Your definitive travel kit-list

[words by Mark Eveleigh]

I compiled this definitive kit-list for clients I was guiding on jungle expeditions, but much of it would relate to most adventurous traveller. It evolved during the course of many expeditions in remote areas (few of them, admittedly, were cold). This is not meant as a list of essentials – you would need an army of Sherpas to carry all this. Instead, bookmark this page and cherry-pick the items that are likely to be needed on the sort of trip you are undertaking. We’ve included tick-boxes so you can print this page off and keep it as a reminder or shopping list.

The basics

□ Backpack or kitbag (depending on the type of trip)

□ Day bag

□ Backpack liner (or bin-bags to keep out moisture)

□ Dry bags (roll-top canoeist types are best)

□ Zip-lock bags to fight the damp

□ Knife (Swiss Army or Leatherman tool are fine – if you will need a machete they are usually best bought locally since styles vary the world over and are often perfectly adapted to local conditions)

□ Water-proof sun-block

Clothes:

□ Boots or cross-country shoes

□ Flip-flops (thongs/slops etc etc) or sport sandals to give your feet a rest around camp or in villages where you will usually have to be barefoot to enter homes

□ Long-sleeve shirts with button-down sleeves for mosquito hours

□ T-shirts

□ 3 pairs of trousers

□ 2 x shorts (zip-offs are ideal to combine with above)

□ Bathing shorts / swimsuit

□ Socks – long enough to tuck trousers into as a mosquito barrier

□ Hat – a wide brim tends to get flicked off by bushes if used for jungle trekking

□ Hidden pouch/wallet – or belt with zip as an emergency cash-stash (strap on money-belts are too obvious)

□ Bandanas – good for everything

Around camp:

□ Sleeping-bag or sleeping-bag liner, depending on climate (a big sarong can work perfectly and is multi-purpose)

□ Jungle hammock with rain shelter (for an expedition get one with a fitted mosquito net)

□ Mosquito net (one that hangs from a single point is normally most versatile)

□ Paracord – or strong mountaineering cord

□ Torch and headlamp (with standard size batteries – AAAs are fine but AAs are the most widely available worldwide). Take more than one source of light – they seem to get lost more than anything else and are almost crucial in camp

□ Gaffa tape – as a friend once put it: “it’s like ‘The Force’: it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together.” (Tape it around your water-bottle to save space and so that it is always handy)

□ Toiletries

□ Travel towel or sarong (best bet since it’s multi-purpose)

□ Insect repellents – beware that DEET eats plastics and is really bad news for a camera but is ok applied direct to clothes

□ Dental floss and needles (the perfect expedition sewing kit – almost unbreakable and highly resistant to moisture)

Techy stuff:

□ Photographic equipment (only fear of the heated arguments that might ensue stop me from getting into the Nikon Vs Canon debate here)

□ Extra memory cards and spare batteries

□ Travel adaptor (Lonely Planet is useful for informing which socket shape is used in each country)

□ GPS – see Garmin’s website

□ Cell-phone – in Asia (India in particular) you can buy inexpensive dual sim-card phones that are invaluable for travelling

□ Spot Messenger – a super-handy device that can record your position almost in real-time (and send it to online maps and an email contact list) – see www.findmespot.com

□ Dictaphone (if you want to record songs/sounds etc or take notes without having to take your eyes off the trail)

□ Portable hard-drive (to back your precious photos up)

□ Sachets of silica gel to keep moisture out of equipment (you can dry it on lamps or even in a frying pan)

□ Notebooks and pens

Eating and drinking:

□ Bowl

□ Plate

□ Mug or cup

□ Eating utensils (spoon and a knife is enough)

□ Water-bottle (I use a metal Sigg, which is good for hot or cold and can even double as an effective hot-water bottle)

□ Water purification tablets (iodine is a good substitute and also a useful part of your medical kit but not good on long trips)

□ Water purification pump or filter (if you are not happy with the chemicals)

□ Rehydration sachets (these are not only vital medical kit but also offer a jolt of energy for those days when the heat/action might be a bit too much)

□ Vitamin supplements (good idea for travel in areas where diet might be less than balanced and they also make harmless placebos for any local hypochondriacs who will undoubtedly want to know if you are carrying western medicines)

□ Tabasco or dried herbs and spices (a good lightweight way to make otherwise boring bush meals more edible)

□ Isosteel mug – for caffeine addicts

You know that nagging feeling that there seems to be something you have forgotten? Well, I have it now. Don’t be shy – please post a comment below and let us know what it was.

9 Comments

  • Personally, my travel essential is a Corby trouser press; it does not matter how remote you are, there is NEVER an excuse for looking slovenly.

    ~ The Dippylomat esq.

  • Mark Eveleigh says:

    Touche old chap! [Between you and me I heard that the boffins are working on an inflatable version]

  • avis says:

    Perfecto Mark
    Waiting u grab Sumba Island

    🙂

  • Paul Childs says:

    anti maleria DRUGS!

  • Paul Childs says:

    A Good Zippo lighter and small can of spare lighter fuel, maybe a spark generating block as well, hot food is good food

  • Erik Deckers says:

    Do you have a particular style of notebook or pen you prefer? Or do you just get the basic metal spiral reporter’s notebook with a ball-point biro?

    • Sorry for the delay in replying Erik – rushed assignment in South Africa at the moment. As far as I’m concerned Moleskine is the only notebook I would use. And I am still a sucker for those old simple Bic pens that never seem to stop working even in the wet.

  • Thank you, I have recently been searching for info about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve came upon so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure about the source?|What i don’t realize is in fact how you are not really much more well-liked than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent.

    • Thanks for your comment. (And for the ‘intelligent’). It’s not really a coincidence that this kit list is pretty exhaustive – I’ve been leading expeditions and chasing magazine assignments all over the world for about 20 years so this list has evolved bit by bit. As for the source, there is no source. Or rather I am the ‘source’. Stick with Kitbaggers and you will be tapping the source. Haha.
      And I hope we will be more liked as time goes on. This is a new site and we have huge plans for it so please visit again.
      Mark

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