Lost Girls' Borneo Gear Guide

How do the Lost Girls, minimalists by no stretch of the imagination (we believe in lipstick!), pack light without sacrificing creature comforts? See what we couldn’t live without on our Borneo trip.
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Photo By: Jeff Alexander

Packing proved to be a challenge for our Borneo trip, as we’d be away for roughly three weeks and doing everything from diving off the island of Sipadan to climbing to the top of Mount Kinabalu. Moreover, we didn’t want to risk losing checked luggage with three long flights, a few bumpy bus rides, and a boat journey, so we had to fit everything into a carry-on.

An Organizational System

Holly tested out the Hoboroll, an organizer with five compartments that has drawstring end closures and compression straps to minimize bulk. “It saved me from having to dig around my luggage for my clothes, separated dirty garments from clean, and could even be used as a pillow on the plane!” says Holly.
There’s also a tool loop making it possible for hikers to clip onto their daypacks, and for minimalists to use as their main bag.

The Travel Bible

We believe that getting lost is the best way to explore a new place, but we still like to read up on our destination by studying Lonely Planet guidebooks on the plane. When traveling to Borneo, we opted for the Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Lonely Planet rather than the Borneo Lonely Planet edition because it’s been updated more recently.

Foot Protection for Water Sports

Jen is an adrenaline junkie who is all about comfort, so she loves protecting her feet while walking on the beach by wearing Sockwas. The Sockwa G series is made from space-age polymers for the most tactile walking experience, and Jen discovered that they’re also thin enough to wear with fins while diving to ward of blisters caused by friction. Plus, they take up no space in your carryon.

Fog-Free Masks

Amanda suggests stocking up on anti-fog solution before any dive trip to clean your mask, because a cloudy mask makes it tough to enjoy the underwater world. We like Aqua Sphere’s anti-fog drops, as well as their Kaiman ladies goggles (with anti-fog and scratch-resistant lenses and straps that don’t leave marks on your face) for doing laps in the ocean or a pool. Holly couldn’t resist swimming in the gorgeous blue waters off of the island Mabul.

Lightweight Sneakers

Traditional running shoes are bulky, making them cumbersome for travel. For this trip she packed Altra’s Zero Drop Eve shoes, which weigh a mere 4.5 ounces. Designed for athletes looking to transition into barefoot running, they’re an excellent choice for adventure trips because they’re so versatile. Holly wore the shoes on the dive boat, hiking in Bako National Park, running on the beach in Mabul, at a hotel gym, and even with a sundress.

Stylish Workout Clothes

We needed to pack some comfortable and cute athletic clothing that could also multitask for both airport apparel and adventure outings. Enter Electric Yoga gear. While hiking Mount Kinabalu, a hardcore, two-day climb that led us above the clouds, Amanda and Jen wore the seamless racerback tanks, which are snug-fitting without cutting into your shoulders, making them uber comfortable and ideal for layering.

A Supportive Sports Bra

No need to accept the pancake-boob fate when looking for a sports bra that will keep your breasts from bouncing, whether you’re hiking a mountain or running on the beach. The best bra we’ve found for providing both a flattering fit and ample support is the Ta Ta Tamer from Lululemon. It’s pricy at about $58, but it may do such a good job of shaping your chest that you’ll actually want to swap it for your typical underwire bra when on the road.

Versatile Outfits

It never fails: No matter how many different outfits we pack, we typically end up wearing one the most. Holly’s go-to outfit on this trip was Athleta’s draped tunic dress. Flattering and sporty, the fabric is wrinkle resistant and wicks away sweat. She’d wear it for a day on the beach or exploring the tiny fishing villages of Mabul, and dress it up with gold hoops for evenings out.

Multitasking Makeup

While not all female travelers consider cosmetics a toiletry basic, Holly (the Lost Girls beauty buff) swears by multitasking products that let you look polished without taking up a lot of space in your bag. Her new favorite product is Oxygentics Oxygenating Foundation because it acts as a foundation, moisturizer, and sunscreen all in one, and is healthier for your skin than wearing no makeup at all thanks to special peptide ingredients to boost healing oxygen. You can even wear it swimming in the ocean because it’s waterproof for up to 90 minutes.

Brightening Facial Cleanser

Travel can do a number on your complexion because dry airplane air and humid weather can cause flaky skin and clogged pores. Exfoliate dead skin cells to ward off breakouts while helping to reverse sun damage with a brightening cleanser. MyChelle Dermaceuticals Apple Brightening Cleanser is sulfate free, comes in an easily-portable 2.1 ounce bottle, and has natural fruit acids and powerful antioxidants to shield skin from free radical damage.

Antibacterial Protection

Amanda is the group’s self-proclaimed hypochondriac, but you don’t have to be hyper vigilant about germs to know that it’s a good idea to arm yourself with anti-bacterial sprays and wipes when traveling—especially in places like Borneo where some bathrooms don’t have toilet paper or even running water. We like CleanWell To-Go disinfectant sprays and wipes because they have natural ingredients and are easy to tuck into your purse.