Epic Travel Moments & Gear That Made it Happen

Megan Lee

Gear: The right kind makes your travels, and life on-the-go, much easier, but the wrong kind makes your travels, well, a pain in the ass.

As you make moves towards your next great expedition, don’t just plan to travel to great places—plan to travel with great gear. Here’s a roundup of some of Team Tortuga & friends’ most epic travel moments and the gear that made them happen, so you can kit out appropriately before you hit the road again. Hat tip to Bluffworks for the article inspiration. Now, onwards!

Conquering the Urban Winter Landscape

Sorel’s Joan of Arc Wedge Boots for Women

Taylor makes the case for a fashion high heeled boot that’s a must have for urban travel. Feeling a little doubtful too? Read on…

“Hear me out. I absolutely LOVE my Sorel Joan of Arctic wedge boots. I wear them every single day during winter in NYC and on rainy spring / summer days as well. Even though they have a heel, they’re just as comfortable as my sneakers. I legitimately walk 3-5 miles a day in these suckers and my feet never hurt afterwards. The boots are unlined, so they’re not crazy warm in the winter, but that’s easily addressed with thick wool socks. They’re my everyday shoes in New York and the pair I’ll wear on the plane if I’m headed to a city with rain in the forecast. Like Dublin.”

Not only do these boots “look like normal, kind-of-stylish shoes,” they’re also waterproof—the perfect pair for cropped kick flare jeans on rainy days. Don’t be surprised if you make like Taylor and “walk through puddles or snow banks just because I can.”


Where to buy them:  Sorel

Cost: Less than $250

Budget alternative: Clark’s Orinoco Spice Black Leather Boot, $110

Musical Festival Game Changer

Nomad Logik Portable Chair

“You want enough energy to stand up and rock to your favorite bands, right? But what about in between?” David knew Glastonbury—the UK’s largest music festival—would be one of the best trips of his life, but also knew he was too lazy (his words, not mine!) to stay on his own two feet the whole time. His solution?

“A friend who’d gone before recommended bringing a portable backpacking chair. This one is the best on the market. It was lightweight and packed down, so I just tossed it in my pack for the trip.”

In case you were wondering, his favorite show from 2017 was the XX. And yes, the chair does come with a cup holder, too.


Where to buy it: Amazon

Cost: Less than $40

Solo Down the Nile, for Ladies

The Outbreaker 45 Backpack

Especially for the ladies reading and prepping for a solo adventure, having the flexibility to keep your belongings on you at all times will improve your mobility when, uhm, “friendly gentlemen” strike. That’s why we recommend traveling light and with a carry on backpack, like Tortuga’s Outbreaker 45.  Packsmith Editor, Jenn, took hers the length of the Nile:

“Last year’s epic trip was a solo adventure for almost a month in Egypt. From the border of Sudan, at lake Nasser, up the Nile by dhabyia, train, and private car. As a woman traveling solo in Egypt, you’re offered a lot of “help” from friendly men. The best thing you can be is in possession of your own gear at all times and able to pick it up easily and walk away. My Tortuga Outbreaker 45 has plenty of room, even for the burka I carried (but didn’t need), and gave me the freedom to chart my own course.


Where to buy it: Tortuga

Cost: Less than $300

Al Fresco Overnight at a Volcano Summit

The Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

Step aside, pashmina scarves. There’s a new multi-functional must-have travel item in town: the Escapist Tarp. It’s made of Waterproof 15-denier silicone/polyurethane-coated Ultra-Sil® Nano fabric and can be pitched in a number of configurations. This tarp is ultra light (9.52 oz) and folds up to 3x7.5”, making it carry on friendly for those of us who get out of the city for short excursions. Again, from Jenn:

“One of my favorite memories? Climbing the Volcan San Pedro and camping in the jungle on top… with no tent. Slept on this tarp instead. The jungle comes alive at night and the stars were spectacular. That tarp is also a great beach “blanket” and picnic cloth. Perfect tucked into a daypack.”


Where to buy it: REI

Cost: Less than $179

Long Haul to China

Wanderlust Air Travel Compression Socks

It was love at first flight for Carla during her longhaul, direct from Chicago to Beijing. Figuring out your preferred travel socks is not just a recommendation before your trip—it’s a must do.

“There’s only so much getting up and moving around that I want to do while in the air, especially when I get the window seat. I’d never been on a plane longer than six hours, so investing in a pair of compression socks was exactly what I needed to hit the ground running in China.”

The therapeutic relief from pain and swelling, not to mention edema and DVT prevention, are just some of the perks of high quality compression socks. They pack down easily but are also helpful on long treks, like the multi-day hike that Carla took later during the trip through Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, where she “found the most scenic toilet I’ve ever used.” 


Where to buy them: Amazon

Cost: Less than $20

Urban to Adventure, One Bag Warrior

Homebase Backpack

If you’re anything like me, you have a multitude of packs taking up space in the back of your closet or in the “gear” section of your garage. There’s one bag for short-term backcountry camping, there’s another for weekend trips, yet another for multiple months abroad. And those are for special circumstances—you’ve also got your go-to’s for your lunch box, your workout clothes, your daily work commute. But what if we told you there’s a bag that can do double duty, maybe even triple?

According to traveler and Homebase-fan Frank, “… the Homebase backpack has become my pack for the office, the weekend, and travel (and I’ve got a closet full of bags). It’s as close to a perfect 1-bag system as I’ve yet come across.”

If liberating simplicity isn’t epic, we don’t know what is. Free your mind of the need to remember which item is in which bag, or having to gather a multitude of packs before walking out the door.


Where to buy it: Tortuga

Cost: $245

Beautiful Beach Days

Oakley Gascan

If you’re planning a holiday in the sun—whether its surfing half pipes in Hawaii, downward facing dogs at a retreat in Krabi, or just catching rays in on your local beach, you need a trusty pair of sunnies. And probably a badass portable blu-ray stereo (but that’s for another time).

For most epic travel, some high-quality sun protection is a good investment. This pair has a killer warranty, polarized lenses, and enough style to keep the snickers at bay. Do yourself (and especially your peepers) a solid and invest in a pair of sunglasses for the road.


Where to buy them: Oakley

Cost: $153

Classic European Backpacking Tour

Setout Backpack

If you’re new to flashpacking or only travel occasionally, then the Setout travel backpack was made with you in mind. It’s the “just right” backpack for urban travel, and Erin’s whirlwind trip to Prague, Warsaw, and Brussels with hers proved an utter success.

“I was all over the map on my last trip to Europe. Switching between long haul and budget flights, the occasional bus ride, and the train between the Czech Republic and Poland was all made SO much easier with my carry-on only travel style. Setout lets me maximize that space, so I can still pack extra layers and just-in-case shoes. And bring home extra chocolate! ”

My favorite thing about this backpack? It opens and closes like a suitcase, yet has the portability of a cylinder-shaped pack.


Where to buy it: Tortuga

Cost: $199


Some of your best travel memories are made even sweeter when you have the right gear to pair with the moment.  Do yourself a favor and invest in high quality, top notch equipment—then you can fully embrace your travel highs instead of creating (unfortunate) new travel lows.

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