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Meet J&L


Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

Noms, Brews, & Views.

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Essential Travel Items

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

Whether we are setting off on a trip to backpack through Europe or going camping at a National Park, there are essential items we do not leave without. Most of us are guilty of over-packing for fear of leaving something crucial behind. We have compiled a list of multi-functional, lightweight, and/or compact items to make your load lighter wherever your travels may take you!

In other words, for those of us who do not have a dog willing to carry our extra baggage, check out our list of truly essential travel items below.


10 Hiking Essentials

Camping Hacks

Finding Budget Flights


Venture Pal Backpack

Our #1 essential travel item and an unbelievable value! This is a 40L pack that weighs only 0.7 lbs and folds into it's interior pocket, taking up very little room in your luggage. Tested and proven by J&L, this day pack is made of durable materials, has comfortable arm straps, and comes with a waterproof interior pouch to hold any wet items or foods.

Goal Zero Solar Charging Power Bank

Another all-around travel tool that we never go on an adventure without! This Goal Zero power bank will allow you to charge your device in case of emergency, shine light when it gets dark, and recharge with the use of its solar panels. It also has a crank feature on its flashlight in case of no sun or no stored battery. This is a great tool to keep you safe and connected (when needed) in the outdoors and foreign countries.

Fast Drying Microfiber Travel Towels

This is an exceptional multi-use towel that dries super fast! We clip these towels on our day pack for a picnic blanket or towel to dry off during a mid-hike swim. We also use these towels for showering at our campsite due to how fast they dry when hung. These 4Monster towels are sand free, have high water absorbency, dry fast and fold down into a compact case to save space while packing or hiking. A great versatile travel item at a wonderful value!

Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

Your classic "dad hat". But hey, doesn't your dad give great advice? This hat is highly recommended for any outdoor activity, whether that be hiking or exploring a new town. With water resistance, UV protection, and a comfortable fit from a trusted outdoor brand, you will find yourself sporting the "dad look" wherever your travels may take you.


This is well worth the money as it saves so much time on your adventures. This JetBoil can easily fit in any day-pack, allowing for hot meals on the go. Water boils in 4 minutes in the MiniMo, which means you can easily make some delicious mac n cheese in roughly 10 min. We can stand by this product and have found it to be one of the most essential adventure tools in our pack. Be sure to get some fuel as well before your next trip.

Swiss Army Tinker

This is am extraordinary multi-functional tool that comes in handy when you least expect it. Less than 4 inches long, it fits on a key-chain perfectly and has a number of different tools to assist in numerous different travel scenarios. Personal favorites are the bottle opener, screwdriver, toothpick, and mini scissors.

Men's & Women's Chaco Shoes

Chaco shoes are durable, comfortable, waterproof adventure shoes that pack very easily due to their slim design. We would recommend the ZX/2 Classic for Women and Z/1 Classic for Men with ChacoGrip™ sole and antimicrobial odor control. Chaco shoes are very unique in that you are able to adjust the straps to perfectly fit your foot shape. These are a wonderful option for open-toe, stylish outdoor shoes that have great support for longer walking activities.

Women's Chaco ZX/2 Classic

Men's Chaco Z/1 Classic

Men's & Women's Keen Shoes

We would recommend the Women's Whisper and Men's Newport H2 Keen shoes with their EVA mid-sole and foot-beds. These shoes are great for water activities and a wonderful closed-toe option to keep your feet safe and protected from the elements as you are adventuring. Another great perk of these shoes is that they are machine washable! Depending on your style preference, both Keen and Chaco are very versatile outdoor shoes.

Women's Keen Whisper Sandal

Men's Keen Newport H2 Sandal

Canon Rebel T6 Camera

An essential travel item to document your trip. While there are many camera options out there, we use the Canon Rebel T6 with its built-in WiFi, high-quality photos and viewfinder capabilities. The Below kit is a great value and comes with two different size zoom lenses and a carrying bag:

Our Essential Travel Items in Action

You now have all of the essential tools to go out and explore!

Happy Adventuring!


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Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!

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