Gear Review

After travelling around the world, what did I find to be the best equipment?  How did everything work?

Although I did load it with Ni-MH batteries, as stated by the manufacturer, I did still find it ran out after 5-10  uses.  However it was extremely useful being able to purify water in a minute with no chemical taste.  I’m not sure if works on Indian-strength waterborne diseases – I did get sick there, but it may have been the food.

AA battery charger
For the Steri-pen.

Inflatable pillow
I started with a conventional C-shaped travel neck pillow but it was USELESS!  This rectangular one I picked up in Germany was much better.

I love my woobie!  It’s a military synthetic blanket.  Packs up small, and just enough to keep you warm inside, or in a tent on a warm-ish night.  It dries quickly and is machine washable.

Sistema plastic container
I put my laundry detergent in here and it did not leak at all.  Yay for NZ made plasticware!

Microfibre towel
Unlike the early sport towels the new ones with a terry-cloth finish will get you completely dry.  They soak up a lot of water and dry quickly.  I used a medium one and it packed up to the size of 2 DVD cases.

UnderArmour HeatGear shirt
As good as it gets in humid weather, and it didn’t smell.

Macpac Gemini travel pack
It did suffer from design faults since it was an older one, such as the bedroll straps being stupidly short, the daybag not having any organisation and a strange shape that always fell over, the pack strap cover flap being difficult to do up and the daybag being hard to attach when full.  These have all been fixed on the newer models.  However the basic travel pack design is very good, and the front attachment points for the daybag were well worth having.

North Face shorts
Indestructible, had a good range of pockets, comfy, and had a built-in belt

Douglas sandals
Comfy, NZ made and lasted the distance after repairs in Vietnam and India.  Their simple construction means roadside cobblers can fix them easily.

Mizuno running shoes
Racing slicks by the end but did the job

3 sets of clothes and 7 sets of underwear
This is exactly the right amount

Columbia Titanium shirt
It was nice when in a dry country, and was ready to wear after rolling in a towel after washing.  But anywhere with humidity made it awful to wear, and it was very slow to dry.

I used this when I had nowhere to lock my pack.  However it caught on all the buckles and straps on my pack making it a faff to put on and discouraged me from using it.  I didn’t have anyone try to steal anything from my pack but it did give me a bit more peace of mind.

Longsleeved shirt
I didn’t need it.  Everywhere in Asia was too hot to wear it.  The places that required you to cover up always had free clothes to borrow.

Sea-to-Summit Poncho Tarp
It did the job in Asia of keeping me and my pack dry when it rained and was humid.  However it was too long at the back to wear easily without a pack on.  The drawcord for hitching up the rear excess was too short and ineffectual.  When I was in Germany I tried using it as a tarp tent and it was USELESS – far too small, and the hood leaked.  The fabric did not have enough waterproofing and after a while the rain soaked through.

Neck pillow
The C-shaped one gave me a crook in the neck every time I used it, and was worse than not using a pillow at all.

Pacsafe Metrosafe 100
The zip fell apart after 3 months and they refused to replace it under warranty as I didn’t keep the defective item since it was useless.

Things not used:
Mosquito net
There weren’t that many mosquitoes in the places I went to in Asia or India

Insect repellent
See above.  I only used it 2-3 times

Solar panel
I had this in case there wasn’t anywhere to charge the Steripen batteries.  However I always had mains power.

I had 3 sets of clothes and 7 sets of underwear.  This was just right.  Sometimes I had to wash a set because I couldn’t find a laundry, but this was not often.
1 box of washing powder – mainly because in Asia I never had to use my own
3 travel-size bottles each of shampoo and conditioner
Innumerable bars of soap – probably 7?
1 pair of sandals and 1 pair of running shoes
1 pair of long trousers – but I do not wear trousers much.

Handy things bought on the way
A little compass is very useful to find out which way you’re facing, such as when coming out of a train station.  I bought a cheap one in Kuala Lumpur but by France it had become demagnetised

Power adapters
These are cheap and easy to buy wherever you go, especially Asia.  Go to a market to buy them for about $2-5.  A multi-country adapter would have been handy but these were cheap.  The most commonly used one was the 2 round pin European style.

Changes made for travel in Europe:
Since I did a lot more camping I wish I’d brought a gas stove – it would be small and easy to pack.  The campsites never had communal kitchen stoves and when I tried using alcohol gel it was expensive and useless.
My camping equipment was a 3x4m tarp, extendable poles, pegs, a closed-cell foam mat, and a polarfleece blanket in addition to my woobie.   It wasn’t that pleasant but it did the job, and I saved a lot of money.  I did not get wet under the tarp.
I bought a jumper and proper raincoat in Germany.  No need for warm clothes in Asia!

I Wish I had Brought
My workout elastics.  I tried to keep my fitness up but there is only so much you can do with bodyweight exercises.

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