In englishEesti keeles

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

TOP 10: Equipment

We all need travel equipment from time to time and it's good to know what works. The following is my top 10 of useful pieces of equipment as proven by actual travels on land and by sea. The order is, of course, relative and depends on the nature of the trip. For example, satellite communicators won't be necessary when you are in an area with cell phone coverage. Likewise, the usefulness of every other item noted here depends directly on the nature of the trip.

DeLorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator
This has been unbelievably reliable and useful so far. It is also possible to order it online if not found in Estonian stores. Cheaper than you'd expect. A bit time-consuming for independent use but really seamless when paired with a phone. Allows positioning and the option save the lost Amphibear by exchanging text messages. I was able to test its water resistance when I fell in the water with a case in my hands and the DeLorme in my pocket. It passed this test successfully. DeLorme's website allows for continuous exporting of location information and therefore Metrotec has connected its tracking device information with DeLorme's information. It is possible to buy rescue insurance when signing the contract, so the owner of the device can be rescued anywhere around the world within 72 hours in case there's any serious trouble.

Led Lenser SEO 7 R Headlamp
A useful tool in case of an unexpected breakdown but also just a good companion for nighttime activities. A lot of other headlamps would actually do the trick, too. I really like that fact that it can be charged with a mobile phone charger. I couldn't ask for more if it were also waterproof. Despite not being waterproof, it did survive being used every night on the sea. Convenient to use, emits even light and doesn’t feel heavy while worn on the head.

Aclima merino wool underwear
It is true that it can be worn for two weeks without beginning to smell. To be perfectly honest, it smells a bit like untreated wool even when new, and when worn unwashed, the smell gets a bit stronger. But it’s a pleasant smell. The underwear kept my body nice and warm when the weather was cold and when it was hot, it breathed instead of soaking through like cotton shirts do.

GoPro Hero Black and FineVu HD 500 cameras
Although I haven't really had the chance to upload any videos so far, there wouldn't be too many of them without these two devices. No matter the conditions, you turn them on and you get a sharp and well-lit video. The FineVu dash camera with its continuous recording allows the moments when you forgot to turn something on to be documented. Good recording quality, again.

Keen sandals
They have experienced seawater, damp conditions, sand and mountains. I wore sandals almost daily for four months. No signs of wear and tear or falling apart so far. They dry quickly. Comfortable even when walking for long periods of time. Not meant for sitting still for long. Good for active use.

Sony Xperia Z mobile phone
I chose this phone because of its water resistance, good performance and big screen. The performance and big screen are needed for navigation software. It was essentially the only navigation device in use on land and in water it had a navigation application that duplicated Amphibear's plotter. The phone is surprisingly durable. This, too, was in my pocket when I fell in the sea, and it was water resistant enough for a situation like that. It has slipped from my hand a couple of times and fell on the ground but luckily hasn't broken so far. I certainly would recommend it for water-related trips.

Dromedary 10l water bag
Simple and straightforward – holds 10 litres of water. It is also worth noting that the water doesn't take on any aftertaste even when kept in the bag for a long time in hot weather conditions. Doesn't taste like plastic or anything similar as might easily happen with other bags. It's easy to carry, fill, and empty. It's pretty strong and can withstand being stepped on or dropped. We discovered only halfway through the trip that the bag is just the right size to be used as an air pillow. So, if not needed for holding water, it can be used as a pillow instead. Of course, it feels nicer on the cheek, if you pull a shirt over it before making use of it as a pillow.

SealLine Baja Bag 30l dry bag
At the beginning of the trip, the dry bags were not in use and packed in some other bags instead. However, starting from Cape Verde they were used more often. If you need a bag where you can quickly store your essential things to take with you to the hotel, a bag you can use for support when swimming from the boat to the shore all while keeping the equipment and clothes from getting wet, and use as a carry-on item on the plane and is sure to fit in the overhead luggage compartment, then this is the right choice. This bag has been used for all that. And when somebody asks you in Cape Verde where you got this really cool bag, then in that case its appearance won't put you to shame, either. I don't think I would be taking this bag on my future business trips, but now and again it might have a place at the bottom of another bag. You never know when you're going to need something water resistant again.

Basic all-in-one kits
Quite often seemingly useless home toolkits were all used surprisingly frequently in the car. For example, a screwdriver kit that dated back to the Soviet times and hadn't been used since was used as a chisel, lever, and for screws, of course. A Leatherman knife was always in the door pocket of the car and when the primary equipment was inaccessible, the knife's several functions became the primary equipment. A hiking axe with an iron handle worked perfectly as an axe, hammer, and lever. Multifunctionality has its place while traveling and this is where the convenience of carrying and purpose of the tool come to play. In the end, only the products that were durable in all possible situations left a positive impression.

Moving straps, cable clips, tapes and glues
No matter how many of these you take, you'll always fall short of them on a specialised trip. I used Hydroscand's rather strong moving straps and at any given moment around a couple dozen were simultaneously in use. They were used to secure the equipment, to perform unavoidable repairs, and for a makeshift securement of the mattress (to prevent it from falling off the boxes). Cable clips and tape were indispensable when it came to unavoidable repairs. Henkel's self-amalgamating tape, which doesn't leave a layer of adhesive but forms a water-resistant and rather uniform cover, is especially good. It's a bit difficult to use in confined spaces but that's the only drawback. I also had several Henkel glues. Plastic adhesives and two-component metal and plastic-filled adhesive sticks were used most often. The only complaint would be that quite often the glues aren't packaged for light traveling.

Of course, there was a lot more equipment. Equipment that was not listed here worked fine, too. That's to be expected on a trip like this: the equipment was mostly by name brands and designed for these kinds of trips. The Top 10 was compiled of products that were of help in a critical situation or worked surprisingly well during the trip.

Translated by Luisa Translation Agency