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.
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!
> 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
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
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
> 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,
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
>> 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!
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.
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:
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?
Sent from my iPhone
If you're looking at Goruck's products (in that genre), you should
look at Maxpedition's gear as a possible alternative:
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
You can get a rain cover that looks like this:
Or use a poncho that is made for packing, like this:
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
> 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?
> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
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.
> 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.
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
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?
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.
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 :(
Argh! I can't win! :)
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.
Sent from my iPod
Here's a $4 from Amazon plug that's worked for me:
While I was in Taiwan, I picked up some that were even more compact
(~$10), which is what I carry around now:
BTW, while we're on the power thing, my favorite (so far) travel power
strip to use w/ my adapter:
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:
(will have to try out the power strip liberators) - also, I've
definitely used it at 240V and it worked like a charm.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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?!"