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What's in Your Pack, Rob Meyer?
"While many people tend to follow the "just in case" philosophy of packing, I prefer the opposite. I'm more of a "not unless someone else is carrying it for me" style of packer. Or in other words, I'm not carrying all that extra stuff "unless someone else is carrying it for me"! Other than a couple changes of clothes and basic toiletries, there are 8 items that I carry with me. If I need anything else, I'll buy it, or even more likely borrow it from someone else during my travels. I like to be extremely mobile and flexible when I travel. I frequently change my plans, and often find myself walking long distances on a daily basis. Therefore, I need a pack that's as light and versatile as I am!"
- The Pack: I used to carry a nice, sleek North Face pack, which was great in the fact that it was waterproof, extremely durable, and light. However, I do a lot of traveling through more "off the beaten path" type destinations that don't see very many backpackers. I have found that carrying just a basic "school-style" backpack draws a lot less attention to me, while still accomplishing everything I need it to do (which is carry my stuff).
- Duct Tape: The bulkiest thing in my pack, but I carry it anyways because it consistently proves itself extremely useful.
- iPod: Doesn't need to be an iPod, and actually there are a lot of other options for portable music players that won't hit as hard if they get lost, broken, or stolen, but I definitely appreciate having some form of portable entertainment.
- A book: Always carry a book to pass the time. I am actually considering purchasing an ebook reader as well so that I can carry multiple volumes on one device, and because I often have a really hard time finding interesting books in many of the developing regions I travel through.
- Toilet Paper: Again most of my travels are through the developing world, where a trip to the restroom rarely includes toilet paper. And on those rare occasions when it does, you better be ready to pay for it with exact change!
- Sleeping Pills: No I'm not a pill popper. However, I do a lot of extended train and bus travel (often 10-16 hours) as a way to conserve money, and also because these are often the only options available. The seats on these buses and trains are usually cramped, rickety, noisy, and smelly. A couple of sleeping pills transforms these trips from a 16 hour nightmare to an afternoon snooze.
- LeatherMan Tool: This last item only makes it into my pack if I'm doing a limited amount of flying (as you can't carry-on a knife). I do a lot of hiking and other outdoors activities when I travel, so carrying a pocket knife as strong and versatile as a Leather Man is very beneficial. Most other equipment I will rent in-country, however the Leather Man is worth bringing on its own.
- Not Pictured - Camera: Of course you have to bring a camera as long as well. I'm not much of a photographer, so I don't need a fancy camera. In fact my camera is the one item that seems to get lost, stolen, or broken more than any other, so I usually just carry a cheap model (often bought off ebay) that won't break the bank. My current camera is an inexpensive Sony Cybershot that honestly does everything that I need it to do.
Want to show Gadling readers how you pack for the road? Send me an email (justinglow at gmail dot com) with a full description and pictures -- similar to what Rob has done here -- and we'll feature it on the site!