Our absolute all-time favorite travel gear!


Cool, you’ve booked a ticket. Time to get going! But what to pack? There are so many things a traveler can purchase for an upcoming trip. You’ll have to make choices and decide what to take and what not because you’ll be carrying your luggage during the trip. The more you travel, the more you understand what you do and don’t need; which items already simplify your life as a traveler and where there might be room for improvement. The same goes for us. After years of traveling, from city trips, road trips, months of trekking across the world to living as a digital nomad and weekends of camping in the wild, we’ve tested quite a bit of travel gear. At one point we were getting so many requests from friends, family and readers of our blog that we decided to start selling our favorite travel products in our own travelshop. By now, our shop’s collection has grown quite a bit. But what are our absolute favorite travel items? Which things would we recommend to other travel enthusiasts? Here’s our list!

1. Packing cubes

Annemarie: “When I switched from compression sacks to packing cubes after three months of traveling, I couldn’t stop talking about them. They make packing and unpacking my backpack so much easier! I don’t need to unpack my backpack at all during short stops anymore! I use four half cubes in the bottom half of my backpack and two quarters and a whole one in the top half, with my toiletry bag on top. I even have space left over for other items! The Eagle Creek packing cubes are now definitely part of my essential travel equipment. Be it short or long trips, I’ll never travel without them again! I always bring a compression cube for my bulkier clothes too, such as a thick sweater and my outdoor coat!”

Mirjam: “I’ve been using packing cubes for almost two years now. On long trips with a backpack as well as short trips with just hand luggage, I always take them with me. It’s so nice to no longer have a mess in my bag, not to have to dig around for things and to keep everything nice and organized! Clean clothes stay separated from dirty laundry and clothing is sorted according to type in different colored packing cubes. I often lay my packing cubes on a shelf as soon as I arrive somewhere. I call it ‘my mobile wardrobe’. People sometimes comment that plastic bags or cheap packing cubes are good enough. Of course, these things help to organize your baggage and I’ve definitely tested all of the options, but I was getting fed up with breaking zippers or tearing bags when traveling.”

2. Travel sheet

Annemarie: “A not so clean hostel bed, a damp hammock full of sand, a dirty mattress during a homestay, slightly suspicious bedding on a night train or a room full of mosquitoes! Every trip will include a less than ideal sleeping arrangement. That’s why I always bring my own travel sheet. Thankfully, I don’t need to use it every night, but when I do, I’m always glad I brought it with me. This Cocoon Travel Sheet, made of Egyptian cotton, packs light and is easy to take with you. Not as lightweight as silk, but more comfortable and durable. Mine is still as good as new after more than eight months of traveling! As an added benefit, this travel sheet has a pillow insert and a so-called ‘insect shield’. It’s not just good against mosquitoes, but it keeps me from losing sleep worrying about bedbugs….eew!”

cocoon reis lakenzak reis lakenzak

Mirjam: “Because the travel sheet hardly takes up any space, I always take it with me ‘just in case’. I’ve mostly used it on night trains and when couchsurfing, but also when we arranged an unexpected overnight stay in a tent on a deserted island in the Philippines. I like being self-sufficient when I travel, when necessary. With your travel sheet, you can sleep anywhere, even when you’re not prepared to. This can create some unique sleeping situations from time to time. The Thermolite travel sheet is also great when traveling to colder regions. You can use it separately or inside your sleeping bag, making it up to 9 degrees warmer. This means you won’t have to buy a really warm sleeping bag for that one-off camping trip to Norway or Iceland, for example.”

3. Roll up toiletry bag

Annemarie: “There’s a reason why the roll-up toiletry bag is becoming more and more common among travelers. Whether you bring a lot of toiletries or just a few, a bag like this always keeps them nice and organized. The convenient compartments in different sizes keep your toiletries sorted. I always bring quite a few toiletries, so the Eagle Creek Pack-it On Board is just what I need. But when I go away for just one or two nights, or on a short trek, the Eagle Creek Pack-it Slim kit is more convenient. The Slim kit is also ideal for men and light travelers. And if you’re traveling light, the compact and lightweight toiletry bag by Eagle Creek is perfect. This one doesn’t roll up so you can place it upright. It’s the perfect size and it weighs next to nothing!”

toilettas-eagle-creek-blauwToilettas-Eagle-Creek-lichtgewicht-groen

Mirjam: “I actually use both of the toiletry bags; the Slim kit on weekends away and the On Board for longer trips. Switching between the two bags really works for me. The Slim kit lets me fit in just what I need on short trips and hardly takes up any space. I use it together with the silicone travel bottles for shampoo and shower gel. The On Board provides me with enough space for a 1 to 2-month trip, because it also fits full household-volume bottles.”

4. Silicone travel bottles

Annemarie: “Yes, you can buy refillable plastic travel size bottles at every pharmacy for a few euros. Convenient, right? I’ve gone through many myself. But during my last trip, I had had enough of them. After only two weeks the caps weren’t closing properly and there was always some shampoo or shower gel left at the bottom. When I first got my hands on the Eagle Creek silicone travel bottles I was asking myself why I hadn’t followed Mirjam’s advice sooner. The material allows you to easily adjust the amount of the contents, which helps it last longer and prevents leftovers from staying behind. And the bottles themselves will last a lot longer! Even on long trips, where I often use big bottles of shampoo and shower gel, they’re convenient for trekking or packing in your hand luggage. Who knew you could get this excited about refillable bottles hahaha!”

silicone-travel-bottles

Mirjam: “These bottles are just perfect. I can take about 3 weeks worth of shampoo in them, so that’s more than enough for most trips.”

5. Combination travel lock

Annemarie: “When you go on your first trip, bringing a combination travel lock isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But believe me, this little friend is an absolute must on every (backpacking) trip! Whether it’s locking your locker in a hostel or having some extra security for your luggage on a bus or airplane. I too used to fiddle around with keys, afraid to forget the combination code. But if you choose a code you know well (or put it into your phone etc.) you’re actually more likely to lose your key! I, for one, have been traveling with a Travel safe TSA Lock (or two!) for years. Much better! There is now also a version of the combination lock that includes a small cable. I think it’s perfect for lockers that you can’t fit a small lock through. You can use this one with either a code or a key, but I prefer using a code.”

TSA slot reiscable-lock

6. Transparent Liquids bag

Annemarie: “When I travel with carry-on luggage only, I always use this transparent liquids bag for my liquids. You can take it right through customs and it’s also very strong, so it can be used as a toiletry bag. You could, of course, use Ziploc bags, but I try to use as little disposable plastic as possible. There’s already enough plastic in the ocean! And besides that, it’s so annoying when those Ziploc bags break. So I prefer a sustainable option. By the way, I also take it with me when I go on longer trips. The toiletry bag is watertight, so it prevents leakage in your suitcase or backpack.”

transparent-liquids-bag-carry-on-luggage

7. Undercover Bra stash and hidden pocket

Annemarie: “This bra wallet is the perfect little travel wallet for us women travelers. Admit it, your bra is the perfect place to store money (also at festivals or when going out at night, when you don’t have pockets). This silk travel wallet is just large enough to hold cards, paper money and some coins and can be attached to your bra in several different ways. I usually attach it to the side of my bra so I can reach it easily. The wallet can also be carried on the inside of your pants by attaching it to a belt loop. The hidden pocket is also a good solution for men or for women who want a little more space for their money and documents. You attach it to your belt. Particularly in some Latin American cities, I felt safer not carrying a bag on the streets and distributing my money across different parts of my body. Particularly when I’ve just used an ATM, I hide the big banknotes under my clothes. And I always keep some cash at hand, in case something happens and you need something to hand over. Another piece of advice, when going out at night I don’t attach the wallet to my bra, but shove it behind my bra strap on the side. It stays in place without being visible and the soft material doesn’t irritate the skin. You can then access it easily when paying for your beer.”

geld reizen bh portemonneehidden-pocket-pickpockets-protection

in the same series: travel wallet

Annemarie: “Besides the undercover bra stash, I always carry the Eagle Creek travel wallet with me too. It’s small, ultralight and you can fit loads into it. Even when you have a wad of money right after using an ATM, it will fit in easily. The pockets inside allow you to easily separate cards, bills and coins. You can even separate different currencies. An added advantage is the wallet’s ring. I’ve hooked a mini carabiner onto it, so I can attach it to the belt loop on my pants, for example.”

travel wallet travel-wallet-

Mirjam: “I had been looking for a lightweight, compact wallet that easily fits into your pants pocket without being visible for quite some time. I don’t want to have to take a bag everywhere I go, I prefer not to at all. The Eagle Creek travel wallet is perfect for this. You can organize the wallet however you like; for instance, 1 pocket for euros, 1 for foreign currencies and 1 for cards, or you can arrange it so that your bills, change and cards are kept separate. I now also use it when I’m not traveling and reorganize it as soon as I am. You can also attach it to the inside of your bag using a mini carabiner so it’s nice and secure.”

8. Travel hammock

Annemarie: “Admittedly, I’ve not traveled with a travel hammock yet. But I’ve sure laid in one many a time! Not only that, I’ve spent many nights in them. It’s common during camping trips in national parks and on tropical beaches. The hammocks they provide there rarely get washed (if ever), so I’m always happy to have my travel sheet. When we saw this travel hammock by Exped I knew immediately, this is such a compact package, that I’m going to add it to my basic travel equipment. How lovely to carry your own bed with you! It also enables me to sleep out under the stars more often.”

travel hammock lightweight-hammock

Mirjam: “I often look for travel destinations in nature, where I can enjoy a good book in a hammock. This hammock is small enough (I don’t even think there are any smaller travel hammocks out there) to take with you, even if you only use it a few times. It’s just great, especially when you combine it with a travel pillow!”

10. Eyeshades

Annemarie: “If you frequently sleep in dorms you’ll recognize this: a roommate returns in the middle of the night and turns on the lights. Or when you’re sleeping in a light room and need to get some shuteye, eyeshades allow you to sleep more peacefully. When combined with a set of earplugs, it really lets you get the sleep you need. I really like the Luxury Eyeshades by Cocoon, because they’re super soft and give your eyes some extra space allowing you to blink without the eyeshades getting in the way. You can also adjust the strap so it’s not too loose or too tight. It comes in a convenient storage pouch which I also use to store my earplugs.”

luxury-eyeshades

Mirjam: “I use these eyeshades on the plane, together with a neck pillow and these earplugs by Alpine. Sleeping on planes is always difficult, but this setup makes it slightly more tolerable.

10. Alpine Earplugs

Annemarie: “I travel solo, so I often sleep in hostels. Nowadays, whenever I sleep in a hostel, I always wear the Sleep Soft earplugs by Alpine. It makes me sleep so much more peacefully! It also helps when I’m sleeping somewhere with a lot of outside noise or an irritating airconditioner hum, for example. They block all loud noises preventing you from being rudely awakened by a door slamming, talking or crunching plastic bags when someone is packing their bags early in the morning. What’s nice is that these earplugs stay put and filter out most sounds. When I go surfing or snorkeling I often use the Swim safe earplugs to prevent water from getting into my ears.”

Alpine-earplug-sleep-soft Alpine-airplane-earplugs-fly-fit

Mirjam: “The Alpine earplugs are simply the best you can get. Period. Because they’re so soft, they’re really comfortable to wear and they won’t bother you, not even during a long flight or night. I always like wearing the Fly Fit earplugs when I fly. Even if it’s just to drown out the plane’s hum. But I also like them when there’s a difference in air pressure.”

11. Inflatable Travel Pillow 

Annemarie: “If you’re on the road a lot and go on a long plane, bus or train ride, a travel pillow can offer a little extra comfort. You can go for this super comfortable inflatable neck pillow, for example. What’s nice about this neck pillow is that it’s slightly thicker, which means it’s actually comfortable. I use the very compact travel pillow by Exped when I’m backpacking. It’s the most compact and lightweight travel pillow of its kind and easy to take with you in case you might need it. Perhaps during a multi-day trek or in certain hostels. When I go camping for a long time I take the even more comfortable inflatable travel pillow by Cocoon. It’s convenient that you can unzip the cover and wash it, just like the Cocoon neck pillow.”

lightweight-travel-pillow-exped  inflatable travel pillow neck-pillow-cocoon

Mirjam: “I never used to carry a travel pillow, only a pillowcase. That’s until I came across this comfortable little pillow. As inflatable pillows go, it’s very comfortable, mostly due to the soft lined case, yet it packs away really compactly. When I’m on a plane, I use the neck pillow.”

12. Hamam towel

Annemarie: “I think you’ve realized by now that we are fans of hamam towels. There’s a reason why we’ve been selling these in our webshop for a while now and we still bring along a large fouta and a set of small hamam towels XS I use the towels for multiple things, even when I’m at home in the Netherlands. Besides using it as a towel after a shower, I use the hamam towel XS to cover my legs when I place my laptop on my lap in warm weather. Or I place it under my bare legs when sitting on a wicker chair on a terrace to avoid getting a waffle pattern on my legs. It also keeps you from slipping off your chair in really hot weather 😉 I think the larger fouta makes for a perfect beach towel, but I also frequently use it as a ‘curtain’ around my bed in hostels.”

hamam-towel-buddha fouta-casablanca-travel

Mirjam: “Besides myself, my boyfriend now also uses the hamam towel when he travels. And recently I’ve been taking the hamam towel XL with me, which has space for the both of us. Even this towel is compact and easy to take with you. I get cold easily, so I also use it as a blanket on air-conditioned buses and on planes. I use the hamam towel pretty much every day when traveling, for different purposes. We have made a conscious decision to sell the Zus & zomer hamam towels in our webshop. There are too many cheap hamam towels out there nowadays, produced under questionable working conditions that don’t feel nearly as nice either. I like knowing these towels are produced conscientiously in Turkey and Tunisia.”

13. Waterproof document bag

Mirjam: “I like keeping all of my documents together. Things like tickets, a copy of my passport, insurance papers, etc. This document bag offers enough space for all of this and also keeps things organized in my bag. If you want, you can even store your passport and proof of vaccination in here. The fact that it’s waterproof is a great feature. It keeps everything dry and clean, even when something is leaking in your bag, for example. I always add a pen to the bag as well; it makes things easier when filling out forms at customs.”

Waterproof-documentbag-

14. First Aid Kit

Annemarie: “I’m one of those people who always puts a few band-aids and pills in a Ziploc bag. But after 8 months of traveling there wasn’t much left of it and the things I actually really needed were missing. Accidents happen and they tend to happen to me. Halfway through my trip, I knew I’d be bringing a basic first aid kit from now on.”

care-plus-first-aid-kit

Mirjam: “The first aid kit was perfect for my Cuba trip this year. Even basics like band-aids can be hard to find there. I added some painkillers and motion sickness pills. There’s room for those in the bag too.”

15. Travel Coffeemakers

Mirjam: “Perfect for a road trip or camping: a mug and the handy filter coffee bags from the Coffee on the road box. I bring along a few bags on every trip as well as a travel immersion water heater. When I go on long trips I take the GSI outdoors French press with me. I really need coffee to get going in the morning and can’t stand instant coffee. The smell of filter coffee in the morning makes my day!”

Coffee-travel-gift gis-outdoors-backpacking-coffee-filter enamel mug adventure travel travel-coffee-French-press

Annemarie: “I really want coffee in the morning! If like me, you travel for months on end, you get sick and tired of the instant coffee they offer in many accommodations. Ever since we’ve had the lightweight, collapsible coffee filter in our range, I’ve been so happy! It only weighs 13 grams and it allows you to make a fresh cup of filter coffee in no time at all. I often buy some good filter coffee at a local coffee shop, which I then use to make some nice coffee in other places too. I always bring a few bags of Coffee on the road along too, for those moments when I don’t have any coffee available.”

16. Collapsible Camping Dinnerware Set

Mirjam: “I always like to be self-sufficient when I travel. When you don’t feel like going out for dinner, you can quickly prepare yourself something to eat in your room such as a backpackers meal that you only need to add hot water to. But I also like to travel light, so I only bring what’s absolutely necessary to prepare a meal. This collapsible set with a plate, bowl, and mug combined with the multi-tool makes a great basic equipment set. For certain destinations, such as Norway, I bring a small stove and a collapsible pan so I can cook a full meal for one person.”

sea-to-summit-camping-plate-mug-bowl camping-dinnerware-set-collapsible

Annemarie: “I think the collapsible camping dinnerware series by Sea to summit is great! I particularly like using the collapsible mug when I travel. Whether it’s to make a cup of coffee or tea in your hotel room or to mix your own drink, it’s always good to have a mug around. But I also use the collapsible plate and bowl quite often. And it doesn’t take up too much space in my backpack because the entire set fits together and folds down flat. I think the pan, that’s collapsible just like the other items, is the invention of the century. So convenient for a camping trip!

collapsible-pan-camping    collapsible-camping-set-with-pan

If you have a little more space available and want a full camping set, then this camping dinnerware set with a pocket stove is the perfect basic equipment for your camping trips. It’s lightweight and it all fits together. The MSR pocket rocket stove is a thing of beauty too! It’s easy to use and hardly takes up any space.”

camping-cooking-set lightweight-camping-cooking-set-600x600

17. Headlamp 

Annemarie: “A flashlight or your telephone’s light are perfectly fine options in many travel situations. But there will be plenty of situations where you don’t have your hands free. For this reason, a headlamp is the solution for every backpacking or camping trip. From going to the toilet in the dark during a mountain trek to climbing a volcano before sunrise. A headlamp also makes the perfect reading light when sleeping in a dorm where the bedside lamp is too bright for your roommates. But also consider packing your tent and/or bags in the dark. In short, a headlamp is a useful gadget for every traveler to have. The dimming feature on this ION headlamp by Black Diamond is perfect when using it as a reading lamp in a dorm, but you can also use the night setting.”

Headtorch

Mirjam: “What most other headlamps don’t have is a lock mode, a feature which this headlamp does have. It ensures the headlamp doesn’t accidentally turn on in your bag, leaving you with drained batteries when you next need to use the headlamp, I think the fact that this lamp is compact is definitely an added advantage.”

18. Dry Bag and Dry Sacks

Annemarie: “It’s always really convenient to take a dry bag with you. Especially if you frequently travel by boat, which happens more often than you would expect. I also use a dry bag or thinner dry sack a lot when I’m SUP boarding, kayaking, in a rain shower or simply at the beach. A lot of beach towns sell dry bags, but I always think they’re quite thick and heavy. That’s why I love the Sea to Summit Sling dry bag. It hardly takes up any space and it’s really easy to use. I always take a 20-liter bag because I also use it for things like multi-day boat trips and I think it makes a perfect beach bag too. I use a smaller dry sack for my valuables and put it in a larger dry bag or dry sack. This way, I know everything is well protected. Those small dry sacks are also really handy for storing loose items in your bag. I use them in all sorts of ways!”

sea-to-summit-dry-bag-beach   light-weight-dry-bag-15-liter-mintgreen

19. Packable backpack

Mirjam: “I think a packable backpack always comes in handy when you travel, particularly when you only have carry-on luggage and need to choose between a suitcase and a backpack. The packable backpack by Eagle Creek is compact, sturdy and practical and I usually bring it along on short trips within Europe. When I go on long journeys I usually bring the packable backpack by Matador; it’s so complete, you don’t even notice it’s a packable backpack. My boyfriend usually takes the more compact and waterproof packable backpack by Matador. This way, we also have a combined backpack/dry bag at hand.”

Matador-Beast-foldable-travel-bag  opvouwbare-rugzak

Annemarie: “I’m a truly big fan of the waterproof, packable backpack by Matador. I carried it for 5 hours through the rain in Iceland and everything inside remained bone dry. Even the items in the front compartment stayed dry. The side compartments for a bottle of water and the large front compartment make this backpack perfect for any conditions. I use it on an almost daily basis when I travel. And when I’m not using it, it packs down to a package the size of my hand. Very small!”

Matador-FreeRain-carry-on-waterproof-backpackMatador-FreeRain-travel-backpack-carry-on

20. BUFF

Annemarie: “I saw the Buff scarves around a lot, but I only bought one this year. I should have bought one a long time ago! The Buff is incredibly multifunctional. I wore it almost non-stop during my camping trip across Iceland. I also use it as protection from the sun in warm regions or when I’m having a bad hair day. It can be worn in so many different ways that you can do really fun things with it. There’s a reason why you see both men and women wearing it. It’s also very lightweight and hardly takes up any space.”

buff-outdoorBuff

Mirjam: “I often wear the Buff with anti-insect shield around my wrist when I’m hiking in the tropics. It keeps the mosquitoes at bay and doubles as a sweatband, which is quite nice in temperatures of 30 degrees or more.”

21. Nalgene water bottle

Annemarie: “I’m not the type of person who carries a bottle of water around all day, but the Nalgene water bottle is quite useful. Particularly because it’s so multifunctional. The wide mouth allows you to easily store food in it as well as drinks. Things like an opened bag of nuts or some leftover wine, for example. The bottle doesn’t retain odors, so you can simply rinse it out and refill it with water. I sometimes fill it with fruit or juice at fruit stands. It saves a lot of plastic cups! As the bottle is indestructible, it lasts a long time and you can avoid creating unnecessary plastic waste. You can also fill the bottle with boiling water and add fresh ginger and lime to make a nice tea. When in cold regions, you can even fill it with boiling water and use it as a hot water bottle.”

nalgene-water-bottle

Mirjam: “Annemarie needed to convince me as to why this bottle is so convenient for traveling, but now I’m a convert. Now that I’m in Indonesia for a month, where it’s warm and you can’t drink water from the tap, I use it on a daily basis. I think it’s important that I help minimize waste (plastic water bottles); every little bit counts when protecting the environment! As it can hold a liter of water, I know I’m drinking enough liquids. In the morning, I fill the Nalgene bottle with ice cubes and water or lemonade. This way I can enjoy a nice cold drink at least part of the day.”

22. Waterproof carry-on duffel

Annemarie: “A lot of people use a small suitcase as carry-on luggage, but I just can’t get used to this. I just don’t like dragging one of those trolley suitcases along. Dirt roads, cobbled streets, stairs…I prefer carrying my luggage on my back. The Eagle Creek carry-on bag is perfect when I go on city trips. It’s easy to pack because of the large opening on top and you can fit loads in. It also has large side compartments and is waterproof. The backpack straps are comfortable and you can choose to carry it in your hand like a duffel bag. It also packs away compactly when you’re not using it and hardly takes up any space in the attic.

We also have this 90-liter extra durable duffel bag by Eagle Creek. It’s also collapsible but has wheels so you don’t have to carry 90 liters on your back. A truly great bag for those going on a long-term trip or carrying lots of stuff.”

duffel-bag-wheels-blue backpack-duffel-red

23. Ecube electronics organizer

Annemarie: “As a digital nomad, I carry more electronics than the average traveler, but even when you’re ‘just’ on holiday, you quickly end up carrying a whole array of cables, chargers and other electronics accessories. Most people would like to keep these things a bit organized. I’ve been traveling with the eCube for over 2 years now and it’s the perfect solution. I never have to search for a cable because everything is kept together nicely. The size of the eCube is perfect because it easily fits into my carry-on bag. I always add a few loose items such as a pen, a lens cleaner, a tripod or a power bank too. It’s such a convenient item! The matching laptop sleeve is also really nice because it weighs next to nothing but offers great protection.”

ecube-elektronics-organizer

24. Shoe storage bag

Mirjam: “Whether it’s because my shoes are covered with mud from hiking or I’ve walked through the dirty streets of a local fish market, I don’t like storing my shoes with the rest of my luggage. This shoe storage bag is great for this. You can clean the bag easily after use because it’s sealed on the inside. No hassle with tearing, dirty plastic bags. And way more sustainable! Besides my sneakers or walking shoes, I can also fit in a pair of flipflops.”

shoe-storage-bag

25. Bridgedale Outdoor Socks

Annemarie: “If you plan to go on a long hike, it’s not just important to wear good shoes, you should wear good socks too! Socks can really make a difference in preventing blisters. And in warm climates, it’s nice to wear socks that are breathable. I’ve been a fan of the Bridgedale made of Merino wool for years now. The high-cut walking socks are perfect for hiking boots, the low-cut walking socks are perfect for low-cut walking shoes and I use the ankle socks in my sneakers or sports shoes. I often use the latter at home in the Netherlands when I do exercise too.”

Woolfusion-Trail-Ultra-Light-bridgedale-travel-socks-woman CoolFusion-Speed-Diva-best-trail-socks-woman CoolFusion-RUN-Na-kd-woolen-trail-socks-man

Shop your travelgear

Are you traveling to Sri Lanka? Shop your travelgear in our travelshop. A shop full of our favorite travelgear, gifts and gadgets. Dutch traveler? Bezoek dan onze Nederlandse webshop met reisartikelen. Bestel bijvoorbeeld een luxe leren paspoorthoesjepacking cubes of een hamamdoek bij ikwilmeerreizen.nl.

+ There are no comments

Add yours