1. Your smartphone (or iTouch or similar) can be used in place of a bunch of individual travel accessories: maps, GPS, currency exchange converter, translation tool, mp3 player. Make sure you have a fresh backup in the cloud and you should be set. Though, putting too much reliance on a single device can backfire: On a recent press trip to New Brunswick, I ran over my iPhone in the rental car and smashed the screen so badly my data couldn’t be recovered.
2. Iodine tablets (two per quart of water) and a steel canteen like this one from Kleen Kanteen make for drinkable water in most backcountry.
3. An eco-friendly, biodegradable, phosphate-free multipurpose soap to wash your dishes, your clothes, and your body.
4. Mini-first aid kit with these essentials: band-aids, antibiotic cream, anti-nauseants, anti-diarrheals, antihistamines, analgesics, a single-use ice pack, a sterile bandage, and an EpiPen for those who are allergic to bee stings and pad thai.
5. A compact and energy-efficient headlamp that uses LED technology.
6. An immersion water heater can be inserted into a canteen and brings liquids to a boil within minutes. Here’s one for $20.
7. A multipurpose tool is a compact and lightweight way to bring your kit with you. You’ll have easy access to pliers, screwdrivers, a jackknife, a saw blade, and mini-scissors. Models vary. Check out these options from Gerber.
8. A portable solar power kit, like one of these units from GoalZero, so you can charge your electronics anywhere (if it’s sunny).
9. Protect your papers and electronics by storing them in waterproof pouches / drybags. In 2007, I went under the falls at Iguazu in Argentina. We were given drybags by the boat company but I forgot that my passport was in my pants pocket.
10. Bug spray, a mosquito net, and Afterbite. Add anti-malarials where required.
11. A pair of aquasocks — slip-on shoes with non-skid soles to protect your feet in the water. Also can double as shower shoes.
12. Small pump bottle of Febreze to freshen your clothes (in lieu of laundry, if you’re rolling lazy).
13. Socket configurations vary region-to-region, so bring a travel adapter. Choose an all-in-one unit, and make sure it includes a power transformer, or you could blow out your gadgets by using an incompatible voltage.
14. Camera, memory cards.
15. A travel sleep kit with eyeshades, earplugs, and a travel pillow. I also put a sleeve of Gravol in mine to help me sleep on airplanes.