Travel Features

Top 10 Travel Essentials - Dwayne Parton

by Dwayne Parton

Over the last few years I've turned into a bit of a nomad. I spent the last 6 months in Anchorage, Alaska where I sold my truck, converted a van, and have been exploring the last frontier as much as I can. I generally spend time outdoors, primarily hiking, fishing, and now rock climbing. I'm starting to pack up the van to head back south to spend some time in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Driving is how I spend my holidays, and as far as that goes I try to take a short holiday everyday. Work hard in the morning, play hard or drive far in the evenings. For the passed year I've been exploring the North West and so my essentials are a bit geared towards that.

My dog is probably the most essential item on the list. He has become my adventure buddy, and though he complains a lot when the hikes get too long, he is quite the trooper. He loves car rides more than just about anything, and since we drive a whole lot it works out quite nicely.

The Van
Sketchy is it's name. It's bit of a creepy white van, but I try to make light of that. It's roomy, and I've been converting it for the passed 3 months. I traded my small pick up for it, because the bed of the truck was just a little too small for me. It's an AWD beast with enough quirks to keep one entertained for a while. The heater is either always on or always off. I had to use a ruler to prop the vent door open. Anyways, it's full of character. Car Camping is one of the most cost effective and efficient ways for us to travel. There are lots of places to camp for free and wake up to some incredibly scenic landscapes. The US if full of National Forests, and generally dispersed camping is allowed in them.

Dwayne & Bobby

Audiobooks are key. Whether I'm hiking or driving, I love to listen to a good book. It's better than any movie, and a great way to check off those books you've been meaning to read. I usually listen to Fantasy books. Something about hiking while listening to the Lord of the Rings just feels epic.

Documenting the journey is one of my favorite parts. I now carry 2 cameras. An Olympus OM-D Em-1 and Em-5 Mark II. They are pretty light considering their quality and rugged enough to take in pretty harsh conditions.

Bobby and I both have packs. I'm currently carrying a Gregory Targhee 45L which at the moment is full of climbing gear, and he carries a ruff wear pack with a jacket and food.

First Aid Kit
This is a must. You never know what can go wrong and the one time you forget will be when you wish you had it. That's a true story, and a very hard lesson learned.

Bear Spray
Grizzly's are a real threat outdoors in the North West. Especially, in Alaska. I have not had any encounters with them, but I've heard enough stories to know carrying Bear Spray is a must.

Sleeping Bag
The sleeping bag is more for Bobby. I mean, I need it but he pretty much takes it over. We don't actually camp in the woods that much, but the van can get pretty chilly.

Fly fishing is a hobby I just picked up last fall and one I've fallen in love with. Alaska, has plenty of places to fish and Bobby likes to try just as much as me. It's not really about catching the fish though, I'm not very good. It's just another way to get out and enjoy nature.

Open Mics have been a great way to meet people and step out of my comfort zone. One of my favorite times last year was playing at the Hootenanny just outside of Jackson Hole. It's one of the coolest open mics you will ever go to, so if you get a chance make sure you check it out. Monday nights at Dornans Moose Chuckwagon in Wyoming!

Dwayne Parton - Traveler. Writer. Photographer. @dwayneparton

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