Travel | Philippines | Gear

Philippines: Packing & Gear

January 25, 2024 | 12 minutes

With my Philippine adventure on the horizon, it's time to dive into one of the most crucial aspects of travel: packing. This isn't just any trip; it's a full month of new experiences, and I want to make sure I'm prepared for every moment. From bustling city streets to tranquil beaches, my luggage needs to be as versatile and ready for adventure as I am. So, let me walk you through what I'm taking along.


Gear & Luggage

When it comes to gear and luggage for this epic month-long journey, I've put a lot of thought into selecting the right companions to join me on every leg of the trip. Durability, functionality, and comfort are my top priorities, leading me to choose a lineup of bags that I trust to keep my belongings secure and organized while being easy to carry.

Large Checked Bag - Peak Design 65L Travel Duffel: My primary workhorse is the Peak Design 65L Travel Duffel. This bag is spacious enough to hold clothes, towels, toiletries, and any gifts I might pick up along the way. Its robust design ensures my belongings stay safe and secure, no matter how bumpy the journey gets.

Carry-On - Peak Design 35L Travel Duffel: For my carry-on, I've chosen the Peak Design 35L Travel Duffel. It's the perfect size for all my electronics, including my drone, action cam, battery bank, and a spare set of clothes. The organization within this bag is top-notch, ensuring that everything from medication to chargers is easily accessible.

Personal Item - Peak Design Travel Backpack: The Peak Design Travel Backpack is my personal item, housing my most valuable and essential gear. It's where my laptop, iPad, headphones, and earbuds will live, alongside travel documents, passport, and a folder with important flight and accommodation confirmations, just in case. It's my mobile command center, keeping everything crucial at arm's reach.

Why Duffel Bags & Backpack: I've chosen duffel bags and a backpack for a very specific reason. Some of the destinations on our itinerary require traversing across beaches or uneven ground, where rolling luggage would be more of a hassle than a help. With shoulder straps and handles, these bags make it easier to carry everything, no matter the terrain.

Daily Exploration - Alpaka Bravo Sling Max & Matador Waterproof Packable Backpack: For everyday exploration, the Alpaka Bravo Sling Max will be my go-to. It's perfect for carrying everyday items like my wallet, pocket camera, small battery, room key, and phone. And for those water-based activities or sudden downpours, I have the Matador Waterproof Packable Backpack to protect my gear from water damage.

Organization - Peak Design Packing Cubes & Shoe Pouch: To keep everything neatly organized and easy to find, I've invested in a series of small and medium Peak Design packing cubes. These are great for separating clothes and ensuring I can find what I need without having to unpack everything. The shoe pouch is a handy addition to keep dirty soles away from clean clothes.

Extra Carrying Capacity - Super Packable Tote Bags: Lastly, I'm bringing a couple of super packable tote bags. These will be invaluable for those spontaneous market visits or when I need extra carrying capacity. They hardly take up any space when not in use but are incredibly handy when called into action.


Clothing & Footwear

Strategic Packing Approach: I'm all about packing smart, not hard. That means I won't be lugging around 30 days' worth of clothes. Instead, I'm aiming for about two weeks' worth, with plans to utilize laundry services before we head to Singapore. Plus, I'm pretty good at avoiding spills, so many items will get multiple wears.

Shirts for the Heat: My wardrobe will primarily consist of t-shirts, a couple of tank tops, and a few polos. I've been on the hunt for lightweight, breathable materials that'll keep me cool in the Philippines' tropical climate. I've also snagged a few with antimicrobial properties, which is a huge bonus for freshness over multiple wears.

Shorts for Comfort and Versatility: I'm packing several pairs of shorts that strike the perfect balance between comfort and style. American Eagle has provided some great flexible options for exploring, while a mix of Fabletics shorts are versatile enough for everyday wear and impromptu swims - perfect for those El Nido island-hopping days. I'm still on the fence about bringing long pants. It's a tough call, considering the heat, but they might be useful for nicer evenings out or cooler areas. What do you think?

Light Outerwear: I've got a lightweight, packable rain shell, just in case, and my trusty Patagonia Nano Puff jacket, which I'll wear to the airport. But I'm not sure how much I'll use either since we're traveling outside the rainy season, and the Philippines is known for its warm weather. But they could be useful if I decide to take a transit tour during my layover in Seoul on my way back home.

Footwear for Every Occasion: For the flights, I'll be in a comfortable pair of shoes - no flip-flops in Pasco's February winter for me! I'll pack a pair of flip-flops for beach days and casual strolls. I'm still debating whether to bring an additional pair of shoes. Maybe something versatile that can handle a bit of walking and still look good for a night out?

Accessories for Practicality and Style: A ballcap is on my list for those bright, sunny days, though with my longer hair, it might be a bit of a challenge to wear. I'm also bringing two pairs of sunglasses - one prescription pair for clear vision and a regular pair for contact lens days.

Tech gear philippines blog

Tech Gear

iPhone 15 Pro Max: My trusty iPhone, encased in a durable Peak Design cover, is my go-to for capturing photos and videos. From the stunning landscapes of our destinations to adorable selfies with Mika, it's going to document it all. With T-Mobile's International Data Pass, I'll have seamless data and voice coverage throughout the Philippines, Seoul, and Singapore, ensuring I stay connected with family and friends without any hassle, all while still using my same phone number. As a fallback, my phone uses an eSim, so if I have to, I can quickly jump onto a local carrier network and top it up as needed.

Apple Watch Ultra 2: For those times when my phone isn't on hand, my Apple Watch will keep me notified and help with navigation. It's perfect for quick glances at messages or directions without interrupting the moment.

iPad Pro: Loaded with movies and shows, my iPad Pro isn't just for long flights. It's also our portable cinema for cozy movie nights with Mika. Its large screen and powerful performance make it ideal for entertainment and some light browsing.

DJI Mini 3 Pro: This little drone is set to be the star of my tech ensemble, capturing breathtaking aerial shots in El Nido and Boracay. Its compact size belies its powerful capabilities.

DJI Action Cam 3: Durable and waterproof, this action cam is ready for kayaking, exploring, and any other adventure we dive into. It's small enough to go everywhere with us, ensuring no thrilling moment goes unrecorded.

DJI Osmo Pocket 3 Rental: For higher quality captures, especially in low light, I'm excited to try out the Osmo Pocket 3. Its promise of portability and quick-shot capabilities has me intrigued about the potential for stunning, cinematic memories.

14-inch MacBook Pro M2 Max: I'll offload the day's captures each night onto my MacBook Pro, ensuring everything is safe and sound. It might also double as a mini editing suite, blog updater, and backup entertainment hub. Accompanied by a couple of 2TB SSDs and several SD cards, storage won't be an issue.

Battery Banks & Adapters: I'm bringing a couple of battery banks to keep all our devices charged during our explorations. Though the Philippines might share the same plug type as the US, I'm not taking any chances and packing a couple of universal adapters. Thankfully, the USB-C life simplifies things, with just one type of cable for all my devices.

AirPods Pro & Sony Over-Ear Headphones: My AirPods Pro will be perfect for casual listening and taking calls. However, for those long flights, I'm considering bringing my over-ear Sony headphones for their noise-canceling comfort. I'm weighing up whether the added bulk is worth the extra comfort they provide.

Health packing blog

Health & Hygiene

Sun Protection: I'm not taking any chances with the sun. I've got a variety of sunscreens, including a water-resistant option for those beach and island days, a standard lotion for everyday use, and a portable roll-on stick for on-the-go application. Plus, my lips won't be neglected, thanks to moisturizing and protecting lip balm with SPF.

Solid Toiletries: To avoid the hassle of liquid restrictions, I'm opting for bars of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. They'll be neatly housed in FlatPak soap bar cases from Matador, which allow the bars to dry without making a mess in my bag. For the few liquids I do need to bring, I've got them transferred into 3oz TSA-approved silicone containers, all tucked into a clear waterproof TSA bag for easy inspection.

Medication & Health Essentials: I've organized a sufficient supply of my medication to last the entire trip, ensuring it's always within reach in my carry-on. It's crucial to have my health essentials accessible, especially when traveling to new environments.

Innovative Deodorant Solution: Nakd. Thai Salt Crystal Deodorant. I've recently discovered this gem. It's a scent-free, natural mineral deodorant stick that combats odor-causing bacteria without any added chemicals. While it won't stop perspiration, it's incredibly effective at keeping me fresh. Plus, the travel-size stick is perfect for on-the-go use.

Portable Shave & Electric Toothbrush: While I'm pretty much incapable of growing a full beard, I will need to shave a least a few times over the course of the month. So both my compact portable shaver and electric toothbrush are travel-friendly and occupy minimal space in my toiletry bag. They're essentials for maintaining my grooming routine, no matter where I am.

Nomatic Toiletry Bag 2.0: This isn't just any toiletry bag; it's a carefully considered choice for my travel needs. The regular size offers ample space without being too bulky. It features two clear, see-through zipper pockets for easy item location, plus a couple of hidden waterproof exterior pockets – ideal for a wet toothbrush or other small items. The bag lays flat for easy access and includes a convenient hanging strap. When paired with a Heroclip Hybrid Carabiner, I can hang this bag practically anywhere, keeping my essentials organized and within easy reach.


Miscellaneous items, important documents & money management:

Grayl GeoPress: With tap water safety being a concern, the Grayl GeoPress is my solution. It's an innovative purifier that cleans water by removing harmful viruses, bacteria, metals, and more in just 25 seconds. It's going to be indispensable for ensuring I have safe, clean drinking water wherever I am.

Collapsible Water Bottles: Alongside the GeoPress, I'm bringing two collapsible 1L water bottles. They're perfect for storing purified water, and I'll keep one handy in my backpack at all times, especially during flights and airport waits, to stay hydrated without worry.

Mosquito Protection: Enter the Flextail Tiny Repel. After discovering this gadget and testing its effectiveness at camp, it's earned its spot in my travel kit. It's a discreet, innovative device that keeps mosquitoes at bay, which will be crucial in the more tropical areas I'll be visiting.

Bellroy Travel Wallet: For the flight, this wallet will keep everything organized and in one place - my boarding passes, cash, credit cards, and passport. It's compact, secure, and beautifully designed to hold everything I need.

Bellroy Note Sleeve: Once I've landed, I'll switch to the slimmer Note Sleeve for daily use. It's perfect for holding a bit of cash and the essential cards without bulking up my pocket.

Initial Cash Exchange: I'll probably exchange a small amount of cash at the Seattle airport for immediate needs upon arrival. It's not about getting the best rate but having peace of mind with some local currency in hand.

Betterment Checking Account: For the majority of my cash needs, I'll rely on my Betterment checking account. With worldwide ATM fee reimbursement, including the Visa 1% transaction fee on international transactions it's an ideal travel companion. Plus, via the I app I'll have the ability to lock and unlock my card for security when I'm not using it.

Travel-Friendly Credit Cards: My Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum cards are coming with me, too. They offer great travel perks and don't charge international transaction fees, making them perfect for bigger purchases or when I prefer the security and benefits of a credit card.


As I finalize my packing, I'm feeling prepared and excited for the adventure that awaits. My gear and luggage have been carefully chosen for their reliability and ease of use, ensuring I'm well-equipped for whatever comes my way. From the robust duffel bags ready for any terrain to the tech that will keep me connected and capture the memories, each item has been selected to enhance this journey.

I've struck a balance with my clothing choices, opting for practicality, style, and comfort suitable for the Philippines' warm climate. My health and hygiene items are all about maintaining comfort and freshness, while my miscellaneous essentials and financial tools are set to make my travel smooth and secure. With everything from the Grayl GeoPress for safe drinking water to the Bellroy wallets keeping my documents in order, I'm ready for a hassle-free experience.

Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list of every single item I'm taking, but it covers the major areas essential for a month-long trip. I'm confident that I've thought of nearly everything, but if you think I've missed a crucial item, please drop a comment and let me know! Your insights might just be the finishing touch I need.

Now, with bags nearly packed and my excitement at an all-time high, I'm nearly ready to embark on this adventure. Here's to a journey filled with discovery, connection, and growth. Philippines, here I come!

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