My new travel gear. Much to get excited about. 10

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Last December I passed by my five-year anniversary of my permanent travels. The most time I’ve spent back in the States was actually just a few months ago, when I came back on Christmas Day, hung out with my family for about a month, then did my month-long USA Road Trip (though not fully as planned), then came back for a short bit and flew out to Germany.

Even during those two months back, I was living out of a suitcase for the month of the road trip.

Looking back on my five years on the road, I think the most time I have ever stayed in one location is probably about two or three weeks at a time. Maybe that long a few times in Costa Brava, also in London when I was based out of there for a while last year. But that’s about it.

Bottom line, luggage is very important to me.

eagle creek switchback 26 backpack black

When Eagle Creek approached me last year to try out some of their gear, I was already well aware of their company and their products. I have been using their zip bags to organize my electronics from my initial RTW trip and closely looked at their backpacks when I started out, but they didn’t have one big enough for what I needed — or what I thought I needed back then.

The first thing I wanted to try was their Switchback 26 backpack. Last year, I traveled around with a rolling suitcase all year and simply hated it. There were so many occasions where I really wanted the ability to be able to strap it to my back and walk with it. Bad cobblestone roads, buildings with no elevators, and more of those situations.

What I liked about the Switchback is that it is a rolling bag, but you can also just unzip a pouch in the back of it and make it into a backpack quickly and simply. So far this year, I have been lucky with my locations (and also on a big work project where they catered me around), so I have mostly used it as a rolling bag, but having the option of using it as a backpack is vital to me.

One thing about this bag, it has a zip-off daypack attached to it. I took that off when I got it and am not traveling with it because….

eagle creek afar backpack black

I went ahead and got the Afar Backpack to use as my electronics backpack. At some point, I guess I am going to need to have someone take a picture of me walking around, with one big backpack on my back and this smaller one on my front. The look is called “the turtle” and I think I pull it off nicely.

Just last night I was having a conversation with my friend Kiersten Rich about cameras and lenses and travel gear. It was at that point that I realized exactly how much stuff I carry around to do this work on the road that I do to keep going. I think I’m going to do a post about it, but bottom line here is what I carry around in this bag:

Three Olympus micro-four thirds cameras, six lenses, and eight batteries. Two GoPro cameras. Seven USB hard drives. iPad and iPod. A MacBook Pro 15 inch computer. Two power converters. And various cords and chargers for the equipment and batteries.

My big backpack/luggage weighs 19 kgs (41 pounds) when I check it in for flights. My small electronics bag weighs… 18 kgs (39 pounds).

Thank goodness I like making video as much as I do.

One thing I need more of in all aspects of my life is organization. Travel plans, work, organizing files, keeping my inbox uncluttered, client contact lists, and more… I need a healthy dose of getting things in order and in their place.

Luckily for me, Eagle Creek was able to help — at least in the ability to help organize my stuff.

eagle creek packit organizer bags

I got three different things to help me organize out the little bits and bobs in my luggage: the Pack-It Wallaby for toiletries, the Pack-It Sac set for clothes, and the Pack-It Sac sets for electronics.

The toiletries bag is a pretty typical one, but I do love the solid construction and size of it. I don’t have a ton of bathroom stuff, but it perfectly holds everything I have and is built a lot better than the one that broke down on my last year.

The clothing sacks and the electronics sacks are invaluable for me. I keep my T-shirts in one sack, my boxers and socks in another, and so forth. Reaching into my backpack and pulling out exactly what I need — and only what I need — is simple now.

And between the new electronics bags I got and the old ones I had already, I’ve got five of them now and I’m 100% positive I’d lose gear left and right without them. When I am out shooting, I can reach into my electronics backpack and pull out the red bag — that’s my bag of lenses. If a battery runs out, I pull out the green bag — that’s my batteries and charger bag. And so forth. They help keep me organized, sane, and productive.

I’ve got my eye on a few more Eagle Creek products and when and if I get them, I’ll update you on how they work with my nomadic lifestyle. But rest assured, although Eagle Creek did give me this gear so that I can review it, this endorsement of their products is whole-hearted and complete. Their stuff is great — I just might have to see if they’ll design up a few things that work even more exactly with my needs.

A Michael Hodson travel line perhaps? Why not. There has to be at least 10-11 other traveling fools out there like me, traveling like this, right?




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About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

10 thoughts on “My new travel gear. Much to get excited about.

  • Phil

    Very cool! Love the Afar backpack – I may need to just snag that. Just added to travel gear collection as well.

    I am took the plunge from COMPLETE photography newbie to being just a basic photography newbie by purchasing a Canon T3i. This may get interesting…

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      That backpack has been a nice one, for sure. Heck, I like both of them a lot to be fair.

  • Jason & Simone

    We are using Eagle Creek products right now as we circle the globe in search of…well, whatever we want really. We love their cubes and couldn’t think of doing it without them.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I really need to use the cubes better. Sometimes after I do laundry, I forget to repack them. Must get more organized.

  • Escape Hunter

    I always loved those backpacks that can roll and have retractable handles like rolling bags.
    Quite handy on medium length trips. But for short trips I’d skip them, because they have a bigger weight.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I haven’t used it as an actual backpack yet. Looking forward to seeing how I do with it, but given that the front one would also be 18 kgs… going to be a tough haul.

  • Lyndsay | Discount Travel Blogger

    I’d love to have the rolling backpack, and like you said, I will need a bigger one. I think age on the is wearing me down carrying a backpack that is bigger and heavier than me! 😀 Nice review!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      That one is a really good size for me. IF I wasn’t hauling around all my photo and video equipment, it would be really excellent in terms of weight also.

  • Jonathan Look, Jr.

    I too have been in the market for a good all around backpack that will handle my electronics. I carry mostly computer and DSLR equipment and need something that can be secured as well. Would be nice if PacSafe and Eagle Creek could get together.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I used to carry a PacSafe with me, but I don’t anymore. Knock on wood, I haven’t found it really necessary, but then again, I haven’t been doing a lot of Latin America travel lately.

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