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Travel Tips (from an International Man of Mystery)

Posted on May 08 2018

By Charlie Martel

travel tips

If you're like me, you travel frequently, and some of those travels involve weapons systems funded by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 to enact or enforce US interests abroad. Airport security of all nationalities generally frown upon ammunition of any caliber, and for some reason, many airport security guards see spent brass as more of a threat than (*all the stuff I can actually make weapons from redacted because I'm not an asshole). It's a good idea to dump your carry-on a day prior to travel to see what you're really carrying on. This avoids those pesky interviews with mustachioed fat guys who have resume envy and throwing your $200 Benchmade in the trash.

But let's talk about me: here's most of what I'm carrying. (from left to right).

  1. Mountain Hardware frequent flyer pack. Because I like adventure and carrying a laptop. This pack has zero Velcro, so you'll have to find another way to tell people how you much you operate

  2. My dog tags. This is just so I know where they are. Believe it or not, some jumpmasters still want to see these things. Rules. Pfft.

  3. Hand cuff keys. Because hand cuffs lock.

  4. Moleskine notebook. Hemingway used one, therefore, as a fledgling writer, I must at least carry one

  5. Steven Pressfield "Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit". See #4

  6. Stow away back pack. Because I drink and buy things. I also have an extra duffle in my checked luggage. ALWAYS a good idea. Other countries are considerably more stringent about weight and size restrictions than the US is (Janice, would you mind leaving some overhead bin for the rest of us?).

  7. EMS Field Guide. I have been the "is there a doctor on board?" guy at least four times. When you're a few bloody mary's deep, it's good to have a reference.

  8. Speaking of bloodies...it's 3oz. Suck it TSA. Of note, this is “against” the “rules” by most “airlines”.

  9. Light jacket. I once flew from Amman to Seattle, with a connection in Chicago. Guess where the plane broke down? Guess where it was cold as fuck? Never again.

  10. "A Thousand Naked Strangers" by Kevin Hazzard. If you've ever worked in an ambulance, or aspire to, you'll love this book.

  11. Beer chits for the SF safe house in Bangkok. Always.

  12. Assorted batteries for assorted devices.

  13. Mechanix gloves. Same pair, 10 years old and still kicking. Yesterday I had to supervise my company palletizing gear. I didn’t need my gloves, but I was ready to tell people I was that I was ready to lift something.

  14. Arcteryx beanie. Because I’m follicularly challenged. Works just as good as the dollar store type, but I’m SOF.

  15. My Beret. Superman has a cape…

  16. TOURNIQUETS. Bypassing the debate on what type(s), you absolutely should be carrying a tourniquet. If you have a bag, you have room.

  17. SLR camera. Sometimes the iPhone just doesn’t cut it.

  18. Lidocaine. Who knows, but I’d love to hear your theories of why this is in my pack.

  19. Beer coozie (thank K-Bar soaps!). Keeps your bottle from sweating on your laptop.

  20. External battery. It’s difficult to be a successful attention whore on Instagram without a back-up power supply. I love my otter box case with polar pro external battery. 

  21. Spork, Lexan, 1ea. I am always ready to eat.

  22. Deodorant, wet wipes, single-use toothbrushes, body powder, gum. It’s a 10-hour flight. You’ve already been traveling for two days and your coach seat was made for tiny circus people. Don’t be a dick. Avoid gels, unless you want your pack to be both fresh smelling and juicy. Using the Wisps means never having to explain that the white crust is just toothpaste.

  23. Emeralds. This is actually a good example of why you do a ruck dump. Thought these were in a safe place. Apparently, I’ve been carrying several thousand dollars worth of gemstones around. Well, at least I know I can buy myself out of precarious situation involving henchmen and a heavily accented villain with an eye patch, turtleneck and Persian cat. Do not recommend.

  24. Nivea cream, travel size. This is .99 at CVS and will keep your face from peeling off into your airline chicken carbonara. 

  25. Tape. I have a three-foot roll of duct tape, a small roll of electrical tape, and one roll of North American Rescue Gecko Grip. I can fix your body, your gear, or this plane.

  26. OB Tampon. Bad for bullet holes. Great for nose bleeds. *note: do NOT use max absorbency.

  27. Various meds. Pictured are acetaminophen, ibuprofen, doxycycline, aspirin, medicated pain patches (Salonpas), and just a scoche of Ambien.

  28. Ear plugs. Usually free on the flight. I carry some anyway.

  29. Headlamps. I have two. It’s nice to be able to see in the dark. In the event of bad shit, it’s nice when your buddy can see in the dark also.

  30. DoohicKey. How often do you need a multitool but can be trusted with a blade? Here’s your solution.

  31. Android phone, unlocked. Because iPhone is a pain in the ass overseas, or really anywhere that you need to do something without Apple doing it for you.

  32. Measuring tape.

  33. Military One Source “Chill Drills”…for make Hulk away.

  34. Stack of my coins to give away. Because I’m so humble. And benevolent.


    Dump complete. No brass found. Obviously, I didn’t shoot enough on this trip. Safe travels.

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