A side-effect of working down here – with income but no expense, physical isolation but also Internet connection – is that many of us here tend to “window shop”. Friends of mine have left this sort of gig with piles of new toys, lots of photos, and not much to show for the effort remaining in the bank. Availability of “pro deals” doesn’t help the situation. Overall, I think I’m doing pretty good so far – school is all paid off and the retirement account got it’s biggest contribution so far…
That said, when I’m on my way North, I fully intend to go with a fancy new set of noise cancelling headphones for the tens of thousands of miles of flying I’ll be doing. Little widgets you can stick in your ears to make there be even less noise than there would be with earplugs, but with music if you desire. And, there’s probably going to be a packraft in my bag on the way back South to New Zealand, I just need to figure out what colour (and what paddle…).
On paper, and through the grapevine, I’ve heard packrafts are amazing. Essentially, it’s a very lightweight and tough pool toy meant for rugged outdoor travel. For probably less than 3kg, it’s a boat+paddle+PFD that’s fully capable of handling flat or whitewater, with all of one’s backpacking gear aboard. For a small weight (and of course $) penalty, but providing better handling, that gear can be stashed inside the tubes!
Modern technology blows my mind sometimes.