Essential Gear You Didn’t Know You Needed for Your RTW Trip

My current One Bag is the Tom Bihn Tri-Star, which is 33 liters. It’s small, so I can’t fit all the RTW gear I want, and I pack very carefully. Here are some of the things I’ve brought or acquired that I’ll never leave home without, ever again.

Vapur Element Water Bottle (or Eclipse)

I laugh every time I see this photo.

I’ve never had a $10 travel item I liked more than this. For lightweight travel, this bottle is a massive improvement over the classic Nalgene or Kleen Canteen. It holds the same amount (1L) but when empty, fits in your pocket, small purse, or clips to your belt loop. It is incredibly durable: we’ve been using the same one for 9 months, probably filling it a couple times a day on average. I just ordered one again last week because I lost mine on a bus in Munich.

Buy it on Amazon for ~$10

Portable Bluetooth Speaker


I bought this halfway through our round-the-world trip because I was sick of listening to music on my phone’s speakers. My expectations were that it would work for a small hotel room. But no, it fills the entire up a kitchen at a hostel, and is loud enough in the car for everyone can hear. It is LOUD when you want it to be, and the sound quality is impressive for the price. There are many competitors and I’d bet any of the ones with good reviews are worth the money.

(Purchasing note: check the dimensions before you buy to make sure you’re getting a size you’re okay with.)

Buy it on Amazon for $33

HDMI Cable

In almost every hostel, AirBnB, or hotel room we’ve stayed in, no matter how inexpensive, we’ve had access to a TV, and a lot of the time the TV has an HDMI jack. A few dollars on Amazon or eBay can get you the right adapter for your device, and in seconds you’ll be watching your favorite shows on a bigger screen.

Search for the right cable on Amazon

Icebreaker Merino T-Shirt

icebreaker merino tech t lite

I wore the same Icebreaker Tech T Lite for 4 days in a row on a trek in New Zealand, and it didn’t smell nasty. Katy can verify. It smelled used but not gross, definitely not like BO, and certainly wouldn’t have offended anyone sitting next to me. I am totally sold and keep three with me now. Katy has two. They’re durable; mine are starting to wear out after 100+ uses each, so I need to go shopping again. You can usually get one for about $40 if you catch a sale.

Buy a Tech T Lite on Amazon

Bluffworks Pants


Hands down the best pants I’ve ever owned. The Bluffworks Originals look sharp enough to wear with a button down and a tie, and are durable enough to withstand the punishment of outdoor adventures. I’ve worn these for about 25 days of hiking, and probably 100 regular city days, and they look new – minus a few stains. They are amazing, and at $93 you can’t get better value. Click for my longer review, it’s a separate post. They just released the Chinos and I really want some.

Buy Bluffworks Originals for $93

Merino Wool Socks

merino socks

I bought merino wool socks from REI, and for the same reason that I recommend the Merino t-shirts, they are my favorite travel socks. Sometimes I wear them for 3 days in a row and don’t wash them (shhh don’t tell Katy). They hold up to a lot of wear and tear as well.

Shop for Merino Socks on Amazon

AUX Audio Cable

If you buy a bluetooth speaker you’re likely to have this included, but even without the speaker it comes in handy all the time. Connect your iPhone to the boom box at the hostel, or to the car stereo and let the good times roll.

Find a cable on Amazon

USB Car Charger

If you’re the type who ends up hitching rides or renting cars, this can come in really handy for a long trip.

Find a car charging adapter on Amazon


Hot and sweaty? Wipe your face. Going for a long hike? Tie it around your head as a sweatband. Risk of sunburn? Tie it on like a pirate. Allergies? Blow your nose into it.

It’s quick to wash and cheap to buy.

Shop for Bandanas on Amazon

Round-the-World Trip Gear Ideas for us?

I’m putting together a shopping list of what to pack for our next trip, which will be to South America. If you have ideas, please comment!


Author: Matt

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