. Add to that the multitude of lashing options around the outside of the bag and you’ve got even more ways to use this bag. Its rugged construction, eye-catching color, and practical features make it a reliable companion for those seeking adventure without compromising on style or functionality. The RUX Waterproof Bag, paired with the RUX Pocket, is an outstanding combination that embodies durability, versatility, and aesthetics. Whether you’re exploring the urban jungle or embarking on wild escapades, this bag keeps your belongings safe, organized, and easily accessible while turning heads with its striking design. I hope they put out a backpack and messenger-style bags to match!

The Stio Basin XT CarryAll 35L is a versatile and durable tote that’s perfect for everyday use. It is made from 600 denier CORDURA® ripstop fabric with a TPU coating, making it waterproof and resistant to abrasion. The bag has a large open top with a cinch-down closure (yay!), making it easy to access everything inside, but the sink strap also lets you pack it to overflowing. It has a zippered pocket on the outside along with twenty daisy chain loops running 10 on each side for attaching accessories. The padded handles are comfortable to carry by hand or over the shoulder. For crossbody you’ll need to rig something to the loops as it’s not really designed for it. Internal organization consists of a zip pocket and two elastic pockets, so unless you’re a roving arts & crafts teacher, I don’t see this replacing your EDC. But it most definitely excels at tote duties. Keep in mind it’ll hold a whopping 35L, so if you plan to use it fully loaded, I hope you’ve been getting your reps in. The Stio Basin XT CarryAll 35L is a great option for anyone looking for a durable and versatile bag for everyday use. It is perfect for carrying work gear, gym clothes, or groceries. It is also a great option for travel, as it should just squeeze in under an airline seat if you don’t overstuff it.

Stio Basin XT CarryAll 35L

The Mission Workshop Helix 10L Tote makes me smile. It’s just a thing of bag beauty. It’s a small, minimalist tote bag that is perfect for everyday use. Mine is made from Black VX, a high-performance fabric that is durable, water-resistant, and lightweight. The bag has a top-loading design with a full-length zipper, making it easy to pack and access your gear, while keeping it in if the bag gets knocked over. There’s a front slip pocket on one side, and a water-resistant zip pocket on the other. It’s comfortable to carry by hand or over the shoulder, and it can also be worn crossbody using the included strap. At only 10L it’ll help keep you from bringing too much along, but it might be small for some people. I would have liked to see a couple of attachment points on the outside webbing, but do appreciate the clean look. The Mission Workshop Helix 10L Tote is a great option for anyone looking for a durable and versatile tote bag for everyday use. It’s also one of my frequent choices for airline personal item bags.

Mission Workshop Helix 10L Tote

The YETI Camino 35 Carryall is definitely not for ultralight carry. It’s over 3 lbs but feels even heavier. But this bag isn’t designed for lightweights. It’s designed to be tough and you can tell on every square inch. From the over-built short and long handles to the heavy molded and coated base and the sealed seems, this waterproof beast looks like it could withstand whatever you could throw at it. Tough but looking good, the quality of craftsmanship matches the ruggedness. It just oozes quality. It’s also more functional than an average tote. Its stiff fabric and solid base help it stand up of its own free will and are unlikely to tip over. It has two hideaway dividers so you can segment the bag for both organization and to keep bottles and giant water bottles (like this 128oz giant from Hydro Flask) from flopping over. There’s also a zipped slip pocket on each side for things like your phone or e-reader. There’s no top zipper, but they did include a hook to keep larger items from running away. I do wish the hook was on a longer cinch strap so I could overflow the bag with towels and cinch them in. I also wish it came with a crossbody strap, but you can attach some third-party shoulder straps to two of the 16! lash points on the outside to achieve the same effect. Other than that, I think this bag is damn close to perfection. If you’re looking for something small, lightweight, or boring, run away as fast as you can, but if you want a bold-looking, tough T-Rex tote, you’ve got to see a YETI Camino 35 Carryall in person.

YETI Camino 35 Carryall

For a less testosterone-soaked bag, check out the Rickshaw City Tote Short Handle. Another great airline personal item bag, it’s lightweight, functional, and compact. It’ll hold up to a 13″ laptop if that’s your thing, but I think it lends itself more to grocery shopping, exploring a new city or an old library. There is a strip of Velcro inside for attaching organization pockets or just go freebird and enjoy the simplicity of open space.

Rickshaw City Tote Short Handle

It comes in a long-handled version, but I prefer the short handles combined with the crossbody shoulder strap. I wish they’d used a removable shoulder strap and built-in zip pocket large enough for a phone or car keys, but they did include a simple snap to keep the top closed and larger contents from rolling out when it’s on its side. On the flight it will easily hold your water bottle, magazines, phone charger, snacks, and sweatshirt, with room left over so you shouldn’t need to hide your bag in the overhead compartment even during the longest flights.

Rickshaw City Tote Short Handle

Like most of Rickshaw’s awesome bags, you can customize the fabric and color combinations to your good tastes. I went with an ’80s throwback combo for fun trips and those times I want my bag to stand out in a pile. If that’s not your thing, you can have yours made in all gray or brown or whatever floats your boat.

Rickshaw City Tote Short Handle

The North Face Base Camp Voyager Tote is a highly functional EDC-style tote with a 24L capacity, water-repellent finish, an attached, padded sleeve big enough for 16″ laptops, multiple zip pockets, and a luggage pass-through. This could be your new personal carry-on bag that is also durable enough to use for EDC. It includes a removable shoulder strap for crossbody and shoulder carry. There are even two outside water bottles/stuff pockets. If you need more storage, there are multiple attachment points, too!

The North Face Base Camp Voyager Tote

The Rickshaw VELO Duffle is clearly a tote and not a duffle! Are they trying to mess with my brain? What do you guys think? This is my bag of choice when I’m traveling with my compact cinema gear setup. The 18″ opening lets me see and retrieve anything I need from the bag with minimal effort. Like most Rickshaw bags, the fabrics and colors are customizable to make it as bold and fun or old and invisible as you like. The splash-proof zips keep the insides dry in most situations, while the fabric and high quality of construction keep the bag looking new even after multiple trips to far-off lands. It’s big enough to hold my 15″ editing laptop in a third party sleeve (but check the specs to make sure yours will fit), over-ear headphones, e-reader, food, a jacket, cords, chargers, and anything you might need mid-flight all while fitting under the seat in front of you while still leaving room for your feet on either side. There aren’t any pockets on the outside or inside, but it does have a Velcro strip for their optional pocket organizers. If you’re looking for a customizable, non-traditional EDC, personal carry-on, or accessory bag with a beautiful yet simple design, the VELO Duffle could be the ticket.

Rickshaw VELO Duffle

The Slot Tower Rope Bag is the weirdest bag I own and I love it. It’s part mini duffel, part tote, and designed to be neither. It’s for climbers to hold ropes, but that’s not how I use it. I use it as a super cool-looking, funky little tote/duffle. It’s designed to attach to the top of the Tower Pack, but works great as a stand-alone, too. It’s made to take a beating with 840D Ballistic Nylon and top-quality construction. Add your own carabiner and use their included webbing as a shoulder strap. It has a built-in tarp so you can spread out your junk at the destination. There’s a cinch cord that runs around the outside along with two adjustable clips to keep the bag closed. May sound like an accident waiting to happen, but if you tuck your stuff under the tarp I don’t see anything falling out. In addition to the duffel-style handles there’s also one at the top of the bag. If you need a rope bag, this thing rocks, but even if you just want a unique, incredibly well made and fun bag to tote around your gear for a picnic in the park or a run to the gym, I think you’ll like the Slot Tower Rope Bag.

 Slot Tower Rope Bag


More of a stuff in kinda traveler? Then check out these duffels!

The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 40L is carry-on compatible and easy to carry on your back thanks to the removable padded shoulder straps. The abrasion and weather-resistant fabric gives the bag a stand-out look that is designed to keep the bag working for you even after extended travels. Unlike some duffels, the top zip runs the entire length and width of the bag meaning you can access any part of the bag without shuffling things around.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 40L

At just over 2 lbs for a 40L capacity, you’ll need to worry more about the weight of what you put in it than the weight of the bag itself. And if that huge capacity still isn’t enough there are lash straps on both sides of the bag. There’s also a zippered pocket on the outside for quick access to smaller items. And there are grab handles at both the top and bottom as well as the standard duffel-style grab handles.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 40L

There’s a padded, reinforced bottom which is a nice touch. And the whole bag can be folded and stuffed into its attached pocket. Though not quickly. There are no attachment points for a crossbody strap which is a shame. I can’t help feeling like this bag is trying to do too many things at the same time and the aesthetic is suffering for it. For instance, when you remove the shoulder straps, the plastic attachments for the straps stay on the bag which I find to be an eyesore. If you are looking for something that is the pinnacle of design or even visual simplicity, this isn’t going to cut it, but if you want a rugged duffel with a youthful appearance, check out the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 40L.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 40L

The Gregory Alpaca 45 Duffel should just squeak by as a carry-on for your world travels and also makes a great car trip companion thanks to its double-layered bottom, solid stitching, and lockable main zipper. It’s also got removable padded shoulder straps for when that forearm starts to cramp up from trying to look like a tough guy.

Gregory Alpaca 45 Duffel

Gregory Alpaca 45 Duffel

There are 24 attachment points for adding extra gear or lashing the bag to your roof. The Alpaca has simple webbing grab handles at both ends and the standard duffle handle at the top but no D rings to attach a crossbody strap which is a shame. One end of the bag features a zippered pocket for quick-access items, but the zip is not weatherproof, so keep that in mind. The lockable (yay!) zips to the main compartment don’t go to the very edge of the bag, so getting very large items in and out may be a struggle, but for most things, the U flap will open plenty. Inside – well, it’s a duffle. There’s nothing inside but empty space to stuff all your goodies. I wouldn’t want to carry this thing through a full rainstorm, but it does have tough fabric that’s water-resistant so as long as it’s not pouring I think you could throw this guy around and be happy with how long it lasts.

Gregory Alpaca 45 Duffel

The Osprey Transporter Duffel 40 really stands out in the duffel bag world for its slick, modern take on the duffel. Instead of the double webbing handle straps you’d find on traditional duffels, it features incredibly comfortable padded webbing handles that sit flush with the bag’s shiny, water-resistant fabric. There are four rubber lashing points, but you’d have to look closely as they just look like design elements. Nicely done, Osprey!

Osprey Transporter Duffel 40

The convertible, excellently padded shoulder straps quickly and easily hide away in the outside zippered lid. If it’s a hot day, you’re not going to want to carry it this way for long, however, as there’s no padding or breathable layer for your back and you’re going to get sweaty fast. The main compartment’s lockable zips sit at the edge of the bag’s dimensions, opening up to reveal the entirety of the bag! In there you’ll find a small, mesh zipper pouch along with two compression straps. If you’re looking for the simplicity of a duffel that you’re mostly planning on carrying by hand, but with the built-in option of backpack carry, check out the gorgeous Osprey Transporter Duffel.

Osprey Transporter Duffel 40

Osprey Transporter Duffel 40

Packable Bags

Bags tend to fill themselves. What I mean is if everything you need to bring fits in a 19L, but you bring a 30L, there’s a good chance you’ll end up bringing closer to 30L worth of stuff. That’s why when I’m traveling light, I usually use the smallest bag I have that will fit the least amount I’m willing to bring. So what do I do if I buy some fun stuff on my trip? Where is it going to go? I’m scared! That’s where packable bags come in. They tend not to weigh much and take up little space in your main bag. Packable bags are not made to be dragged behind a car. They’re designed to be light and compact, so treat them with the respect they deserve if you want them to last. 

REI makes the Stuff 30 Travel Duffel and Stuff Travel Tote which both pack up nice and small into their own pockets. Despite their small beginnings the duffel opens up to hold 30L and passes as carry-on for most flights – though I wouldn’t want to gate-check it. It has a small zip pocket and a zipper that runs along the middle that opens to the main part of the bag. There are the traditional duffel-style handles, but it also includes a crossbody strap. The Tote is less duffely and more totey holding 20L inside its water-resistant shell. The top of the tote zips closed (I’m a fan of that!) and there’s a small zip pocket on the inside along with a key clip. Unlike most totes, there’s an outside slip pocket that could hold a couple of water bottles, boarding passes, etc. Though it doesn’t include a cross-body strap, it does have webbing loops in the right spots if you wanted to attach one.

REI Stuff 30 Travel Duffel

The Osprey Ultralight Dry Stuff Pack is an impressive feat of design. This 20L unstructured backpack weighs less than half a pound yet still features compression straps, a whistle sternum strap, external cinch strap for an oversized jacket, yoga mat, or beach blanket, taped waterproof seams, two external water bottle pockets, external waterproof zip pocket, waterproof roll-top closure, AND a top handle. Seriously, how do they do it? There’s no structure or padding in the back of course. How else could they get it to compact down to such a small shape? So maybe don’t use it to transport your throwing star collection. But if you’re planning on being out in the rain and want to bring along a change of clothes, a jacket, water bottles, lunch, and plenty more while keeping all your stuff dry, I don’t think you’ll find a better/lighter packable option. 

 Osprey Ultralight Dry Stuff Pack

At 2/10’s of a lb. the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Waist Pack easily disappears in your main bag. But at your destination you’ll have a waist or small crossbody bag to organize all the small items you could need for the day like a phone, Kindle, keys, backup battery, monocular, snacks, sunscreen, passport, etc. Despite the light weight you won’t have to trade order for chaos with the two outside zipper compartments and one inside. They’ve even added minimal but effective padding to the body side panel. Very nice.

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Waist Pack

ChicoBag makes this excellent packable Vita rePETe. ChicoBag have been my reusable grocery bag of choice for 15 years and I still use the same three I bought back then. The Vita is a larger, tote style, but made of the same quality and compatibility. Their Sling rePETe is made from the same strong but light recycled fabric. I love the sling style and simplicity and have been using it for my main grocery bag since getting it. Whether I use it for grocery shopping, as a food bag on an airline (food bags usually don’t count towards your carry-on bag limits), or for bringing home extra things from my trip, these are super inexpensive, incredibly high-quality, environmentally-friendly bags and I haven’t left the house without at least one Chico in my travel bag for years.

ChicoBag Vita rePETe

ChicoBag Sling rePETe

The Peak Design Packable Tote holds about 12L in its 70D ripstop nylon shell, but folds up into its own inside snapper pouch to be less than the size of your hand. The single, lightly padded handle is extremely comfortable and slip-resistant and the top zip closes up to prevent anything from falling out if you lay it on its side. If you want an ultralight – just 80g – tote with a zip top, this is the one to get.

Peak Design Packable Tote

Peak Design Packable Tote

Pockets & Pouches

If you love bags as much as I do, then you get the giggles finding great bag babies, I mean pockets and pouches. These little creatures help organize your bag and can turn you into a travel zen master. I’m going to run through them pretty quick, so click the links if you need more specs.

The North St. Weekender Dopp Kit is, like all North St. bags, top-quality kit from the seatbelt webbing grab handle to the water-resistant zip and the rugged fabric and excellent craftsmanship. Inside you’ll find four mesh pockets making this not just great for toiletries, but also for organizing your travel gadgets. Throw in the equally great North St. Pittock Travel Pouch in matching Black EPX and the organization gods will be smiling at you.

North St’s Pioneer 12 Handlebar Pack w/ Waist Belt and Shoulder Strap added on makes for one of my favorite multi-use bags. It’s a handlebar bag, hip pack, crossbody, and shoulder bag, BUT it also makes a great organizer pouch to use in a larger bag – or even attached to the outside of one! It weighs just 10oz, but opens up to reveal an internal zip pocket, multiple slip pockets for organization, and a Velcro side for more options along with an additional external zip.

The Alpaka Zip Clutch Eco in Ocean Blue X-Pac RX30 is as useful as it is attractive with water-resistant zips, a large outside slip pocket on one side and two pen slip pockets on the front. The main compartment also has two additional slip pockets for even more organization. This is a great bag to load up with EDC so you can easily move it to whatever bag you’re using that day. If you’re looking for its little brother so you can put it in your pocket, check out the Zip Pouch Pro which has nearly all the same features just in a smaller size.

Alpaka Zip Clutch Eco

The Alpaka Utility Pouch is top-quality kit for any minimalist looking for an ultra-compact crossbody that doubles as a micro seat bag airline bag and triples as a gadget organizer for sub-bag organization. Four slip pockets, four elastic slots, and four zipper pockets make this ready to gobble up your small gadgets, cables, pens, flashlights, and more.

The Able Carry Stash Pouch is perfect for minimalist travelers looking to stay organized. Use it as a solid mini dopp kit or to hold all your airline mid-flight essentials. 

The Osprey Ultralight Wallet is a simple water-resistant zip pouch that weighs less than two pieces of paper.

The EVERGOODS Civic Access Pouch is a premium 1L pouch that looks like something James Bond would use as his in-flight gadget bag. Add a pair of aftermarket carabiners or hooks and keep it on the seat back in front of you. Need something? Flip the magnetic flap and rejoice as it unfolds to reveal whatever you need.

EVERGOODS Civic Access Pouch 1L

The Peak Design Field Pouch V2 also makes a great in-flight seat back bag thanks to its strap loops and internal organization. But when the flights are over, you can hook on the included shoulder strap and go for the crossbody. Additional cutouts on the back also allow for hip pack configuration.

The Peak Design Small Wash Pouch, from its padded exterior to its plethora of pockets, is a bag organizer’s dream. If you are a minimalist traveler, it’s likely overkill for your travel bathroom needs, but it easily doubles as an expert gadget bag, in-flight seat back bag with included hook, or with the aid of a carry strap from one of your other bags, it makes a great minimalist crossbody bag. These guys’ design skills deserve to be a thing of legend.

The Peak Design Small Packing Cube is my go-to packing cube for minimalist travel. Like all the awesome Peak Design packing cubes, it is super lightweight, looks great, and works even better. You can stuff it pretty full and then compress it down or leave it to hold even more. My favorite feature is the extra pocket on the bag to keep dirty clothes separate from clean ones if your travels involve multiple stops before hitting the laundry. They also make a similar one specifically for shoes that is equally excellent, the Peak Design Shoe Pouch.

Rickshaw makes a pile of perfect pouches and pockets for your pleasure. And nearly all of them can be customized to match their excellent custom bags or made from specific colors to quickly identify the contents. From the Hero Pouch, Dash Wallet, Plush Pouch, Dopp Kit, multiple sizes of utility pouches, and even a Godzilla Utility Pouch, Rickshaw is a pico pouch and pocket lover’s paradise. 

Rickshaw pouches

The Topo Mountain Accessory Shoulder Bag plays double-duty as an organizer pocket for a larger bag that quickly transforms into a fun and extremely usable minimalist crossbody bag – especially for the weight-conscious traveler. There are multiple lash points, a wide mesh zip pocket on the outside for any non-private items and a zip main pocket with one bonus pocket inside of that. The shoulder strap weighs almost nothing, looks super cool, is adjustable, and is quickly removed thanks to the included carabiners.


Sunglasses, fold-up chairs, electronics, and travel fitness gear; having the right accessories can enhance your travels. These are my favorites.

These polarized ROAV Echo and Franklin are the perfect folding sunglasses for world travel. They look great and perform like the high-end sunglasses they are. They fold up so small into the included rubber pouch that they disappear in even the smallest minimalist traveler’s bag or tuck away easily in your front pocket. I’ve taken mine around the world and they still look brand new. 

The Adidas Originals (OR 67) sunglasses combine a fun, modern, yet slick look that I haven’t found before and I love it. At 26g they only weigh about as much as 5 sheets of paper. They’re the most comfortable sunglasses I’ve ever worn and I get complimented on them frequently.

Arcade makes this excellent A2 Atlas Belt. It’s made from a very strong elastic that’s got just the right amount of stretch to make it the most comfortable belt I’ve ever worn. The slim buckle is 100% free of metal, making this airport-friendly, so you may not have to strip it off depending on your airport’s rules. If you’re looking for the perfect belt to join you on your around-the-world travels or even just around town that will hold up your pants without even feeling like it’s there, this is the belt for you.

Arcade A2 Atlas Belt

Nitecore makes some of the best flashlights I’ve ever used. The MH12S flashlight and TIKI keychain light are no exception. The TIKI GITD keychain light weighs less than half an ounce yet pumps out up to 300-lumen brightness of high color accuracy light and recharges from a USB cable – all from the tiniest little package. The MH12S flashlight is my top flashlight pick at the moment firing out a super bright 1800 lumens. It’s smaller than an electric toothbrush handle, and weighs just over 2.5 oz. It’s built like a tank and is waterproof. My two favorite features are a throw of nearly 1000 ft so you can spot stuff so far away your eyes may play tricks on you. And it recharges via USB C!

Nitecore TIKI GITD keychain light

My favorite watches to travel with are the solar-powered ones from Casio. The G-Shock GAS100B-7A is my pick when I’m on my surf travels. But it’s also one of my favorite watches – and I have a lot of watches – for everyday wear. Fashion is a personal thing, but quality and features are facts. This G-Shock is designed to take a beating and is water-resistant down to 200 meters. That’s as deep as a 60-story building is tall. If you’re surviving and are deeper than that, you’re going to need more than a watch. It’s got all the standard digital watch features like a calendar, stopwatch, and both analog and digital time readouts, but it also adds world time with 31 zones and swaps back and forth between your current city and your home city. There’s a countdown timer, and multiple back lights so you can see it in the dark. It even has up to 5 daily alarms. I don’t bring my smartphone when I surf and that’s super handy. My favorite feature of all is that it’s solar-powered! A full battery will last 8 months even without exposure to sunlight, but in regular use you’re unlikely for the battery to ever poop out on you.

The G-Shock GA-B2100C-9A also is a great option if you’re looking for a more bold adventure. Featuring the same solar charging and all the other features as the GAS100B-7A in a smaller, more streamlined watch. It also adds Bluetooth connection to your phone, giving you extra features like phone finder, time sync, and easy time and alarm setting from your phone. I prefer a hybrid watch like this to a full smartphone for a calmer, less distracted life, but one where I still know when it’s time to come in for dinner.

Casio G-Shock GA-B2100C-9A

If upscale casual classy is more your vibe, check out the Casio Pro Trek x Pendleton collab. From the detail-rich watchband to the 3 color pop on the second hand, they’ve put a lot of work into the details. The watch is feature-rich with solar power, a digital compass, barometer/altimeter, and thermometer, meaning you’ll love more than just the good looks. It is water-resistant to 100m and has world time, a stopwatch, and countdown timer, too. And if you use it down to its cold rating of 14 degrees fahrenheit, hopefully you have a Pendleton blanket with you!  

Helinox makes my absolute favorite travel chairs. The look, comfort, quality of construction, and compatibility are only outshined by how incredibly lightweight they are. The Chair Zero L weighs less than 1 and a half lbs. yet will hold up to 320, which makes it a great chair for cuddling with a partner by the campfire. The Chair Zero High-Back weighs only 2oz more and can hold up to 265 lbs. The unrivaled comfort from such a lightweight chair makes it the perfect afternoon nap chair for just about anywhere. Throw on the optional Vibram Ball Feet and you can even use it on a sandy beach without sinking in. The Chair Two weighs almost twice as much which is still only 2lb. 12oz, but takes the load up to 320 lbs and adds handy side pockets. When combined with the optional Rocking Feet you’ve got a portable rocking chair to relax your days away! 

Metolius Climbing makes my favorite carabiners. The FS Mini II is compact and weighs just 25g but it’s not a toy. It’s a full-strength piece of gear that is overkill – just how I like it – for clipping water bottles, shoes, and other gear to the outside of my bags. If you’re a carabiner geek like me you’ll love the Metolius Rig Auto Lock Carabiner. If you use a carabiner to slow down anyone who might want to run off with your bag when you’re out traveling, the twist-and-slide lock release will confuse the casual thief while still opening quickly for you. Or use the Gatekeeper Auto Lock for even more carabiner fun! If you want to get fancy and add an additional handle to a bag with daisy chain loops grab the FS Mini II Quickdraw which is two FS Mini II with a length of webbing in between. 

Metolius Gatekeeper Auto Lock

Gear Aid makes the Heroclip – which is a carabiner with a twist-away hook for hanging whatever you attach to it on a door, table, or similar. Anytime I can keep my bag off the floor, I’ll do it. They come in different sizes, too! 

Gear Aid also makes the Tenacious Tape Repair Patches which I strongly recommend keeping in your emergency supplies for any extended trips so if your bag gets a booboo you don’t have to cry boo hoo. Just stick it over a tear in your puffy coat or backpack and you’re good to go. They can even go in the wash and will stay stuck!

Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Repair Patches

If you’re into clips and carabiners, I’m sure you’ve already come across the Nite Ize selection. Their assortment is impressive for anyone looking for compact, lightweight clips that don’t need a high breaking strength. The BigFoot Locker keeps your locking mini s-biner clips handy when you need them. These locking clips are great for securing zippers and attaching organizer pouches and keys. And the S-Biner SlideLock #4 is a great size for attaching items to the webbing points on the outside of a bag with the bonus of a simple lock to keep them from coming off when you’re not looking.

The Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is my current go-to when I’m traveling to a shoot, but I have to keep it lightweight and compact. Every locked off shot in this video was shot with it. It’s sub 3 lbs., compacts down to just 15.5 inches, holds 20 lbs. and opens up to a height of 5ft. It sets up super fast and holds super steady. Check out all the cool features in the Carryology review, but spoiler alert, it’s great!

Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

The Pocket Tripod PRO is both an impressive feat of design and an incredibly compact and usable phone tripod. When flat it easily fits in a pocket and disappears, but like a transformer it flips and spins around to create a solid, yet adjustable base for watching movies on your flight or taking movies on your adventures. No matter how small of a bag I’m taking, there’s always room for the Pocket Tripod PRO.

Grey Fox makes my favorite 1.1″ Wooden Gymnastic Rings. Years ago I realized I needed to come up with a strength training plan that I could do on extended travel trips. Calisthenics checked all the boxes and I loved it so much I stopped lifting weights even at home and used it exclusively. A quality set of rings and straps like these beautiful ones from Grey Fox take up little space, but let you get a full strength training session anywhere with a playground or two overhead attachment points strong enough to support you.

The Duonamic Ultimate Rings Package is there when you don’t have time to find a playground or even leave your Airbnb. I wouldn’t take these if I was only going away for a week, because although they are small for how strong and useful they are, they are a bit much for a minimalist traveler. However, I do take them on week-long car trips or plane trips if I’ll be gone 3 or more weeks. I think they are the perfect travel gym for frequent travelers or for use at home if you can’t – or don’t want to – bolt ring mounts into your ceiling. The whole thing sets up in a doorway super fast. And the ring height can be adjusted just as quickly with the included straps. If you’re someone who wants to have as few excuses as possible to pass on working out, having this set with you when you travel will keep you in the flow.

Duonamic Ultimate Rings Package

Roll Recovery makes the R1 thumper massage gun. At home I like to use their R8 Plus on my calves, but the R1 is so ridiculously small and quiet for how powerful it is. When I’m traveling I bring it to rub out those tired muscles and sore feet after long walks exploring a new city or hiking through a jungle. I used to bring a mini roller with me like their R3 because my lower back is always sore after a long flight, but now I bring the R1 because it’s so tiny and effective.

Anker consistently makes the most reliable chargers and backup batteries that I’ve ever used. And their 737 Charger and Power Bank are no exception. Available separately, the 737 Charger blasts 120w of juice out of a tiny package small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It’s got 2 USB C ports along with a USB A, so it can charge all my travel gadgets at the same time – even my laptop. It uses GaN tech which is much more efficient so it wastes much less power than my old brick. The 737 Power Bank can spit out up to 140w from its 24000mAh batteries! It can power up to 3 items at the same time through its two USB C and one USB A ports, but can also be fast charged from empty to full in under an hour. If you fly with a laptop that can charge via USB C, this can help get you through a long flight by more than doubling the power of most laptops. It even includes a data screen so you know how much power is left and how much it’s sending out to your devices. And it’s packed into a shell about the size of a can of soda.

The charger I never leave home without is the Anker 511 Nano 3. This is a 30W GaN charger that weighs less than a 10th of a pound and is about the size of 4 dice and it costs just over $20. I keep one in my EDC bag and another in my essential travel gear pouch.

I don’t travel without earplugs, and my current plugs of choice are the Loop Quiet – Magic Mint and Loop Experience Plus (Pro) – Midnight Black. They are both compact, reusable, high-quality earplugs to help you sleep, read, or just concentrate in noisy places. They’re comfortable enough to leave in for long flights and even for side sleeping. The Quiet knocks down more sound than the Experience Plus, making it better for sleeping and air travel, but if you’re looking for noise reduction for things like concerts and action movies, the Experience Plus is aimed at you. They both come with handy travel cases. 

If your travels involve going off grid for longer than a backup battery will last, you’re going to want to check out some portable solar panels. My pick for portable solar comes from SunJack. They are all rugged and efficient for their size. Though I haven’t tested it out, I was told the ports are waterproof and rated at IP67. The updated SunJack 15 is their most compact travel solar setup that weighs less than 1.5lbs. and folds to the size of a small tablet yet in direct sunlight will push out 5 volts at 3 amps through its USB C or USB A. It’s small and light enough to be clipped to the outside of your backpack to charge up your gear – like their simple but powerful 18w Quick Charge Power Banks when you’re on the move. The updated SunJack 25 folds up to be smaller than a piece of paper and less than 3⁄4″ thick but bumps the watts up to 25 while weighing only 1⁄3 of a pound more than the 15. The updated SunJack 60 is a bit wider than a 16″ laptop and about the same at just over 4.5 pounds. But it folds out wide with 4 large panels to soak up the sun. The extra real estate gives you access to the 60 watts of power through three ports: a USB C PD 30w that will go up to 15V at 2A, a USB A that goes up to 12V at 1/5A, and a 19V DC port. If you’re looking for a heavy hitter that can charge multiple thirsty gadgets and backup power batteries at the same time, check out the SunJack 60.

SunJack 60

Matador is crushing it in the travel gear game. If you are particular about your toothpaste, grab their Refillable Toothpaste Tubes and top them off with your favorite paste before heading on your trip. While you’re at it, grab the Matador Toothbrush Caps. They provide a food-safe silicone barrier between your toothbrush head and whatever else is in your dopp kit. The Matador FlatPak Soap Bar Case is the way to go if you bring bars of soap on your travels. I’ve tried hard plastic cases – too big, and zip lock bags – too slimy. The excellent soap holder from Matador uses magic material that is somehow both waterproof yet lets the soap dry out between uses so it doesn’t get all slimy. 

Water Bottles

I’ve tested out WAAAAY too many insulated water bottles. For something that basically just does two things – hold cold water and keep it cold – you’d think it would be a one-and-done situation. But the fact is some are much better than others. To save you my water bottle headaches, here are my personal favorites.

The Hydro Flask 40 oz Lightweight Wide Mouth Trail Series is my top pick for airline travel. It holds enough to keep you topped off through a long flight while the bottle only weighs 0.8 of a pound. It’s slim and tall which I find to be the perfect shape for my in-flight bag. 

The Hydro Flask 128 oz Oasis is my top pick for road trips, keeping me from having to drink gas station tap water. Or, you know, buying water. Unless you’re a beast, it’s too big to drink from directly, but I use this to fill up my smaller, more drink-friendly bottles.

Hydro Flask 128 oz Oasis

The Earth+Kin 64 oz Vacuum Growler is my top pick for day hikes and everyday use as well as my in-car jumbo bottle. It’s the largest bottle I’ve found that is still comfortable to drink out of – and it looks damn good doing it, too. 

Though technically not a bottle the Gregory 3D Hydro 3L Reservoir is my top pick for water bladders because the large water bottle style opening lets it dry much faster than a standard bladder and is also easier to clean, though I still recommend grabbing their cleaning kit. At 3L it’ll hold an entire day’s worth of water while still slipping nicely into most bladder-compatible packs. 

Travel Towels

Douglas Adams wrote “A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.” And that goes double for earthbound travelers. 

All the Nomadix towels dry super fast, absorb a ton of the wet stuff, and are sand and odor-resistant. The Nomadix Ultralight Towel is my top pick for general lightweight travel use. At just half a pound while still opening up to a generous 54 x 30 inches and compacting down to the size of a soda can there’s no reason not to bring one along.

If you’re looking for something larger, the Nomadix Original Towel is top-quality and though not as compact and lightweight as the Ultralight, it still only weighs a pound while covering 72 x 30 inches, making it a perfect beach towel for one.

For the ultimate minimalist towel the 2 oz. 22 x 22 inch Nomadix Bandana Towel is absorbent enough to dry you off despite its diminutive dimensions. It also does all the handy things a regular bandana can do but better.

Nomadix Bandana Towel


Blankets? Yes, I know, if I’m flying around the world or even to the next state, I’m not bringing a blanket. But thanks to events in recent history I’ve been doing a lot more road trips. And I’ve developed a habit of bringing a blanket. Let’s take the cozy up to 100!

Sand Cloud make my absolute favorite beach blanket. Though they call it a towel, their XL spreads out to 72″ x 76″ and is made from 100% organic cotton so it’s super soft but uses a special weave so it dries quickly and repels sand. It’s so soft and nice it works just as great inside the house as a throw blanket for summer nights.

The Nomadix Puffer Blanket is my favorite all-around insulated blanket. It’s sand and water-resistant, yet warm and cozy. It’s essentially a sleeping bag that lays flat like a blanket, but thanks to all the snappers, you can taco it up to use it as a sleeping bag or even a cape. And who doesn’t love a good cape! I use this on my couch in the colder months and absolutely love the way it looks and performs. 

The Earth+Kin Puff Blanket is top quality. Yes, the same company that makes my favorite water bottle. They also make a Mule Wagon (which I haven’t tried yet, but it looks like a beast). At 72” x 50” it’s the perfect size for picnics in the park and thanks to the water resistance it’ll keep your butt dry. The corners have loops so you can stake it in the dirt and keep it from blowing away. 

Rumpl makes the Original Puffy Blanket that started the craze. Snuggling up inside of one, you can instantly see why it caught on. Even the full-size Original Puffy compacts down small enough to strap to the outside of a pack at 7 x 16 inches and weighs just a smidge over 2 pounds but opens up to 52 x 75 inches. Its DWR fabric can keep the wet ground at bay, but is also designed to deter snags and rips. If you want to get cozy while hands-free it includes an attached cape clip.

The Rumpl NanoLoft Travel Blanket takes the cozy of a larger puff blanket and squeezes it down to just 0.7 pounds and the size of a water bottle, but still opens up to a highly usable 38 x 52 inches. Just like its big brother, it is water and stain-resistant and comes with the handy cape clip. It’s my top pick for airline travel blankets and is just big enough to cover your lap and legs on the couch, too.

The Coalatree Puffy Kachula Adventure Blanket takes the cape blanket idea to the extreme with its included hood. And thanks to the waterproof fabric you’ll stay dry if the rain suddenly starts falling. Snaps line the edge so you can make it into a sleeping bag shape or close it up in poncho mode. Open it is 48 x 71 inches.

The 686 Hooded Puffer Blanket is my top pick for those looking for an insulated blanket that can handle life on the road. Rather than going for the flat sleeping bag fabric, 686 has made a heavy and heavy-duty blanket. It lays out to be 54 x 75 inches and weighs nearly 4 lbs. But all that extra weight is thanks to the hardcore water and windproof fabric that feels like it could last a lifetime. It’s loaded with insulation. Combine that with the built-in hood and cape clips and you’ve got a poncho to get you through extreme weather changes. Ground cover? Dog blanket for the car? Superhero cape? The 686 Hooded Puffer can do it all.

686 Hooded Puffer Blanket

The Klymit Horizon Backpacking Blanket is my pick for those of you looking for an insulated blanket that prioritizes light weight and compact size. It’s 58 x 80 inches but compacts down to 13 x 6 inches and weighs only 1.7 pounds. I think that’s too big for an airline blanket, but perfect for strapping to a pack for hikes and picnics. 

Klymit Horizon Backpacking Blanket

Klymit Horizon Backpacking Blanket

The North Face Wawona Fuzzy Blanket is a twist on what has become the standard puffy camp blanket by using a recycled water-repellent fabric on one side and fuzzy fleece on the other. Sure, it can be used in a poncho configuration or used flat as a water-resistant ground cover, but the fleece side stands out as something unique in the cozy game. At 2.5 pounds it’s not the lightest or most compact travel blanket, but it opens to a decent size of 52 x 70.9 inches and makes for the coziest of them all.

The North Face Wawona Fuzzy Blanket

The North Face Wawona Fuzzy Blanket
The North Face Wawona Fuzzy Blanket


I’m breaking down the clothing category into subcategories. Starting with the all-important hat.


The Outdoor Research Zendo Bucket Hat is a UPF 50+, water-resistant, quick dry, durable hat that includes a brim that will keep it floating on top of the water if you forgot to adjust the headband sink and the chin strap. The quality of the stretch fabric and construction make this hat both incredibly comfortable and good-looking. So if you’re looking for a fun, high-performance adventure hat, check out the Zendo from Outdoor Research.

Outdoor Research Zendo Bucket Hat

Sunday Afternoons makes the excellent Sunward Bucket Hat, my top pick for a surfing hat. Made from UPF 50+, water-repellent stretch fabric it feels great and is designed to be stuffed into a bag. The short, sloping brim keeps sun off your head and face, but isn’t likely to catch the wind and fly off. The chin strap was removable for those times I didn’t need one. Especially since there is a hidden adjustment to tighten up the wicking headband. But even with the permanently attached strap, the Sunward Bucket Hat from Sunday Afternoons is one of the most useful and attractive sun hats I’ve ever owned.

If sporting a cap is more your style, the Sunday Afternoons Dream Seeker Cooling Trucker is my top pick. Expertly crafted, but casually styled, with a wicking sweatband and a stretch back making it far more comfortable than your average cap.

The North Face TNF Run Bucket is designed to be a runner’s hat with a short, sloping brim that is less likely to catch the wind. This, combined with the mesh sections, adjustable chin strap, and adjustable band, also make it a great option for people like me who like to wear a hat when I’m surfing. It’s a super comfortable hat and the fabric is both water and abrasion-resistant.

The North Face TNF Run Bucket

The North Face Class V Brimmer is a great option if you’re looking for a larger brim that also floats. The Class V is rated UPF 40+ and uses FlashDry tech to keep you more comfortable on hot days. The larger brim is more prone to flip up if you’re traveling in windy conditions or at speed, but the extra brim also keeps the sun off that much more of your face.


The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody is by far the most popular jacket in my town and for good reason, making it my top pick for travel puffy style coats. There are a lot of similar jackets out there from other brands, but there’s something that feels extra premium about this one and the cut is my favorite from all the puffies I’ve tested. It’s compact when stored in its self-pocket, yet warm, water-resistant, and windproof. It weighs only as much as a can of soda.

If you’re looking for a great puffy coat with similar features but in a different cut, the Stio Azura is super nice, but a bit boxy for my tastes. It also packs down nice and small into its own pocket. Another option is the Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hoodie. Just like the Patagonia and Stio puffies, it packs up small but still keeps you warm when the weather shifts. It weighs about 2 oz less than the others if that matters to you. But they all have basically the same features so if you’re cold, pick the one that fits you the best and zip it up.

The Graphene X Nomad(e) Ultralight Jacket is my top pick for a travel windbreaker raincoat. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anything with performance that even comes close. Weighing just half a pound it packs down into its own pocket for easy storage so you have it with you when the rain starts pouring. It’s both wind and waterproof. The graphene coating and the hem cinch combine to make a jacket that has almost no thickness but also holds warmth when needed and also allows moisture to escape.

The North Face Casaval Hoodie is my pick for best all-around travel jacket – ever. I can’t stress enough how much I love this jacket. It weighs the same as your average nano puffy, but has a completely different look and feel. A look and feel that I like a lot! It’s soft to the touch and the matte finish looks just as luxurious as it feels. Yet it still lets the water roll right off. Both the outer fabric and insulation stretch just right, helping make this the most comfortable coat I’ve ever owned. And regardless of the temperature outside, my body always feels the perfect temperature thanks to the micro-perforations. You can’t see them, but they stay closed when you’re not moving around much, keeping your body heat in, but when you’re hiking and moving a ton, they get stretched open to release heat, keeping you feeling great. 


Vests are a great option for travel to all but the warmest places as they weigh less and take up less space than a coat, but still add lots of core warmth if the nights get cold. Having layers and a quality vest covers my warm clothing needs for about 80% of all my travels.

The Patagonia Nano Puff Vest weighs just half a pound and packs down to the size of a romance paperback. It has a water-repellent coating so only your head and arms will get soaked if you get caught in a storm. Just like its sleeved sister, the cut fits my body type just the way I like, and the warm, but thin insulation fits easily under a travel raincoat. 

For similar features in a less fitted cut, check out the excellent Stio Men’s Azura Insulated Vest. It weighs about 1.5oz. more than the Nano Puff and includes an extra chest pocket on the outside of the vest, but shares all the other features. 

The North Face Thermoball Eco Vest is a couple of ounces more and the slightest bit puffier and warmer, but still packs down nice and small into its own pocket and performs as great as the other two puffy vests. 

If puffy is too sporty or casual for you, check out the Bluffworks Oslo Travel Vest. This could become your new best friend on flights. It’s not quite as warm as the puffy vests – which can be a good thing – but it’s the perfect warmth to take the chill off of a cool evening or in flight. The wrinkle-resistant fabric keeps you looking good and it’s got just the right amount of stretch to keep you comfortable. To seal the deal on it being perfect for travel it includes both large zip and large slip inner pockets to keep your important items under wraps. If you’re looking for a stylish, extremely travel-friendly vest, the Oslo Travel Vest from Bluffworks can’t be beat.

Bluffworks Oslo Travel Vest


It may not look like it, but I’m a minimalist – sort of. I also like to be prepared and I hate feeling cold. So when I’m leaving somewhere chilly to go somewhere warm, I don’t like to bring a jumbo jacket, but I also don’t want to freeze. So what’s a boy to do? Layers, my man. Layers. A good set of layers lets you transition between different climates or even be ready for a sudden shift in the weather without having to bring a big, bulky coat and thick winter pants. That’s where thermals come in.

BAM makes the excellent Reflex Bamboo and Novea Crew Neck Base Layers; these are both incredibly soft. Unlike merino base layers that always make me itch and smell weird, these have no smell and they’re so comfortable they feel like pajamas. The Reflex is made from bamboo, a bit of organic cotton, and elastane. It works great at keeping you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. It’s antibacterial, which means it shouldn’t get stinky after extended use. The Novea is made from bamboo, a wood pulp fiber, and elastane making it dry even faster than the Reflex. If you are going to be layering while doing intense workouts, the Novea is the one to pick.

BAM also makes the awesome Balance Seamless Running Leggings. I can throw these under any of my favorite travel pants and know I’m not going to freeze. Thanks to the minimal seams they’re even comfortable walking for hours around a new city.

If you’re going to be somewhere really cold, check out the Hot Chillys Micro-Elite Chamois. They are super soft and manage to be extremely warm while only adding the smallest amount of thickness. They’re great at wicking moisture away from your skin which is fortunate because they have 4-way stretch so there won’t be anything stopping you from moving around a lot. They’re even treated with “Bio-Silver” to keep the stinkies at bay, making them the perfect cold-weather travel companion.

If you’re looking for similar odor-fighting, moisture-wicking, comfort-stretching goodness, but for more moderate temperatures, the Hot Chillys Peach Skins Bottom fits the bill. These are designed with a looser fit so if you’re only wearing tight pants, these aren’t for you. But if you like loose-fitting clothes they should be your top choice for getting that extra warmth on your trips.


You guys all know what pants are for, right? 

The Everywhere Pant from 686 was designed from the ground up to be a travel pant. From the super stretchy fabric to the drawcord that can smartly be used on the outside or inside of the waistband, to the breathable stain and water-resistant fabric that is also UPF 40+ these pants know how to travel. There are hidden back pockets, zip pockets, and even an RFID-blocking pocket. They’ve even used super strong thread to make sure these pants return from your adventures in one piece. Unlike some travel pants, they don’t look like travel pants, which I appreciate. The form, function, and fashion of these pants make them my top overall pick for travel pants that are so good you’ll wear them at home, too.

The 686 Featherlight Chino takes all the great features of the Everywhere Pant and shaves off 33% of the weight. Another of my favorite travel pants that I wear all the time at home, the Featherlight is super comfortable, sports the same inside/outside waist cord, UPF 40+, and breathable stain/water-resistant features. These are my picks when heading to warmer climates.

I’m a big fan of The Perfect Jean. Though none of their gear is designed specifically for travel, thanks to the multitude of cuts and sizes, you can find a pair that fit perfectly. The super comfy stretch denim makes these my favorite jeans to wear on a flight. I have them in both the Slim Thick in Blanco (White) and Athletic Fit in Miner (Grey). Unlike regular jeans they not only stretch great but don’t easily wrinkle. I don’t always travel with jeans, but when I do, these are one of my first pics.

The Perfect Jean Slim Thick

The Mott & Bow Slim Mosco Jeans are even more travel-friendly. If jeans are your travel go-to garb, these just might be your new favorite. They are extremely soft, breathable, and ultra-lightweight, but look just like very expensive, nice jeans. They excel in warmer climates, but are by no means limited to them. They stretch the perfect amount. And they require very little washing. I once wore them every day for a week without any issues. If you’re in need of a jean more acceptable for business casual check out Mott & Bow’s Mercer Jean. It should take good care of you.

The Coalatree Decaf Denim jean may look like a pair of designer jeans, but it’s designed with travel (and everyday wear) in mind, offering four-way stretch, odor, UV, stain, and water resistance. They’ve even got a hidden zipper security pocket. The only thing keeping me from making these my top pick for travel jeans is that the front pockets are too shallow to swallow my large phone. It’ll hold it, but the top end sticks out and sometimes pokes me when I’m sitting down. If you have a smaller phone or don’t keep your phone in your pocket, and you’re looking for a feature-rich jean designed to take you around the world, definitely check out the Decaf Denim from Coalatree.

The Rhone Commuter Pant Slim is designed to maximize comfort, looks, and usability while on the move. Like all the Rhone gear I own, these pants make me feel like a million bucks. Rhone clothes are some of the nicest I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing. Fit and finish are a thing of perfection and the quality and usability of the fabrics are outstanding. The perfect stretchiness combines with wrinkle resistance and a zippered security pocket to make these shine on your world travels. They’re soft and feel so nice on the skin. If you’re looking for a perfect travel pant that looks like you spent way too much money but didn’t, get these pants now.

The Bluffworks Ascender Chino (Desert Khaki) and 5-Pocket Pants (Asphalt Black) are both made from the same strong, stretchy, lightweight, quick-dry, wrinkle and odor-resistant magic fabric. The Chino is a, well, chino style and includes 10 pockets including three zippered and a multitool pocket. The 5-Pocket Pants are cut like jeans but look and feel much nicer. And just to keep you on your toes, they don’t have 5 pockets. They have 10 including two zippered. If you’re looking for high-end technical pants that look more high-end than technical, check out the Ascender Chino and 5-Pocket Pants from Bluffworks.

DUER makes the excellent No Sweat Pant which I love so much I got them in two colors. I find the style to play both as casual and more upscale depending on the shirt, which is especially handy if you’re only bringing one pair of pants on your journey. The fabric has the perfect amount of stretch and is moisture-wicking as well as anti-odor so it’ll keep you comfortable and away from the laundromat for extended trips. 

The DUER Stay Dry Denim will let you rock that jeans look without giving up the technical tricks of a top travel fabric. This dressy denim is stain and water-resistant to keep you dry from the elements, breathable, stretchy, and even includes silver odor-fighting superpowers. If you’re looking for performance pants that look like nice jeans, push these to the top of your list.


I’m breaking down the shirts sub-category into a sub-category! T-shirts are a staple for me. A nice-looking tee can get you into most places and they take up very little space. I can usually make any length trip work with just 3 V-neck tees and one button-down. I bet you can, too! The trick is to get the right tee, one that isn’t quick to wrinkle, is slow to stink, and dries quickly in case you need to do a sink wash. Some people use merino wool shirts to pull that off, but I don’t like the way they smell and they make me crazy itchy! 

The Bluffworks Threshold V-Neck T-Shirt Slim Fit is my top pick for travel tees. These superstars use an odor-resistant, UPF 50+, quick-drying super-stretch wrinkle-resistant fabric that feels so soft. I’ve got them in a bunch of colors and wear them anytime I want to look and feel good, but I especially like them for travel. They are breathable, but still feel robust. Add all that to one of the best t-shirt cuts and you’ve got the perfect round-the-world tee.

Bluffworks Threshold V-Neck T-Shirt Slim Fit

The DUER Only Tee is made with fabric that is also odor-resistant, quick-drying, and super soft, but has a more casual cut. If I hadn’t found the one from Bluffworks, this would be my favorite, but I prefer the more fitted style of the Threshold tee when I travel. But if you’re more interested in the casual look, check out the Only Tee from DUER.

The Rhone Reign Short Sleeve is a top performer, too. With its UPF 50+ sun protection, perfect stretchiness, soft odor and wrinkle-resistant, sweat-wicking fabric it performs as well as the ones from Bluffworks and DUER. Style-wise I think it leans more towards the golf course but that’s for you to decide. 

The Perfect Jean makes my favorite V-Neck tee for weekend trips and everyday use. Made only from Pima Cotton and Spandex, it doesn’t have most of the tech features I’d want in a travel tee, but it is simply the softest, most comfortable tee with my favorite cut of any I’ve ever worn. I won’t take these on extended travels as they’d need a wash along the way – no thanks, but I own three and I’m happy to wear one and pack 2 for short trips and to wear around the house.

Shirts (Not Tees)

The Rhone Commuter Shirt is one of the best button-down shirts available, and it’s available in over a dozen colors. It’s super stretchy and soft making it comfortable enough to sleep on the plane, but wrinkle and odor resistant so you don’t look and smell like you slept on the plane when you get to your destination. I’m not a fan of how button collars look, but I love what they do. Rhone has hacked the system to get the same function of a well-placed collar but hidden the button so you don’t have to look at it. Nice. If you’re looking for a top-performing button-down for daily work or worldly travel available in lots and lots of colors, the Rhone Commuter Shirt should sit wrinkle-free at the top of your list.

Bluffworks makes the outstanding Lenox Dress Shirt. It looks like a very nice business shirt, but the wrinkle, moisture, and odor-resistant stretch fabric makes it the perfect travel shirt when you want to look first class (even if you’re in coach). 

Bluffworks makes my favorite travel Polo. The Threshold Knit Polo has all the travel-friendly goodness of their V-Neck tee: breathable, odor and wrinkle-resistant stretch fabric with a UPF 50+. The fabric is buttery smooth and every time I put one on, I smile. I love the cut and design. The only weird part is the small, hidden zip pocket near the waist. What’s that for? I guess it would come in handy if you weren’t wearing any pants, but otherwise it seems superfluous. If tees just aren’t your style, or you like to travel the world with a casual confidence, don’t miss out on the Threshold Knit Polo from Bluffworks.

The Rhone Tech Polo is constructed from an impressively soft Italian, sweat-wicking fabric with UPF 50+ sun protection. The anti-odor technology combines with the anti-wrinkle fabric to keep you looking and smelling your best.

Graphene X makes the most high-tech of all the polos I’ve tried with their All Rounder Polo Shirt. The fabric is impregnated with super strong yet lightweight graphene, making it highly abrasion-resistant. It’s also anti-odor, super stretchy, and anti-UV for sun protection. It’s also one of the fastest-drying shirts I’ve ever seen. Particularly unique, they don’t sew it. Every seam is laser-cut and welded. Very cool. It also makes the shirt look like something from a high-end fashion designer. If I could only take one shirt with me for an extended trip and I needed to know it was going to last and keep looking great, it would be the All Rounder Polo Shirt from Graphene X.


The Everywhere Hybrid Short from 686 is every bit as good as their pants, but better because it doubles as quick-drying swim trunks! These water and stain-resistant shorts are comfortable, breathable, and built to last. They’re UPF 40+ and pack in 10 pockets – more than you’ll want to fill if you’re swimming in them. They have the same awesome in/out drawcord to tighten the waist so they don’t fly off when you get slammed by a wave. And they’ve got plenty of stretch for comfortable flights, mountain hikes, and riding bikes. If I could only take one pair of shorts with me on a trip, the 686 Everywhere Hybrid Short would be my pick!

Patagonia makes these Hydropeak Hybrid Walk Shorts out of fabric so soft and light – just half a pound – it must be alien technology. They’re made from four-way stretch, quick-drying, water-repellent, UPF 40+ fabric and designed to look like walking shorts that perform like board shorts and they pull it off. Though I wish they included a tie cord for the waist to prevent the water from pulling them off.

Patagonia Hydropeak Hybrid Walk Shorts

The DUER No Sweat Short is made from the same magic fabric as their No Sweat Pants. So you’ll get moisture-wicking, antibacterial, stretch fabric with triple-stitched seams to keep them going strong on your adventures. These are the most comfortable shorts I’ve ever worn. They feel like they are built to last. If you don’t want or need shorts that double as swim trunks, and you’re looking for the best, put your butt in a pair of DUER No Sweat Shorts.

If you prefer a more upscale look than the jean short style of the No Sweat, the DUER Live Free Journey Short kicks it up. They look like very nice, non-tech shorts, but sport several travel essential features: a gusset and stretch fabric for freedom of movement, antibacterial and moisture-wicking fabric, and a zip pocket to deter sticky-fingered bumps and grabs. If you don’t need to swim in your shorts and you’re looking to blend in at the fancier summer outings, you’re going to want to take a closer look at the Live Free Journey Short.

Stio makes these awesome CFS Board Shorts for those in search of a souped-up dedicated board short. The fabric is super durable, UPF 50+, and perfectly stretchy for popping up quickly onto your surfboard. They dry super quick so you won’t freeze when you are either handing out autographs to your fans or being hauled away in an ambulance – depending on your surfing abilities. 

Business Suits

Gotta dress to impress at your destination? I found two travel suits that I like so much I wear them anytime the occasion calls for a suit.

Bluffworks makes the Presidio Dress Pants and matching Blazer with all the travel tricks you could want. The blazer comes with eight pockets – including 5 on the inside and 1 zippered security pocket – thank you, Bluffworks! The pants also have 8 pockets, but 3 of them zip. Nice. The fabric is identical on both – lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, AND odor resistant! It’s designed to mimic summer-weight wool – but it’s machine washable – keeping you looking good and keeping you cool while keeping you out of the drycleaners at the same time. It is one of the most comfortable suits I’ve ever worn.

The gear from xSuit feels like it’s from outer space, or the future, or from the future of outer space. If you are into travel and clothing tech, you’re going to love this. The xJacket 4.0 and matching xPant 4.0 are both made from the same crazy amazing 8-way stretch fabric that is machine washable, wrinkle, odor, and stain resistant. Style is a personal choice, but where the Presidio – to my eye – leans more towards successful New York Businessman look, the xSuit looks more like something that would be worn by a British spy with a silhouette that feels influenced by the Italian designers in the 1960s. I love both, but the xSuit definitely wins for my tastes. Pair it with the equally impressive xShirt 4.0 which is made with all the same bells and tech whistles as the jacket and pants. Include my favorite stain, odor, and wrinkle-resistant xTie slim to complete the set. Want to look like a million bucks, but feel like you’re wearing a tracksuit? Get your body inside an xSuit.

xSuit xJacket 4.0 and xPant 4.0


What’s the opposite of a business suit but also called a suit? That’s right: Sweat suits. I used to never wear sweats on a plane or anywhere for that matter. But then I found these high-end setups and I’m a changed man. Now I can be insanely comfortable and look legit at the same time. I have nearly as many sweats as I have bags. And all of these are super comfortable, top-quality, high-end gear. I think most people would be happy with any of these, making style preference the deciding factor. So for the sake of me not saying the words super comfortable a million times, I’m going to run through these fast and only mention specific highlights just to get the best of the best companies making sweats on your radar.

Traditional cotton premium sweats:

The Mott & Bow The French Terry Sweatshirt, Sweatpant, and Hoodie all feature the same 100% Peruvian cotton – yum! And my preferred sweatshirt inside of a looped terry. One of my favorites!

Bearbottom makes super nice sweats and this Upcycled Denim Hoodie, made from organic cotton and recycled denim is no exception. It manages to look high-end and well-loved at the same time.

Bearbottom Upcycled Denim Hoodie

Tracksmith makes premium running clothes, but don’t let the word running scare you off. The Trackhouse Sweatshirt and Sweatpants, from the heavyweight fabric to the quality construction and old-school style, are dripping with premium.

The Reigning Champ Lightweight Terry Full Zip Hoodie is designed for mild climates, and is my most used full zip in the evenings around my house when the temp starts to drop. Their Midweight Terry Pullover Hoodie is equally luxurious with ribbed touches around the hood and front pocket.

Surfside Supply has so many styles and they change fast, but they make sweats that feel like you’ve already had them for years. So soft. So comfortable. I don’t think they’ll last as long as some of these more expensive brands, but they are usually the ones I grab on cool mornings for lounging around the house and I love them. Garment Washed Hoodie – White. Chuck Drawstring Heathered Fleece Short. Sailor Drawstring Raw Hem French Terry Short – Black

American Giant sweats are as good as or better than anyone else out there. The Midweight Full Zip and Midweight Pullover hoodies seem pricey until you see them in person and then it all makes sense. They look like they’ll last forever and get better-looking with each wash. Your grandkids are going to be lining up to see if they got them in the will.

Quality of material and construction just doesn’t get better than the Standard Issue Tees Standard Hoody, Standard Shorts, and Standard Sweatpants. There’s a reason these are worn by some of the most successful basketball players and celebrities. Minimal branding, maximal – maximum – quality. Beware, your girlfriend/partner/teenager WILL try to steal them from you.

Performance Sweats:

The DUER Brushed Terry Performance Crew adds odor-inhibiting TENCEL to the weave along with a zippered security pocket to make it more travel-friendly than your average top-quality crew while keeping a clean look.

The 686 Everywhere Performance Double Knit Hoody uses tech fabric and a clever, useful abundance of pockets to create the perfect travel hoodie that looks modern and wears great. Stretchable, wicking, UPF 40+ fabric and 5 pockets including 1 hidden zipper pocket for your phone or wallet make this a hoodie lover’s travel companion worth investigating.

Zenkai Sports makes the Pathfinder Joggers, Full Zip Hoodie, and 6″ Shorts – these are my go-to for all my workouts. Made from Pima Cotton, Modal, and Spandex, they’re super stretchy and soft. And they use Filium tech to make them water and odor resistant. 

If you’re more into the fleece style of sweats check out the Coalatree Full-Zip Evolution Hoodie which uses coffee grounds woven into the fabric to absorb odors. It’s also got just the right amount of stretch combined with a quick-dry, water-resistant finish to keep you dry and help you avoid stains on your trip.

The AKHG Blackburn Standard Fit Full Zip Hoodie is a solid choice for hikers or people who want to look like hikers when they travel. The anti-odor, moisture-wicking stretch fabric is super soft fleece. Combine that with shoulders specifically designed to go under backpack straps and this could become your new travel companion.

Stio makes the Fremont Stretch Fleece Jogger and Hoodie – the most futuristic-looking sweats I’ve ever tried. At first glance they might just look like really nice sweats, but upon closer inspection they are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. They’re incredibly comfortable, like wearing a marshmallow. The wicking fabric has just the right stretch and there’s a zip pocket so the key fob to your UFO doesn’t fall out.

Graphene X makes the matching Reversible Hoodie and Reversible Sweatpants. While the Stio Fremont looks like the most futuristic sweats, I think these actually are the most futuristic. They look like the nicest tech ever, super slick. But it’s not just good looks. It has all the bells and whistles of the most advanced gear: anti-microbial, weatherproof, wicking, breathable, stretch, UV protection, and extremely durable, but it also has a special trick up its sleeve. The hoodie and pants are both reversible with a purpose! It’s cooling on one side and warming on the other. I took it to the Oregon coast and it handled the quick-changing elements like a boss. They aren’t the lightest weight sweats ever, but if I could only pick one pants/jacket combo to take with me for multiple trips around the world that could handle any weather I would throw at it, the Reversible Hoodie and Reversible Sweatpants from Graphene X win the top prize. 

Let’s finish off the sweat section with my favorite slick-casual flight suit. The Rhone Warm Up Tech Jogger and Full Zip Hoodie are my top pick for in-flight wear thanks to the insane level of comfort combined with the midweight, durable, stretch fabric that knows how to wick moisture and keeps me feeling my most comfortable even on the longest flights. It has front zip pockets on both the pants and the hoodie which I prefer over back zip pockets. It’s not cheap, but it looks, feels, and performs more expensive than it is. If you’re looking for the most comfortable set of sweats to keep you looking good for the flight and at your destination, grab a pair of the Rhone Warm Up Tech Jogger and Full Zip Hoodies.

Rhone Warm Up Tech Jogger


I’m not going to get into why zero drop, wide toe shoes are the best (for me) kind of shoes for traveling (or life in general), look it up if you’re curious. I’ll just say, with the Xero Prio and a pair of $10 flip flops from a corner store, I’m covered for any kind of traveling that I personally like to do.

Xero Prio

The Xero Prio is my favorite shoe I’ve ever worn. Comfort level is off the charts, designed to last, and looks that have had strangers tell me how much they liked them on many occasions. They are 100% animal-free. Yay! This is the main shoe that comes with me on all my world travels but I also wear it nearly everyday at home for working out, walks, trips to the grocery store, and even on casual dates. If you want a super comfortable shoe that’s built to last and looks great, too, step into a pair of Xero Prios.

Xero Prio


If I’m wearing shoes, I’m wearing socks. Maybe you can go shoe commando, but not me. 

Zenkai Sports anti-odor ankle socks are comfortable and feature the same Filium tech as their other gear to keep odor at bay. They’re breathable without making my toes feel cold. 

The BAM Amazing Bamboo Socks are the softest socks I’ve ever worn. They use bamboo yarn to make them breathable, but they stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The toe and heel are reinforced to prolong the life of the sock and look-wise they manage to work as an athletic or even a more dressy sock.

The low cut Graphene X All Rounder Socks claim to be nearly indestructible and they seem like it. I’ve only worn them for a few trips, but the medium cushioning makes them comfortable, while the Graphene integrated threads keep them from getting stinky even after a 40,000 steps day of walking around a city or all-day hikes. They don’t look like tech socks, and they feel just like top-quality normal socks, but I’ve read reviews from people who’ve had them for years that say they still look like new. If that turns out to be my experience I may never need to buy new travel socks again.

Well, that was a lot of gear! You deserve a bonus, and it’s the single most important secret to having a great travel experience. It’s okay to obsess over your gear if you’re into that, or not if you’re not. But once you’re packed and heading out the door, be present in the moment, in your life. The very best travel gear is the gear that lets you forget about it. So once your adventure begins, forget about your gear. You can live out of your gear but live in your life. This is the biggest change I’ve made since that last gear review video seven years ago, and I am richer for it. 

Safe travels!


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