I like my gadgets... I own too many, the items I buy are usually small, light and unfortunately expensive. Above is a Creative Zen Vision W
- top of my wishlist, a photo, video, audio media center - an iPod killer, next to it is a Rio Forge Sport my current MP3 player. I also own a black diamond head torch, a travel guitar, a leatherman wave and a water purification filter, a sony laptop and a portable solar panel - for recharging all the gadgets I drag around....
So what gadgets are you packing? which ones are worth the weight?
And now the science bit... well sort of - a quick travelblog how to. How to use travelblog to store images like those above for use in blogs.
1. Create a blog entry - don't publish it. Call it something like photo box - save it.
2. Manage photos - use this interface to upload your miscellaneous images that you want to use in the forum or other blogs.
3. Find out the url's of the images (right click on the image) - show image. Copy the url (in the address bar - in this case http://img1.travelblog.org/Photos/212/8526/t/558675-Creative-Zen-Vision-W-0.jpg
4. Use [img=your_url] to place images in your blog or forum post.
Ali, how did you keep your images in their original size? Mine were upscaled by the picture upload interface. Anyway, these utensils are indispensable when it comes to bag packing:
My trusty Canon EOS300 is running on its eight year now. It has taken a number of beatings being thrown and pushed in under countless "seat in front of you" pockets and even though I dipped it in the Aral Sea once she is still serving me proudly.
As you can tell I'm quite the late adopter. I converted to mp3 player a year ago and have been using the Creative MuVo since then. Its main saving grace is that it frees up a tremendous amount of space in my daypack, removing the extra weight of a portable Sony CD-player and two Case Logic 24-packs of cds. Being lightweight and flash memory it has also survived many inadvertent drops to the floor, and of course I don't have to worry about having my precious cds lost or broken. A careful selection of songs means that 1Gb is more than enough, but I will probably replace it with another higher capacity player in the future.
And like Mr. Bean, you really cannot have too many pens and pencils...
> Ali, how did you keep your images in their original size?
The same happened to mine - but I used the 120px preview version of the photo (before the popup) - eg. http://img2.travelblog.org/Photos/4964/90090/s/570899-Creative-MuVo-200-0.jpg (notice the s instead of the t in the url).
I went from a CD case of about 24cds and a CD player (2002), to an MP3 CD Player (2002-2004) and 3 or 4 cds to finally the very small flash based Rio Forge MP3 player (2005) - saved so much space and weight! - which of course I now fill with other gadgets
I carry a Cowon iAudio X5, which is a similar I-pod killer as the Creative Zen Vision W. The 30Gb is enough space for me to have half my record collection (about 150CD:s) in mp3 and Ogg. I also have two full length movies, some thirthy small movies, 5000 photos, Radio, audio recorder, microphone, camera connecting device and I can view notes I 've written in Windows note pad. It's a roaring little gadget, a digital treasure-box with memories and emotions attached. It's something you don't want to loose or break..
A shaver I found very useful too, instead of carrying razorblades, foam and all that timeconsuming stuff. A good shaver doesn't have to be that heavy and if you already carry electronical gear that neads to be charched you most probably carry some sort of transformer for different sockets and wallplugs.
The mini-solarpannel you carry Ali, how powerful is it? Do you have too load it for days just to keep your mp3 player going for an extra song or two? Or do you only hold it out in the sun for a couple of minutes so that you later during the night can run the local bar's soundsystem? How big and bulky is it?
All the best, everyone.
My favorite is actually my smart phone. I can get internet nearly anywhere, decent photos, tons of videos and music and international calling if I choose. I just use my in-ear stage monitors for headphones (Shure EC-3's).
All I carry is a camera and a tri-band mobile phone. My i-pod only lasted a few weeks in West Africa! Not a good advert for ipod. The mobile is very useful, you can change the SIM card in each country - it saves a lot of money on the very expensive International roaming charges.
I wouldn't carry anything else, unless you know of a handheld device that can do everything that a laptop can.
In addition to camera, cellphone (which sees more use as an alarm clock than a communications device), and flash memory MP3 player, I have a small Iogear USB card reader so I don't need to carry any camera cables with me. It also needs no drivers (for 99% of operating systems ...)
However good old pen and paper would top my list of indispensable technology.
I thought I was the only one carrying around a phone for the alarm clock! Sadly, I somehow managed to kill the battery charger, and since I'm too cheap to shell out on a budget alarm clock, I've just been oversleeping everyday. Heh heh. I think that will have to change before long, though.
My laptop (MacBook) has been pretty indispensible so far - though that's largely because I work from the road, and it saves me a lot of hassle (and money) when I can plop down in some plaza and find free WiFi. As much as it's nice to have for different photo capabilities, too, I'd probably leave it behind if I didn't absolutely need it. It's just a bit of an emotional drain to always have something so valuable to worry about, knowing that for all my vigilance, one careless mistake can cost me 1500 bucks.
Oh, and far as the weight goes: this puppy's about 5 lbs., which is a full HALF of what my old PC was. Toting that thing through Mexico for two months was the main reason I decided to buy a new computer. My back really appreciates it.
And I second grantcorp about the mp3 player (though I'm sure we all share the same sentiment). After awhile, hauling around my discman and Case Logic cases, I just thought to myself, "What sort of savage are you? Get into the new millennium already!" mp3's have saved my life!
Travel better. Travel Gator.
> The mini-solarpannel you carry Ali, how powerful is it?
It's pretty new so I'm still experimenting - here's a link to the product - Brunton Solar Roll 14
I'm supposed to be studying for an exam now, but I'm finding many very efficient methods of procrastination.
Hey Ali, I'm pretty interested in your travel guitar! I travelled for about 3.5months before and I really really missed playing guitar. I had also become pretty rusty the two or three times that I came across a guitar while travelling... needless to say I was slightly embarrassed as I'm not THAT bad :P I'm planning on getting one for upcoming travels. How much are they, how big, where can I get them and are they durable?
I don't really care if it's crap... as long as it makes sound!
To the far left is the Martin Backpacker Guitar (my guitar), weighs about 700g (~2lbs) features a full length neck (almost) and sounds good, if a little tinny. To it's right is the Hohner G3T Guitar, very similar size, electric, based on the Stienberger system you'll notice that the neck has no machine heads. I found my martin backpacker in Norwich (England) in a guitar shop 2 days before leaving to travel back in 2002, an impulse buy that I've never rgreted! I've seen one other - in a shop window in Bangkok, and only seen one guitar that would be better, a custom made job from a guy in Switzerland. More information than you ever wanted?
Of course if all you guitar playing travelers just played the fiddle, life would be so much easier...problem is I've decided my fiddle is too nice to chuck about in planes so I am taking a cheap 'beginers' one (a stentor for any one interested) so I wouldn't be broken hearted if it got wrecked but I can still have a tune. But it is times like these that I wished I played the whistle. It remind me of a story of a piper friend who always takes his 'small pipes' away...in a mortar case which is fantastic protection but gives him now end of fun at air ports, especially when x rays show up loads of tubes, weird looking bellows and straps....
Are palm tops a good idea...? are there any simple ones that just do word processing and photo saving and something to plug into another computor, i.e what is the simplest thing for using for this kind of blog that would be independent...?
MP3 player is a must - my 3 year old ipod has done well for 5 months on the road now. And I'll echo everyone elses sentiments about a Mobile phone as alarm clock - a word of warning, we converted to orange pay as you go before travelling - no service from Russia, through Mongolia, China, Vietnam or Cambodia, and we just got back in touch with the world yesterday, upon arriving in Thailand.
As we carry the above items, we invested in a solar charger, ours is called the Solio, and it has a lead for Ipod and Phone. I can get 4 ipod charges out of 1 solar charge. However it takes about 2 days of constant sunshine in the northern hemisphere to get that full charge. It can also be charged from the mains so works well as a back up even when it's cloudy (although I think this defeats the point of it!).
Check out: www.solio.com
P.S. I wouldn't recommend it for long term use in the UK
I never go anywhere without my travel toothbrush called toob which has a refillable toothpaste tube in the handle of the toothbrush, also vital is my Petzl Tikka headlamp (flashlights just don't cut it when you have to go pee outside in the dark).
We can store all of our digital pics, don't have to hurriedly write our missives while on the clock at an internet cafe and when there's wifi...it's pretty handy.
True it's a bit weightier than not having it, but worth it in my humble opinion and since we're in the 15th month of our 16 month voyage, obviously haven't rued the day we decided to cart it along.
Call me an old-fashioned curmudgeonly Luddite, but I think all the cell phones, ipods, laptops, solar panels, etc.... just get in the way of experiencing a place. You might convince me that an instrument like a guitar is a good cultural bridge. But the other tech stuff should be left at home, IMHO.
Plus, its heavy to carry all this stuff. I would wager some of you have or are developing back problems!!
I own an ipod but chose to leave it at home for my 9-month journey. I carry a small, lightweight digital camera, a Canon S-400 Powershot which is sufficient. And I carry a tiny Garmin Gecko 201 gps to catalog remote locations I have visited on treks in the Andes. In truth, I could probably do without the gps, since even the smallest towns have lat/long coordinates available over the web at http://www.fallingrain.com/world
Recently I bought a Sony ICF-SW22 shortwave radio in the La Paz electronics blackmarket so I could get some BBC news now and then, since reading the news on the web isn´t really my idea of fun. Its a quality (though non-digital) compact, lightweight model. But I will probably ditch it when my month-long Spanish study is up and I am on the move again.
Call me non-technical, but my universal sink plug is amazing - I can do my washing, wash my hair wherever I am - so useful because most hostels have never heard of a plug!
And zinc oxide tape is an absolute lifesaver - if you've been walking all day and your feet are red but not at the blister stage just yet, whacking on some zinc oxide tape will have them totally healed by morning. Genius.
Well, since all of my good travel gadgets have already been 'dispensed' of (hunting knife, leatherman tool, mp3 voice recorder, etc.--all disappeared), or have barely even been used (solo mosquito net, water purifier, etc.), I would have to say that my best tool has been my sewing kit. A simple needle and thread is a brilliant investment. Keeps your clothes mended and gives you the ability to modify clothes and backpacks with neat patches and things.
I totally agree that a Star-Trek style mini laptop would be the ultimate travel luxury. In the meantime I would certainly list less gizmos and more comfort items: can you really travel without a therm-a-rest mattress, a petzl and some decent toilet paper? I consider the chaps who are able to carry a cellphone very lucky. Why? It means that while at home they are not too much stressed by the ghastly thing.
Anyway, after seven years at sea and on motorcycle, believe me that the old travellers were right when they said: never carry what you cannot repair.
Don't leave home without your handy swiss knife.
This is the one I got and it is quite light and does the job (mainly uncorking wine). Another useful gadget is the good old compass. Christmas wish: a swiss knife with a compass and a corkscrew.