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Gadgets You Backpack Around the World With?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-would-phileas-take dept.

Handhelds 625

ryrw writes "I'm planning to spend a year backpacking around the world and the hardest question I have to answer is: What technology do I take with me? Aside from the obvious (digital camera, ipod, et. al.) what technological devices would you you take? Specifically, I wonder if I should bring my nice and shiny MacBook Pro. I can think of lots of uses for it (offloading pix, updating weblog, email, etc.), but I'm worried it will be lost or stolen along the way. Does anyone have experience with travel while toting technology?"

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frist psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350183)

frist psot

Travel as light as you possibly can (5, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350189)

Taking a notebook entirely depends on where you are travelling to. If you are travelling in the Europe, US or Australia, then you can happily chug your notebook with you. On the other hand, if you are travelling to Asia, it would depend entirely on your destination. The same goes for parts of Africa and South America.

Now, you mentioned backpacking - so I am assuming that you do not particularly plan on staying at a hotel. A lot of backpackers stay in hostels, the Y and so on. If the latter is the case, you cannot leave your stuff in the hotel-room and go look around. So, carrying a notebook becomes a liability that needs to be taken care of constantly.

As someone who's travelled a lot, I usually do not carry my laptop around if I am backpacking across the world. Most parts of the world have Internet-cafes or similar places where you can check your mail, offload your pictures etc. And lugging that extra weight (light as it may be) is still a pain. What happens if you get caught in the rain, or if you decide to get drunk in a totally random place? You can't always be worried about your backpack and doing so is likely to give a big hint to folks that there is something worth stealing in your backpack.

Secondly, you will also need to get power adapters for various locations (Europe uses a different plug design and have different voltage/frequency setting than the US, and parts of Asia are a mixed bunch - in some countries, the plug is different but the voltage is the same as US or Europe and vice versa).

If you really feel the urge to be in touch, get a PDA with wireless features and carry that around. If you can check your email from a wireless access point, then your PDA would work as well as your shiny MacBook. And you can also ensure that it's always on you all the time.

The other accessory that I would take would be a nice, cheap, light tripod - look at some of the cheap, ultralight Amvona ones on eBay. They are very light and are totally worth it. And oh, carry a flashlight and a Swiss army knife. Both always come in useful. Also, get a good travel watch - I do a lot of outdoor stuff and I have a good Casio Pathfinder. It is absolutely worth it - it has a digital compass, a thermometer, a barometer, an altimeter and a slew of other features. Granted, you may not always use every feature, but at some point of time or the other, you will use at least one of the features. I have the PAG70-1V [casio.com] , and absolutely love it.

And finally, a good, light backpack (preferably one with a camelbag that's always got at least some water in it), good cargo-pants, good shoes and a light jacket go a long way towards making your life less miserable. Goodluck! :)

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (3, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350235)

And I forgot to add - take at least one cheap Walgreen's camera for those times when your digital camera dies on you.

You can always get AA batteries and regular film anywhere, and you will be thankful for it later on!

It would suck if you were at some place where you really wanted to take some pictures, but could not because your memory card was full or because your camera didn't have enough power.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350287)

Definitely travel light. So saying, I'm a semi-pro photographer and a laptop's essential. I use a lockable wire-mesh bag from Pacsafe http://www.pac-safe.com/www/index.php [pac-safe.com] to keep my kit secure in the hostel when travelling. But if you can do without it, then do. Oh, and get it insured :-)

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (1)

emj (15659) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350327)

I took my Palm and a fullsize keyboard add on when I was traveling in South America. And that worked out pretty fine.. But even that was abit to big, to carry around all the time. In the end the recharger was stolen, so I ended up carying around a dead brick for 4 months.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350389)

Taking a notebook entirely depends on where you are travelling to. If you are travelling in the Europe, US or Australia, then you can happily chug your notebook with you. On the other hand, if you are travelling to Asia, it would depend entirely on your destination. The same goes for parts of Africa and South America.


Actually, there are enough parts of Europe I wouldn't want to chug a notebook with me, unless you are only talking about an available electrical connection and not safety/security.

I would suggest buying a cheapo notebook (seen one perfectly capable unless you are rendering crap for ~$300 at Walmart) that you won't miss if it gets stolen.

Load it up with Ubuntu if you need those apps, dual boot with Windows. Neither is OSX - but it won't hurt as much if it gets stolen or mangled in general.

To prevent scratches on the Mac in case you take it, I suggest some 3M Paint Protection Film. You can buy rolls of it off of ebay.

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Scotch gard-PPF/Home/?WT.mc_id=www.3m.com/paintprotection film [3m.com]

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350509)

I second this, apart from the fact that you should ditch the ipod and the chargers that go with it. They give off impressions and they can be a hassle to have around.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350563)

And some places have no standard at all for plug design. My dad travels to Venezuela (i think, that's where the problem is) and they seem to have no standard at all as far a electicity goes. Plug designs can change from one hotel to the next. And to think that people in north america complain that we haven't standardized on 240 volt yet, and are still using 110 volt.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (3, Insightful)

rapett0 (92674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350589)

This was some good advice, so I just want to back it up. I have done a fair bit of traveling, and not just to tourist locales. I have been to England, France, Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, etc. One thing I have learned is travel light. You will be frustrated and annoyed having to carry to many things. As for the electronics issue, I guess camera and music are fine, but forget the laptop. That will just be begging to be stolen. What would you rather do, enjoy your trip, or basically babysit electronics around the world? I totally get what your trying to do (stay connected, blog about the trip, etc), but internet cafe's will have to be the way to go. You can try and make some friends along the way that have laptops (or even locals) so you can upload your pictures. Take a notepad and a couple pens and just write out your adventure and just type it up later. Not reason to dwell on your prose, write done, what, when, where, why, etc. You can fill back in the details later. You don't want to see the Seven Swans Pagagoda and not remember what it was called later on, but long as you write blurbs to yourself about what you did and when (so you can get the order right), you can easily remember the rest later.

Most importantly, have fun, thats the point. Life is about experiences.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350753)

You don't want to see the Seven Swans Pagagoda and not remember what it was called later on

What worked for me visiting countless temples, shrines in Japan was to take a pic of the sign on the way in. Usually you get an entry ticket or some blurb when you pay, so take a pic of these too, then you can toss the blurb on the way out.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (1)

altoz (653655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350623)

Totally agree with the above poster. Travel as light as you can. The biggest liabilities are the heavy things and though most hostels offer some sort of locker (bring a combination lock with you, it's very useful), it's a constant threat to be stolen and you're definitely not going to want to bring it with you for day trips.

The most useful things are digital cameras (most internet cafes have memory-card to CD burning services for $5 or so), mp3 player (a surprising amount of tourist places now have podcasts that you can use for touring the place) and possibly a gsm phone (for emergencies and for contacting friends). The annoying thing is what the above poster mentioned, which is the power adapter changing in every country. I'd just buy one at the first place and try to trade with someone at hostels for your next locale.

Another very useful thing to bring in case it rains is a bunch of stuff-it sacks. Not only can you use multiple ones to organize your clothes, etc, but you can also fit more stuff into your backpack (I'd get one that's NOT a top-loader) and it provides another layer of protection. Also, if you're going to go scuba dive, get a water-proof camera case. The pics are worth it.

About that link. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350677)

The PAG70-1V link isn't working. Maybe this [casio.com] would help?

The all look great BTW.

Re:About that link. (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350745)

Oops, my bad. I just copied the link from my bookmarks. :)

Here's the Amazon link to the watch [amazon.com] . And it's got almost the same set as features as the 70T-7V [casio.com] (difference being that this one is in Titanium).

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350691)

Well said.

However, if you're truly going backpacking, don't bring a notebook of any type. You won't use it. I went for a 30 day trip through just Europe a while back (pre digital camera days) and brought 35mm camera with a couple of lenses and a medium sized lightweight tripod. Got great pictures, but that rig sure got heavy.

Went on another much later with a small digital camera and a super small tripod, took about twice as many pictures, got some relatively decent ones considering it was a point and shoot on a 4" tripod :) and in general had a great time. The tripod/camera combo was pocketable, used xD cards so carrying a 1000 pictures worth of memory was no problem. I enjoyed that vacation more because taking pictures was quick and easy, without having to lug what seemed like tons of crap.

It really depends upon what the purpose of your trip is. The time frame of 1 year also adds to it. If you're frequently going to places where power in unreliable or unavailable, look for something to take that runs on easy to get batteries.

I'm also going to guess you're going to be carrying some sort of cell phone, since you were considering a notebook. Maybe look at getting a phone that doubles as some or most of the functionality of the notebook that you needed will suffice?

Most importantly, remember you're going to see stuff, not your gear (you can do that @ home) unless you're writing a travel book or something like it.

Re:Travel as light as you possibly can (3, Informative)

webbroberts (249675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350703)

Tripod: I'd vouch for the Ultrapod: a fantastic piece of equipment. Incredibly light and flexible.

Flashlight: get a headlamp, so you can see what you're eating. Get a little red keyring LED, so that you don't kill your nightvision when you get up in the night. On bike tour, I kept mine on my wrist every night when I slept.

Forget anything pricey. You won't need it. Get a cheap watch, a plastic compass (and learn how to use it), and good plastic flatware.

And don't forget the EARPLUGS. Hostels are impossible without them.

What about (1)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350199)

A map and compass? Useful and no batteries to charge.

Re:What about (2, Insightful)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350305)

Couldn't agree more. I took a handheld GPS unit across Europe for a month, but we got hopelessly lost in Nice, France after a trip to the beach. You cant take the GPS in the water, and it'll get stolen on the beach so it stayed behind. Our map and compass got us back to our hostel safely.

Re:What about (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350579)

The GPS I have can go in the water. From the Magellan website:

SporTrak Pro

Question:

How waterproof are the SporTrak models?

Answer:

Our units are currently tested to meet the specification of IEC-529, IPX7 standard. This states the unit will resist water intrusion submerged at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. The water is at ambient temperature (neither artificially heated or cooled) and the unit is at ambient temperature (non-operational).

Re:What about (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350721)

So does mine, but do you REALLY want to risk losing a major piece of technology to water damage? Especially if you have every hostel you plan on staying in loaded up on it already. That's a pretty big risk, and when you're that far away from home with no real concept of direction since it's the first time you're visiting, AND you can make only barely passable attempts at the local language, it's probably not a risk you want to take.

Re:What about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350759)

In other words, it's not waterproof at all, unless your trip to the beach is less than 30 minutes long. Also, that test probably involves still water, not someone vigorously moving around. Even worse, it was probably clean water, not seawater, which is far more corrosive.

Re:What about (2, Informative)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350659)

I would also suggest a crank turned radio and flashlight - get them at Radio Shack. I have them both in my car, and never need battery replacements. My flashlight for example was cranked over four months ago, and the rechargeable battery is still holding the charge. For the radio, just pull out the little handle and make a steady turn for 2 minutes - you get about 45 minutes hands free OTA action from it.

SURRRREEEE (1)

hokiejimbo (751496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350213)

I brought my old, trusty iBook on a trip to Japan for 3 weeks (when the iBook was new and fancy). It was super-handy to have, for all the reasons you mentioned. You do need to be aware, and hide it. Be careful what hotels/hostels you stay in. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Re:SURRRREEEE (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350301)

and because you're so damned concentrated on protecting your macbook, you get totally lost in the city and then wish that all you brought with you would be a map. great, duh.

Re:SURRRREEEE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350431)

You need only worry about other foreigners in hostels in Japan. The Japanese will usually never touch your stuff and most of the hostels I've stayed at in Japan were impeccably clean. I've left my electronics charging and free to steal in my shared hostel room many times in Japan--perhaps I'm just lucky. Most hostels will provide lockers for you as well (you may or may not have to provide a lock, though it's best you bring your own).

If you are travelling to China however, keep it with you all the time.

FLAME! Re:SURRRREEEE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350769)

You fucktard. Did you not notice that this guy's talking about *backpacking* around *the world* for *a year*? Popping over to possibly the safest place in the world and spending 3 weeks in hotels isn't even remotely similar.

It was super-handy to have
What the fuck is "super-handy"?

You do need to be aware, and hide it. Be careful what hotels/hostels you stay in. Always be aware of your surroundings.
Thanks, Tips. Did you pick up those pearls of wisdom during ninja training while you were there, Sherlock?

I say take the MacBook (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350221)

You couldn't just say "laptop", so you're awfully proud of it. No doubt brand loyal to Apple (iPod, etc), and no doubt it impresses your neckbearded friends.

Yeah, carry it around the world. Scoff and chuckle at all the inferiors using inferior technology (nobody gives a fuck about Apple outside the US).

You won't come home with it. Someone will stab you in the head and take it. He'll probably rape you too, and successfully use the "he asked for it, look at his fucking laptop" defense in court.

Fuck you and your submission. "HAY GUYS WHAT APPLE STUFF WULD U TAKE? HERE IS A LIST OF TEH APPEL STUFF I OWN!"

Re:I say take the MacBook (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350265)

nobody gives a fuck about Apple outside the US...

You won't come home with it. Someone will stab you in the head and take it.

Typical PC user. Always contradicting themselves.

I tease.

Dude. Decaff. Seriously.

Re:I say take the MacBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350483)

Nobody said what it was to be used for. And notice that usually there are plenty of thieves that don't have a clue about what they are stealing, would you risk your life for that piece of crap?

Re:I say take the MacBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350307)

You are my hero.

Re:I say take the MacBook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350495)

best...post...EVER!

Re:I say take the MacBook (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350613)

I take it you're not a Mac user, then?

Palm (software only) GPS (2, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350237)


Did anyone else fall for the original "Palm Software-Only GPS" download?

It drew a big "X" on your palm pilot screen, along with some text that read "You Are Here".

Re:Palm (software only) GPS (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350349)

I still get people with that one.

Re:Palm (software only) GPS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350805)

That's funny since a stock Palm (as of this date) doesn't have any gps receiver technology inside, nor is it mentioned anywhere in the packaging, instructions, or evangelist propaganda. More sad than funny actually...

my gadget of choice (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350247)

Not knowing a lot about the type of traveling you're doing or your own needs... When I travel I take my GPS. I have a Garmin iQue M5. I only have the North America pack for it so traveling overseas may require additional software but it works well for me. Since I only keep a 512 meg card in it it's also useful to get the details of a local area loaded to it with the laptop. I don't know if they have Mac software for it but none the less, that's what I like to keep handy.

Also, in my times of travel I've never had anything stolen or lost. I don't know how common that kind of thing really is.

A zippo cigarette lighter (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350251)

You dont really know when you will be surrounded by stone age natives planning to include you in their dinner plans. I have it in high authority that if you could show you control fire, they might mistake you for God. Since you are not bound by the prohibition against "impersonating a deity" unlike the protocol droids of the C3 series .... Dont leave home without a cigarette lighter.

Re:A zippo cigarette lighter (1)

webbroberts (249675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350619)

Save 4 ounces: take a cheap butane bic lighter instead.

Re:A zippo cigarette lighter (2, Funny)

J-Doggqx (809697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350737)

Ray. If someone asks if you are a god, you say, "yes!"

Dont bring a laptop (1)

Cothol (460219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350259)

Dont take your MacBook with you. It takes too much space, will probably get stolen or break (in some countries buss/train/taxi-"staff" will throw your bags up the roof of the veichle etc. before you have any chance to stop them).

Sell the ipod and buy an Iriver H340 (or something similar), 40GB HD, music and movie player as well as picture and .txt viewer (for adresses to friends/family etc.). And it supports UMS (usb mass storage devices). Just connect your digital camera and backup your pictures.

Internet access is avalible and cheap as long as you keep to the "beaten track" but not always high speed.

None of that junk (1, Insightful)

wolfgang_spangler (40539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350269)

Why would you go out backpacking and drown out the sounds of nature with your ipod? Enjoy the outdoors. Take a few minutes and observe your surroundings instead of burying your face into the glow of some i-product.

Of course, perhaps you are talking about backpacking from city to city and hanging out, which I wouldn't really call backpacking, more living the life of a hobo. If you are going to live the life of a hobo, don't bother lugging around a computer.

Re:None of that junk (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350417)

Because often the sounds of the train and the loud ramblings of a half-dozen languages you don't understand while you're trying to get a few hours of sleep is too much to bear.

Some sort of MP3/music player is a good idea. Ear plugs too.

Re:None of that junk (4, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350475)

I'm leaving for the Bahamas in 18 hours or so, and I'm taking my iPod for one reason - digital photo backup. I have a little widget that plugs into my iPod Photo and my Canon 20D and sucks the pictures out. I can then erase the flash card, and keep going. I stored 5000 pics on it while in Scotland. It was great! No laptop required.

Re:None of that junk (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350493)

I agree wholeheartedly. On my favorite pair of hiking boots, there is printed a motto: (of the now defunct OneSport) "Technology applied for the sake of those that wish to escape it."

To me, that is the whole point. Why hike out to the wilderness only to chain yourself down with all the digital leashes that are on you 24/7 back in the Real World?

That said, there are a few tech items that are useful, like a rugged GPS unit. Just remember to bring a compass for when the batteries run out! You won't need the laptop and I can almost guarantee you unfortunate things will happen to it if you bring it along. Nature has a way of ruining things that aren't waterproof :)

Take the Mac Book (1)

adevadeh (674305) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350673)

I have traveled all over Asia with my Macbook and I have to say take it. #1 reason: You are sitting in a mountain village in Tibet and the only thing around you are some nomads and their yurts. 5 kids come up to you and want to ask you questions but you can't talk to them, they can't talk to you. Enter Photobooth. In 1 minute you are the superstar and everyone is laughing and having a good time. For security, get a laptop sleeve and a messenger bag or light daypack and just take your laptop with you when you are out on the town. When you are staying in a hotel, leave it in your bag. It's so worth it.

What *I* bring... (2, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350271)

I frequently take long geocaching [lazylightning.org] trips and like to have few things with me while I hike. It may be a leftover thing from when I was in Scouting and was constantly out backpacking, but it might just be that I hate carrying shit.

Anyway, I *always* carry with me a mobile phone with Internet service (EDGE/GPRS). In my case I don't have one that I can tether but if you are seriously interested in bringing your computer (I wouldn't, the weight is too much) then at least you will have connectivity in many more areas than if you just had wifi. In addition, I can take quick snapshots and upload them immediately to my mobile images gallery [lazylightning.org] on my website from where ever I am. The quality is shit but at least people can tag along virtually until I upload the nice pictures.

Also, a nice GPS unit with good battery life (this is less of an issue these days with my Garmin 76CS (I haven't upgraded to the x series yet) will last three full days (~30 hours of the unit being on) on two lithium AAs. If I'm using 2500ma rechargables I might get 12 hours total.

The GPS is a nice touch if you want to geo-tag your photos later. Upload your tracks and use one of the pieces of software out there to match the EXIF data to your GPS tracks and then you can map the photos, etc, etc. It's a nice touch.

laptop? backpacking? (4, Insightful)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350661)

I agree. When I read the topic, I thought, "What kind of backpacking trip is this where one would even consider bringing along a laptop?" Clearly this guy is doing something completely alien to what I do when I backpack.

I say if you're gonna be packing everything with you on your back everywhere, you've got to keep light. I read that even mp3 players are a bad idea, because every ounce (or kilohectare, for you metric lovers) counts when you're going any real distance with a pack on your back. I combine the mp3 player with the phone (but it doesn't do me any good, because my wife wants me to leave the phone at home with her).

I went on a 15-mile hike with the Scouts a few weeks ago, and I felt every pound I had on me. One of the leaders even told about how he dumps excess water if he knows there's a stream a mile ahead.

So I guess it's up to you. If you feel like you can take it, go on a 15-mile hike with everything you think you want to take. After 15 miles, you'll know what is worth hauling around and what's worth leaving. That's what worked for me. After that 15 miler I got a different pack, changed what I ate, changed how much water I carried (and how I carried it), and bought some new boots.

Test-drive your pack. It's worth it!

How about a phone? (1)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350279)

A quad-band GMS phone with a provider that has service worldwide could come in handy. While rates can be expensive, it may still be cheaper and more convenient than trying to get setup in each country or region that you visit.

a universal charger (1)

avi33 (116048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350293)

I'd go for even less, myself, ideally a GSM phone/pda (and a couple global cards) with a portable keyboard to upload blogstuff and images. I'm generally an ultralight packer, though I can't see myself needing to code on the road.

Re:a universal charger (1)

Frederic54 (3788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350629)

He needs a solar charger and a good bunch of rechargeables batteries, when you are around the world, voltages are different (don't care really as a lot of devices are 90-240V compliant) and different plugs (bulky).

The solution is a battery charger that works with a solar panel, a quick google search bring me this http://www.siliconsolar.com/travel-solar-battery-c hargers.php [siliconsolar.com]

As Little As Possible (2, Insightful)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350297)

Ok, I know its not geek correct, but really, don't take anything. Digital camera, ok, with lots of extra film, and a gps. But taking a lot of other stuff will only hold you down. Id bring my sketch book and a pen. I travelled in Europe for 3 months on such, and never missed gadgetry (but I tend not to have it anyway . . . just got a cell phone a few months ago, after 15 years of not having one . . . wow have they changed). Enjoy the world around you while you are travelling. There are always internet cafes, and hostels usually have connectivity too. Make arrangements for storage space accessible through the "tubes" and you can back up your pics as you go.

Re:As Little As Possible (1)

cecille (583022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350479)

Digital camera, ok, with lots of extra film

??

Re:As Little As Possible (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350651)

Maybe you're not familiar with the concept, but the cameras come with slots where you can put these little cards in. Now the thing is, the cards let you store the pictures that you take onto them. Kinda like film. M Kay?

Note the above is meant as sarcasm, but really, digital film, get it?

Pack light (2, Informative)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350309)

When I've done long travel, I've tried to go as multi-function as possible.

Camera
Paper journals (books)
Phone
iGo charger or equiv (or a charger that can handle your phone + camera + whatever else)
PDA for everything else from currency conversion to translation help

That's a good set in my experience.

Don't be scared..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350311)

Of the Hospital....my kitty's got some fur.....but shes in the hospital!!!

LOL!!!!

brought to you by: ...blackguys...

Unplug. (2, Insightful)

StonyCreekBare (540804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350315)

I'm as techie as the next /. reader. But seriously dude, unplug for a while. Spend your time and energy on the experience of the trip. With the possible exception of a decent digital camera to record your memories, leave the toys home.

As to the problem of theft, don't take anything you are not fully prepared to lose. or break. If you MUST take a laptop, get an old junky one, and make sure it has zero personal info on it. I have an old Sony Viao 505fx that I take on motorcycle trips. It's tiny, but powerful enough for uploading photos and surfing the web. All I need, and if it got stolen tomorrow, no great loss.

Stony

Pacsafe (5, Informative)

WH (10882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350341)

Having travelled extensively, including around-the-world, with technology. My best piece of advice is to purchase at least one Pacsafe mesh bag and ALWAYS use it when storing your gear in your room. Lock it to something that cannot be removed from the room.

In all my travels the only thing I had stolen was one of those small space pens that can write upside down. Given that it was stolen from my bag in a locked room, I'm certain that if I hadn't had Pacsafe I would have been missing MUCH more...

WH

Ask those who've gone before you (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350343)

I agree with the earlier post that a laptop would be more of a liability than an asset, but I've not backpacked in many moons. Have you inquired at the most traveled people [mosttraveledpeople.com] website? It seems like they would at least have an informed opinion.

Probably not... (3, Insightful)

duncf (628065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350345)

Obviously it depends on how much effort you want to put into taking care of it. This means things like always making sure you can find a safe storage location, lockable lockers, etc, which aren't always easy to find.

That said, I think part of the fun of backpacking is not taking everything with you -- it's about seeing how well you can live without luxuries. Also, when you're backpacking, every kilogram and every litre counts; brining a laptop + its accessories means you'll have to sacrifice space that you could use for another couple pairs of underwear or a shirt.

As far as pictures go, get a large memory card for your camera. You'll find places that will take your pictures from your memory card and burn them to CD while you wait. Internet cafes are ubiquitous in many parts of the world. I think you overestimate your need for a laptop.

I wouldn't take a laptop. But it's really up to you.

Battery-powered hard drive (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350377)

Depending on your attitude to photography, if you're anything like me, one big use for the lappy would be offloading pictures. If this is a big reason, you can get a portable hard drive [xs-drive.com] (linked is just one example; there are a ton of others) that has flash readers built into it that you can directly copy them off onto the hard drive. (Combined with a PDA that would solve a lot of your problems.) There are some that have MP3 capabilities built into them. Alternatively, it's possible someone has built an adapter for iPods to do the same thing.

Re:Battery-powered hard drive (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350655)

BTW, I would also recommend NOT relying on this as your sole place for storing pics. Too easy to get lost, damaged, or stolen. I would also burn photos to CDs/DVDs on a regular basis, and mail them to friend/family.

Nothing (5, Insightful)

Anaphilius (146909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350409)

Do yourself a favor and leave the electronics at home. What an opportunity this will be! You'll be in interesting places, meeting new people ... why filter the experience through an assortment of electronic nonsense. You'll have plenty of time to carry that crap around during your entire career when you get home.

This might be your last opportunity to live relatively low-tech. Embrace it.

You may also live longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350667)

http://www.randomhouse.ca/author/results.pperl?aut horid=15080 [randomhouse.ca]

There was a Polish, Ryszard Kapuscinski, reporter who roamed the world. He had approximately zero budget and he took next to nothing with him. The result was that he wasn't worth robbing and wasn't killed for his worldly goods. In fact he said something like: "To have things is to die." He was also quite non-threatening and was able to go places and get access that the richer reporters could never get.

His philosophy was much like the parent. You're going somewhere to get the experience. Why junk it up by bringing all the distractions you have at home. If you can't live without all the crap then don't waste your time and money by going.

Portable Media Reader with Hard drive (1)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350413)

I do travel with my laptop but I also don't go anywhere that I am worried about getting it stolen. I go to Japan, and the youth hostels there either give you a private room, or if in a dorm they give you a coin locker that is visible at the front desk, so the chances of someone breaking into them are slim.

I would recommend instead of bringing a laptop for offloading pictures, get a portable media reader with hardrive. That way, when your card fills up, you turn on reader, plug in the memory card and hit copy, 3 minutes later the memory card is all copied to the hard drive. When you want to offload it go to an internet cafe, grab a blank CD/DVD and burn the images to another media type for backup. I have a 40GB drive that I do this with, and I love it.

A towel!! (5, Funny)

CodeMunch (95290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350415)

Make sure you pack a towel. (and GPS!)

Re:A towel!! (1)

thesupermikey (220055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350749)

it is the mostmassively useful thing a backpacker can have

Re:A towel!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350821)

Heres the definative list:
    One .45 caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days concentrated emergency raisons; one drug issue containing: antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair a nylon stockings. Shoot, a fellah could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
                                                                   

You'll wish you didn't bring the MacBook Pro (1)

bensyverson (732781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350443)

If you're backpacking, that 5 or 6 pounds will really wear on you. You can check email, update blogs, and download pictures using internet cafes, which are plentiful in even smaller towns now.

Then again, you're a geek who reads Slashdot. If you want to geek out during your trip, you'll need the laptop.

So, now the obvious question: why did you buy a brand new MacBook Pro right before you're about to spend a whole year backpacking? Why not wait till you got back?

Travel Light! (1)

m00by (605070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350445)

The less useless junk you bring with you, the less you have to carry. Especially if you are going to stay at places that are, shall we say, less than secure. My short, not very sweet story of traveling woe is that, I went to the Caribbean to visit a friend and his wife. I met him in Puerto Rico, and we traveled on from there to sint maarten, and then to saba. whilst on sint maarten, we were drugged and robbed, and the only thing I had left was my Backpack, whatever was in my pockets, and my digital camera. I lost a 20Gb iPod, 12" PowerBook, various cords and whatnot, clothes, and a nice bag. Granted, had I not felt the need to be able to offload my pictures to something else, I would not have taken the laptop

the moral of my story is: 1) be careful where you have a beer in a foreign country, and 2) don't sleep in your rental car. My friend lost a laptop, 60Gb iPod, camcorder, two digital cameras, and a bunch of other crap at the same time. Travel light, it's less to get stolen, and less to carry with you. =D

Get device insurance (3, Informative)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350449)

I'm going backpacking through Europe pretty soon and I'm getting device insurance from USAA(my bank) it usually less than 100 bucks a year and they offer up to 5000 in coverage. A pretty good deal if you ask me. I wouldn't take my Macbook Pro with me unless I had it insured.

I'm sure other insurance companies do similar stuff. Just be upfront about what you're doing when you get it so that you don't end up surprised later.

Nothing (2, Insightful)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350455)

Do not take any 'gadgets' with you. You will not need them. You will not miss them. You are planning to backpack around the world. Why? To experience the world? Then do so. Gadgets will only distract you from that experience. Mp3 players and iPods are a horrible idea. You will miss the sounds of the world. Even the little seemingly meaningless sounds can be profound in there own ways. Having headphones on or looking at a digital screen all day will make you unapproachable and you will not get to experience the culture as much as you would otherwise. Bring a digital camera if you must, but be careful not to use it too much. With digital cameras people have a tendency to experience the world through the camera's LCD and not with their own eyes. Forget about gadgets, go out, touch, feel, taste and experience the world.

my 2 cents

Re:Nothing (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350725)

Bring a digital camera if you must, but be careful not to use it too much. With digital cameras people have a tendency to experience the world through the camera's LCD and not with their own eyes.

To each his own I guess. I look at the world a lot closer than I did before I got into photography. Granted, it's in the mindset of "what would make a good photo", but I've come to do this a fair amount just when walking around.

Cheap sd cards (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350461)

If you must have music, get a music player that will take SD cards, buy as many as you think is reasonable, fill them with music at the start of your trip, and shrink your music collection as you grow your picture collection. (prices are ~$10 for a 1 GB card, so 10 or 20 cards is fairly reasonable, and more isn't crazy for a year long trip).

So you start with a lot of music and can take thousands of pictures without doing any fiddling anywhere.

Backpacking around the world (2, Funny)

GreatWhiteDork (1075735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350465)

I'd take a lightweight boat. For roughly 3/4 of your trip, you'll need it.

Failing that, the GPS / Phone is handy. One of those multi-tools is ridiculously handy, too.

I'd also bring a spare set of sturdy waterproof steel toed boots (and put some gel inserts into them too). Sore feet suck.

Take a laptop (1)

_damnit_ (1143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350481)

What's the point of owning a shiny new Macbook Pro if you're going to leave it at home for a year? If you don't want to take it, sell it and buy a new one when you get back. Carrying a laptop is a bit of a drag though. The iPod, camera, etc can pretty much be toted without any effort. A laptop is a real pain (5 pounds with cords,etc) and I'd find myself worrying about it too much. If you are traveling alone, only take what you can drag with you into the can.

Laptop Security (1)

cyberbob2351 (1075435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350511)

If you do elect to bring the laptop along, I would recommend considering encrypting the disk. That way, if it is stolen, there will not be any identity theft risks associated with people uncovering your account informations or credentials.

Ah those Ameicans.... (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350513)

Suppose he said:

I'm planning to spend a year backpacking around Michigan and the hardest question I have to answer is: What technology do I take with me? ... I can think of lots of uses for it, but I'm worried it will be lost or stolen along the way.

Developing nations have no monopoly on electronics theft. Walk around the poorer sections of Detroit, or Baltimore, or Chicago, or Cincinnati.

Something like an Archos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350523)

If you grab one of the decent Archos players you can copy all your pictures onto that as well as store your music. I went with a creative n200 (I think) as my tiny carry about with me player. The archos gmini504 and a digital camera. I could transfer music to the creative player from the gmini and copy each days pictures from the camera on to it.

Re:Something like an Archos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350819)

If you have iPod - this here thing is perfect. I traveled 6 month in S.America with it and had it stolen (ze bastards). When I skipped to Thailand I couldn't find it there - lots of other iPod speaker setups but nothing that comes even close. Ended up buying JBL's but it's nowhere near as versatile.

http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/sonic_impact_i _fusion_ipod_speaker_system [the-gadgeteer.com]

I wouldn't take laptop with me - unless its a really lightweight one, but ipod (or some sort of other mp3 player) is a must, IMHO
If you have digital camera, get one of those card-readers that convert the card straight to usb, so you can plug it in any internet cafe and upload/send pics from it. It's also a good idea to get a website that can take some gigs of space and upload your pics - that's what I did, so no matter what is stolen/wet/broken, you got your pics.

anyway, have fun!

Time to unplug (1)

PopCultureDiva (844267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350531)

You'll enjoy the experience more without the technology. Especially if you're traveling alone, you'll start to see the devices as your companions, and miss out on a lot while you're plugging away. Definitely bring a digital camera, and take advantage of Internet cafes.

What to take.... (1)

eric_ortega (234201) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350547)

Regardless of where you go, when you go, or how you go, everyone should have a gps of some type. You don't need a $500 unit. Get something cheap off ebay. I agree that the geotagging part is kind of neat. However, always knowing how to get to your next destination is something everyone needs. I always have a GPS with me. Sometimes two.

A camera and a good sense of adventure also help...

And batteries

My experience after 5 months in India (1)

risotto (178224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350567)

Equipment:
    Camera: Canon S45
    MP3 player, FM tuner, Photo storage (w/CF slot) and sound recorder: Archos Gmini 120
    Text input: Palm Pilot IIIxe (AAA batteries + serial cnx) + foldable keyboard

Conclusion:
The camera worked nicely for my needs, although the battery was very sensitive to cold temperatures. I would offload the CF card contents onto the Archos device, deleting music as I went. Burning to CD was easy in Internet cafes (even in India). A better text input device would have been greatly appreciated: Make sure you can access your content with a USB connection. Being able to write emails, prepare webblog in your hotel room is a must (or spend lots of time in an internet cafe). A laptop is very heavy - I am still thinking I might my hands on an Archos PMA430 for entering text and as a replacement for my Gmini 120.

jp

Don't dismiss taking an iPod (0, Redundant)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350569)

Others have poo-poo'ed taking an iPod - I'm leaving for the Bahamas in 18 hours or so, and I'm taking my iPod for one reason - digital photo backup. I have a little widget that plugs into my iPod Photo and my Canon 20D and sucks the pictures out. I can then erase the flash card, and keep going. I stored 5000 pics on it while in Scotland. It was great! No laptop required.

Alphasmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350583)

I had a good friend take a 2 year around the world trip, and his only technology was a Digital camera and an Alpha Smart.

The alpha smart went through only 2 sets of AA batteries in the entire trip. He'd type notes on the unit, then when he got to an internet cafe it would plug in as a keyboard and upload the text to the computer. Small, lightweight, very rugged.

In 2 years of hard backpacking, it only needed one repair; a minor solder repair on the batter connector.

www.kedl.org has more details

Leave the ipod (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350603)

Leave the ipod and take a good PDA, like a Dell Axim x51v. It's got WiFi, Bluetooth and irDa for connectivity, hardware-accelerated GPU for smooth playback of MPEG (including MPEG4 / DivX at high-resolution), VGA resolution LCD, standard VGA output for viewing movies, etc on larger screens, it actually works really well as a VOIP skype phone over WiFi (just turn it upsidedown and put your ear over the D-Pad - the mic is near the top). You can put a good browser like Opera on it, and with the VGA display you can surf the net far, far better than with a cell phone. It also has both SD and CF slots, so you can have lots of storage and extra hardware like GPS at the same time.

Oh, and it can play MP3s.

Anyway, I would take a device with maximum portability and flexibility. An iPod can be cajoled into doing other things, but if listing to music isn't 95% of what you'll be using the device for, I'd take a PDA instead.

Dan East

Don't count on AC. (1)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350607)

First time I went abroad, I brought all sorts of gadgets with me: a mini-television to watch all the exotic foreign shows (before I understood the difference between NTSC, NTSC-J and PAL), a MiniDisc recorder to take "audio" photos of different places (worked out nicely), a laptop to "do work" (ended up using it as a glorified travel diary). The camera was low-tech film, so no worries about backing up files. I also brought a portable immersion water heater [amazon.com] to boil noodles or make pasta.

The second time I went, I brought the heater, the camera and the minidisc recorder. The heater had adapters for nearly every kind of AC socket, so that was fine. The other two relied on batteries. The key was that they could use simple, easy-to-find batteries (AA's, primarily). I wouldn't want to be at the mercy of a rechargeable battery for anything really important because you'll have to cart around a bunch of adapters, but more importantly, if the batteries die you have to wait a number of hours before you can use your little slice of technology again. (Sorry, iPod).

The more low-tech, the higher the reliability. No-tech gadgets like travel journals (with real paper) might cramp up your hand, but at least they'll work in the middle of the jungle.

duct tape - a necessity (3, Insightful)

Madman (84403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350611)

Don't go backpacking without a 1/4 roll of duct tape. You can make splints and bandages out of it, bodge just about anything, oh - and patch up your laptop after you drop it in a hostel fight.

From experience Hotel = Laptop, Hostel = pad of paper

Don't forget that travel is about experience, not about having your nose stuck in a computer. If you're going to do that, stay home - it's cheaper.

Ditch the laptop (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350633)

Without knowing your exact travel plans it's difficult to make a recommendation, but I'd certainly consider leaving the laptop at home. I was on the fence about bringing a laptop with me when we went to Europe for about 2-3 weeks. I'm glad I didn't, as you'd just worry about it getting stolen the whole time. If you're sticking to major cities, most hostels have internet connections to use for free or cheaply, and internet cafes are still common. In Rome we found a place that does your laundry for you (!!) while you use the computers. You'll have to get used to the different keyboard layouts in each country, but it's not too difficult when you get the hang of it.

If you're a shutterbug, I HIGHLY recommend a camera that takes AA batteries. Sometimes power outlets are difficult to come by, and you need converters to get anything to work anyway (although you can just fit a different set of prongs on your iPod and MacBook chargers, they accept all the input voltages you'll encounter natively). Take multiple flash cards, not one giant card. We scoured Rome with a guy we just met looking for the flash card he lost somewhere that day. It had every picture he'd taken for his entire 2 month trip on it. I took 3 cards in rotation, uploading them to a server I set up whenever I found a place with a fast internet connection (rarer than you'd hope).

My handheld GPS unit was invaluable for striking out on your own, but you can't take it anywhere. Keep a compass and a basic map with you at all times, if at all possible. You will get lost.

I'd leave behind everything you possibly can. Most people over-pack and end up ditching stuff along the way. If you're not going to use something at least 4-5 times a week over a 1yr trip, leave it. If you end up needing it, you can always get it there.

Have fun!

Anything and Everything (1)

pz (113803) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350635)

While a fresh-faced junior in college, I took a tour of Europe. One day, I left my camera in what I thought was a secure place. It was stolen, and along with it went all of my exposed film. Today, while film is essentially dead, the spectre of catastrophic loss looms even larger because it's even more convenient than before to store all of your information in one place, like your laptop.

Therefore, my advice is, no matter what devices you plan to bring with you, take pains to have multiple copies of your data (photos, songs, whatever) and keep them physically separated to reduce the likelihood that both would get stolen at the same time. I use a laptop drive in an external USB enclosure as backup storage when traveling. Professional photographers have a mantra-like phrase, "protect the take," that means to guard the captured data.

One thing I would recommend..... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350643)

.... Is one of these Travel Plug Adapters from Kensington:

http://us.kensington.com/html/5519.html [kensington.com]
http://us.kensington.com/html/7207.html [kensington.com]

They allow you to plug in any device that does voltage conversion (check your AC adapter before you leave to make sure it does) into any outlet. That way you don't have to walk around with a ton of cables.

Also, if you're an Apple Fanboy, Apple has the World Travel Adapter Kit that does the same thing with the power adapters that come with iPods, iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks, MacBook Pros.

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/A ppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?mco=1F805214&nplm=M8794G%2F B [apple.com]

All of these are light and don't take up a lot of space.

Something like a Zaurus (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350665)

I did this in Europe in 2004. I took a Zaurus SL-5500 ($200 off eBay) and a wireless CF card ($40 off a LUG member). I ran Kismet and had the standard ssid "linksys" and "default" preconfigured. (BTW, the best open wifi was next to the Pompidou in Paris.)

Checked my email, posted to my blog, looked up public transit routes, checked train times, etc. Never paid for Internet cafes.

The Zaurus (or like device) is small enough to not notice, has a lanyard loop, and is reasonably durable thanks to the hard screen cover. There must be something more modern now, but that's what I would do.

Unlocked GSM Treo... (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350693)

I strongly recommend you not carry a laptop while backpacking. You will not use it much, and it will be a 10 lb (w/ accessories) monkey on your back the entire trip. You'll never be able to leave it anywhere.

An unlocked GSM treo with a travel power adapter and a cheap 2 gig SD card or two should provide ample storage for maps and such, and all the connectivity you're likely to want via locally-purchased sim cards. This and an ultra-compact digicam that takes SD cards (and has a multi-voltage charger) is all the technology I'd pack for such a trip. Keep the electronics pocketable and under a kilogram in total or ditch them entirely.

-Isaac

Cyber cafes are everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350697)

Don't bring a laptop, you'll just stress about it. Travel as light as you can. After a few months every extra pound feels like 10.
I would highly recommend you go with the clothes you have on your back (plus extra socks and underwear) and buy what you need locally. This gives you have a natural reason to talk to european sales girls and you end up looking less like a tourist, which is nice.

Btw don't get a money belt, they are an amazing hassle, just keep your cash and passport in your front pocket.

Enjoy.

Why are you listening to music when backpacking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18350715)

I can't understand it. You want to see the world, yet you want to bring along some music to listen to. Ditch the safety blankets and listen to the world around you.

Also WTF is up with taking your laptop? a) you're going to be worried it will be stolen, b) you're going to scramble around looking for power, c) why do you need to surf slashdot when hiking, d) you're going to piss off the locals with your technology, e) why are you going hiking again?

Smart GSM 'Phone (1)

dunsurfin (570404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350763)

If you are backpacking you want to take something that you deal with loosing or breaking. You want something that you can keep in an ordinary pocket. My advice would be a smart GSM ‘phone with Bluetooth (and maybe WiFi).

I choose a Sony Ericsson P910. The camera is good enough for blogging. I can type away e-mails on the keyboard. GSM works most places in the world. T-Mobile offers a $5 a month data plan that lets me surf the web (slowly) from all over the globe.

Plug in a memory card and you have a device you can read ebooks on (travel guides and books you meant to read that never got round to). Carry a bluetooth GSM device and your ‘phone now is every map you would need to bring.

Get a USB thumb drive that also works with your memory cards. That way you can easy transfer data from your ‘phone to PCs in a Internet café.

Ideally choose devices that charge from USB ports. This cuts down on the number of chargers you need.

Some tech gear I carry (3, Informative)

theguru (70699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350775)

I practice lightweight backpacking, but I still sometimes carry some tech gear with me, especially if its multi-purpose.

My TMobile MDA Windows Mobile phone (HTC Wizard in other markets) - Cell phone, web access (if I'm in an area with coverage), PocketPC applications for keeping logs, reading eBooks, listening to mp3s & podcasts, and I sometimes leave the camera at home and just use the built in camera in the phone.

Pair the phone with a bluetooth GPS (I use a Pharos 500 in a GPS-BTII cradle) and a good mapping application for the PocketPC makes the phone/PDA serve another purpose. I carry a compass and topo map, and I know how to use them, but I rarely ever do if I have the GPS with me.

Solio photovoltaic charger (http://www.solio.com/v2/) - I love this thing... it has a built in battery that can be pre-charged from a wall socket, and then you can keep it charged from the sun. You can get tips to charge most of the major cell phones, but it comes with the common ones, a miniUSB, a female USB, and a car charger port (so you can charge anything you've ot a car charger for, if you feel like lugging those cables around). My phone/pda and GPS will all charge from USB or MiniUSB. A full day with this strapped to the top of my pack is enough to fully recharge my phone/pda.

5.8oz for the PDA, 2.3oz for the GPS, and 5.6oz for the Solio charger. All my tech needs in under a pound, with some earbuds and misc cables.

I have a base weight (backpack, clothes, shelter, sleeping bag, first-aid kit, water filter, and misc gear) minus consumables (fuel for my stove, water, and food) under 8lbs, including my "Geek Gear". I've used this loadout for up to a month at a time, with limited resupply.

If you are going to take mp3players/cameras.. (1)

icecow (764255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350781)

If you are going to take mp3players/cameras..

take ones that use AA or AAA batteries. That way you wont get stuck with the bulk and restrictions, and hastles of chargers.

Buy a 20 pack of AA batteries every once in awhile and be done with it.

a 2 or 4 gig memory card in a good 4.0 megapixel camera will take about 1500 or 3000 pictures. not switching memory chips means not losing them.

I buy AA cameras most of the time so it will continue to work without having to buy a new lion battery every 2 years. the li-on batteries go bad after 2 years no matter how much or little you use them.

Don't forget your towel... (1)

whoppo (218875) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350809)

... while difficult to classify as a gadget, a towel is the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker (or international backpacker) can have...

Just think of the potential uses... ...you can wrap a towel around you for warmth... ...you can lie on a towel... ...you can sleep under a towel... ...you can use a towel to sail a miniature raft... ...you can wrap a towel around your head to ward off noxious fumes... ...you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal... ...you can dry yourself with a towel (if it's still clean enough)...

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value... The possession of a towel gives the casual observer an impression that you are on your way to some place in which they imagine one might need a towel. They may assume you initially set out with other items as well, and may be more inclined to allow one to "borrow" said items, since they are under the impression that you probably left home with said items and have momentarily misplaced them. You do not appear to the casual observer to be someone who is incompetent and unprepared for what life has to offer. Instead of appearing to be a leech on society, you appear to be a responsible adventurer who may occasionally merely fall upon hard times. The uninformed is more prone to assist you after first glance. In fact, waving a towel about can be almost as advantageous an act for a male hitchhiker as flashing a nice set of legs can be for a female hitchhiker.

It can be said that anyone 'will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the [world], rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.'

And whatever happens... Don't Panic!

                                                -- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Stay with one bag that you can carry on. (1)

thumper666 (722064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350813)

Do not, under any circumstances, ever check any luggage.

EVER EVER EVER.

Take one bag that you can carry on, and NEVER let it out of your sight, otherwise you're going to have to pay a fee, tip, or bribe in order to get it back. Local cops are often in league with the local criminals to prey on travelers.

Agreed on getting rid of the iPod, it's useless for doing much of anything without coaxing. Get a media player that supports dumping photos to it like an iRiver. Ditch the laptop and get a PDA with USB and wireless.

If you take a media player, you should not ever be listening to it or have it out in a non-secure area like in a bus station or walking down the street.

If you're *really* going to the backwoods of nowhere, a solar charger may be good.

Mail back any souvenirs, don't carry them with you.

iPod? Laptop? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18350817)

Instead of an iPod, if you need music on the road, get a CD player or an AM/FM radio. When you need to listen to weather reports an FM radio will be more useful than an iPod. A camera is a good idea but think about the total number of pictures you need to take. Even if you only take 10 pictures a day, that's over 3000 pictures you'll be going through once you get back. Are you really going to do that? Is it useful in any way?

I wouldn't bother with a tripod or an SLR camera. Carry something like the equivalent of a Canon Elph. Small, lightweight.

And for god's sakes don't take a laptop.
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