So what served me well? Here's a short list of items I used.
We live in a digital age where everything is interconnected. I was actually looking forward to unplugging from the world while exploring the national parks of Kenya. As fate would have it, there was almost no place that I was not connected. Imagine if you will, riding in the back of a Land Cruiser, poised to take a shot of giraffe and zebra, when your son texts you from 8000 miles away to complain about his car acting up...
While that part was a bit of a let down, the ability to access the web was handy while traveling. Pulling up maps, navigating Heathrow, navigating the Tube, taking short videos of wildlife and the countryside, using the phone as an alarm, listening to music, watching movies, and even tracking finances were all done with our phones. Most any quality smartphone would suffice. My company uses iPhones so I use one for my personal use for consistency and convenience.
Specifically a hat and a couple pair of cargo shorts. The hat was Carhartt's Odessa Hat. I was specifically looking for something that didn't have bright colors, was washable, packable, and low key.
|Carhartt Odessa Hat and WileyX Hayden glasses.|
Eyewear is a rather subjective topic. I was looking for something that I could use on our trip for eye protection, use at work for eye protection, use on the range for eye protection, and still be able to use my prescription. I do not wear contacts so my choices are somewhat limited. The WileyX Hayden glasses fit the bill quite well with the added benefit of having transitional, polarizing lenses. I found them to be heavy for prolonged wear and the curve of the lenses create a blurred area at the edge of my peripheral vision, both of which are limitations however, I wear them daily at work and when I go to the range and have been quite satisfied with them.
Merrell Moab Hiking Boots:
I really thought we were going to spend a lot more time walking than we did. Most of our foot travel was getting through airports and moving from our vehicle to various structures. The most walking we did outside of moving through the various airports was a short visit in London. I had spent a a fair bit of time prior to our trip walking and breaking in my Moab boots. They did quite well on the trip and have seen much harder use at home than traversing the 'wilds' of Africa.
Columbia Ultimate ROC Pants:
Quite easily some of the most comfortable pants I've ever worn. I've used the original ROC pants at work and they held up much better than I expected in a trade that tends to eat pants and spit them out ripped and torn. The Ultimate ROC Pants were comfortable for moving through the airports, long flights, long rides in Land Cruisers, getting in and out of those same Land Cruisers, and were nice enough for casual wear to dinner. I'm still using the same two pair I took with me and they have held up well. The right, front, zippered security pocket was great for stowing my wallet so I didn't have to worry as much about pick pockets while in crowded areas.
5.11 Covert Boxpack:
I didn't use the Covert Boxpack much on the trip to Africa but used it while there and on the return trip home. I'm not all that thrilled over the black interior of mine, especially in the Admin section of the pack. It makes it very difficult to find items without using a flashlight. With that being said, it was an excellent option as a carry-on pack and for navigating the wilds of international airports. It also served well as our tech gear bag while traveling around Africa. Since being home I've used it for several weekend jaunts and for a couple of clamping trips with relatives. It's an excellent 24 hour pack at roughly 1800 cubic inches or 30 liters.