Products that make our days and nights.
One of our favorite pieces of gear are our Luci Lights. As you can see in the picture above, they ended up being our only light after we were hit with Hurricane Earl in Belize. They are solar powered only and they put off a good amount of light. They are easily inflatable and are waterproof, and since you blow them up, they float. It's also super cute to hang a few of them on a string to put under our awning, etc at night.
We absolutely love our lightweight and durable towels. They are microfiber and they suck up the moisture like nobodies business. Again, they pack up way smaller than a normal cotton towel so we can fit multiple towels in one small packing cube. We each have one for taking a shower, swimming, etc. We also have two smaller ones for drying dishes and another in the utility basket to dry up random stuff.
Cascadia Vehicle Tents has been very good to us. We have the Extended Mt. Shasta tent. They have shown us incredible customer service and even shipped us a ladder overnight for no charge right before we crossed into Mexico. If a rooftop tent is the way you have chosen to do your adventure then I would go with CVT. The tent has held up for 19 months now and it's still going strong.
I love a good hammock. Originally we purchased a Yukon Outfitters hammock but it fell apart before we made it out of Mexico. We had a friend visit and brought us a GoRoam hammock that is made of parachute material which makes them pack up small and they are lightweight. They also have a built-in mosquito net, which makes me rest better knowing that we aren't going to get eaten alive while laying in it. When purchasing a hammock, look for one that is made of duracord rather than cotton or nylon because it resists mildew and gives you a nice breeze underneath.
These things have saved our life. I can't imagine what we would do without our packing cubes. We use them for all of our clothing. The left drawer in the back of the cruiser is dedicated to clothing because it's hard trying to live out of a bag all the time. We label the outside of them with a sharpie so it's easy to distinguish between them without having to open them up. We also use them in our tent bag for various electronics and gear. Also we use them in the attic of the car so thing s stay a bit more organized.
The backpack I chose for this trip is the Black Diamond Nitro 22. It is my favorite backpack of all time. It's very lightweight, has two small zipper pockets on the outside, a large main pocket on the inside, and a stretchy side pocket on both sides for a water bottle, small umbrella, etc. Also it has some sewn fabric hooks like what's on molly panels and you can clip anything to them like trekking poles, etc. There are straps that clip around my chest and waist which make is great for long hikes, and also two straps that can hold a sleeping bag or something else that can be rolled up underneath the bag. There is an additional small pocket on one of the waist straps that's great for quick access things. Also if you want to use a water bladder then it has a pouch for that too.
Sunny has a Classic RuckSack backpack made by Poler Stuff. It is nice to carry around town because it's so lightweight and its a neutral color so it doesn't draw a lot of attention to us. It is fairly basic in design; It has one main pocket secured by cute metal clips, and one small zipper pocket on the top flap. If you need to carry more, there are two removable pouches for each side of the pack. They are held on by straps and clips. They are very lightweight as well and can fold down into practically nothing so we just keep them at the bottom of the main pocket.
A good night's sleep is so important. We kept the mattress that came with our CVT Tent, but for added comfort these Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp sleeping pads are incredible. We actually look forward to sleeping in the tent because these are so comfortable. They are self-inflating so all you have to do is turn the valve to the open position and it inflates to 60% of its full capacity. We also bought a little mini-pump and use that when we are going to be camped in one place for a long time. These roll up nicely and are so durable that we have been able to simply deflate them and leave them closed up in the tent when we are all packed up. Sunny and I each got a large size because the width it fits in our Mt. Shasta tent perfectly.
The silk liner has a variety of uses. Number one, we have read that only the 100% pure silk version can deter bed bugs. Fortunately we haven't had to deal with that problem, but we have heard of other overlanders that have. Another use is that it keeps your sleeping bag cleaner if you use it as an actual liner. They are machine washable and colorfast. Also they increase the thermal performance of a sleeping bag. I like this brand better than the others we've tried because it is 100% silk and also it has a small stretchy panel that makes the liner easy to get out of but offers great protection when closed. The tiny travel bag it comes in is nice too.