“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Flash traveling with Red. That is the name of the Facebook page associated with this site. Flash traveling alludes to two things: First, the fact that my traveling trips are short and they are over in a flash. Second, it also refers to my flashpacking style of traveling. This post will talk more about the latter. So what is flashpacking?  According to knowledgeable websites out there, flashpacking is the same as backpacking, but with fancier gear. Some other sites define it as backpacking on a bigger budget. Wikipedia’s take on it: Flashpacking.

Today’s post will then talk about what kind of gear goes into my pack. What are the must-have items and what are those I can do without. Hopefully, you will get some good ideas on what to carry with you when traveling. At the very least, you will have a right laugh discovering how obsessive I can get with my packing habits.

  • Asus EEE PC. This sleek little piece of work is a netbook to die for. It comes equipped with Intel dual core processors, a video card (on a netbook?!! meh) and enough juice to run for up to 5 hrs.  It is an upgrade from my 2.5 year old trusty Lenovo S-10. Back then, I was deciding between this Asus EE PC and the Lenovo S-10C when the HK service staff remarked, “I’m wondering why you would prefer to pick a Chinese brand over a Taiwanese brand.”

  • The Elecom Grast wireless laser optical mouse is useful for when I need to surf. At 9x5cm, it’s easy to store inside my pack. I suck at using touchpads, and a mouse is always useful when I’m on the road playing games
  • Bass speaker from Lifetrons. One needs to have a little bit of music when alone in the hotel room. Plugged into my HTC or netbook, this Swiss designed mini bass speaker blasts music that adds some life to an otherwise quiet room. Of course I have my earphones too for those long bus rides.

  • Durable anti-damage camera. Olympus U-tough. I use this because it is 1.5m shockproof, 5m waterproof and in general can withstand a great deal of punishment.  I can probably use it as weapon to smack potential muggers too. The only drawback is it’s lousy shutter lag.
  • Together with the Olympus camera, I bring along the underwater casing PT-048 whenever I might hit up a diving spot. It goes up to 40m depth. It’s a bit bulky, and since I’m a stickler for light gear, I leave this behind unless I know I’m going for some dives.

  • LED headlamp from Soundtech Electronic. It’s from a consumer electronics company and I got it at Challenger. Why they sell headlights is anyone’s guess, but at a third of the price of other brands, it’s a sweet deal.
  • HTC Tattoo. OK, I’m not proud of this, it’s not the latest gadget available out there, but it functions well enough. It’s due an upgrade soon though. =)
  • Multi-plug adaptor. This is essential and I got a nice portable one from MSD. All those electronics above need charging up and so I normally have a couple of these.
  • Mini compass and thermometer. I can be a klutz finding my way around, but I am pretty good with maps. Give me a map and a compass and I’ll get from Point A to Point B. So this Coleman compass is essential and one of my most important pieces of gear.

  • Collapsible bowl and utensils from Tupperware. For those longer trips where I end up cooking my own meals. It’s compact, fits snugly into my backpack pockets and mighty useful whenever I need a container.

  • Electric kettle. Again, for extended trips, this ends up being my best friend. Boil water? Check. Make tea? Check. Cook noodles? Check. I even use it to boil eggs.

  • Number coded Ziploc bags. To prevent losing things when I move from one place to another, I pack my stuff by putting them into Ziploc bags. Besides keeping things waterproof, it also gives me a quick way to keep track of everything. Pack 1: Clothing (Tops & undergarments). Pack 2: Clothing (Bottoms ).  Pack 3: Dirty clothes. Pack 4: Wires and charging appliances. Pack 5: Miscellaneous items like nylon rope, mosquito coils, mini sealed bags. Pack 6: Toiletries bag. Pack 7: First aid kit. Whenever I pack, I will do a roll-call of all my packs. I should have 7 at all times, and if you have traveled somewhere with me, you will probably know that it’s almost obsessive compulsive the way I keep counting my packs!

So that’s it. Some other things that I cannot live without are: Dental floss, a USB drive, trunks & goggles. Other must-haves for extended travel are sleeping bags, windbreakers and either the 36 or 50 litre backpack.

What are your traveling must-have items?