Two is One and One is None

There is a philosophy I apply when preparing equipment for trips. The idea of ‘Two is One and One is None’ is a preparedness mentality associated with individuals in the military and law enforcement. It is the idea that one acknowledges that when something goes wrong, which on a trip it usually will, you have a backup. While this philosophy is most notably recognized with its association with preparing for combat situations, it can easily be applied to the gear we travel with.  So are we to take two of everything on our trip? Not at all, but we can apply the concept to the key items we travel with. Let’s look at a few key items we travel with and see how this applies.

On our recent trip to New Zealand, my giant blue backpacking pack was never loaded on our airplane when we left Idaho. Of the two giant, expedition sized packs to be loaded on an airplane with 15 total passengers, mine was left behind by the baggage handlers. So for the first 5 days of our trip I was without a change of clothes, and most importantly my fly fishing gear.  We were forced to try and find new shirts and pants for me when we could have been fishing - had I had my fishing gear.

When my pack finally arrived!

What could we have done differently? First, we should have divided our clothing and gear between the two packs. Easy enough, half of my clothing with half of Krista's with half the fishing gear.  This would have ensured at least a couple of days clothing and one fly fishing setup to last us the first few days.  Spending time in a laundromat is a lot less expensive than buying new pants and shirts.  Second, do whatever you can not to fly Deta or Skywest Airlines!

A friend of mine recently returned from a trip visiting some of the western National Parks. While transferring photos from her memory cards onto an external hard drive, the hard drive failed and caused her to lose all of the photos from her trip. 

Backing up photos after a long day of travel

If you spend time talking to professional travel photographers you will discover they are meticulous about backing up their work.  While I am in no way a professional photographer our blog does rely on the photos we take, during our travels, for content. At the end of each day I use Adobe Lighroom to transfer our photos and video from our memory cards onto our laptop and an external hard drive. It isn’t until the photos have been transferred to the laptop and the backup copy is placed onto the external hard drive that I reformat the memory cards. I also, when traveling internationally, keep my camera, laptop, and external hard drive in separate locations. This increases the odds that in the event one is stolen or damaged, the other survives.

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated when we travel but how many of us take steps to ensure we have enough water?  Hot weather or unexpectedly getting stuck will cause us to consume more water than we may have planned to bring along.  Sometimes, due to circumstances we cannot control, we find ourselves is situations where we may be in survival mode, stuck vehicle or injured team member.  We cannot run into town to pickup a few bottles of water, we need to have a backup solution.

While we always carry more water than we expect to use during a trip, we also make sure we have a way of purifying water.  There are many methods for creating potable water for drinking, we have chosen to travel with a pump filter.  These are handy for both our domestic and international travels.  They are compact, light, and able to produce a large volume of water.  We always toss one in our luggage and in the back of the 4Runner.

There are other key items we associate with the 'Two is One and One is None' mentality. Each trips is different, and our lists are different than other's. The key is to understand what is crucial for your travels. If a piece of equipment or a process were to fail, how would it affect you and your trip. Do you have a backup plan in place to see you through? The steps are easy, and can save your bacon when needed.