I was excited about only taking two small backpacks to The Philippines. I would be able to carry everything on airplanes, and riding in trikes and jeepneeys would be easy.

Unfortunately, packing was hard, and it was a tight fit. My beloved North Face Surge II was bulging ridiculously. It stuck out so far, I was concerned that it might not actually fit in an overhead bin, defeating the purpose of taking a small pack.

I repacked with my venerable Eagle Creek Truist 55L pack, and it proved to be luxuriously cavernous. It holds everything with plenty of room to spare. I’ve been using this pack for years, and I know it works. It’s bigger than I need, but I’ve carried it on airplanes before. Ideally I would prefer a 45 liter, or even 40 liter main pack, but I don’t want to buy any more gear at this point. My ultralight experiment will have to wait.

A Water Bottle From The Future

I did purchase one more piece of expensive gear, the Camelbak All Clear Purifier Bottle . One of my greatest concerns I have when I travel is the impact I am having. Constantly having to buy bottled water in developing countries is not having a good impact. Are all those bottles being recycled? Probably not. I hate visiting pristine islands, only to see the big pile of plastic out back. Also, the very idea of selling water, which is freely available, is a huge scam that I try to avoid participating in.

So I decided to purchase some sort of water purification system before I left. I thought it would be the high tech Steripen, which magically purifies water with ultraviolet light. But my research indicated that these all use proprietary batteries, which I wouldn’t be able to easily replace on the road. There are also several kinds of water bottles with filters inside. But these have the same problem when the filter needs to be replaced.

I was pretty excited when I found out about the Camelbak bottle. The UV light is in the lid of the bottle, and best of all, it’s easily rechargeable via USB. It purifies a liter of water in 60 seconds. It was a little pricy at $70, but it will pay for itself over time. And it easily fits in my Eagle Creek pack.


I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.


  1. Yeah, I’ve been using it every day here in the Philippines without any problems. I don’t even know what a bottle of water costs, but I think it’s more than a dollar!

Like what you read? Have a question?

Your email address will not be published.