First, I’m sorry to hear about your parents close call; I have a friend in Utah who had a wildfire stop 50 yards from her home. Anyway, I’ve considered this question for YEARS, both as a child and as an adult. I have all my family’s pictures on an external hard drive, and – aside from all living things in my house (excluding the house plants, which are worthless), – those pictures would come with me first. My documents are in a fireproof safe, so I’m not worried about those – they’ll survive without my help!
8. Battery Pack
If you're reading this and under 30, you probably feel the need to Instagram/Tweet/Facebook every single part of your trip. If you're over 30....I don't know, we're all too immature to act like real adults but I'm sure you have to check in with someone to let them know you're ok or heading home or something. Either way, having your cell phone or bluetooth headset die mid trip is a bummer when you get into a new town and want to yelp the best place for a bite to eat or when you get a flat and didn't take my advice about carrying Fix-A-Flat. Last year, I bought a Mophie Powerstation which, for $100, will recharge my phone 6 times when the battery pack is fully charged. I can go bike camping for a whole weekend and take a zillion photos (number may actually not have been tested) and still have a full battery. I love this thing so much that, when they recently went on sale, I bought the outdoor version . It's one of the first things I recommend to people to buy.