Best Travel Gear for Adventure Travel

Michael and Kristina from Off Path Travels in Chiapas, Mexico

Finding the best travel gear for your next adventure isn’t easy, but we’re here to help!

When we first started planning our 6 month trip to Mexico and Belize, we spent literally months researching and choosing the best travel gear.

Turns out we chose well, because after Mexico, we used all of that same travel gear to explore Southeast Asia and a few other spots.

We’re still happy we invested the time and money to find the best travel gear (soo worth it!). But it was such a pain to figure out what gear to get that we decided to spare you the struggle by sharing exactly what we use and recommend for adventure travel.

So we’ve put together this guide with the most recommended and best travel gear for your next adventure!

Choosing The Right Gear

Kristina enjoying some beach time
Kristina exploring the tide pools in Akumal, Mexico.

Getting the right gear is crucial when traveling, especially for adventure travel. You need to get stuff that is durable, comfortable, and practical. But it also has to be compact and lightweight.

It’s also a lot more sustainable (and cheaper in the long-run) to buy a high quality item that lasts for 10 years instead of something you need to replace every year.

As minimalists and full-time travelers, we place a lot of value on quality over quantity.

After all, we are constantly packing, unpacking, and carrying everything around when we travel, so we’d much rather have less stuff to deal with. That’s why we prefer items that are multi-use, lightweight, water-resistant, and offer a warranty.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s important to think about the quality of each item over the cost and think of it as an investment.

That $20 travel bag might seem like a great deal when you’re in the store, but you’ll regret that purchase once you’re walking around in the rain without any water-proofing whatsoever and all of your stuff gets soaking wet!

TIP: Make sure to try out your new travel gear BEFORE you leave for your trip! There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re getting blisters from your new (and only) pair of walking shoes on the first day of your vacation.

Travel Backpacks

We love traveling carry-on only! It’s just so much faster to get through airports without waiting in line to check in baggage and then again to pick it up at the carousel.

Who wants to waste their precious time waiting around for bags?

We also prefer (and highly recommend) using travel backpacks over carry-on rolling luggage because it gives you more freedom to move around once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Especially for adventure travelers who are always hopping on and off taxis, trains, buses, and even boats!

After researching and trying on way too many travel backpacks, we bought the two Osprey backpacks below because of their size (Kristina’s is available in XS), storage compartments, and lifetime guarantee.

We also really like that they have a more discreet style and don’t like the typical “budget backpacker” bags. But they still have hip belts to balance out the weight and can be used for trekking trips.

We traveled around the world with these backpacks for a year and we still love them!

Women’s Backpack

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | REI

Men’s Backpack

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | REI

Packable Day Pack

We did our first 4 months of full-time travel without this packable day pack and highly regretted it! Now we use our packable day pack for everything from hiking around archeological ruins to grocery runs.

It’s also perfect for holding your snacks, water, and jacket on buses in Mexico and airplanes. The best part is that it just folds up and stores in your larger backpack when not in use. No need to carry around two backpacks!

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Travel Gear Accessories

Packing Cubes

You probably think these packing cubes are not essential, but they are.

Trust us, once you use them you’ll be wondering why it took you so long to get them. They keep all your clothing organized in specific cubes, save space by compressing clothes, and makes it so much easier to quickly find something in your bag.

They also let you unpack in 1 minute. We just throw them on shelves when we first arrive at our accommodations and then we’re done unpacking!

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | REI

Toiletry Bag

A water-resistant toiletry bag is essential for protecting the contents of your backpack from liquid spills. We prefer a lightweight and compact one that easily fits in our bag.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Luggage Lock

Get this TSA-approved lock and cable to protect yourself from theft. We use the included cable to secure our bags onto furniture in our hotel room or palm trees at the beach when we’re snorkeling in Cozumel.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Water Bottle

Traveling with your reusable water bottle is a must. But what if you’re in a country without potable tap water?

We recommend this water purification bottle for adventure travel. Not only does it remove viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. It also gets rid of chlorine, lead, silt, and odors.

To use it, you simply fill up the outer container with water (from rivers to faucets), press the filter down to purify, and then drink!

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Headlamp

Yes, you can just use your phone’s flashlight in a pinch, but there are many situations where this headlamp is just so much better. It’s perfect for lighting up sketchy streets where you’d rather not have your expensive phone out or when you need to keep your hands free for exploring underground cenotes.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | REI

Travel Towel

We love our travel towels! We use them for beach days, camping trips, and even as a blanket on plane rides every now and then.

What we like the most about them is that they take up little space, are lightweight, and dry super quickly. This microfiber travel towel can absorb up to 4 times its weight in water. But wringing them takes out pretty much all the water in an instant.

Oh, and they also have a snap loop for hanging and come with a travel pouch for keeping the rest of your stuff dry if the towel is still wet.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | REI

Travel Dry Bag

We have multiple dry bags for camping and backpacking, but we use this dry bag with shoulder strap for specifically for adventure travel. It’s perfect for outdoor activities because it folds up small for storing inside our backpacks, it’s fully waterproof, and it comes with a removable shoulder strap for easy carrying (our camping ones don’t).

It’s easy to use too! All you have to do is put in the things you want to keep dry (towels, wallets, cameras, etc.), roll down the top, and buckle it closed. We use ours for scuba diving trips, kayaking, beach days, and rainy days. It also doubles as a personal item on buses and planes!

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

First Aid Kit

It’s really important to pack some sort of first aid kit for adventure travel. Even though you’ll most likely be able to pick up any medical supplies at a local pharmacy, it’s better to have at least a few items to get you started. We always make sure our medical kit is replenished before taking off on the next leg of our trip.

We keep a supply of medications like anti-histamine, pain relievers, and anti-diarrheal on hand. As well as bandages and blister relief for all the walking and hiking we usually do on our travels. Along with some repair tape for our gear.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Packing Light for the full list.

Hiking First Aid Kit

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | My Medic

Travel Electronics

If you only bring one electronic device, make it your unlocked smartphone. It’s hands down the best all-in-one device you can get for travel. And make sure to download the best travel apps before you go!

Since we work online and travel full-time, we also bring along our laptops and our portable water- and dust-resistant solid state drive.

Compact Portable Battery

We’ve all been there. You step off the flight. Anxious to explore your new destination. You take out your phone to call and Uber or figure out where your hotel is… and just then, you realize you only have 3% battery left.

That’s why you need this portable battery pack. It charges up your phone super quickly so you’ll never have to spend your precious vacation time sitting on the floor next to an airport outlet again.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Waterproof Ebook Reader

We both have Kindles for reading on the road. This waterproof Kindle is much more practical than carrying around multiple books and a guide book when traveling.

A Kindle can hold a huge quantity of books and magazines and you can download new ones when traveling internationally using its free cellular data. It also has a backlight for reading at night and the newest version is even waterproof!

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Travel Adapter

A travel adapter is essential for using electronics when traveling abroad due to the different outlets in each country. This international travel adapter has one regular socket and two USB ports so you can charge up to three devices at a time. It works in over 150 countries!

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Travel Photography

We travel with multiple cameras because travel photography is obviously a major part of our job as travel bloggers. While you might not need this many cameras, it’s good to have at least one camera other than your phone’s when traveling to make sure you never miss a shot!

Michael scuba diving in Cozumel
Michael scuba diving in Mexico.

Waterproof Action Camera

As adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, if we had to recommend just one camera for travel it would be a waterproof action camera. It’s small, voice-activated, waterproof, and can take wide angle shots, time-lapses and video.

We mostly use ours for snorkeling, snowboarding, and off-roading. But Michael also likes to stick it in his pocket and bring it along when we don’t feel like carrying our full camera gear or would rather not take it out of our bag for reasons like rain or possible theft.

It’s also perfect for our scuba diving excursions since it’s completely waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters) and up to (60 meters) with the dive housing.

You can get all kinds of accessories to stick it on your car’s dashboard, clamp it to a kayak, or even wear it on your head.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon | REI

Mirrorless Camera

If you want something that’ll take next level photos, you should get a mirrorless camera. They’re much smaller than traditional DSLRs, but still have interchangeable lenses, so they’re great for travel photography.

We use a mirrorless camera for our travel photography and love it. Get the camera body along with 2 kit lenses and you’re ready to go.

If you’d rather go with a simple point-and-shoot camera with a selfie-friendly flip screen, try this premium compact camera with built-in zoom lens.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Camera Drone

We absolutely love being able to get overhead shots of stunning landscapes with our drone. This drone fits in the palm of your hand, is easy to fly, and has sensors to automatically avoid objects.

CHECK PRICE: Amazon

Packing Lists

The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing LIst
Our favorite ski resort in Colorado, A-Basin.

We’re huge fans of using packing lists for both regular trips and outdoor adventures. They’re extremely important when you’re trying to pack light (stick to what’s on the list and nothing more).

And they’re crucial to make sure you’re not forgetting anything essential like your passport for international flights or your water filter for backpacking trips.

Click on any of the packing lists below for more details on which clothing, toiletries, and other essentials you should pack for each kind of trip.

Travel Insurance

Don’t leave home without it! Possibly the most important piece of travel gear: good travel insurance.

Get one that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and theft.

We recommend World Nomads for adventure travelers because they cover a huge range of outdoor activities from white water rafting to motorbiking.

You don’t think you need it until you do! So be smart. Be prepared. Don’t risk it and get a quote now to insure your trip.

Best Travel Gear for Adventure Travel

We hope this guide to the best travel gear along with our packing lists help you prepare for your next adventure!

Let us know below if you have any travel gear you can’t live without!

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