I've always had the feeling of being stifled by too much stuff. Paring down on possessions and simplifying our life was one of the most appealing components of a trip like this. We sold our 2000 sf suburban dream home and all the furniture, appliances, decorations, and accessories that came with it. It's easy to collect unnecessary and superfluous things when you've got the space to store it.
We chose to eliminate as much excess as possible. We committed to stripping our possessions down to only those that would be necessary for our new life on the road. We do not have a storage unit, packed with our old life, only a couple Rubbermaid tubs with important family keepsakes stored with Taylor's dad. Everything else we own is with us in our truck and camper.
Since our storage space is so limited, quality and practicality become #1 priorities. We can't afford to bring anything along that rarely gets used, or that won't hold up to the abuse of multiple hours on rough back-roads. We were methodical when planning what to take, spending hours researching and prioritizing what we'd need.
Here's a list with direct to Amazon links to some of our favorite and most used gear so far.
We use this everyday. It's very compact and each component is well thought out. Almost everything you need, all in one simple package.
Light, compact, tough, and it looks cool.. The stainless construction means we can even use it on the campfire.
Kinda like a french press but it uses pressure to brew. It's beautiful, built very tough, and makes excellent, smooth, strong coffee.
We bought a set of these for open-air concerts and loved them so much they made the discerning cut for the trip. They're compact, easy to setup, and really comfortable. We actually prefer them to more traditional, taller camp chairs.
12v Power Sources for Mac and Dell- These let us avoid the inefficiency of using an inverter to power our laptops. They allow us to plug directly into the 12v power from our camper battery.
This thing is awesome. It can be powered from any USB source, uses very little electricity, and puts out tons of light. It can really brighten up a campsite.
Staying hydrated is important. It's a lot easier with a pair of good, tough, well insulated stainless bottles. At 32oz, they'll double as half-growlers.. :)
We use these constantly. They do the obvious duties around camp after dark, but they also make excellent work lights when wrenching on the truck, or low-volume reading lamps if one of us can't sleep while they other's already nodded off.
Easy to use, but with many more advanced features allowing us to learn as we go. Even with our limited photography skills, this camera takes great shots right out of the box. Removable lenses for more expansion and growth.
"The Duct Tape of the Middle East" It's amazing what wrapping a soft bit of cotton around your neck can do. These keep us cool in the desert heat, and warm in the cool of the night. As a bonus, each purchase sends an Afghan woman to school for a day. Also, they look super cool.
We didn't really wear watches before the trip, using our phones like everyone else in the Western world. On the road, our phones have taken a back seat and we both rely on simple, solar powered watches from Citizen. They aren't flashy and are very tough and reliable. From helping us remember what day it is to synchronizing our air-down process, and timing our coffee brewing process, we use them everyday.
Clothing- We wear a ton of smartwool socks and shirts, as well as lightweight cotton long-sleeve shirts, and several pairs of pants/skirts from Kuhl and prAna due to their comfort, utility, and wearablilty (meaning they don't mind going a while between washes.. :) )
Also, a shout out to both Amazon and REI. We bought so much stuff from those two places outfitting for our trip, I keep expecting thank you notes from them.