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By Kasey Austin /

So, you’ve officially booked your dream adventure over Spring break, you’ve just received your pre-trip planner complete with packing list, and you’re now trying to figure out exactly which type of sandal or brand of rain jacket to pack in that suitcase that always seems just a little bit too small. Not to fear, Kasey is here…with a few suggestions for gear that might help make your decisions for which headlamp or duffel bag to purchase for your upcoming trip that much easier!

Black Diamond Equipment Storm Headlamp

You just never know when some kind of light source is going to come in handy when you’re on vacation. On our Costa Rica Adventure, you head out after dark for nocturnal animal viewing (and it sure is nice to be able to see where you’re going on the trail!) I like this headlamp by Black Diamond because it has a long battery life with different settings (full strength, dimming, strobe) and it also has a red night vision setting, great for viewing animals after dark! This headlamp easily packs into any tiny corner of your suitcase or carry on, and get this…it’s waterproof, in case it rains!

Austin Adventures Black Diamond Headlamp


Chaco Z/2 Unaweep Sandal

Yes, I am a Chaconian and absolutely obsessed with my Chacos (I might have 4 or 5 pairs in my closet, but shh, you didn’t hear that from me!) These are the BEST shoes hands down for switching between land and water activities in my opinion. They have a rubber sole with maximum traction for gripping onto just about any surface (slippery or not), and they have a comfortable set of adjustable straps made of soft polyester webbing that dries quickly and maintains a constant fit. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors, and while they may give you some funky looking tan lines, you won’t regret how your feet feel at the end of a safari cave tubing adventure in Belize!

Austin Adventures Chacos

Mountain Hardwear Ramesa V2 Convertible Pants

Now, if you’re a lady and you’re anything like me, you just can’t find a pair of convertible pants that “flatter your figure”. What do I mean by convertible? I’m talking about pants that zip off into shorts. Now, I know everyone’s body is different, but I have found the perfect pair of outdoorsy convertible pants for ladies by Mountain Hardwear! The Ramesa V2’s actually allow you to move around unrestricted, yet their durable Nylon fabric withstands even the roughest wear and tear (trust me, these pants have been put through the ringer for about three years now, and they still live to tell their story). While the Galapagos Islands will be rather warm in March and April, it’ll be nice to have a pair of lightweight pants that will protect your legs from the UV rays of the sun and also zip off to give your calves a bit of breathing room in the heat of the day.

Austin Adventures Convertible Pants

Eddie Bauer Packable Duffel

On a few trips of ours heading out over Spring Break, for example our Havasupai Adventure, you need a medium sized, soft-sided duffel bag to carry your belongings in for your travels instead of a bulky hard suitcase. (On this trip specifically, your “soft” duffels are carried down to camp via pack horse!) Take a look at the Eddie Bauer Packable Duffel if you want a suitcase that is lightweight, yet plenty durable to stand up to a trip down into the Grand Canyon. The reason I most like this lightweight duffel: it packs into its exterior front pocket so you can throw it into a bigger suitcase for your pre- or post- trip extensions or easily store it in a drawer between trips for safe keeping.

Austin Adventures Packable Duffle

Marmot PreCip Jacket

If you’ve done your research on rain jackets, you’ve probably come to realize that they range from cheap, plastic ponchos to $400 “guaranteed not to get you wet”-type raincoats. I think this effective, yet modestly priced rain jacket created by Marmot will do its job and look very stylish in its many colors. This jacket features a 100% seam taped waterproof and breathable membrane, a comfortable inner coating and durably waterproof outer coating. When you’re hiking the Salkantay Trail on our Peru: Lodge to Lodge trip this spring, you’ll be happy to have this comfortable coat at the top of your pack, as you can just never predict the weather in the mountains!

Austin Adventures Marmot Raincoat

GoPro Camera

By now, you’ve probably heard all the hype about GoPro cameras and have maybe wondered, “so what’s the big deal?” Well, as a proud parent of a GoPro camera, I can tell you that the hype is all it’s made out to be when it comes to the world of adventure! These cameras come in several styles and you can buy different mounts and accessories for just about every activity out there. The newest versions (HERO3) capture professional quality videos and photos, feature built-in Wi-Fi and are waterproof. If you don’t want to wreck your $800 Nikon, maybe investing in a sturdy and light “mini” camera is the right choice for you. While you’re ziplining around Mombacho Volcano in Nicaragua, you’ll capture great footage of not only the lush vegetation flying by at top notch speeds, but also your reaction to zipping through the air connected to a cable only by a harness!

Austin Adventures GoPro Camera

Everyone has their “go-to” gear when it comes to exploring their backyard or traveling the world. The above examples are just a few samples (tested out by yours truly) of the gear that will be suggested on your packing list for your upcoming Austin Adventures Spring Break tour. Maybe you even have a few of your own favorite pieces of gear to add to this list. Wherever you go, whether you’re rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica or trekking through the red rock canyons of Havasupai, quality gear will make you one happy traveler!

Happy prepping,


Kasey Austin

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