This post is part 4 of 4 in the series Best of 2017

We continue to use and love top travel gear from years past, including Eric’s Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, our Mahabis slippers, our DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone, and our Brinno time-lapse video dash cam as our road trip travel adventure through the Americas continues. Now we present our list of top travel gear of the year for 2017 including our “magic shirts” (we won’t travel without them), the best truck shades yet, amazing off-roading maps, and more.

Top Travel Gear of the Year 2017

Sun protection for us and for our truck.

Enovoe is a company that makes baby products, so what the heck are we doing with their stuff on our road trip? Well, babies don’t like to bake in the sun in vehicles and neither do we so we bought Enovoe cling sunshades and they really work. They cling well yet come on and off the windows easily when necessary without leaving any mess behind, and they really block the sun. They also block the view and they don’t cling well if the shades or the windows get dusty, but a quick wipe down fixes that problem. We also put these shades up in all the windows whenever we park the truck to help reduce sun damage to the interior.
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Lewis N Clark immersion coil

This immersion coil is dual voltage.

We’ve traveled with an immersion coil for years. It’s a small, cheap, genius gadget for boiling water for tea, instant soup, and instant coffee and that comes in very handy when we’re traveling in cold places where a hot beverage is always welcome. The problem is, our immersion coil is 110 volt and many South American countries are 220 volt so for more than a year we have been without an immersion coil. Then we got a Lewis N Clark immersion coil which has a range of 120 volt to 240 volt which means we can use it wherever we roam. 


Wearing our Patagonia R1 layer

Us in our 17 year old “magic shirts” in Ecuador.

We call our Patagoina R1Fleece Pullovers “magic shirts” because the Regulator Fleece is lightweight, durable, and compressible and because the shirts keep us warm on their own or as a base layer in a wide range of climates. We’ve been traveling with R1 Fleece Pullovers since 2001, when we bought them at Patagonia’s annual Avalanche Sale in New York City. We still use those original shirts, now 17 years old. That’s us, above, wearing our original R1s in Ecuador (the caps were borrowed) We added a newer version of the R1 a few years ago. This year we’ll move on to our third round of Patagonia R1 Fleece Pullovers and we’d never dream of traveling anywhere without them. 
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Viajeros 4x4 maps

These maps are almost too detailed, but we rely on them when we get off road.

This one’s a freebie. If you are driving in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, or Southern Peru and you plan on doing any exploring or off-roading off the beaten path,these downloadable GPS maps from Viajeros Mapas 4X4 are indispensable. They’re extremely detailed and they include just about every road, dirt track, 4×4 track, and trail that exists throughout the region. We were tipped off to these maps by Fabrizio Ghilardi, owner of Socompa Travel, when he was helping us plan an amazing off-road drive through a remote corner of the Puna de Argentina. As per his recommendation, we downloaded the maps to our phone and a remote and unsigned route, which would have been impossible to explain, was suddenly easy to navigate. The maps are regularly updated, but the site is only in Spanish. 


Canon 7d body

Eric’s trusty sidekick.

Running around a city, trekking through the rain, shooting in sandy and dusty conditions…our little road trip is pretty hard on Eric’s camera bodies. A nearly destroyed Canon 80D was recently retired after many years of us, so he needed a new 2/3-sensor body to complement his full-frame Canon 6D so he got a new Canon 7D Mark II which is holding up to the rigors of the road. Now the only question is which body will he get this year now that the 6D needs to be retired… 
Buy on Amazon  |   Buy on B&H Photo


Use Buff as camera protector

Yet another use for a Buff.

Buffs are great. They keep your neck warm, can be used as a headband, and can be pulled up over your head for extra warmth or sun protection. We now present one more thing that a Buff can do: In dusty situations, slide your camera and lens inside a Buff and secure it with a rubber band around the lens to protect your kit against grit. Eric has a Buff shoved into his camera bag at all times.
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Lately we’ve been using a lot. It lists many budget and mid-range hotels in Latin America and while the site is ugly to look at we find it easy to use to learn crucial details about a property and make bookings. We were also impressed with how customer service reps at handled our complaint about a hotel in La Paz, Bolivia that we’d booked through the site which then proceeded to try to scam us into paying hotel tax which foreigners are exempt from paying in Bolivia. Not only did the customer service rep help us clarify the true law, they also contacted the hotel and made a note in the property’s file about the complaint which they seemed genuinely concerned about. 
Use this link and get $20 off your first stay


Hydro Flask insulated coffee flasks

Coffee time.

In 2014 we ditched our plastic water bottles and switched to Hydro Flask stainless steel insulated bottles. In 2017 we added Hydro Flask insulated coffee flasks to the mix. If the coffee doesn’t wake you up, the color sure will…
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Polysporin for travel

Our go everywhere cure-all.

The key to packing smart is taking only essentials and trying to choose stuff that does double duty. A tube of Polysporin is small, lightweight, and does triple duty. Of course, it’s great at healing cuts, scrapes, and burns but it’s also fantastic at healing chapped lips and dry cuticles. A tube is always with us.
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 Squish collapsible colander

Small and useful.

Because we travel in a truck we have room for things like a collapsible colander which is handier than you think because shared kitchen facilities in hotels and hostels often don’t have this piece of kitchen gear and even some apartments we’ve rented don’t have a colander in the kitchen. Our Squish collapsible colander is a sturdy mix of silicone and hard plastic, it works great and it flattens down to the dimensions of a dinner plate when not in use. Our only complaint is that the holes are a bit too big for rinsing rice or barley.
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Travel with Gold Bond powder

Traveling to a hot climate? Pack this.

When traveling to steamy climates, don’t forget to take some original Gold Bond powder with you. It’s tingly and cooling and helps avoid chafing. 
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APC in-line surge protectors

Better safe than sorry.

Since this is a working road trip we spend a lot of time working on our laptops, often in countries with surge-prone electrical supplies. Yes, we have a big boxy surge protector, but as a back up to that and as the first line of defense in situations when our huge surge protector isn’t in use, we rely on these nifty APC in-line surge protectors. When added to your existing computer power cord they insert a level of surge protection. Before you order, be sure to check how many prongs (2 or 3) your power cord has.
Buy on Amazon  |  Buy on B&H Photo


Series Navigation:Best of the Trans-Americas Journey 2017 – Best Food & Beverages >>

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