Tag Archives: gear guide

Gear Guide: First Aid for travellers

4 Jul

Having ended up in hospital twice while overseas and dealing with a number of annoying (minor) injuries and illnesses I’ve always made an effort to take some form of first aid kit overseas with me. The difficult part is finding a balance between too little and too much with the constant need to try to keep traveling as light as possible. I’ve heard a lot of people argue that most first aid stuff you can generally buy overseas- true but when you have a bruised, swollen foot from falling down a staircase it is not particularly enjoyable to try and mime anti-inflammatories to the chemist in Indonesia (true story and they gave me caffeine tablets?). On the other hand the first time I travelled to Asia my doctor gave me a whole goody bag of every type of sample medication under the sun most of which I never used.

So what is in my first aid kit? I have a small one which comes everywhere and mostly has wound care stuff in it. Band aids, gauze, splinter probes and antiseptic wipes. It’s always in my daypack even when I’m at home and is very useful for everyday problems.

First Aid Kit sans medication

I also travel with

–          Adhesive sports strapping tape- good for supporting twisted fingers, knees, ankles etc. Also has many other uses like taping up windows and fixing broken back packs. Versatile stuff

–          Conforming bandage

–          Anti-inflammatories (see story above), paracetamol for headaches or after a night tasting too much of the local beverages and immodium because sometime your stomach just doesn’t agree with that nasi goreng

–          Betadine- After winding up in hospital with a tropical infection this stuff is a really good idea, keep wounds clean and disinfected in the tropics to avoid the hospital trip.

–          Malaria medication- depends where you are going and you really should consult a doctor. Sadly Doxycycline makes me sick so I have to go for the more expensive Malarone which luckily has very few side effects except some really weird vivid dreams.

–          Any prescriptions you might take at home- pretty self-explanatory.

I was always told the 6 Ps “perfect preparation prevents piss poor performance” this is particularly relevant when traveling, take risks and have adventures but look after yourself! It’s always much more enjoyable to be healthy when you’re on the road.

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Gear Guide: The All Important Day Pack

13 Jun

People have very different ideas of travel. Some travel ultra light whereas others like to travel with all the trimmings and gadgets. I think I’m somewhere in the middle so the idea of this Gear Guide section is so I can share some tips and opinions I have when it comes to travel gear. Also I don’t get paid for any endorsements (although I wouldn’t say no if anyone offers 🙂 ) so any reviews I do are my own opinions.

So the day pack. Probably one of the most important things when you’re on the road (other than cash and a passport) as realistically you need something for all your gear. I love my current day pack, I tried out a fair few until I found it and now I use it for everything- travel, university, cycling, hiking, overnight trips. It’s versatile, ultra functional and bright red.

My beloved day pack and hydration bladder

Currently I’m using a 28 litre day pack which has a built in rain cover and is hydration bladder compatible. I bought it for roughly $90 but it was marked down from around $180. One of the benefits of the rain cover is added security as it clips down over the entire pack to the zipped main compartment which has several other internal zipped pockets. I don’t doubt there are people out there who could sneak into it but it definitely puts up a challenge. The colour is also really useful as it is hard to miss and stands out in a crowd. It will be a bit big for some but I generally travel with camera gear and a lot of the time my netbook so it can fit all of this my important documents and even a change of clothes for those overnight trips and long transits in airports. It’s awesome for outdoor activities with the hydration bladder in and has a padded mesh back which stops that gross sweating when hiking in tropical climates.

In my opinion a day pack is really not something to cut corners on. Make sure it fits well and is big enough to meet all of your requirements. The straps on it should be comfortable- waist and chest straps are a bonus and will make you much more comfortable on the road. A huge problem I had with one of my old day packs was it had an annoying hook on the top which would choke me when wearing it on my front with my main pack- incredibly frustrating. Also it would not hold up at all in the rain which was a pain in the wet season in Indonesia- my current one while not completely waterproof will keep my things mostly dry when I get caught out in the rain.

On a somewhat relevant note- I love June. All of the outdoor gear stores are having their sales. This morning I got $400 worth of gear (thermals, jacket, head torch, hydration bladder) for $100 at Kathmandu, these savings are ridiculous! Even the girl behind the counter was shocked by some of the prices when she was ringing up my purchase this morning. Another hot tip is a lot of the stores have membership programs which are often free to join but give you great deals and member offers.

What’s your day pack like? Any hot tips on how you choose your perfect day pack?