Traveling, especially to a place you may be unfamiliar with, is usually stressful. Unplanned delays or overly chatty neighbors on the plane; you’re never sure what you might end up with. That’s why I find it critical to pack just the right things, not too much and not too little, to make sure that you’re properly prepared. Below are the essential items I brought with me to Iceland that made sure I was connected, stylish, and most importantly, warm.
Incase Alloy Backpack
A sturdy backpack is the number one thing on my list, and the Alloy from Incase is my go-to when I’m traveling locally or abroad. I was tempted to go with a shoulder or tote bag but comfort over style ended up winning out. The Alloy’s padded shoulder straps and padding in the area where your back meets the bag means you’re protected in all the right places.
The critical thing that the Incase backpack has is it’s robust amount of storage. It’s not the biggest model in the Alloy collection but it still allowed me to carry my 17″ MacBook Pro, iPad, magazines, notebooks, pens, chargers, camera, etc. With comfort and storage taken care of there’s also the fact that its incredibly weather proof. Iceland’s weather can be erratic, snowing and then sunny in a heartbeat, so I was fully prepared.
Barbour Bedale Jacket
The thing that saved my ass the most though was having the right jacket. I knew Reykjavik would be chilly, but the wind really kicked my sorry, California climate loving butt. Thankfully before I left I bought the Bedale jacket from Barbour. The Bedale’s waxed cotton exterior helped keep out the rain and kept me feeling warm. It also has an extra tall collar which really helped fight against the harsh arctic winds. Lastly, it has a big pocket on the inside of the jacket which was the perfect place to store my travel wallet (more on that further down), which actually made me feel a little bit safer.
Generic Surplus/Obey Giant Sneakers
I knew I wasn’t going to have a car in Reykjavik, so I wanted to have a comfortable pair of shoes that could potentially take on the rain or the snow. I decided to travel with a pair of Generic Surplus high tops which were made in collaboration with Obey Giant. These slick black leather sneakers are obviously functional but they also look great whether you’re trekking around the city, stomping around a field, or going out for a nice dinner. Just be sure to bring a show cleaning kit (you can see how dirty mine got), I recommend this kit from Jason Markk.
Nudie Jeans Thin Finn
When I was prepping for my trip I figured I would only bring one pair of jeans with me. So I took a trip to the Nudie Jeans showroom here in Los Angeles (you can see the space and read more about it here) and snagged a pair of their Thin Finns. They’re made of organic raw denim, which at first scared me a bit, but they’ve got some stretch to them so they were actually super comfortable. Wearing these around Reykjavik was great because they fit perfectly and I always felt like I looked presentable, even if I had been to a night full of parties or trudging around the city all day.
Traveling internationally, and especially for business, means you end needing to carry quite a few things on your person at one time. I ended up having to carry my passport, credit cards, cash, business cards, TFIB stickers, rook key, and needing a place to store my travel receipts. Thankfully I had the Bellroy Travel Wallet to help me track of all my items. It has a dedicated sleeve for for your passport, ample room for cards and two different areas to hold cash and receipts. Not to mention that it’s beautifully made out of leather.
Pentax K-01 Camera
Reykjavik and Iceland in general is known for its breathtaking scenery so I knew would be taking my Pentax K-01 with me to document the trip. What’s great about the K-01 is that it’s not too large but still takes amazing photos. Plus, no matter where you go people take notice of the came a because of its unique body design. Like I said at the beginning, stylish and functional.
Baxter Finely Dop Kit & Accessories
When I travel I’m always skeptical of hotel toiletries. Unless you’re staying at a fairly fancy place the potential for having nice body wash or facial lotion is usually pretty low. Hotels are starting to carry nicer products, but still, I didn’t want to take a chance. I decided to pack up my Baxter Finley dop kit with the things that make me feel like home… in the shower. My go to bath products come from Baxter of California and Malin & Goetz. I brought along body wash, shampoo, and body lotion, which was especially helpful against the cold, Icelandic winds. For teeth I went with Marvis whitening, and to protect against body odor I brought along my most favorite deodorant on earth: Natural Grooming by Herban Cowboy. If you’re a man you should own this deodorant. This small cache easily lasted me 6 days and they’ll be around for my next adventure as well.
I figured I should round this list out with the few things I can’t leave home without, my Apple products. I ended up using all of three of these devices on my trip, but they all serve very different purposes for me.
I’ll start with my iPhone, which is consider to be my lifeline. I call it that because it helped me out numerous times on my trip, especially thanks to the AT&T data plan I activated before I left. Having a searchable map in a city I don’t know was crucial, helping me find that cool restaurant I’d heard about or simply being able to find my way back to my hotel. Plus I was able to reach out to friends and find out where they were. I personally don’t care for old fashioned notions of romantic times with paper maps. It’s 2013, I want to be connected and I don’t want to feel lost, dammit.
Then there’s my iPad, which I use as my in between device. For example, I’ve written this entire post on my iPad on my plane ride home because my laptop is too large to really be comfortable. It also cam with me to the lobby bar of the Natura to crank out some late night emails while drinking a Tuborg or two.
Finally there’s my laptop, which is my blogging machine. Blogging for me is finding an exciting combination of writing and images. In order to find that combination I can’t simply dump in a bunch of half ass images I find randomly off the Internet. I need to be able to a dust my photos or make a graphic or combine images to create an editorial feeling to a post. I can do all of that with my laptop but it would be slow and cumbersome to try and achieve that with my iPad or iPhone.