Since nobody really asked, I’m going to tell you anyway.
The Tucson trip I have written about recently was a good way to test some of the gear I have been planning to use for my London trip. The idea I have in mind is for a ten day trip, with an AirBnB that has on-site laundry facilities, I can travel very light. Due to the weather, I plan on dressing in layers, since May in England is pretty much like March or April in Colorado, as near as I can tell. The weather changes a lot. It is damp and it can be cold. Since I’ll be flying cheap, I plan on using only ONE carry-on bag. In my case, it’s an Osprey Ozone 46 Daypack. The 46 means it can hold 46 litres of stuff. The Osprey bit means it is a bag you only have to buy it once, because Osprey has a lifetime warranty. Any bag, any reason, they will repair or replace it as long as you own it.
So, I decided to test out my gear on the Tucson trip.
The first thing I have to say to the uninitiated: go out and get yourself a set of packing cubes. I will explain. Packing cubes allow you to roll up your clothes and put them into separate zipped, heavy duty nylon bags. Not only does this let you keep track of your items better, but it also allows you to put more stuff in your pack. In my case, I have four of them. Three Eagle Creek (they come in a set, which I bought on Amazon) and one REI packing cube, which I bought with my dividend.
This is what I started off with. Think of it like Tim O’Brien’s The Things they Carried:
- 1 Osprey Ozone 46 Daypack (discontinued! The link is for the Porter 46 which also has stuffable shoulder and waist straps for easy carry-on).
- 1 Osprey Daylite backpack (for carrying snacks, jacket, incidentals around town)
- 3 Eagle Creek packing cubes
- 1 REI packing cube
- 1 Patagonia Better Sweater fleece (I wear this every day!)
- 1 Patagonia Capilene long sleeved shirt (Large)
- 2 Toad & Co. Airscape SS shirts (Large)
- 2 Cotton t-shirts
- 1 pair of cargo shorts
- 1 pair of khaki pants
- 1 pair of Levis jeans
- 4 pairs Smartwool socks
- 1 heavy hiking
- 2 PhD socks
- 1 pair dress socks
- 4 pairs of boxer briefs (Hanes)
- 1 Columbia rain jacket
- 1 iPad Air
- 1 Lonely Planet England guidebook
- 1 The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (I highly recommend this book!)
- 1 writers notebook and pen
- 1 Epicka universal adapter
- 1 Hydro Flask water bottle
- 1 bag of toiletries
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 beard brush
- 1 deodorant
- 1 toothpaste
- 1 bottle of generic cetirizine
- 1 bottle generic ibuprofen
- 1 lip balm
- 1 Harry’s Razor
- 1 albuterol inhaler
- 1 compass
- 1 US Passport
- 1 neck wallet (probably won’t use).
As you can see, with the packing cubes, all of it fit easily into the 46 litre daypack. Including the daylite bag and the two jackets. Although you do roll everything up like that minimalist lady on Netflix.
Watching the packing cubes zip up is like those nature shows where you watch stupefied as the snake somehow swallows the rat whole in one gulp. On top of all this stuff, I will also be wearing a set of clothes as well, giving me another shirt, pair of pants, underwear, socks, and my shoes. I could probably fit a laundry bag and a pair of sandals if I need to. Maybe even swim trunks or some PJs as well. The bag could handle it all with ease.
If you can believe it, there was room to spare.
I could have easily fit my MacBook Pro and BlueTooth keyboard as well, if I didn’t think it would catch fire in the bag. (I’m about due to get a new computer one of these days.) On the trip, I’ll be using the iPad not only for reading material, but also to keep up with the website and communications with home throughout the trip.
The backpacks set me back a little bit, but I think that good equipment is like an investment. I would rather get something with an amazing warranty than fiddle around with crap that is going to fall apart and I will need to replace over and over again.
I’m eager to see how all my gear works on an international trip. As I mentioned before, I carried just about the same kind of setup on my trip to Tucson, (with the exception of a Walther PPS 9mm pistol–you never can be too careful).
Over time it isn’t hard to build a good base for gear. Just a few items every month or so will get you geared up before your next big trip. I have bought many items on eBay. Patagonia is also a great company for its warranty, but also because they encourage customers to reuse, recycle, and repurpose. Which means there are a lot of great items on eBay if you are patient enough to look for them.
Links will take you to the items I am using for this trip. I wouldn’t link them if I didn’t actually really think they were worth recommending. The goal is to use the daypack as my main luggage, but use the smaller daylite bag for dinking around on my touristy day trips.
I’ll keep everyone posted on how this setup works.
Just under one month before I depart!