Scenario:  you have decided to live life on your own swashbuckling terms.  That means no more time is going to pass henceforth with items on your bucket-list going unfulfilled.  It is time for you to go and do something awesome that you have always wanted to do – maybe that awesomeness is to see the Galapagos, venture into deep-jungle in the Amazon, possibly spend some time with a few murderous big cats on safari, or simply to spoon Komodo dragons on the isle of Flores.

I don’t know if you have conceived of this or not, but preparing for these kinds of adventures is a lot different than, say, driving to the shore to sit around in your underpants for a week.  You will need different clothing (you will still need your underpants), probably prophylactic medicines, maybe other kinds of prophylactics, and certainly different travel gear.  And that, swaggtastic reader, is why I’m writing a backpack blog.

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Problem 1:  travel to exotic destinations can often include multiple flights (jets and prop planes), automobile rides (cars, crowded buses, and sometimes on the back of a motorcycle), boat rides (see below for canoes), and even hiking to get to your final destination.  Managing all of that with Kardashian-style luggage is a nightmare.  Trust me that you will want to be as light and mobile as possible.  Backpacks are good for being mobile, especially if you have to hike to a destination.

Problem 2:  Oh, and you can bet that there won’t be any concrete out in the middle of nowhere to wheel your luggage around on.  So, roller-board suitcases are not an option. Again, backpacks, man.

One trip to the Amazon took two flights, one bus ride, one motorized boat ride, and one 90-minute canoe ride (yes, those canoes).  Canoes were the only way in or out of the camp as it was deep-jungle and otherwise inaccessible. Unless you are Cleopatra or Kim Kardashian and you can hire a canoe for your luggage, you probably need to travel as lean and efficiently as possible.  Big suitcases are not fitting in those canoes
I took this picture from the last seat in this canoe.  There is no extra space for luggage (trust me, I tried to dump some of these people in the muck to make extra room).  You better have packed lightly or your gear isn’t coming on this adventure.  NOTE:  Speaking of accomplishing life-goals, that canoe ride into the deep-jungle is something that I will never forget.  Just beautiful and loaded with monkeys, caiman, exotic birds, and a juicy green ananconda!

You are probably thinking that your backpack from school that you hauled books and recreational drugs in will not be big enough for adventuring.  Right!  You are going to need a backpack made for travel.  You will need a backpack like this…

Osprey makes fantastic adventure gear.  Can a full sized human fit in there?  No comment, but you can try it on your own if you are so curious

Disclaimer:  This blog is not a shill piece for Osprey.  I have used the pictured product so I can personally speak to its utility.  If Osprey wants me to write a shill piece or send me some free swag then I am in!

Recently, I went on an adventure for two weeks to a tent camp in the Masai Mara.  Two weeks is a long time and requires additional gear (even with the hand-wash and re-wear philosophy you still need some extra gear).  Here is my gear for those two weeks (itemized gear at the end, if interested):

For a two week adventure I was told that I could only take a maximum of 33 lbs worth of gear and it had to be in a soft bodied piece of luggage.  A tough task.  The gear is pictured

WAH-BAM!  I was able to fit all of that gear into my backpack.

Two weeks worth of gear loaded into one backpack.  The only thing that I didn’t put in there was the camera gear, which I had on my person, and the clothing on my body

While it is impressive that all of that stuff fits into the backpack, this backpack has one last huge beneficial feature:

Big deal, the straps tuck-in, right?  If you try to check a bag with straps hanging loose at an airline’s ticket counter they are very likely to tell you that they won’t take it.  Why? Because the straps get caught in their baggage moving machinery.  As leaving the airport to go home and swap out your luggage is likely not an option with a flight looming, tucking the straps in is a life saver.  Tuck it in, Buffalo Bill!

And there you go – a simple traveling tip that can greatly impact the quality of your adventures.  Now, enough excuses.  Go forth into the world and conquer your life-dreams! Those Komodo dragons are not going to spoon themselves, ya know.

If anyone has any questions about this backpack or travel related questions in general please let me know in the comments section.  I am also interested in learning what other gear people are using to adventure so feel free to drop me some tips.

There are a few more backpacks as well as other adventure gear on my Adventure Gear page.

Adventure Items That I Took On That Trip

3 sets of adventure pants

3 sets of adventure shorts

5 t-shirts (all nerd stuff like a Big China In Little China shirt, super-hero shirts, etc.)

1 pair of hiking shoes

1 pair of sandals

7 pairs of underpants

7 pairs of socks

1 pair of sleeping shorts

1 water-proof jacket

1 hoodie

1 belt

1 pair of sunglasses

1 adventure hat

1 plug adapter

1 portable battery

1 headlamp

1 flashlight

1 cell phone solar charge

1 waterproof cell phone case

1 micro-fiber towel

1 neck-pillow


1 bottle of prescription malaria medication (I used Malarone)

Sewing kit

1 bottle of sunblock (I’m so pasty that I am almost translucent)

2 bottles of Deep Woods Off

1 box of Epic bison jerky

1 box of key-lime pie Lara bars

1 copy of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

1 copy of Nameless by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham

Assorted Nikon cameras and lens

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