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Adventure Travel & Outdoor Gear Must-Haves
Travel Tips & Tricks

Adventure Travel & Outdoor Gear Must-Haves


Trying to figure out exactly which type of sandal or rain jacket to pack in that suitcase that always seems too small? You’re not alone. Packing for a trip, let alone an adventure vacation, can certainly be a daunting task. On the one hand, you want to be sure you’re as prepared as possible; on the other, you want to avoid lugging around unnecessary items (or weight!).

At Austin Adventures, our owners, staff, and guides have all wrestled with those same small suitcases and learned a few tips and tricks for how to pack for adventure travel. Whether your trip is months away or your flight leaves in four hours, keep reading for some adventure travel and outdoor gear must-haves.

What to Pack: Travel & Outdoor Gear

No matter what upcoming adventure vacation you have, there are certain pieces of outdoor gear that will make your journey that much more comfortable. Plan ahead, and you’re sure to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!

Below, discover a few of our most-loved pieces of clothing for travel, as well as additional suggestions for adventure travel gear.

Pack: A Headlamp

Austin Adventures Black Diamond HeadlampNo adventure vacation is complete without a headlamp. You just never know when your own personal light source is going to come in handy while you’re exploring on a Costa Rica vacation (enjoying a nocturnal animal viewing late at night), or hiking on one of our many hiking vacations & tours. Kasey Austin, Vice President of Operations at Austin Adventures, highly recommends Black Diamond headlamps, for a variety of reasons:

  • They have a longer battery life than many of the other headlamps
  • The lamp comes with various helpful settings, including: full strength, dimming, and strobe settings
  • They also include a red night vision setting, perfect for viewing animals after dark (wildlife tours galore!)
  • The lamps are waterproof, taking the worry out of when & where you can wear it!

This headlamp easily packs into any tiny corner of your suitcase or carry on. Try one on for size before your next trip!

Pack: The Perfect Land/Water Shoes

When it comes to switching between land and water, whether it be to swim, hike, or otherwise, there really isn’t anything better than the Chaco (specifically, the Chaco Z/2 Unaweep Sandal!).

What makes this piece of travel gear so great?

  • They come equipped with a durable rubber sole, providing excellent traction for gripping onto just about any surface (slippery or not)
  • They feature 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

Austin Adventures Chacos

There’s nothing that will ruin your adventure vacation faster than sore and uncomfortable feet. From improper fit, to unsupportive shoes and blisters, uncomfortable feet don’t set you up for a great day. While Chacos may give you some funny tanlines — trust us — we’re positive you won’t regret how your feet feel at the end of a snorkeling session in the  Galapagos!

Pack: Convertible Travel Pants

A reoccurring theme in many of our recommendations for travel prep cannot be overstated: being warm, dry, and comfortable is essential to a positive traveling experience.

So, wondering what the best travel pants are to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable? Try a convertible, quick dry hiking pant from a reputable outdoor gear brand like Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, and Kuhl. A convertible pant makes so much sense throughout your adventure vacation — you have a pair of shorts and a pair of pants all in one, perfect for having your legs protected as you hike your way through tall brush, and for lettingAustin Adventures Convertible Pants your legs breathe when you get to the top of the mountain.

Light-weight and quick to dry, these pants are great for blocking harmful UV rays on your next adventure vacation. And according to Kasey Austin, they’re not too bad in the fashion department, either.

Pack: For Rain

Experiencing rainy weather during travel is just a fact of life; it can’t always be sunny!

But that doesn’t Austin Adventures Marmot Raincoatmean that it should interfere with the great adventures and escapades you have planned. All you need is a good rain jacket and you’ll be well on your way to fun no matter the weather.

If you’ve done any amount of research on the best rain jackets, you’ve probably already discovered that they range from cheap, plastic ponchos to $400 rain jackets that “guarantee not to get you wet.”

So, which type do you choose?

Reasonably priced at around $100, the Marmot PreClip Eco Jacket is a great piece of outdoor travel gear to have on hand.

What do we love about this rain jacket?

  • It offers a 100% seam taped waterproof outer coating
  • The shell is air permeable, allowing for air exchange to help deal with unwanted moisture
  • Features a flexible design that doesn’t inhibit movement, making it perfect for all sorts of activities, ranging from hiking to biking

Austin Adventures Packable Duffle

Pack: Efficiently!

Not only is what you pack important to a successful and enjoyable vacation, but what you choose to pack your belongings in can be just as important. We have many recommendations on this front, but one of the best pieces of travel gear we suggest is the Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel bag.

What makes this piece of travel gear so great?

  • It’s lightweight, making hauling it from destination to destination much less of a chore than many of its hard-shell counterparts
  • It’s rugged & durable — an important factor to consider to avoid losing belongings along the way (we’ve seen this bag survive multiple trips down into the Grand Canyon. Enough said.)
  • It packs into its exterior front pocket, allowing you to easily throw it into a bigger suitcase for your pre or post-trip extensions or store it in a drawer between trips for safe keeping

Pack: A Way to Capture Memories.

It’s likely that by now, you’ve heard and witnessed all of the hype around GoPro Cameras. If you’re anything like many of our travelers, you’ve likely found yourself wondering, “What’s the big deal?”

As Kasey Austin affirms, “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.

This product is especially great for capturing not only the astounding scenery you’re exposed to in any of the destinations that we travel to, but it also allows you to capture your own experience of what you’re seeing, feeling, hearing — i.e., as you zipline around the rainforest in Costa Rica. You’ll capture great footage of not only the lush vegetation flying by at top notch speeds but also your own reaction to zipping through the air connected to a cable only by a harness!

What do travelers love about the GoPro?

  • Versions like the HERO3 capture professional quality videos and photos
  • They feature built-in Wi-Fi and are waterproof — a huge advantage if you’re a hiker, kayaker, and so on
  • They’re less expensive than many of the DSLR cameras travelers typically have on hand (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!

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Choosing the Best Travel Gear for You

Everyone has their own “go-to” gear when it comes to exploring their backyard or traveling the world. The products and suggestions made above are just a few examples we’ve personally tested and have had good success with, but there are dozens of other brands and products that you’ll come to love. And that’s great!

Choosing the Best Time to Go

The best time to travel is all the time! Really? Yup! We like to say that most our destinations can be visited pretty much any time of year. For example we often get asked “What is the best time to go to Yellowstone?” All year, seriously! And then it depends on you, the traveler. Our Adventure Travel Consultants can help you decide.

We Love to Help!

Everyone has their own “go-to” gear when it comes to exploring their backyard or traveling the world. The products and suggestions made above are just a few examples we’ve personally tested and have had good success with, but there are dozens of other brands and products that you’ll come to love. And that’s great!


The bottom line is: wherever you go, whether you’re rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica or trekking through the wilderness in Yellowstone National Park, proper preparation and quality gear will make you one happy traveler!

Looking for other gear recommendations or tips for how/what to pack?

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