What to bring to the field

I’ve made some updates to my original list. One of these days I’ll get around to a full rewrite. In the meantime, here are some additions:

1. Portable mini-speakers that will plug into your computer or mp3 player.

2. Exercise bands, especially one with a door attachment. I got this one and a smaller figure 8 band.

3. Noise cancelling headphones (and a white noise app for my iPhone).

4. A plastic water bottle. Dehydration is my worst enemy on these 24 hour Africa flights. So I bring a empty bottle through security then fill it at a water fountain. Flight attendants seem to refill big bottles without complaint.

5. High-protein energy bars for the flight. Skip the crappy meal and get to sleep faster.

6. Soluble hydration tablets. After a day of walking or surveying in Liberia and Uganda, I get migraines and feel drained. Same after long runs in the heat. The tablets are magical. I tried and like these ones.

7. Small tissue packs for all those many, many latrines sans TP.

Finally, currently on probation:

8. The yoga paws that some commenters were so excited to see. As one reader cautioned by email, however, the paws seem to wear out ridiculously fast. After two weeks mine already show serious wear.