No matter how frequently you travel, be it once a year for the perfect family vacation or every week for a job that takes you to every corner of the planet, you have to accept that something could go wrong. Now, that’s not to say we’re all going to end up like Tom Hanks in Cast Away or Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano or Tom Hanks in The Terminal—man, that dude loves playing unlucky travelers.
But unexpected things happen and while they might give us a great story for when we return home (hopefully not four years later), they can be quite stressful in the moment. That’s why we must invoke the scout motto of “Be prepared” and grab a few portable accessories that will really help us out in a pinch.
A Little Bit of Everything
Many multi-tools won’t make it onto the airplane anymore, at least not in your carryon, which is a problem for those of us who don’t check bags most of the time. As someone who has had to throw out at least three different gadgets in the TSA line, I know the frustration of losing that peace of mind, even if I’ve never had to use one on my trips. (Knock on wood.)
The Geekey Multi-Tool’s greatest advantage is its shape, as it looks like a standard key but is actually way more. This utility gadget is a screwdriver, wrench, can and bottle opener, wire stripper, ruler (metric and imperial), file, and a protractor. There’s even an indentation that can be used as a pipe… for tobacco, obviously.
Your New Best Friend
The original LifeStraw has been a best-seller among the camping crowd for a while now, because its compact size and the ability to just pop it in a river to score fresh water. Of course, that situation might not apply to most travelers, but that still doesn’t mean we don’t need access to drinking water when we least expect it. Especially when we love to make national park excursions part of the itinerary on our Caribbean getaways.
LifeStraw’s Go Water Filter Bottle is the logical choice for more traditional travelers, as it cuts down on plastic dependency in airports and resorts—especially in destinations where you don’t trust the water sources. Best of all, even when you don’t need the filter, you still need a water bottle, so just remove it and do your thing at the gym or park.
When You Lose the Path
If you’re visiting a posh tropical resort, you don’t worry about things like getting lost in the woods. But if you’re venturing into a national park or Costa Rican jungle for a day of hiking, swimming, and exploring, there’s no ceiling on your preparation. There should, however, be a ceiling over your head when the worst happens and the sun sets while you don’t know where you are.
Go Time Gear’s Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter takes up very little luggage space, which is awesome for the carryon-only crowd, but most importantly it’ll keep an aimless wanderer mostly dry should the beaten path disappear. And everyone operates better in the morning after a decent night of sleep.
A Dead Phone is No Good
Nobody beats the drum for the importance of portable chargers like we do, because there’s no worse feeling than your phone dying after a morning of taking photos and video of beautiful beaches and your day isn’t even over yet. The Goal Zero Venture 75 Portable Charger has been one of my favorite devices on trips this year, as its size makes it super convenient but its ability to provide multiple charges (for multiple devices at one time) and its quick recharge time make it a godsend.
But when we’re talking about being out in the great unknown, arguably the best aspect is how this charger than handle the elements and take bumps and drops with aplomb.
Time for a Quick Snooze
Just like the portable tent, the Coalatree Loafer Packable Hammock takes up very little baggage space. In fact, forget emergencies—this one should be in your backpack for any trip, because who doesn’t love a hammock? Find a nice spot on a Maui beach and swing the day away. Or, back to the point, when you’re having trouble getting back to camp and your feet could use a break, this is the best way to do it.
Mainly because the setup time is minutes, if that, and the hardest thing about getting off your feet is remembering how to tie a square knot. Hey, don’t worry, I had to Google it, too.