Gear We Love, Want or Not So Much

It takes a lot of gear to take a family of seven around the world, or at least to it’s furthest corners.

OK, no it doesn’t.

It doesn’t take much at all, but a few key items are worth their weight in gold, and others are just weight. Below you can find links to the gear that works for us, some items that we hope to take on our next adventure, or stuff that didn’t impress.

Backpacks and Bags
Clothes and Shoes
Camera Stuff
Mobile Devices
Other Stuff

Note: Any links below that take you to, are affiliate links and if you make a purchase Amazon pays a small commission while not charging you any more. Hopefully, we can make enough to keep us in Pad Thai! To be clear, that’s Thailand pad thai, not U.S. pad thai; Amazon doesn’t pay that kind of money! 🙂 Other links are provided for your convenience – no pad thai involved.

Backpacks and Bags
The North Face Surge

Lot’s of pockets and very well organized, including dedicated laptop compartments, a zip pocket in the bottom perfect for power cords. The two side pockets are big enough to fit a 1.5 L water bottle or my tripod.

Jansport EuroSac

Jansport hasn’t made this bag, or anything similar, for many years, but our two Eurosac’s have traveled to 4 continents without a fuss over the past decade. In searching for a substitute, we purchased the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible, which has proven to be a quality substitute. Two years on it has traveled the US, Peru, France, Samoa, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia, holding up to trains, plains, automobiles, ferries, tuk-tuks and motor scooters without showing any wear. Organization and function are top-notch.

Clothes and Shoes
Kuhl Konfidant Air Pants

These pants are nice enough to wear to the office, durable and functional enough for hiking and travel, dry quickly and vent very well. Now, I’m a sweater. Not “sweater” as in a woolly knit item of clothing, but as someone the readily perspires, and these pants are the best I’ve ever had; comfortable in the heat/humidity of Samoa and SE Asia.   

Vasque Juxt Shoes

I wore out one pair – although it took me like 5 years – and now I own my second pair. I like the fact these shoes look nice enough that I wore them in the office, are comfortable to walk in all day whether museum or rock hopping. The only downside is that they are not well vented and on hot days, I’m ready to take them off. Good socks go a long ways to mitigating the heat.


 Camera Stuff
Sony NEX-7

The Sony NEX-7 has been my companion on many adventures for more than two years now. The NEX line, and especially the 7, was revolutionary, but short-lived as Sony moved on to the Alpha line. If I had to recommend a similar camera today, I’d recommend the Sony a6300.

Olympus OMD-EM10

A recent addition to the family, the EM10 has already traveled to Yosemite and Utah’s “Little Sahara”. Check out some images taken at Doran’s Blog.

Canon G16

Canon’s G16 is an excellent travel camera if you find multiple lens cameras a hassle, yet want full control over all settings and RAW image support. Images available here (look for images from April to August 2016).

Joby Tripod

To be honest, I really want to love the Joby Tripod – maybe if I had ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>the big one, I’d like it more…? ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The small one just doesn’t hold my camera in place and takes ump-teen adjustments to get a camera or phone aimed where I want it. Maybe it’s user error, I don’t know. I did have success using the Joby to hold my phone in our New Zealand camper van as I used it for navigation.

Manfrotto Tripod

My Manfrotto tripod isn’t the nicest nor the most sturdy, but it gets the job done, fits in my carry-on or my backpack and is cheap enough I don’t worry about being too gentle with it.


 Lens Pen

I’ve purchased ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>the original Lens Pen for myself and others. Inexpensive and compact, it is the best remedy for fingerprints, water spots or dust on a lens.

When it’s time to buy a new Lens Pen, I’ll be looking for this new compact model:



As we departed on our round-the-world trip in June 2016, I needed a new laptop. I weighed my options and selected the ASUS UX305C. I’m very happy with the choice. I don’t use the touch screen at all, and I wish the keyboard was back-lit and the speakers were louder, but those are minor inconveniences and the UX305C performs very well where it matters. I can run Lightroom, multiple browser windows and Office programs at the same time. I love the size, fit and finish.

I had been using a Apple MMGF2LL/A MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop (8GB RAM 128 GB SSD) MMGF2 Unfortunately, upon leaving my previous employer, they wanted their Mac back. I knew what the Air offered, and so compared all candidate laptops to this standard. At the end of the day, it came down to the best laptop within my newly unemployed budget. It wasn’t the MacBook. Not that the Air isn’t worth it’s price, it is, just beyond the budget. Winner: Asus UX305C.

Lenovo Thinkpad 11e

With two kids planning to complete classes online, they needed laptops. We purchased two Thinkpad 11e’s for their small size and durability claims and haven’t been disappointed. They aren’t sleek, nor especially lightweight, but they are fully functional and solid. They’ve supported online schooling, video conferencing, and gaming without complaint from two teenage boys. And given the price, how can you go wrong?


Mobile Devices  
 Apple iPhone SE
 Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Other Stuff