You can prepare all you want for a trip, doing research into what gear you will need and what will hold up best, but ultimately there’s no way to test it quite like the trip itself. You may spend more on what you think will be higher quality products, but you never know until you find out. Over the years, I’ve had some gear that didn’t quite make it, sometimes due to the fault of the product and other times through overpacking or misuse.
The Packing Cubes That Frayed
My grandmother gave me a set of three Travelon packing cubes for Christmas that I set aside to bring with me on my three month trip through Australia and Southeast Asia. Each one was used to organize different things, with the largest holding my first aid kit, the medium holding makeup, and the smallest holding my hairbrush and headbands.
Over the first few weeks of my trip, the edges of the mesh holding the cube together started to fray (see image above) on the larger two. While this could have had something to do with putting too much in them or shoving them roughly into my backpack, I felt that they should have held up better and that I shouldn’t have needed to safety pin them to keep it together.
The Theft-Proof Purse That Failed
My sister Sammi bought a theft-proof purse she had researched prior to our trip to Asia. She narrowed it down to a PacSafe and Travelon instead of her outdoor brands because they had a reputation for protecting your valuables from pickpockets. In the end, she chose the Travelon React cross body purse for its sportier look and more affordable price.
Upon delivery, the locking mechanism on the carabiner used to secure zippers had already broken. Later on in the trip, the outside fabric started to fray and seams tore. This bag saw a medium level of use, but nothing that would warrant it falling apart so quickly.
The Short-Lived E-Reader
Before I won my beloved Kindle Fire in a contest, I had a Kobo, which was a cheaper e-reader sold at Borders stores in the US and that is popular in Europe. I downloaded dozens of books during the few months I had it to read on the train on my way to work in Australia and later on vacation in Hawaii. But eventually, without warning, it stopped turning on. The screen went blank and it wouldn’t hold a charge. I wasn’t sure what I could have done to break it, but I chalked it up to investing in a lesser quality product.
The Compression Sack That Broke
Brooke was using the Hoboroll compartmentalized compression sack, but was a little shocked when one of the buckles broke. Granted, she was getting a bit overzealous and compressing gear beyond what needed to be – so that could have something to do with it. We’re wondering now if anyone else has had problems with this item, or if it was just a fluke.
I’ve had a handful of other items that haven’t stood the test of time and the wear of travel, including a cheap travel adapter that I bought on Amazon that died after a year or so. My sister also busted the cap of her GoToobs within a few days and they don’t sell replacement caps. And my Kelty backpack that I traveled through Australia with had a hole in the front panel before I even reached Sydney. While it didn’t affect the integrity of the bag, it wasn’t a good start to the trip.
Have you ever had gear fall apart while traveling?
If so, what items? If we keep updating this post and the same item is failing for many people, then we’ll know not to recommend them in the future!
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