Essential tools for the digital backpacker

It’s officially been over a year and a half since I left home and embarked on this new path. Looking back on where I started in terms of the things I purchased and brought with me, it’s surprising how little has changed. Seems most of my decisions back then were pretty well thought out. But it has been a good amount of time and I thought I’d put together an updated list of the things I either carry with me or make use of essentially on a day to day basis. Below is a list of all the work, personal, and travel tools that I, for the most part, cannot live without. Obviously this would be different for everyone, but for me, these are the things that have become central to my life and this post may be a good frame of reference for anyone about to take the same leap.

WORK RELATED

Work Tools

3 Backup hard drives (2x2TB, 1x1TB)
Logitech M705 Wireless Mouse (not Bluetooth – Bluetooth sucks) & Mousepad – wireless is the way to go if you can get a good one
Asus MB168B USB 20′” screen – great tool for extra screen space during designing (light and functional)
Case for electronics – repurposed Conair hair trimmer case
Primary phone: Moto x3 (unlocked)
Backup phone: HTC One M7 (unlocked and rooted) – still my favorite phone of all time
Fake Samsung 12000mAh battery
Secondary 12000mAh battery
Laptop: Lenovo y40-70 (not the best laptop but she delivers)
Local Sim card (absolute necessity)
USB key (16gb) – for portable file storage (useful for bringing stuff to a printer, exchanging files, etc)
SD card (128gb) – integrated into the laptop for additional storage and backups

 

Work Apps

Google Drive – for automatic cloud backups
TD Bank app
Tangerine Bank app
Paypal app
Trello – for managing my work projects
WHMCS – for managing my servers
Freshbooks – for managing invoicing and business expenses
Wifi Recovery – to store and retrieve the wifi passwords for the hostels I’m in
LastPass – OMG, lastpass!

 

TRAVEL RELATED

Travel tools

Tough TG-4 action camera (waterproof) – with 16GB high-speed SD card – great camera for the all-purpose
Mask and Snorkel – great to have and means I can go snorkeling any time and anywhere I want without hesitation and without paying a dime
UE Roll Bluetooth speaker – fantastic waterproof speaker that’s ultraportable, has great sound and is tough and relatively light. Can also be paired with a second one, which is what I’ll do soon, for better and stereo sound
Kobo Glo ereader – not a great ereader, slow, bit fragile, but it works, almost always
WordPress blog – for cataloging my experiences, and processing my emotions
MadeSimple Photo gallery for posting photos on the blog
Zagg smartbuds – best earbuds I’ve ever had, great sound and super durable
DAN insurance – the “travel” insurance that I have ($200/yr)
Sports headphones for running
Speedo specialized mini shammy towel – for the beach (recently lost but will be purchased again)
Lifestraw Go – for all my water needs (I never spend a cent on water) – invaluable tool
Mutli[urpose Knife set
Grip6 Belt – awesome belt that’s fully adjustable and super lightweight
Car shammy as my daily towel – cheap, works great, dries quick and is super light
Outdoor Research Ultralight Compression Sacks (3) – no way I could travel without these (super convenient and saves an incredible amount of space)
Ziplocs – you can’t have enough ziplocs or plastic bags
Swissgear backpack – my small backpack that holds all my “valuables” including Laptop
Deuter 60L backpack – amazing, tough and useful backpack (was a great recommendation by a friend)
Nike daypack – for laundry and day trips/hiking, etc.
Platypus 1L liquid bag – holds my alcohol, basically, hehe. Never actually used it for water and don’t need to considering I have the LifeStraw
Credit cards (2) & bank cards – of course
Conair rechargeable hair trimmer – rechargeable is the only way to go (not all bathrooms have plugs)

 

Travel Apps

Splitwise – what I use to track travel and daily spending
Currency converter – obvious
Hostelworld – the app I use for finding Hostels (rarely book through them)
Google Maps – essential
Spotify
Google Keep – for all my notes. I ditched Evernote due to reliability issues and weight
Google Photos – for automatic photo backups
Pocket – for archiving all articles I don’t have time to read on the spot – transfers to my Kobo for bus rides
AirBnb – rarely use this but I know I’ll have reasons to in the future
Busbud.com – a great online bus booking resource
Uber – also rarely use but is a good backup to have for large cities and particularly airport taxi rides
Google Translate
Google Flights – only site I use for finding flights.

 

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