Welcome to my What to Pack guide. If you’ve jumped in here on this page then I recommend you first read:What to Pack – Part 1, Introduction What to Pack – Part 2, My Pack’s, Organising Packing & Security. What to Pack – Part 3, For a Great Night’s Sleep
In this post I’m going to have a very brief chat about gadgets. Though, a confession first, I was never much a tech guy until I started travelling. Sure I had gadgets, but they just worked and I didn’t have to plan how I’d charge things and get pictures from my camera to my iPad, etc. At home it all worked so seamlessly through the cloud and I didn’t need to worry.
In Africa it doesn’t quite work like this, so necessity focussed my mind.
I will take it as read that everyone will bring their own notebook/laptop, or tablet, iPod, camera and phone or not as the case may be. I’m not therefore going to present this as a buying guide for any of these mainstream products as there are far better researched buying guides out there and most of you will have these bits of kit anyway.
So in this section I’ll concentrate on providing a prompt list and go on to highlight a couple of gadget accessories that Ive found to be useful and are essential:
12v Macbook charger. I take a 12v charger for overland trips as conventional plugs don’t work on the overland truck, which only support a 12v adaptor for charging, this product weighs 300 grams.
Portable Hard drive. This bit of kit is in my view essential to carry with you you, so you have all your pictures and documents backed up, in the event of something terrible happening to your computer. Please be aware that depending on where you are in the world access to online storage may be infrequent, so a hard drive provides peace of mind. I use a Samsung M3 Slimline Portable Hard Drive it holds 1TB (terabyte – this is loads) of memory, is small and compact and weighs only 150 grams.
USB Stick I take the robust and durable RICCO16GB USB that weighs all of 9 (nine) grams for saving blogs, etc ahead of visits to internet cafes, where fingers crossed it makes it easier to upload my blog posts!
Phone & Tablet
I travel with my Tablet, Apple iPad 1(wifi + 3G) at 680 grams and unlocked Phone, iPhone 4 at 136 grams. Whatever phone you take with you ensure that it is unlocked and unless you have your own cutter avoid any that require a nano SIM, as these can be difficult to find in the remoter parts of the world. With your phone unlocked you can purchase a local SIM in your host country on a pay as you go basis. In Africa SIM cards can be picked up for the equivalent of £0.70 ($1) and enough credit can be purchased for a weeks worth of moderate 3G use and calls at a cost of approx £3.00 ($5).
12v iPad/iPhone charger 12v, as above, for charging in the overland truck and weighing 41 grams.
Portable External iPhone 4 Power Pack Backup Battery Charger Case at 5 (five) grams.
I couldn’t and wouldn’t travel without my Sony Alpha a350 DSLR camera. There are simply too many great photo opportunities not to pack my a350 weighing 682 grams and heavy 18-250 lens weighing 440 grams. Note – the a350 is now a few years old and consequently doesn’t pack as many megapixels as a new camera.
A DSLR camera really should have a filter fitted to it to help protect the lens, but if you haven’t got one then I recommend the Polaroid 62mm 4 Piece Filter Kit it comes with the necessary case to protect the filters and weighs 454 grams.
12v Camera charger – weighing 80 grams you’ll, by now, be familiar with the reasons why I pack a 12v charger!
Don’t forget your Memory card(s)!!
I also pack the following:
The Powertraveller, Powermonkey Explorer Solar Charger is a great gadget for charging Smartphones, iPods, Cameras & more… It weighs 82 grams.
A universal power socket adaptor, this conventional electrical socket adaptor is ingenious and self contained and weighs just 113 grams.
Rechargeable Battery Pack – Portable Dual USB Charger External Battery Charger with Built-In Flashlight for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, most other smartphones, tablets, and USB-charged devices. It weighs 177 grams and is able to hold a charge to enable other devices to be charged from it, two simultaneously, say my iPad and iPhone.
NOTE – You’ll have noticed by now that I carry a lot of charging option alternatives, there’s at least a couple of reasons for this: the overland truck holds unto 24 of us travellers and charging time is at a premium and when Im solo travelling I just never know when Im going to be able to re-charge my devices.
Steripen Portable UV Water Purifier At just over 100 grams this pen comprises a UV light that sterilizes unsafe water in about a minute. It’s amazingly useful in undeveloped countries where filtered, clean water is harder to come by.
Ring Cyba-Lite LED Headlight, this little beauty straps around your head and burns for 100,000 hours, the light also rotates through 90 degrees. Just what you need for the cook team on the overland or when you’re in areas where there’s little light pollution and night fall means it becomes pitch black. It weighs 25 grams.
And finally a torch. I pack a Maglite Solitaire with a high intensity light beam and adjustable intensity. It weighs just 60 grams.
Baggage allowance watch:
The items mentioned above comprise a combined weight of 5.54 Kilos out of a potential checked airline allowance of 22 Kilos. My laptop, tablet, camera and phone account for around 4.9 Kilos of this weight, so all the other useful gadgets weigh in at just over half a kilo.
I would never check any of these items within the airplane hold, most of them are too valuable, so they travel as cabin luggage, within my day pack.
Read my next instalment >>>> What to Pack – Part 5, My Clothing List