This is some of the equipment I carried with me while backpacking in China. I was in China for just three months, but I've used all of this gear for much much longer; all of it is stuff that I always carry with me on backpacking trips, and usually other trips as well. I'm recommending this gear having testing it extensively, and knowing that it's quality and well worth the price. You can purchase all of these products from Amazon.com using the links below. By doing so you will be helping to pay this website's hosting fees.
Garmin Gecko 201 GPS
Canon Powershot A60 Digital Camera
SimpleTech 256 MB Compact Flash Card
Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Knife
First Need Deluxe Water Purifier
Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle
Mini Mag Lite
Princeton Tec Aurora Headlamp
A GPS unit is invaluable when traveling. It frees you to wonder around in a new place without having to worry about finding your way back again. When you set out, simply have the unit save your starting point as a waypoint. When you're ready to return, command the Gecko to GO TO that waypoint; the unit will provide an arrow you can follow which will lead you back, and it will tell you the remaining distance to your destination. The Gecko even records your exact route as you travel, so you can go back the same way you came, if you so wish. The Garmin Gecko is especially useful for traveling in a foreign country due to it's small size and weight. It is also waterproof. The Garmin Gecko also comes in a 101 version, which is slightly less expensive, and a 301 version which is significantly more expensive. You should be able to find them by searching on Amazon.com.
When I was crossing the desert in Inner Mongolia, having the Gecko with me gave me an extra sense of security. Although I still carried a compass, it was nice to have exact information on where I was in relation to my starting point at the edge of the desert.
This is the Digital Camera I used to take all of the over two hundred Photos on this website. It takes very nice photos and has a lot of features. Since I bought this camera Canon as come out with new, better, and more expensive Powershot models. You can find them by searching Amazon.com.
The Canon Powershot A60 Digital Camera comes with a 16 MB flash card, which wouldn't be enough to store all of my China trip photographs. Thus I purchased this 256 MB card. It turned out to be big enough for all of my pictures, including the over two hundred 1600 x 1200 pixel Photos featured on this website.
I've had my Victorinox knife for over ten years and it still works like new. The Huntsman model shown here is almost identical to my knife, the only difference is that this one has a weird hook-like tool and mine doesn't. It's nice because it's fairly small and doesn't have a lot of useless crap like some of the larger Victorinox knives. It does have a saw and scissors though, which are extremely nice to have. Don't buy one of those stupid, bulky, expensive Leatherman tools, buy this classic.
When I went to China I obviously couldn't carry my knife on board the plane with me; it had to be checked with luggage. On the other hand I didn't want to check my bag and risk it being damaged. So I put the knife inside the stuff sack containing my Therm-a-rest pad and only checked that small item, carrying everything else with me on board the plane.
I absolutely love this water filter. It takes out everything, chemicals, bacteria, and viruses. And unlike many backpacking filters, it will treat a day's worth of water in just a few minutes. You can use it for a long time before needing to replace the filter. Every few months you can add a few drops of household bleach to purified water and pump the solution backwards through the filter to clean it out and keep it working fast. One convenient feature of the First Need filter is that it screws on to a wide variety of common water bottles, including wide-mouth Nalgene bottles.
You'll really want to bring a water filter if you go to China, because the water there isn't fit to drink without treatment. The locals boil the water and consider it safe, but really boiled water is only relatively safe; boiling can kill bacteria and viruses but it doesn't remove pollutants like heavy metals and other poisons. So bring a First Need water purifier!
Note that because I'm extra paranoid I chlorinated my water after filtering it when in China. I don't do this when I use the filter in the US, but I felt I should be extra prudent in China where I was taking water from filthy streams that were probably teaming with nasty viruses and bacteria. If you choose to to chlorinate your water, you need to add the chlorine after purification, not before; otherwise the chlorine may bond to the dirt in the water instead of killing the organisms themselves.
This is a great water bottle. It's made out of polycarbonate, the same stuff as bullet-proof windows, so you can drop it on rocks and not worry about it breaking. The volume is 32 ounces. I carried two of them while in China, which was enough for my non-desert trips when I could find streams every so often. The mouth screws right onto my First Need purifier, which makes life convenient.
Several years ago these water bottles became known to the Chinese, and soon Nalgene-knockoff bottles were everywhere in China. Chinese people use such bottles for tea. (Source: River Town). So now you can buy similar-looking, but probably not similar quality bottles very cheaply in China. I suggest buying the original, Made In USA Nalgene bottle.
This is the trusty handheld flashlight that I carried while traveling in China—that's right, the one that was rendered useless by a burnt-out bulb. However, one nice thing about this light is that it comes with a spare bulb built into the end cap. I've had this flashlight for probably ten years, so unfortunately I'd already used the spare bulb; I was stupid for not getting a new spare before going to China. When I go back to China I'll definitely bring a spare bulb!
This flashlight is wonderful. It's made of anodized aluminum so it's strong and light, it has an adjustable-focus beam, and it twists to turn on and off, so it never turns on accidentally and drains the batteries. It also has O-ring seals for water resistance, so you don't need to worry about dropping it in a puddle. AA batteries included!
Due to my burned-out flashlight bulb, this was my sole source of light while walking through the dozens of pitch-black Chinese railroad tunnels on my way to Inner Mongolia. It's amazingly bright for how small it is and how long the batteries last—up to fifty hours. It uses white LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs, which is why it's so efficient. Sorry there's no photo on this page, but if you click the link at left you'll be taken to a page with a photo.
This is supposedly the world's loudest safety whistle. It's designed to be heard for miles and to work when wet or even underwater. I carried this whistle with me while in China, but never had occasion to use it. I imagine it would come in handy in an emergency though. It might even be a good deterrent for when shady people in China hassle you—just cover your ears and blow the whistle, then make your getaway while everyone's ears are still in pain from the incredibly loud sound.
Questions? Mail me at .
Visit David Dewey's homepage at http://www.ddewey.net/Site Sponsor...