This post is part 4 of 4 in the series Best of 2010

We just realized that the Trans-Americas Journey’s four year anniversary of active road trip travel (not counting various planned and unplanned recesses since we embarked in April of 2006) just sort of slipped by this month (hey, we’ve been busy!). That got us looking back at the best of the past 1,500 or so days of travel including the travel gear we’ve used and loved the most since day one. In no particular order, here’s our …

Top Travel Gear after four years on the road

Costa del Mar sunglasses

Costa del Mar sunglasses

Our Costas have literally been on our faces (or pushed up on the tops of our heads or dangling around our necks) almost every single day since we started our road trip and there’s not a scratch on our 580 series lenses or a loose screw in sight. We’re about to put these watersport-specific sunglasses (the lenses cut glare and improve vision on the water) through their paces double-time when we board the Aggressor III in Belize for a week on the water and some hardcore liveaboard SCUBA diving. We’ll fit right in since 99.9% of the guides and boat captains we’ve met during our 2.5 months of travel from tip to tail in Belize wear Costas too…


SteriPen water purifierSteriPEN water purifying wand

There’s no telling how many gallons of water we’ve purified over the past four years–especially since leaving the US and Canada in 2009 and entering Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize where tap water does not equal drinking water. This thing is tiny, easy to use (can you push a button?), quick (60 seconds), and chemical/yucky taste free since it uses UV light to zap the belly busters. Another plus? Imagine the money we’d have spent and the mountain of plastic water bottles we would have left in our wake during the past four years if we’d been buying commercially purified water instead of using our SteriPEN. Here’s more about why we love our SteriPEN.


Pacsafe MetroPacsafe anti-theft “securse”

Karen’s Pacsafe Metro 200 shoulder bag is a nylon bag reinforced with lockable zippers and an unslashable wire-filled strap. It’s certainly secure (that’s why she calls it her “securse”). It’s also durable, easy to wipe clean and it holds a ton including:

1 bottle of hand sanitizer
our cell phone in a snug sleeve which protects the screen
multiple pens and notebooks
1 Lonely Planet pocket guide to Spanish (yes, we still cheat)

our car alarm keyfob and keys to the truck
2 packs of chewing gum
Canon S95 digital camera
1 mini tripod (found along the way)
1 Tide Stain Stick (indispensable)
2 different lip balms
Trans-Americas Journey business cards and stickers (yes, we have stickers)
breath mints
2 packets of pocket-size tissues
1 dispenser of Visine dry-eye relief drops
1 in-country cell phone
1 tough-as-nails SureFire flashlight
3 packs of matches
1 mini Totes umbrella (also found along the way)
4 individually packed Ya! bug repellent wipes
1 Canary Wireless Digital Hotspot Wi-Fi Finder
assorted toothpicks
1 sewing kit
2 mini emery boards
pocket-size dental floss dispensers 


Cocoon lightweight/warm night sleeping bag

Sure we’ve got hardcore sleeping bags but most of the time south of the border it’s too warm for them. That’s when we go for our Cocoon Silk Tropic Traveler mated with a zip in silk sleep sheet to create a double bag with two different weights. Put the lightly poly-filled side up on cool nights, put the silk-sheet side up on warmer nights. We loved having this lightweight (less than a pound) option when we packed down into Havasu Falls in Arizona for a few nights of camping and, most recently, we broke it out in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize (the world’s first jaguar preserve). It’s also ideal on dodgy beds.


Point 6 sockspoint6 super socks

Wet or dry, short or tall, thick or thin, our wardrobe of point6 merino wool socks (made by the folks who started SmartWool but at a way more affordable price) have gotten us through steamy cities, up Half Dome, through caves, down into the Grand Canyon (from both rims) and back up again. They even work in Eric’s cowboy boots and his fancy-time loafers. The magic is in the wool. Feet (even Eric’s baby-soft feet) stay comfy and blister-free even if the socks are wet and we can wear the same pair for days and they don’t get stinky. Honest.



KINeSYS Sunscreen

No stinging in the eyes.  No oil slick on your skin. And no sunburn. This non-aerosol (read: no waste) spray-on super water resistant sunscreen is the reason neither of us has gotten sunburned during the course of our Journey.


Some of these products were provided to us for use and review.

Series Navigation:Best of the Trans-Americas Journey 2010 – Best Hotels >>

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