Gear Review

  This page is specific to gear, equipment, and stuff that I've found to be useful for a travel lifestyle.

  In order to understand where I'm coming from, you'll need to understand that I have an approach to how I prefer (and recommend) to travel.  I prefer and recommend that you travel light.  By this I mean, take the least amount of stuff possible and only the necessities.  Travel smart; as in, only take what you absolutely really need for the trip.  And, travel cheap whenever possible.  This doesn't mean buy and use junk, but with the light and smart mindset, this means you don't really need to buy all of that pointless crap that is available at the airport or in the magazines; it will only weigh you down, it will be cumbersome, and it will make you miserable lugging it all around.

  There are also some things that emphasize the "How To" methodology regarding travel as well (i.e., if you aren't from the place where you are traveling to, then the locals are going to know it, it's just that simple.  So, if you are traveling with a nice laptop and/or camera, don't buy an expensive laptop/camera bag to carry it around in.  This is just advertising to those who are of a less than preferable character.  Bad idea.  Instead, use a nondescript and ordinary looking backpack whenever possible).

If you have specific items you'd like to ask my opinion about or if you are a vendor and want me to write a review on something specific, please email me at

Item 1:  A hydration container
  Staying hydrated with water is the number one most important thing to do no matter where you go, no matter the weather or temperature, no matter what.  As the motto goes for CamelBak, "Hydrate or Die."  No truer words could be spoken.  So buy and take a hydration system of some kind.  It doesn't have to be a name brand product, it doesn't have to be fancy, complex, or expensive.  It can simply be a water bottle (and it may need to be empty when you are getting through security at the airport).  No matter what though, you need to have something to carry water in and you need to be able to refill it with more water when it's empty.  This will allow you to always have a means to carry water with you at all times.  This will also increase your chances of being able to fill up your container with "drinkable" (potable) water in places where drinkable water is less available.  And lastly, in the worst situations, if bad water is the only water that is available, it's better than no water at all.  At least bad water can be cleaned and sterilized.

Item 2:  Mole Skin
  Mole skin is a life saver, especially for those times when you are going to be doing a lot of walking.  Whether you are breaking in a new pair of shoes or wearing your old favorites, from a couple of hours of shopping to a trek across country, blisters can pop up at any time... and when they do, they can crash your entire vacation party.  You can usually get mole skin in pre-cut patterns, or in a sheet and they are available at any pharmacy or in the health care section of any store.  I buy the sheet and just cut out the size and shape that I need but if the sheets weren't available, I'd get whatever kind of mole skin was available.  To use it, just cut out a piece that is slightly larger than area that is bothering you and stick it right on top of the blister/sore.  It should last for many days, but just in case, I'd keep it with you at all times in the event it did come off or if another blister formed.  One way to avoid blisters is to wear two pairs of socks, usually a pair of dress socks under the heavier socks... this reduces the friction from rubbing directly on your skin.  But when all else fails, the mole skin will fix your blister problems.  I promise.

Item 3:  Baby Wipes
  Baby wipes are a must have item in your magic bag of traveling tricks no matter what the occasion.  It doesn't matter if you are in the military, on the road, or on vacation.  It doesn't matter if you are man, woman, or child.  They are extremely useful and worth more than their weight in gold.  They can be used anywhere, anytime, for an unlimited number of reasons.  I've had to completely bathe with them while on deployments, use them in lieu of soap and water when that luxury isn't available, I use them at rest stops, on the side of the road, at the yard, while camping, fishing, hiking, you name it.  The bottom line is wipes...period.   

Item 4:  Toilet Paper
  Like item 2, this is a must have for obvious reasons.  I keep it in my truck, in my backpack, and a spare roll in my suitcase.  The roll in my backpack is always kept in a zip lock bag in case it rains.  I often times find myself in places where they have run out of it, where someone has allowed it to be placed on a wet bathroom floor, when there is just no bathroom in sight (on those loooong stretches of road where there is NO evidence of life for miles), and yes, in those lovely and charming foreign lands where they either a: don't use toilet paper, or b: they charge you for it by the individual square (true story). 

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