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Family Travel Gear: Update from the Namibian Bush

Family Travel Gear: Update from the Namibian Bush

We've been on the road for five months, across four continents, 40-plus flights, multiple climates and seasons. It would be an understatement to say our gear has taken a beating. What better place to check in on it than Namibia, a land known for its merciless expanse of dust and currents?

Before we left, I made a packing list for our small crew: a travel-photographing, fast-moving, remote-traveling family of three. I Marie Kondo-ed, MacGyver-ed and acquired well-made products that would survive the treatment they would subsequently endure. What has held up?

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 (My Venn diagram of our material world)

(My Venn diagram of our material world)

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TRANSPORT

  • Baby Carriers & Wraps  We use a structured carrier for hikes, airports & as a supplement to the stroller. A soft or woven wrap comes especially handy on long haul flights & sleeping (also for sun shades or blankets).

  • Mountain Buggy Nano Travel Stroller 13 lbs. of carry-on goodness that somehow survived Bali's sidewalks, puddle jumpers & being dragged through a few sand dunes. Still (miraculously) going strong. Bonus points for the mosquito net & rain cover. 

  • Our Lowepro backpacks became our weekenders when we had to drop our luggage for shorter stints through the South Pacific. The separate cubes and plastic toiletry bags included helped with extra baby clothes, diapers, etc.

  • Osprey Meridien Wheeled Backpack I bought this bag when I first met Michael five years ago and followed him around the world with it. It not only turns into a functional backpack but has a small daypack that attaches to the top. Accommodates both my and baby's things.

  • We decided not to bring a car seat with us because of luggage restrictions and rented them in each country. We've had no problems so far securing one.

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BABY ITEMS

  • UPF sunsuitsun hat, sunscreen, scarf or muslin as sun shades. We've managed to get this far without a sunburn but have also been vigilant. Badger and Babyganics sunstick on her face at all times.

  • Medical Kit. Luckily we have run into nothing more than a few teething fevers but are happy to have these on hand: Babyganics Bugspray, Punkin Butt Teething Oil & Arnica, Booty Balm, Nose Frida, Baby Motrin & Cold Tablets, Nasal Spray, Neosporin, Thermometer.

  • Saline spray is good for long flights to keep baby's nasal passages moisturized. Also don't forget the #1 home remedy for all things immunization and health: breastfeeding! Nursing can depressurize their ears during takeoff and landing, amongst other benefits that go without saying.

  • Travel veggie & fruit packs have been available almost everywhere and a lifesaver, especially for a baby who is growing up en route. We opted out of cloth diapers for this trip since we are moving so quickly doing laundry only when changing countries, but we were able to find disposables everywhere we went. (Tip: ditch the diaper bag. I ended up putting a rubber band around a few diapers and a travel packet of baby wipes and throwing it in my daypack or fanny pack).

  • Monkey Mat, a dry bag, a few plastic stacking cups as toys, in the bath, on the beach, etc.

  • Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Baby Unscented Pure Castille Soap,  Water Wipes 

  • Clothes. A combination of climate-appropriate layers, bottoms and a wool sweater and add on/donate as they grow. Her entire wardrobe fits into one packing cube. (TIP: bring along pieces they can grow with, maybe start off larger than they are and use for pajamas, flight shirts, etc.)

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WEAR

I've been living in my Icebreaker merino wool pieces, Patagonia underwear and Athleta trekkie jogger pants which are outdoorsy enough and cuter than zip-off convertible pants. My BOOB design nursing bra has still not fallen apart & how my Wallaroo sun hat hasn't blown off in some nefarious gust of wind is beyond me.

CAMERA GEAR

Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000 . For a mom who is carrying her baby around all the time, I need something I can shoot with one hand and one lens. This is a fantastic upgrade to the FZ-200 I carried around for years. Lightweight, a better sensor, the zoom is not as good as the 200 but who needs photos of giraffe's nose hairs? Michael uses a Nikon system of either the D-800, D-4 or D-850 with various lenses.

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