Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you’ve at some point asked yourself how to find the best travel gear for your trips. With a market flooded with products from different brands, it’s no surprise that we’re often undecided.

This article will help you figure out how to find the best travel gear. I’ll also categorize the different types of gear that you might consider buying for your upcoming trip and give my personal recommendations on the best gear in the market. More on these later.

But first…

How Do You Know What To Carry?

Suitcases, backpacks, daypacks, cameras, travel cubes; the options are endless. However, you can’t carry everything. How do you know what travel gear you’ll need for that specific trip? Here are the things you need to consider.

How To Know What Travel Gear You Need

The categories of travel gear are numerous and the options are, seemingly, endless. However, just because a product looks cool doesn’t mean that you should buy it. To help you figure out exactly what travel gear you’ll need, here are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Where are you traveling to?

Your destination will determine the gear you carry. If you’re going to spend your time in a big city with access to modern amenities, then you might only need to carry the basic essentials.

However, if you’re traveling to a secluded village in Asia (or anywhere else for that matter) where there’s no access to basic utilities, travel gear like solar chargers and water purifiers will come in quite handy.

Also, consider the weather at your travel destination. Thanks to the internet, you can find out whether it’s hot or cold on the other side. This will determine whether you’ll need to include a raincoat, a fleece or an umbrella on your packing list.

What’s the purpose of your visit?

Will you be backpacking through Africa or chilling at the beach in the Caribbean? What you intend to do on your trip dictates how much or how little gear you’ll need to carry, over and above the basics.

Business travelers, for instance, will need their laptop but a mountain climber may not. Similarly, if you’ll be spending time in the outdoors then I’m sure you’ll be considering waterproof bags.

My point: make a clear itinerary of your trip and know exactly what activities you’re likely to take part in. Then, consider the right travel gear you’ll need based on your planned activities.

How long will you be gone?

There are different sized suitcases and backpacks. If your trip is only a couple of days, then you won’t need large-sized luggage. Consider how long you’ll be gone and this will help you narrow down to only the travel gear you’ll need.

How often do you travel?

If you’re a frequent flyer, buy the most durable gear. Those constantly on the move don’t want the hassle of always replacing their items so just go for the best. We’ll help you figure this out below. However, if you only travel, say, once a year, then durability issues may not be a concern since you won’t subject your gear to heavy use.

With the above questions answered, you should have a general idea of the gear you’ll need. The next step is to sift through the different available products. Below is a list of considerations when shopping for travel gear. Keep reading to find out more.

Finding the best travel gear: things to consider

Consider your budget

How much are you willing to spend on your preferred travel gear? The brands are numerous, often confusing shoppers. However, by having a clear amount of money that you’re willing to spend, you should be able to narrow down your choices.

Cheap isn’t always expensive.

Certain brands are more expensive, not because they offer more quality, but because they are a more popular name. Try not to be sucked into the premium product tunnel where you hardly take notice of the lesser-known brands that are likely to offer value for money.

If you keep reading, you’ll get to our top recommendations of premium and budget gear.

Consider durability

Whatever gear you’re looking for, make sure it’s made to last. Whether it’s a suitcase or a water bottle, the build should be able to withstand heavy use. Outdoor enthusiasts should consider this factor more than others since their travel plans involve exposing their travel gear to the vagaries of weather.

Check for waterproof capabilities and find out whether the gear is rated as waterproof or water-resistant. So, the difference is that water-resistant items can only handle a light shower but won’t survive being submerged in water. If you’ll be spending time camping or hiking, consider the waterproof-rated travel gear.

Consider the warranty

Whatever gear you decide to buy, there has to be a warranty period of at least one year to two years. Warranties are a way for the manufacturer to tell you that they’re confident with their products. Anything less than a year is generally unacceptable, so avoid products with a short warranty period.

Most bags and suitcases come with a warranty of at least three years but some manufacturers offer even 10 years to a lifetime warranty.

Identify the best brands

By reading through user reviews, you’ll get to know the brands that offer the most customer satisfaction. For instance, American Tourister and Samsonite luggage are known for their high quality. However, you might also want to consider brands like Hanke or Delsey.

If you’re looking for an action camera, the go-to brand is GoPro, however, you might decide to choose other brands like Garmin or Akaso. We have listed the specific recommendations of travel gear farther down in this article so keep reading.

So what travel gear do you actually need for any trip? Here’s a look at the essential travel gear.

Which are the Essential Travel Gear?

No matter where you’re heading to or how long you’ll be gone, the following are essential gear that every traveler needs to have.

1. Luggage

  • Suitcases
  • Backpacks
  • Daypacks
  • Packing cubes
  • Toiletry bags
  • Duffel bags

Things to consider when choosing luggage

  • Size

There are carry on and check-in luggage. If you’re going on a short trip then you should consider packing light. Carry-ons are convenient because you don’t have to waste time waiting at the baggage carousel on arrival.

  • Material

Polycarbonate is a hard material that some suitcases are made of. It’s quite durable and does a good job in protecting its contents. The hard-shell luggage is also easy to clean and offer more water resistance than fabric luggage.

However, polycarbonate luggage isn’t expandable and don’t have extra pockets so there really isn’t much flexibility in terms of how much gear you can carry.

Still, you can find soft-material bags and suitcases with scratch and water-resistant qualities, offering almost as much protection and durability as their hard-shell counterparts. Some also have a special coating for stain resistance. Consider luggage made of ballistic nylon or Cordura nylon.

  • Zipper strength

Often overlooked, but the strength of your suitcase or bag’s zipper will determine how secure your gear is. Remember that large zippers are much stronger than small ones.

Also, consider two-way zippers with sliders on either end that open to meet in the middle. This type’s advantage is that whenever one zip stops working, you can just slide it to its end and use the other one.

  • Security features

Can you use a luggage lock? Is there an integrated lock? These are questions you need to ask when shopping for luggage. The zipper should also be tamper-proof rated. Check reviews and read specifications to find out about these. Again, as we mentioned above, the larger the zipper, the stronger it is.

2. Electronics

  • Cameras
  • Travel chargers
  • Laptop
  • Flashlight
  • E-reader/tablet
  • Headphones
  • Universal power adaptors

Things To Consider When Choosing Travel Electronics

  • Connectivity

If you’re traveling locally, connectivity isn’t really something you’ll be worried about unless you’re going to a remote part of your country.

However, international jet setters should think about how connected they’ll be when they travel.

With a little bit of research, you can arm yourself with information on internet and cell phone connectivity at your destination. Find out how widespread cellphone service is, especially if you’re visiting a less developed country.

Also, do your research on the best cell phone networks and what plans they have. You might have to buy a local sim card on arrival. If you prefer roaming, consider the cost since roaming charges are always much higher.

All these factors will determine whether or not you’ll be able to use your tech when you travel.

  • Battery life

Whatever electronics you choose, be sure their battery life is good enough for at least a day’s use. And if you do run out of juice, find out what the electrical voltage is and the type of outlet you’ll need. Of course, a universal power adaptor is a handy little gizmo that every traveler should have.

If you won’t have access to electricity, find a solar travel charger to keep your devices charged up when you’re on the move.

  • Security at destination

When choosing electronics to add to your travel gear, also think about the security situation wherever you’re traveling to. This should determine whether you’ll opt to carry your expensive iPhone or laptop.

You might have to leave your expensive devices if security isn’t assured. For instance, if you’re traveling to a volatile city, maybe choose to buy a cheap feature phone instead of carrying your premium smartphone.

  • Airport/airline regulations and restrictions

In airports across the US and Canada, travelers are required to remove laptops from bags, for screening purposes. You’re also, always required to have your electronics in carry-ons.

However, different airlines have different rules regarding electronics so make sure you check their websites before travel. Sometimes these regulations change and there might be restrictions on what electronics you can carry. Make sure you’re familiar with all these regulations before traveling.

Moreover, find out what regulations there are in your destination country. Some countries have restrictions or complete bans on entering with certain gear like drones.

  • Do you really need it?

You may not even need the electronics you’re trying to cram in your bag. The reason you’re traveling will definitely determine whether you need a specific electronic or not.

For example, you might not really need the heavy photography gear you want to carry: your smartphone might do just fine. Similarly, if you aren’t traveling for work then your laptop might not be of use so consider leaving it behind.

Be clear about what you really need and avoid the unnecessary extra weight.

3. Outdoor gear

  • Sleeping bags
  • Tents
  • Umbrella
  • Multi-tool
  • Weatherproof clothes
  • Shoes
  • Flashlights
  • First-aid kit

Finding the right outdoor gear

  • The activity

Of course, you’ll be choosing your gear depending on the outdoor activities. You might think that outdoor gear is just outdoor gear, but there’s a difference. For instance, you might be surprised to learn that the shoes you wear when hiking are different from those you wear when rock climbing.

Whether you’ll be camping, fishing or even skiing, find out the right gear and this will save you from hiring gear later.

  • Durability

Since these gear are exposed to the vagaries of weather, sometimes battered and bruised by nature, ensure that they can withstand this abuse.

Whatever gear you’re buying, avoid the cheap knock offs and go for well-established brands that have years of proven quality.

Durability is determined by the material and other features like weatherproofing. Find waterproof instead of water-resistant gear and consider dust and scratch-resistant features as well.

  • Comfort

Whether it’s your backpack, shoes, or other items of clothing, it is crucial that you ensure they’re comfortable enough for prolonged use. For instance, if you’ll be hiking then your backpack will be attached to you for hours on end. Make sure it’s comfortable enough even when full.

Your clothes should also be a perfect fit and should be appropriate for the weather. Remember, if you’re uncomfortable then your trip will definitely be a harrowing one.

  • To hire or to buy?

Sometimes it might be cheaper to just hire the gear when you arrive. This is especially so if you don’t always need the gear. For instance, you might not need to buy fishing gear if you only go fishing once in a very long time. In such a case, it might be more economical to hire.

However, if you’re an enthusiast or are planning to be more involved in a certain activity then go ahead and buy the gear.

Also, if the gear is heavy and will incur extra transport charges, then perhaps you should opt to hire when you arrive.

Need help choosing the travel gear? Below is a list of my top recommendations so keep reading to find out more.

My Top 3 Suitcase Recommendations

1. Samsonite Omni PC

Samsonite is a renowned brand and this specific suitcase underscores their commitment to quality. Made of polycarbonate, this suitcase feels sturdy and durable. Its surface is scratch-resistant, complementing the ruggedness of polycarbonate.

There are three sizes to choose from: the 20-inch, 24-inch and 28-inch sizes.  Despite the hard-shell build, this suitcase feels light and easy to move around, thanks to the four 360-degree spinner wheels.

If you’re looking for a suitcase to use for years to come then the Samsonite Omni PC is one to consider.

Pros

Cons

Rugged polycarbonate material that’s scratch resistant.

Some users have complained of the wheels eroding easily when pushed for long.

The Samsonite Omni PC is light.

There are cases of the TSA lock

It has a handy combination lock to secure your belongings.

The telescoping handle feels flimsy, especially in the smallest suitcase.

The 360-degree spinner wheels make is easy to push the suitcase around.

The suitcase is quite roomy, even the smallest option.

The Samsonite Omni PC can be used as carry-on as well as checked luggage.

2. Delsey Paris Helium Aero

Here’s another brand that’s not new in the luggage industry. Delsey Paris’ Helium Aero suitcase is a testament to their experience as this luggage piece offers both quality and affordability.

There are various sizes of the Helium Aero, from the small carry-on through to the large checked suitcase. This version is made of polycarbonate, a durable material that ensures long-term use. However, if you prefer soft material options, there are iterations made of polyester.

All options have handy double-spinner wheels to boost ease of movement. Take a look at the Helium Aero’s pros and cons below.

Pros

Cons

The polycarbonate material is quite durable and lightweight.

The exterior scratches easily, spoiling the suitcase’s look.

You can also get a soft-side polyester option.

The Helium Aero holds up well in international travel.

There is a secure TSA-approved lock that performs well.

Users praise the durability of this Delsey Paris suitcase.

There’s a divider in the main compartment, that helps you organize your belongings.

3. Travelpro Platinum Elite

My third recommendation is the Travelpro Platinum Elite, the most expensive on my top 3 list but my favorite soft-back suitcase. It is made of durable high-density nylon fabric.

The body has a coating that grants the suitcase scratch and stain resistant qualities. Moreover, the zipper is very strong and it can withstand heavy use.

The Platinum Elite also boasts a premium look, betraying its high price tag. This is most visible in the chic leather accents. Read below for a break down of the pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

The scratch- and stain-resistant coating ensures durability.

The zippers have been reported to be a bit flimsy.

It has beautiful leather accents that enhance the premium look.

For security, there’s a handy TSA-approved lock.

For ease of movement, there are 360-degree that make the suitcase easily maneuverable.

Travelpro offers a limited lifetime warranty.

The Platinum Elite is an ideal carry-on bag.

Top 3 Travel Bags

1. Yorepek Travel Backpack

Here’s one of my favorite backpacks and my top recommendation. The brand doesn’t sit up there with the JanSports of the world but it certainly deserves your attention.

I love the Yorepek because it’s a spacious backpack with multiple compartments. There is a pocket that’s perfect for your laptop, even if it’s as big as a 17-inch. With more than enough slots for your electronics, this backpack appeals to us tech enthusiasts.

In fact, there’s a USB port for charging your devices on the move and also a handy slot through which you can slide your headphone cable. Add to these the water-resistant quality and you have yourself a backpack that you can take anywhere. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

The Yorepek is a water-resistant backpack.

It costs as much or more than some well-known brands like JanSport.

There are handy USB and headphone slots for charging and music on the go.

This backpack has multiple pockets to help you organize your belongings.

Its large size makes it perfect for a weekend getaway.

The back and shoulder straps are padded and breathable, ensuring comfort when wearing.

2. Modeker Carry On Bag

I love this duffel bag, first, because it looks chic. This travel bag is a good option for short trips. One reason I love it is because it unzips to completely flatten out. You can then pack your suit in the hanging garment compartment before reassembling the bag.

The Modeker has two side pockets, one designed to hold a pair of shoes and the other for your travel documents and keys.

Although this bag isn’t a rugged outdoor pack, it’s still water-resistant, a quality which comes in handy when you’re caught out in the rain. Scroll down for the Modeker’s pros and cons list.

Pros

Cons

This bag can act as a hanging suit bag or a duffel bag, earning it a two-in-one tag.

Suit compartment doesn’t fit large-sized suits since it’s too narrow.

It is water-resistant and should be able to protect your belongings when you’re caught out in the rain.

The design doesn’t prevent suits from wrinkling.

The bag has two side pockets that are designed for a pair of shoes and your passport and keys.

The Modeker duffel has a stylish look.

Its size makes it perfect for a short getaway.

3. Zegur Suit Garment Bag

My third recommendation is mainly for business travelers. The Zegur garment bag does a much better job in protecting your suits from wrinkles than the Modeker in number 2 above.

While the Modeker attempts to be a jack of all trades (one reason I love it) this garment bag specializes in one thing and does it perfectly. When unfurled, it lies flat to reveal a suit compartment which zips shut to protect your clothes from creases and dirt. You can then neatly tuck your other belongings in the extra pockets.

For a weekend business trip, this garment bag is perfect.

Pros

Cons

The Zegur does a good job in keeping your suit crease and dirt free.

The zippers on some units are defective. Fingers crossed yours is okay!

There are multiple inner pockets to neatly carry your belongings.

The bag is water-resistant.

It comes with a shoulder strap so you can comfortably carry it.

Zegur offers a limited-time money-back guarantee.

My Favorite Travel Electronics

1. Kindle PaperWhite

The kindle is always a reliable companion, keeping me occupied throughout a long flight and sometimes when lying on a beach. Its bright screen means you can comfortably read it when outdoors. And since the battery lasts for weeks, you might not need to charge it until you return home.

2. GoPro Camera

This nifty little camera, I think, was such an ingenious invention. I find it to be just right for my photography needs, most of the time. Able to take 4K video and okay photos, this is better than a smartphone camera. Add to this its near-indestructible build, you’ll be able to capture your travel memories wherever you go.

3. Universal power adaptor

The Newvanga universal travel adaptor is a gizmo that every traveler should have. It can be used in all types of electrical outlets. It also has two USB charging ports so you only need your device’s USB cable. Its small size means it can easily fit in any of your bag’s pockets.

4. Sony WH-CH700N Noise Canceling Headphones

I always travel with noise-canceling headphones, specifically, the Sony Bluetooth headphones. The fact that they’re not encumbered by cables is what attracted me to them. However, the main feature is their digital noise-canceling qualities that will drown out the drone of a plane.

These headphones also boast a long battery life, about 35 hours to be precise.

Top Questions and Answers

Q: What are compression cubes?

A: These are little sacks used to compress your belongings like t-shirts or sweaters so that they take up less space in your suitcase or travel bag.

Q: Where can I buy travel gear?

A: You can buy your travel gear online in stores like Amazon or BestBuy. However, you can also head to a physical store for the benefit of testing and inspection before you pay.

Conclusion

To find the best travel gear, you’ll need to consider how long you’re traveling, your destination, your purpose of travel and how much you have to spend. These factors will help you narrow down to the essential travel gear for your trip. Then, make sure you pick the most durable gear, since you want to use them for years to come.

Remember, try not to overpack. Only carry what you need and consider hiring gear if this option is cheaper for you. The idea is to try and keep your baggage as light as possible to avoid extra fees.

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