10 Things I Don't Leave Home Without

Whenever I’m packing, I try to avoid including anything valuable or irreplaceable. If I’d be bummed to have a certain item stolen while on the road, I don’t bring it. I especially scrimp on clothes, preferring to buy shirts along the way. Doing this saves on initial baggage space, and also nets you some nice souvenirs.

My Skateboard
I’ve taken this skateboard with me everywhere, and put it through more abuse than even an inanimate object should endure. People always ask me how many skateboards I’ve gone through, and I’m happy to say that I’m still riding one of the same boards I started with: a Sector 9 Cosmic that I got in college. It’s almost exactly my height, turns on a dime and provides enough flex to work as a shock absorber when I’m skating around a city.
These things are my lifeblood. When packing, I reserve more space in my pack for gloves than any other item. During the shooting of season 1 of Armed & Ready, I ended up burning through over 30 pairs of gloves! During just a single day of hard skateboarding, I can easily burn through a pair of Ironclad Super Duty gloves, which are the most durable I’ve found so far.
A pretty obvious pick for me, but if given the option, I prefer to take 2 cameras with me on any extended adventure. The first would be a fairly high-end dSLR with a few variable lenses. The second would be a waterproof disposable camera. It doesn’t take up much space, and is handy when you find yourself in environments where you don’t want to expose your nice camera to the elements.
Duct Tape
I usually carry a little bit of duct tape with me wherever I go. Obviously, taking a full roll would be a little ridiculous and add a lot of weight to my bag. So what I do is wrap duct tape around a pen until I have a tiny roll that holds about 4 feet of tape. That’s usually enough to patch up any broken gear or flesh wounds until I can find a better form of repair.
I have definitely succumbed to the allure of quickly recording data by either laptop or smartphone. However, a pen and paper seem to work better for me when I’m trying to find inspiration on the road. First off, it’s much lighter and more durable than a laptop or phone. Second, writing in a journal at a coffee shop makes you look like you’re in touch with your feelings. Add some black, wire-rim glasses for extra effect.
Skateboard Bearings
These are the things that keep my skateboard wheels turning. Unfortunately, they’re also the most susceptible to breakdown and almost impossible to repair on the road. Any amount of rain, sand, or dust will start to wear down the bearings, resulting in some terrible wheel-squeak. So if you hear me go by and I sound like a broken shopping cart, chances are I’m due for a bearing swap.
Hand Sanitizer
I walk on my hands. That’s really all I should have to say about this one.
I’ve never had to use this one, but it’s a good thing to carry with you anyway. It’s the antibiotic you take for food poisoning, and something you can get prescribed from your doctor before you leave the country. Just ask for it when you go for your pre-travel inoculation screening.
Portable Hand Controls
They’re small, easily installed and allow me to drive any vehicle with an automatic transmission. Beats having to use a stick, anyway…
Small Sewing Kit
With how badly I abuse my pants and gloves, it’s always good to have a quick stitch kit for repairing my often-ripped clothing. Also helps if you need to perform any sort of frontier medicine!

About the Author

An author, photographer and thrill seeker, Kevin Michael Connolly doesn't let his lack of legs keep him from traveling the world. His memoir, Double Take, has garnered rave reviews from People Magazine, Outside Magazine and the TODAY Show.

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