Looking for light, efficient, minimal, mobile "TSA-friendly" travel gear

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David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 6, 2011, 7:01:05 PM2/6/11
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I'll be heading off to foreign lands for a bit, and was wondering what
others are using for their personal travel gear while abroad.

Specifically, I'm finding it hard to find -good-, durable,
high-quality, TSA-friendly choices in:

- Travel bottles (3oz or less). I've found the GoToob ones that look
nice, but they seem a bit.. inefficient, since you can't get that last
1oz out from the cap easily enough. I've seen some of the el-cheap-o
ones at Target and such, and it seems like they'd get really fragile
and crack/shatter in colder climates. Squeeze tube style? Flip-top
bottle style? Other?

- Travel adapter/power inverter. I have a power inverter that I picked
up from Voltage Valet (model V100) when I was in England and
Australia, but it's pretty heavy. With the new travel/weight
guidelines on airlines, that means I have to pack less of my normal
gear to fit this in under the weight limit. I also have an older
RadioShack 50W "Foreign Travel Voltage Converter" that is much lighter
in weight, but is only 50W. As I carry a 90W laptop with me, that
won't work anymore. I also look at the other compact inverters and
they look good and weigh less, but are still "cubes", and bulky.

- Cookware. I've been looking at the MSR BaseCamp Flex-4 system, and
I'm wondering if anyone has used this, or has possible alternatives.
This will be my primary cookware, so cleaning and durability is
important, as is weight. They don't have a 4-person kit in their
titanium line, so I'm looking at this one for now. Other solutions?
Ideas? How do other people handle their nightly cooking routine where
light weight and maximum portability are critical?

- Flatware... I've picked up a backpackers set of knife/spoon/fork, in
lightweight aluminum from EMS Sports, but they're starting to get a
bit dank, after (unfortunately) running them through the dishwasher
once. Bad, don't do that to aluminum :) I'm looking at replacing those
with a titanium "spork" style kit instead. Ideas? Considerations?

I'm hoping to fit all of this into one carry-on bag, including
clothes. I'd like to avoid checking a bag at the gate for flights in
and out of the country of interest.

I'm still going through this process, but any input or insight from
those doing this on a more-regular basis would be extremely helpful.

Thanks!

Sam Brown

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Feb 6, 2011, 7:27:44 PM2/6/11
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I take it you're camping for a good chunk of your time, from looking
over this list? Because if you're in cities, you'll never need many of
these things.

If you're trying to fit everything in a carry-on, then it sounds like
you're city living, not camping. For starters, you can't take a
pocketknife without checking some luggage, and how would you go
camping without a pocketknife? And if we're talking power converters,
again, it sounds like you're not in the boonies.

If you are city travelling, most of the item's you're discussing will
be dead weight. You don't need your own cookware. The kitchen where
you are will have some. (Whether you're couchsurfing or hostel
travelling.) Even if you are seriously camping, you don't need a
flatware set: A high-impact plastic soup spoon is all you need,
presuming you've already got your general purpose pocketknife. Forks
are overrated.

Depending on what electronics you're carrying, you may not need a
voltage regulator. Just a 3$ plug adapter will be plenty, and much
lighter. Dig the specs of each of your gizmos up on the web and check
what voltage they'll accept. Many higher end electronics will accept
"world voltage". 100-240 volts, 50-60Hz. Once I'd pre-packed my own
bags I realized I only had four electronic items that had wall plugs,
and looking them up online, they all accepted world voltage. Laptop?
Check. Electric toothbrush charger? Check. AA battery charger? Check.
Camera battery charger? Check. Everything else was powered off USB, so
as long as the laptop was happy, so were they. If you have a mac, the
$20 plug adapter pack is a good investment.

So yeah, if you're city travelling, getting your stuff into a single
knapsack is doable. Leave the cookware and the power converters at
home. You've got that much more room in your bag.



On Feb 6, 4:01 pm, "David A. Desrosiers"
<david.a.desrosi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'll be heading off to foreign lands for a bit, and was wondering what
> others are using for their personal travel gear while abroad...

David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 6, 2011, 9:00:07 PM2/6/11
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On Sun, Feb 6, 2011 at 7:27 PM, Sam Brown <bau...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I take it you're camping for a good chunk of your time, from looking
> over this list? Because if you're in cities, you'll never need many of
> these things.

Note to self: don't compose emails while trying to manage a 6-year old
at bedtime :)

I think I smooshed two similar but overlapping requirements into one.
I'll try to clarify here:

> If you're trying to fit everything in a carry-on, then it sounds like
> you're city living, not camping.

My next trip abroad is mostly business, and the only way to get to the
destination is via airplane, so I have to conform to what they require
(no chopsticks in my carry-on, for example). I'm trying to avoid
checking a bag, and wondering if I can fit 9 days of gear into a
single carry-on bag. This guy makes it seem so easy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5UlxHsgD58

> If you are city travelling, most of the item's you're discussing will
> be dead weight. You don't need your own cookware. The kitchen where
> you are will have some.

This is where I smooshed my need for reducing my own personal "bulk"
into something taking up less space and much less management of that
space. I have standard cookware now, today, in my home. I'd like to
get rid of most of it, because it takes up a considerable amount of
two very large lower cabinets. I was looking at the T-Fal "Compact"
stackable units, but they don't sell outside the UK, and nobody else
carries it:

http://www.tefal.com/All+Products/Cookware/Non+stick+cookware/Products/Compact/Compact.htm

So that led me to MSR's "Basecamp" kit, which includes mugs and other
items. I won't be bringing this on my trip abroad, not -this- time,
but I might if I decide to return for purely pleasure, and living on
the rougher side of the island.

I'm looking at all of my gadgets with the intent of making them
more-functional, or replacing them with gear that is multi-purpose.
Replacing my cookware with something more compact, efficient -and- one
I can travel with has some serious benefits for me.

> Depending on what electronics you're carrying, you may not need a
> voltage regulator. Just a 3$ plug adapter will be plenty, and much
> lighter.

I used to think that, until I traveled to Sydney, to a hotel that had
some "questionable" power (i.e. > 240V), and it blew some pretty
expensive gear I had with me. From that point, I've carried an
inverter/surge of some sort with me.

I have a few travel "plug" adapters, and they work fairly well, but
tend to contain so many movable little plastic parts, that when one
little tab or slider cracks or breaks, the whole adapter is rendered
useless.

> Dig the specs of each of your gizmos up on the web and check
> what voltage they'll accept. Many higher end electronics will accept
> "world voltage". 100-240 volts, 50-60Hz.

I commute 5 hours a day to/from work, and everything I need fits into
my North Face Surge backpack. I just replaced my 2008 version with the
2011 version of the Surge, and it's quite a bit different, and
defintely quite a few steps backwards from the one I was using before.
In there, I carry my laptops, spare batteries, PlusTek mobile scanner,
PowerGorilla, etc.

The point of that is, I'm down to 1 wire to the wall, and everything
else vampires off of that connection, whether as a USB gadget that
plugs into the laptop directly (or via the 12-port USB hub I carry),
or something that plugs into the wall adapter I carry.

One thing I did find out years ago, is that not all power -strips- are
110/220V compatible, even if the devices you plug -into- that power
strip are (another lesson learned from that trip to Sydney).

> So yeah, if you're city travelling, getting your stuff into a single
> knapsack is doable. Leave the cookware and the power converters at
> home. You've got that much more room in your bag.

I'm going to mock up my pack and trip gear into a bag a couple of
weeks before I leave, so I can work out how to condense it down even
further.

Cherie @Technomadia

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Feb 6, 2011, 11:01:45 PM2/6/11
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For our first few years on the road, we traveled via RV with a very
tiny kitchen. Our first nesting cookware set was a MSR Basecamp, and
it was pretty ok. It only lasted a couple years, as the teflon
started to flake (despite cautious use). We replaced it a year ago
with this set (Pinnacle by GSI):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024F85QU?ie=UTF8&tag=technomadia08-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0024F85QU

And it's holding up great with regular everyday use!


A few months ago we parked the RV for a bit and are currently in the
US Virgin Islands for the winter. The place we're subletting was only
partially furnished, with no kitchen items or linens. Obtaining stuff
on island is extremely limited and/or expensive (and we didn't want to
double buy stuff that we already had). So we had to bring all that
sort of stuff with us.. and we kept a goal of only checking 2 bags
(for two geeky adults and a cat). We brought the GSI set as our
pots. And I brought my beloved Calphalon 10" Wok as my general
purpose cooking pan. We also had to bring plates, cups, utensils,
etc. Our full packing list can be found here:
http://www.technomadia.com/2010/11/the-packing-list/ .

I do think a small nesting set could be quite doable in a carry-on.
We even packed stuff inside ours.

Should we do extended stays in places in the future, we'll definitely
be looking for better furnished places to lease - as moving this much
household stuff around is a bit annoying. And I'm definitely not the
sort to be find it sustainable to depend on couchsurfing and hostels.
As a homebodied introvert, I really need to have *my* space to be
comfortable.

- Cherie / http://www.technomadia.com

Lefty

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Feb 6, 2011, 9:54:23 PM2/6/11
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On Feb 6, 2011, at 6:00 PM, David A. Desrosiers wrote:

>> If you're trying to fit everything in a carry-on, then it sounds like
>> you're city living, not camping.
>
> My next trip abroad is mostly business, and the only way to get to the
> destination is via airplane, so I have to conform to what they require
> (no chopsticks in my carry-on, for example). I'm trying to avoid
> checking a bag, and wondering if I can fit 9 days of gear into a
> single carry-on bag. This guy makes it seem so easy!
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5UlxHsgD58

I wouldn't take "9 days worth of gear", unless I couldn't possibly avoid it. I'd bring a maximum of five days worth, and do some laundry in my hotel room sink, or at a coin laundry, if there happened to be one handy... I use a MEI Voyageur, and I have no trouble getting enough stuff to give me some variety into a bag that size, but I've gone out of my way to get stuff that's easily hand-washable...

The Voyageur is an excellent bag, in my opinion—you have to understand that it's really got at least as much backpack as suitcase in it, quite literally, maybe a bit more. Another good choice is Tom Bihn's Aeronaut, which is probably just a little more suitcase than backpack, by comparison.

The hip belt and shoulder straps on the Voyageur are, I think, more comfortable with longer distances and heavier loads. The interior is just one big undivided space. The Aeronaut is more "structured". I can vouch for Tom Bihn workmanship—his shop used to be down here in Santa Cruz before he moved to Washington. The Voyageur is also very nicely constructed, hand-made in fact, which occasionally leads to some issues in getting one as quickly as you'd ideally like. I personally had no problems, and the guy who makes them is pretty responsive, if a bit odd.

MEI Voyageur: http://www.meivoyageur.com/
Tom Bihn Aeronaut: http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/100/TB0906

3nk idu

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Feb 7, 2011, 4:31:30 AM2/7/11
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After being on the road for years I can only recommend one travel adaptor - the Swiss world adaptor. It gives you a both way (in and out) convertible adaptor for pretty much everywhere in the world. Unlike most of the convertible gizmos this one is actually robust and will not fall apart on you. 


As for carrying a power inverter.... that's going to be a waste of space. It's better to buy your electronics carefully to make sure they are 110/220 compatible. I get your point about poorly regulated power sources but to me that's just bad luck rather than something worth carrying around a heavy inverter for.

Cheers!
Paul



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David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 7, 2011, 7:20:36 AM2/7/11
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On Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 4:31 AM, 3nk idu <nki...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> After being on the road for years I can only recommend one travel adaptor -
> the Swiss world adaptor. It gives you a both way (in and out) convertible
> adaptor for pretty much everywhere in the world. Unlike most of the
> convertible gizmos this one is actually robust and will not fall apart on
> you.
> http://www.amazon.com/Universal-International-Travel-Power-Adapter/dp/B0017K4CGK/

I actually own that exact adapter, but the little fuse door in the
center cracked and broke, rendering it useless.

I just ordered this one last night to replace it:

http://www.amazon.com/SKROSS-Black-Travel-Adapter-Charger/dp/B002G90I3M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297081155&sr=8-2

3nk idu

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Feb 7, 2011, 8:56:00 AM2/7/11
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Hah ok I take the bit back about it not falling apart then ;) I've used several over a span of 4 years now and never had a problem. The new one you linked looked interesting as the usb bit can also plug independently into US style plugs it seems. I've always just tossed that bit in the past as I recharge usb out of my laptop anyway.

Cheers!
Paul


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Jake Cressman

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Feb 8, 2011, 4:55:32 AM2/8/11
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The MEI Voyageur looks awesome.

I've been traveling for the past three months in South East Asia (in
India now) and I have the REI Vagabond bag. It's a carry on size and
fits about five days of clothes plus my Mac Book and some other
necessities. It has a few small pockets that the MEI doesn't have, but
you really don't need them. I also never use the belt because I'm
usually just carrying my bag from the bus/train/plain to the hotel.
The Vagabond was on sale for about $60 when I bought it, so it's
cheaper than the MEI. But... the MEI seems like a more elegant design.

My take is that you really don't need more than five days of clothes
because otherwise you will be carrying around a lot of dirty laundry.
We usually have our hotel do the laundry each week. In SE Asia it
comes to about $4-$6 for two people. When in expensive countries we
use coin laundry.

We lost our adapter after the first month on the road, so now we use a
cheap one we bought in Calcutta for a dollar. If you're like me, then
loosing your adapter is inevitable, so why not get a cheap one.

An important thing for me to remember when planning for travel
(something my girlfriend has to remind me) is that it's not like I'm
going to the moon. Even in the middle of Java, finding an adapter,
flash drive, season five of Dexter or whatever is pretty easy and
usually cheaper.

Hope that helps!

Jake
www.jakecressman.com

David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 8, 2011, 1:11:08 PM2/8/11
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On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 4:55 AM, Jake Cressman <jake.c...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The MEI Voyageur looks awesome.

But but but... it's just a plain-'ol duffel with a belt strap and
backpack straps, no?

I have an Osprey Atmos 50 and a Kelty Redwing 3100, which I could
use... or for lighter day trips, my Oakley AP 3.0 pack.

I'm not sure the MEI is even in the same category here... is it?

Matt Browner Hamlin

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Feb 8, 2011, 9:50:41 AM2/8/11
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I've been using the MEI Executive Overnighter for the last few months and love it. Three compartment, MLC convertible with the same great backpack straps & waist straps as the Voyageur. Having three compartments is great for me in terms of organization. Plus the middle wall is padded enough to keep my 15" macbook pro safe with only a neoprene sleeve.


On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 4:55 AM, Jake Cressman <jake.c...@gmail.com> wrote:

Frodo Zumbrunn

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Feb 8, 2011, 1:16:07 PM2/8/11
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anyone use one of goruck's products?

Sent from my iPhone

David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 8, 2011, 1:36:02 PM2/8/11
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On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Frodo Zumbrunn <fro...@gmail.com> wrote:
> anyone use one of goruck's products?

If you're looking at Goruck's products (in that genre), you should
look at Maxpedition's gear as a possible alternative:

http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/Backpacks-c12.htm

Andrew Furman

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Feb 8, 2011, 2:46:50 PM2/8/11
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I'm going to be volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana next month for 1 week and I'm considering buying the Osprey Porter 46.

My main requirements for a bag are that it can always be carried onto planes (22x14x9) and that it can fit as much stuff as possible.

Has anyone bought this bag or does anyone know of a better alternative?


----
Andrew Furman
Carnegie Mellon University, Class of 2012
B.S. Information Systems
afu...@andrew.cmu.edu
aifurman.com
774.238.7626



Vivek Gani

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Feb 8, 2011, 5:07:01 PM2/8/11
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Nice, the MEI voyageur reminds me a lot of the Patagonia MLC (maximum legal carry-on). 

Anyone have some thoughts on how waterproof these bags are? I've started looking at backpacks and figured I'd be more comfortable taking something that's light (~30-37 L) and waterproof.

So far I've liked the North Face Base Camp Hot Shot (30L, $99), and the ortlieb flight 27 (27L, ~$170). Both packs seem simple enough to easily lock and are fairly waterproof. But I've considered going bigger though, and was wondering what other options might be out there. I'm looking at waterproof packs so I don't have to think about carrying notebook sleeves or waterproof bags. 


-Vivek

David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 8, 2011, 6:21:50 PM2/8/11
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On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Vivek Gani <vive...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Anyone have some thoughts on how waterproof these bags are? I've started
> looking at backpacks and figured I'd be more comfortable taking something
> that's light (~30-37 L) and waterproof.

Water-proof-? Or water-resistent? You'll actually be submerging the
bags, and hope that the the contents stays dry? Best option is to put
your normal bag into a proper diver's bag if that's what you want.
These typically fold over several times and bind at the fold.

If you want something that will survive driving rain, and keep the
contents dry, look at the Osprey bags. They have great "hidden"
zippers that run water off, and keep the water from seeping in, and
the drawstring top under the rain cover (or without) keeps things nice
and dry.

You can get a rain cover that looks like this:

http://d22hmjocokvtiu.cloudfront.net/2010/oldphotos/IMG_1383.JPG

Or use a poncho that is made for packing, like this:

http://www.wildearth.com.au/images/Dry%20Bags/tarpponcho.jpg

Leonard Lin

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Feb 8, 2011, 5:35:52 PM2/8/11
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I picked up a Granite Gear Escape AC 60
(http://www.rei.com/product/797912) last year and have been super happy
with it. It's an ultralight top-loader that can carry up to around 30lbs
comfortably. Technically bigger than carry on dimensions, but have
never gotten guff checking in and has fit straight in on every plane
I've been on so far (Airbus and Boeing internationals, and every size of
shuttle+long haul domestic). Price is about $200. In terms of smaller
bags, people like the Deuter Futura Pro 42
(http://www.rei.com/product/765141) - that was my #2 choice - much
smaller, has a more solid frame but at the cost of really crimping your
storage. It does have lots of pockets as well as a bottom zipper
though, so could be convenient. A little pricier than the Osprey at
REI, but I've seen it at $120 online.


On 2/8/11 11:46 AM, Andrew Furman wrote:
> I'm going to be volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana next month for 1
> week and I'm considering buying the Osprey Porter 46.
>
> My main requirements for a bag are that it can always be carried onto
> planes (22x14x9) and that it can fit as much stuff as possible.
>
> Has anyone bought this bag or does anyone know of a better alternative?
>
> $99 at REI: http://www.rei.com/product/803307
> $99 on
> amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Osprey-Porter-46-Travel-Duffle/dp/B000FB686O
>
> ----
> Andrew Furman
> Carnegie Mellon University, Class of 2012
> B.S. Information Systems

> afu...@andrew.cmu.edu <mailto:afu...@andrew.cmu.edu>
> aifurman.com <http://aifurman.com>


> 774.238.7626
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 1:11 PM, David A. Desrosiers
> <david.a.d...@gmail.com <mailto:david.a.d...@gmail.com>> wrote:
>
> On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 4:55 AM, Jake Cressman
> <jake.c...@gmail.com <mailto:jake.c...@gmail.com>> wrote:
> > The MEI Voyageur looks awesome.
>
> But but but... it's just a plain-'ol duffel with a belt strap and
> backpack straps, no?
>
> I have an Osprey Atmos 50 and a Kelty Redwing 3100, which I could
> use... or for lighter day trips, my Oakley AP 3.0 pack.
>
> I'm not sure the MEI is even in the same category here... is it?
>
> --
> ---
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> http://thetechnomads.net
> http://twitter.com/thetechnomads
>
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Julian Finn

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Feb 8, 2011, 7:27:16 PM2/8/11
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On 08.02.11 10:55, Jake Cressman wrote:
> The MEI Voyageur looks awesome.
i recommended it once, gonna recommend it again: the boblbee metropolis
(http://www.boblbee.com) it is as robust as it can be, thanks to a hard
shell that is even certified as a back protector for motorcycling. it
can be extended with different luggage packs and it serves me perfectly
for a week-trip. it is the most ergonomic backpack i have ever had and i
simply love it.

best,

julian

Andrew Mayer

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Feb 8, 2011, 8:33:54 PM2/8/11
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Having just got back from a two month journey I'll recommend the Osprey Porter 46.

I looked at the MEI bag, but the Porter turned out to have a lot of nice modern features, including the compression straps and foam walls, which rocked in at least five different ways. I also like that it has a few mesh compartments and opens like a duffel.

The 46 is overhead legal as well.

Couldn't be happier with it.

- Andrew

Lefty

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Feb 8, 2011, 8:57:20 PM2/8/11
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On Feb 8, 2011, at 10:11 AM, David A. Desrosiers wrote:

> On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 4:55 AM, Jake Cressman <jake.c...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> The MEI Voyageur looks awesome.
>
> But but but... it's just a plain-'ol duffel with a belt strap and
> backpack straps, no?

No, it's not, not at all. It's got the lumbar padding, straps and internal aluminum frame of a good backpack that size, which makes carrying a fully-loaded bag a good distance one _heckuva_ lot easier than if you were carrying it by a shoulder strap or, worse, a suitcase handle. It's got internal tie-downs and external compression straps that make getting more into it even simpler.

> I'm not sure the MEI is even in the same category here... is it?

In my opinion, of all the bags I've had—and I've had a number of them—the Voyageur is, by a good measure, the best. The guy who writes onebag.com, among others, agrees with me. For example, the cloth on the Voyageur is 1000 denier, rather than 210 (v. the Osprey) or 420 (v. the Kelty). In spite of being made by hand, right here in the US—as I suspect neither the Osprey nor the Kelty are—the Voyageur is a good bit cheaper than the Osprey, and neither of those bags look to actually be carry-on size to me, while the Voyageur definitely is.


David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 8, 2011, 9:36:06 PM2/8/11
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On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Andrew Furman <fur...@gmail.com> wrote:
> My main requirements for a bag are that it can always be carried onto planes
> (22x14x9) and that it can fit as much stuff as possible.

I just looked and the Osprey Porter 46 and Porter 65 are so very close
in dimensions, that smooshing down the 65 in an overhead might just
fit, without complaint... and give you 1,167 more cubic inches of
space..

I'm actually on the fence right now, because my Kelty Redwing 3100 is
too big to fit in the overhead, even if I squash it down... it just
doesn't measure up the same.

Has anyone here flown with the Osprey Porter 65, and used it in the
overhead? Any complaints from the airline?

Lefty

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Feb 8, 2011, 10:32:42 PM2/8/11
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On Feb 8, 2011, at 6:36 PM, David A. Desrosiers wrote:
>
> Has anyone here flown with the Osprey Porter 65, and used it in the
> overhead? Any complaints from the airline?

If it's oversized for carryon, sooner or later, you'll get, not complaints, but a demand that you let them check your bag, possibly at your own expense, depending on the airline. If you're on a crowded flight, and your (oversized) bag is the one that keeps the overhead from closing, they won't even _try_ to accommodate you.

Trust Me On This.


Soultravelers3

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Feb 9, 2011, 5:25:01 AM2/9/11
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IMHO after being a digital nomad family on an open ended world tour
for the last 5 years to 38 countries on 5 continents, choosing the
stuff is easier than most realize. Less is definitely more & you are
on the right track with wanting to do carry on ONLY...makes life so
much easier.

The longer we travel the less we carry. This year we are doing a round
the world trip with 18 stops in 12 countries in many kinds of weather
and with 3 full sized laptops plus homeschool supplies. Kidlet and dad
are carrying the same small carry on knapsacks that they started with
( a LL Bean kids book back that converts to rollie or backpack and
hubs is a Targus laptop backpack).

Since I bought them before we left I heavily researched them, but I
got myself a super cheapo small backpack at Ross for Less. They all
have had a TON of use and they ALL are still holding up fine. Hubs is
the most raggedy, but it also gets the most use as we usually take
that with us daily when we tour as a daypack. We have done some trips
where he has carried all 3 laptops in that one case! ( You should see
the TSA peeps look of surprise! ;)

On one trip home a few years ago, relatives bought too many things for
kidlet, so we had to buy a new carryon bag on the way to the airport.
We bought a cheap one ( 30- 40 bucks) at a travel store in a mall in
San Jose, Ca. It's worked fine & we've used it this year for our RTW
trip and have made it through every airport and every plane ( although
once in a while they sometimes give us questionable looks as this bag
is at the maximum size for carry on. ) It even made it onto the tiny
flight from Papette Tahiti to Bora Bora. It's several years old and
still looks brand new. It's on rollies which is handy, plus we put
hugs backpack on top of it when walking with luggage ( often TONS of
walking in airports).

We don't travel with a water bottle ( we have some stored in Europe &
we bought one here in Asia). We have a small, older RV in Europe which
makes a perfect and super cheap home ,vehicle and storage unit.

We do not travel with cookware or flatware.

Most of our luggage is electronics and hubs handles that area, so I'm
not much help there. We've found one needs so little to travel and
live like this. Even as light as we have packed we have found that we
could do with even less. Next years RTW travel will be even lighter.

We have found that having the "perfect" bag is highly over rated and
most of the things you think you need before you travel, turn out to
be less important than you ever imagined. Read what the most seasoned
long term travelers take and then maybe take even less. ;)

Good luck!

Jeanne

http://www.soultravelers3.com/



On Feb 6, 4:01 pm, "David A. Desrosiers"
<david.a.desrosi...@gmail.com> wrote:

David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 9, 2011, 12:32:41 PM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
On Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 7:20 AM, David A. Desrosiers
<david.a.d...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I just ordered this one last night to replace it:

> http://www.amazon.com/SKROSS-Black-Travel-Adapter-Charger/dp/B002G90I3M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297081155&sr=8-2

The adpter just arrived this morning, and it's great! It even has a
little hidden door with spare fuses behind it. The detachable front
with the USB sockets blinks while charging, and acts as a subtle red
night-light (constantly lit) when not charging.

The only thing I realized that was missing when I started using it...
is that it doesn't support grounded (3-pole) plugs. Hrmph!

So I went back to SKROSS's website, and found that since I ordered
this one, they just released a NEW adapter, which -does- support
3-pole plugs.. but no USB :(

http://www.swisstravelproducts.com/index.php?site=productview&product_id=32

Argh! I can't win! :)

David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 9, 2011, 12:45:41 PM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 12:32 PM, David A. Desrosiers
<david.a.d...@gmail.com> wrote:
> The adpter just arrived this morning, and it's great! It even has a
> little hidden door with spare fuses behind it. The detachable front
> with the USB sockets blinks while charging, and acts as a subtle red
> night-light (constantly lit) when not charging.

Actually.. that pulsing is the adapter turning power on and off, to
the USB ports.. they don't charge at a constant rate, it's
on-off-on-off-on-off, etc. once per-second.

I'm not sure that's the designed behavior, but that's what it does for
everything I've plugged into it this afternoon so far. That'll double
or triple the charging time for sure.

Jesse Bikman

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Feb 9, 2011, 12:51:37 PM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com, techn...@googlegroups.com
Sounds defective.

Sent from my iPod

Leonard Lin

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Feb 9, 2011, 1:01:15 PM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
Weird that they claim to be the first 3-pole adapter as I've used lots
of other plugs that support grounded plugs (switched off the Swiss-style
adapters years ago for that very reason, in fact).

Here's a $4 from Amazon plug that's worked for me:
http://bagcheck.com/item/2515-universal-world-wide-travel-charger-adapter-plug-white

While I was in Taiwan, I picked up some that were even more compact
(~$10), which is what I carry around now:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhl/4966918039/

BTW, while we're on the power thing, my favorite (so far) travel power
strip to use w/ my adapter:
http://bagcheck.com/item/1515-monster-mp-otg400-bk-outlets-to-go-4-outlet-travel-power-strip
There's a 3-power/1USB but the USB isn't high-power (and you lose a
whole plug for a *single* usb plug, which doesn't seem like a great
deal). I prefer the Monsters' form factor to the Belkin/others because
it folds up flush, but this guy has some interesting recommendations:
http://www.amazon.com/review/R2GY4VE7BS88JV/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0018MEBNG&nodeID=&tag=&linkCode=
(will have to try out the power strip liberators) - also, I've
definitely used it at 240V and it worked like a charm.

Scott Saunders

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Feb 9, 2011, 1:07:49 PM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
I've used the "Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger" in the states:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015DYMVO/

Perhaps you could pair it with a cheap adapter for international travel? You'd have to carry two gadgets abroad, but would gain the versatility of separate tools. Just an idea.

- Scott

Jodi Ettenberg

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Feb 9, 2011, 5:56:03 AM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
Hi David,

- travel bottles: I tend to use nalgene as they're far more durable than the cheaper versions I've purchased along the way. The ones I bought when I initially left in 2008 are still going strong, and haven't leaked once. Prefer the flip tops for just about everything.

-I use the Kensington all-in-one adapter, no converter: http://www.amazon.com/Kensington-33117-International-Travel-Adapter/dp/B0002H4YUI. Been great for the last few years and durable enough that, despite dropping it, stepping on it (whoops) and smushing it in my bag, it's still going strong.

- My spork was confiscated from carryon as a weapon last time I flew, but my portable chopsticks (they unscrew and are in a tiny case) have never been taken away. Sigh.

- I'd also add a pack towel, safety whistle (worth it for monkeys, getting stranded and general preemptive awesomeness), headlamp, compression bags to whittle your clothes down (I like sea to summit's ultra-sil bags) and a sarong (even my guy friends use it all the time - good for public bathrooms, beachtime and makeshift sleep sheet).

Hope this helps! Safe travels,
Jodi

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David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 9, 2011, 7:35:25 PM2/9/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 1:07 PM, Scott Saunders <scr...@sprynet.com> wrote:
> I've used the "Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger" in the states:
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015DYMVO/

Been there, done that... the Belkin lasted about 6 months before it
finally fatigued and died.. the plastic cover that goes over the
prongs doubles as a standoff for the far end that is teetering off of
the wall by 1" or so (there's a little slot on the far end that it
slides into).

That situation eventually caused the ground conductor to fatigue,
crack and fail (leaving it in the power outlet on a train, not good!)
The other problem I found, is that it's an "L" shape, and the
conductors poke into everything.

I'm using the Staples one now, which is flush and has a fold-away
3-conductor outlet. It's lasted me over a year without a single
problem.

http://www.staples.com/product_764392&cmArea=Promos

I also had the Monster Cable one that has a single USB port, but when
you're using all 3 plugs, the unit overheats, and disables the USB
port.

Jeannie Mark

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Feb 10, 2011, 5:40:57 AM2/10/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
Some great tips!

To add to Jodi, never leave home without a swiss army knife.  I've used mine to peel fruit, cut paper, uncork bottles (wine to be specific).Just don't pack it on carry on.  If you plan on only having 1 bag as carry on, guess the knife is out.  Mine hasn't been confiscated or noticed since it's buried deep in my pack.

- Besides a sarong (yeahh, Jodi!)  I also have a light sleeping bag that weighs like air.  It's also handy to cover feet or sleep in something clean if the sheets aren't. :)

Cheers!

Jeannie

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David A. Desrosiers

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Feb 14, 2011, 7:39:33 PM2/14/11
to techn...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 9:36 PM, David A. Desrosiers
<david.a.d...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I just looked and the Osprey Porter 46 and Porter 65 are so very close
> in dimensions, that smooshing down the 65 in an overhead might just
> fit, without complaint... and give you 1,167 more cubic inches of
> space..

I ended up going with the Osprey 46, which is very solidly
constructed... but then someone alerted me to the severe airline
restrictions on weight.. 7kg total, across 2 carry-on items, one of
which can be a laptop. One of my laptops + 9-cell battery is pushing
8lbs already, and I need to take two with me (the second one is much
lighter, maybe 3-4 pounds).

But I was hoping to put the full 8-9 days worth of clothes, shoes,
toiletries, etc. in the Osprey 46, but now I can't... even though it
will squish into the overhead, it's going to contain more than 15
pounds of kit.

It looks like I'll have to check a bag anyway, which sucks since the
flight is 20+ hours in the air, from end to end.

Has anyone ever flown Singapore Airlines -recently-, and know what
they will or will not let you sldie through with, for carry-on? I'm
flying Business Class on all legs of the journey.

Thanks!

3nk idu

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Feb 15, 2011, 3:42:14 AM2/15/11
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I have very rarely been questioned on baggage weight. If you are doing online check-in then really the only person who may question you is the gate agent and you'd have to look like you're really struggling before that happens. Note that I generally fly in Europe/Middle East/Asia and not in the US where they may be stricter on this type of thing.

I would never fly with checked in luggage. Throw things out until the bag is light enough to carry comfortably and don't worry about the airline weight restrictions. It's a rare item which you cannot purchase on the ground when it's needed (and you'll probably find that it isn't really). 

Paul

Jack Bennett

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Feb 15, 2011, 11:57:42 AM2/15/11
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On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 3:42 AM, 3nk idu <nki...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> I have very rarely been questioned on baggage weight. If you are doing
> online check-in then really the only person who may question you is the gate
> agent and you'd have to look like you're really struggling before that
> happens. Note that I generally fly in Europe/Middle East/Asia and not in the
> US where they may be stricter on this type of thing.

I've done a number of recent international flights (US->Europe,
US->Canada). The Europe flights were on larger aircraft so there was a
lot more room to store things, while the Canada flights were more like
short-haul domestic flights that happen to require a passport.

I brought only carry on baggage and was never questioned on the size
or weight. My "primary baggage" was a small rolling suitcase and my
"personal item" was a conventional student-size backpack (in other
words, a good deal larger than a laptop case, although it did happen
to contain a laptop).

The backpack was able to fit under the seat easily, even in smaller RJ
aircraft (except when it was packed with my winter outer layers). This
may have been a factor for any questioning eyes of airline personnel.
But I never got the sense that anyone was questioning my luggage for
being too big.

The only time anyone commented on my baggage was when I was exiting
the baggage claim on the ground in the US and the customs agent
verbally checked with me to make sure I'd picked up all my bags
(because I couldn't get back in once I'd left), then expressed
incredulity that "that was all the luggage I was carrying?!"

-Jack

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Vivek Gani

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Feb 15, 2011, 9:36:14 PM2/15/11
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Any thoughts on how important it is to not have a bag that doesn't have flashy colors when travelling abroad to developing countries? 

I've been debating with a friend about this and I figured it's better to have a brighly colored bag so you can remember where it is and bystanders will notice if someone is tampering with it. His argument is that you should have something that doesn't make you noticeable at all. In either case it's important to not get too emotionally attached to whatever's in your bag and make sure someone you know has a copy of your passport.

-Vivek


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