A year ago I wrote a few blog posts about my belongings; the 18kg of clothing, gear and tech that I consider sufficiently valuable to my life that I carry it wherever I go.
Before I dive in, three things;
I recognise this lifestyle would not suit most people and I’m not ‘selling’ it.
None of my links are affiliate, these are simply products I use myself.
On to the gear – starting with my wardrobe (which fits neatly in to a cabin baggage sized case):
That’s 48 items weighing 9.8kg (down from 51 items and 11.4kg last year).
I have tried many merino tees over the years; Wool & Prince, Smartwool, Icebreaker, Formal Friday but my favourite (by a margin) is the Ultrafine Merino from Outlier. These things aren’t cheap (and they’ve just increased in price from $98 to $110!) but they are durable, beautifully cut and incredibly soft (in addition to being pure, high performance, ultra fine merino – as opposed to some other merino tees which are a poly mix). Most of my tees are now over two years old and holding up well. I did have to perform a minor fix on one when I dried it after handwashing, rolled it in a towel, stood on it to extract the moisture and unrolled it to find a tear in the bottom seam. Those Home-Ec lessons come good after all. I lost one when it got caught on a door latch and tore irreperably. I haven’t replaced it and probably won’t as I’ve been coping jst fine with the 7.
I’m still wearing the two Icebreaker Merino Sierra Zip Hoodies I purchased in June 2015. I have yet to find a better hoodie (although admittedly I haven’t really looked). These things are ‘real fleece’ lined which means the wool on the inside is a fleece-y texture. They’re incredibly comfy and very warm despite being so thin that the light shows through them when held up to a window. They roll up beautifully in to the hood and weigh just 445g. The two main pockets are zipped and the internal sewing of the pockets turn them in to usable inside pockets too. The chest zip pocket is remarkably useful in cramped areoplane conditions. I always carry one when flying as they are perfect for the long haul when the temperatures drop. I dislike the branding particularly the grey strip around the inside neck but performance wise they can’t be beat and they’re clearly durable too. Sad to say that Icebreaker have discontinued production – as is often the case with the good stuff.
I have written separately about the wonderful Libertad Merino Travel shirts. They are by far my favourite merino button down shirts. They are lightweight, breathable, quick drying, non iron and best of all, they looks fantastic. Unlike the Wool & Prince Button Downs they don’t get ‘fluffy’ and unlike the Icebreaker Departure shirts they replaced, they look like proper office wear (no frilly shoulders or silly pockets here). Since I do still have an office job and need to convey an air of professionalism these shirts are just perfect for me. I have 3 which have been going strong for 6 months and I love them.
For as long as I can remember I’ve worn Brook Taverner suits. I was first attracted to them for their high wool content, crease resistance and the fact that they are machine washable but the truth is I love the cut too. I tend to keep an extra pair of trousers since I wear a suit every work day. I wash the trousers far more than the jacket. If I wasn’t working in an office environment I’d ditch this but right now it’s a necessity. Sadly they only ship to the UK so I have to time any purchases with a trip there.
Outlier Slim Dungarees
prAna Bridger Jeans
prAna Brion Pants
Never travel with jeans, they say… too heavy, they say… rubbish in the rain and take ages to dry, they say… and they’re right. Unless you’re wearing prAna Bridger Jeans. I swear these things are magic or something. They are 76% cotton, 23% polyester and 2% spandex and they weigh just 465g (a far cry from the ~700g of full cotton jeans). I generally avoid cotton and these are the only cotton items I own but they are hands down the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn, even more comfy than the Outlier Slim Dungarees which is really saying something. I sold a pair of my SDs to pay for them and I am very happy with the trade. That said I do still carry a pair of Outlier Slim Dungarees which I still love – perfect for dinner out on humid evenings, and a pair of prAna Brion Pants which are great for hiking. These pants are so much better cut than the prAna Zion Pants that travellers seem to adore so much.
Outlier Ultralight Crops
Outlier New Way Longs
I had no issues ditching my Outlier New Way Shorts as my Outlier New Way Longs are just fine to swim in and look better on me than the shorts anyway. When the rare opportunity to buy a pair of Outlier Ultralight Crops came along I jumped at the chance and could not be happier. These things are superb for very hot weather, they performed superbly while climbing and hiking in Thailand and Cambodia despite the humidity, they’re great for hikes in the mid summer sun in Sydney and super easy to sink wash and dry overnigt for the next day. Sadly now discontinued.
Icebreaker Merino Anatomica Boxers (2016)
Icebreaker discontinued my beloved Anatomica Boxers and I was not happy. I complained and they sent me a free pair of the new Icebreaker Merino Anatomica Boxers (2016) (which was pretty good of them really). These were heavier and sturdier (clearly a nod to the fragility of the previous boxers) but having worn boxers that felt like air for so long, the new style felt too restrictive. I shopped around – trying Wool & Prince, Smartwool, Ibex and Macpac merino boxers but none of them came anywhere near even the new Anatomicas. So I pulled the trigger on another 6 pairs to replace my (fast fading) older style. I’ve been wearing the 2016’s for five months now and I quite like them now, I suspect I’ve just forgotten what the originals were like. I dropped a pair (down from 8 to 7 total) mostly so I can fit all my underwear in to an Eagle Creek half cube.
Outlier Megafine Merino Socks
Icebreaker Run+ Light Micro Socks
I’m still wearing the same Outlier Megafine Merino Socks on rotation as I was this time last year, although when two socks developed holes I dropped a pair to bring the numbers in line with the boxers and so I could fit everything in to a single half cube. I have repaired holes in one other sock but on the whole I’m very happy with the durability here after nearly two years. They are actually pretty impressive socks, very comfy, always dry, never stink, breathe well in summer and keep my feet cosy in winter, what more could I ask for? Of course being Outlier they’re pricey at $25 a pair but you do get what you pay for. I also still have my Icebreaker no show socks. I hate the branding but functionally theyr’e great and just 30g per pair.
Arc’Teryx Atom LT Hoody
What was I thinking? A leather jacket weighing 890g and a non insulated raincoat weighing 297. This was not practical, particularly for cold rainy weather. What I needed was that one coat to rule them all. Something weatherproof, insulated, stylish and light… with a hood! Enter the Arc’Teryx Atom LT Hoody. It ticked all the boxes and I got it on sale too. It also packs down almost as small as my previous Marmot Super Mica (which is pretty incredible considering the thermal protection therein). I wore it in temperatures below freezing atop the Minshan and Emeishan mountains in China and it kept me toasty warm. I hate the overt branding (logo to the chest) but on the whole this is a very impressive piece of gear and its purchase shaved 829g off my base weight.
With a January trip to Paris planned I needed to take the thermals seriously, with my new Arc’Teryx Atom LT Hoody it was the rest of me I needed to get covered. First of all I needed a pair of leggings to go under my Prana Bridger Jeans or Outlier SDs. Icebreaker merino would always be my first port of call and these Icebreaker Merino Oasis Leggings delivered the goods. Super comfy, wonderfully breathable and toasty warm. Next up was my Icebreaker ‘chute’ (buff) which was pretty heavy and not very flexible, I swapped that out for a Buffwear Merino Buff at almost half the weight and combined with my Icebreaker gloves, beanie and hoodie I was all set. Hot chocolate at the top of the Eiffel Tower never tasted so good.
Dr Martens 8053 Shoes
No change from last year; my trusty Dr Martens 8053 Shoes are my go-to for almost everything from formals, to daily work, to city trekking. I always wear these when flying (rather than packing) as they are heavy. I tend to wear out the soles quickly but for comfort and flexibility
Amuri Cloud Xero Sandals
they can’t be beat. For running and hiking I’m still getting a lot of use out of my Nike Free 5.0 Trainers and for beach walking and feeding dolphins on Tangalooma island I’m still happy with my Amuri Cloud Xero Sandals which are a little more practical than standard flip-flops.
I still carry a single silver tie – my only non black item of clothing, for those actual formal dinners (only one in the last year), and my trusty 16 year old CK belt which I bought in Hawaii because the sales girl flirted with me. Yeah I’m that shallow.
I’m still getting a lot of use out of my Ultralite Packtowl XL and I swapped my Sea to Summit Daypack for a Matador FreeRain 24 which I wrote about in a previous blog.
That little lot (save for my coat and what I wear on the plane) packs down in to 8 Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes:
- Full Cube = Suit and Shirts
- Full Cube = Pants, Shorts and Hoodie
- Half Cube = T-Shirts
- Half Cube = Boxers and Socks
- Quarter Cube = Thermals
- Quarter Cube = The rest
- Tube Cube = Xero Sandals
- Tube Cube = Nike Trainers
Clothes packed in to 8x Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
48L Samsonite Spark Cabin Bag
My case is a 48l Samsonite Spark Cabin Bag weighing in at 2.5kg, so fully loaded with 7.9Kg of clothes (That’s 9.8kg less what I’m wearing) it’s around 10.4kg.
Interesting to note that 40 of my 48 items of clothing are the same as last year.
Gear and Tech
Top left = Techbag, Top right = Dopp kit, Bottom = Tortuga Air and contents
- Eagle Creek Specter Washbag (42g)
- Body Crystal Ammonium Alum Deodorant (138g)
- Sunscreen SPF 50+ (47g)
- Antisepctic Cream (16g)
- Nutrogena Shampoo in 60ml plastic bottle (82g)
- Toothpaste (47g)
- Stingose (30g)
- Hard Muk Hair Fiber in plastic tub (26g)
- Alfred Lane Solid Cologne Bravado 0.5oz (22g)
- Colgate Omron Electric Toothbrush Pro Clinical 150 (54g inc batteries)
- Boots Stainless Steel Tweezers (7g)
- Seki Edge Stainless Steel Nail Clippers (32g)
- Philips Norelco Electric Shaver PQ208/40 (128g inc batteries)
- Hearos Baggie – Hearos (14 pairs) (14g)
- Spare Boots Saccharin Sweetner (20g)
- Colgate Omron Heads (x3) (12g)
- Care Dent Tooth Floss Sticks (x5) (5g)
- Care Dent Interdental Brushes (x18) (3g)
- Shaver brush (2g)
- Spare baggies for liquids at airports (4g)
731g in total. Key differences since last year; I swapped my insanely heavy 130g Oral B toothbrush and 125g charger for the quite brilliant 54g Colgate Omron battery powered toothbrush, I also swapped my razor at the same time and wrote about that here, I ditched the lint roller when it ran out, I reverted back to Colgate toothpaste when my dentist advised that non fluoride toothpaste was a bad idea and I ditched the cotton buds when I was advised they were a bad idea.
- Simple black Pencil Case (53g)
- Spare Logitech Ultimate Ears Headphones 600VI (18g)
- Spare Energizer Lithium Ultimate Batteries (56g)
- USB 2.0 to Micro USB 2.0 30cm Cable (for UE Roll) (12g)
- Neet HDMI v1.4 to HDMI 100cm Cable (28g)
- Anazon USB 2.0 to Lightning 10cm Cable (6g)
- Anker USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (20g)
- SATA to USB mini board Adapter (6g)
- Micro USB (Female) to Mini USB (Male) Adapter (6g)
- Apple Charger Apple USB OZ (for UE Roll) (28g)
- Transcend USB 3.1 32Gb Jet Flash 710S + 2x iPhone SIM Extractors (4g)
- 2x Transcend USB 3.1 64Gb Jet Flash 710S (2x3g)
- Sandisk SD Card Adapter (Micro to Standard) (1g)
- Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M337 (74g inc battery)
- Spare Comply Tx-500 2 pairs and spare UE Clip (2g)
- Gel Mouse Wrist Rest (65g)
- Sony Antistatic Cloth (14g)
- Samsung USB 3.0 A-Male to Micro-B Cable (for Samsung disk) (22g)
- Sodial Retractable RJ45 100cm Cable (24g)
- Amzer Retractable USB Micro 100cm Cable (20g)
- Micro USB (Female) to Apple Lightning (Male) Adapter (1g)
- Rubber Bands (1g)
- SD and Micro SD to USB 3.0 Adapter (7g)
- Kensington PresentAir Bluetooth 4.0 Presenter (25g inc battery)
- Anker AstroMini 3200mAh 1A output Battery (83g)
- Griffin Power Jolt Dual USB Car Charger (12g)
- HDMI to VGA Adapter (10g)
561g in total. Some nice weight loss changes since last year. Firstly the 52g Zevek luggage scale – no longer needed once I’d written this blog and recorded the weight of everything! I ditched the 81g Cyclone Micro Media player as almost all TVs can play video files now anyway (and I play from my laptop via the HDMI cable for those that can’t), I gave away my retractable phono lead as I stream music via bluetooth these days, and I binned the phono splitter as I never used it (sniff). I got rid of the 126g UK Vaio cable and the 46g UK Apple charger. My awesome 21g Stanley 4-way multi screwdriver was confiscated by Sydney security (pointless replacing it) and I ditched the notepad / paper clips as I’m basically paperless now.
Gear (stored in the various pockets of the Tortuga most of the time)
- Sony Laptop Sony Vaio Pro SVP1321C5E i7-4500U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD (1050g) 9g less than last year due to new fan and heatsink!
- Kingston SD Card Kingston 512GB SDXC (3g) for backup
- Samsung Portable HD 4TB 2.5″ USB 3.0 (240g)
- Sony Laptop Charger Sony VGP-AC10V10 (270g)
- OSK (Oh Shit Kit) (100g)
- Business Cards x30 (60g)
- Slimfold Wallet (With cards and cash etc) (68g)
- Passport (34g)
- Baggies (17g)
- Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses and Cloth in Ray-Ban Case (82g)
- Mitsubishi Uniball Micro Blue Pen (11g)
- Sharpie (9g)
- Bic Mutifunction 4 Colour Ball Pen (12g)
- Keys (45g)
- Amazon USB 2.0 to Lightning 100cm Cable (18g)
- Ultimate Ears Headphones 600VI (18g)
- Eagle Creek Specter Quarter Cube (for in flight stuff) (14g)
- Kleenex Pocket Tissues x9 (23g)
- Hearos Hearos earplugs in Case (6g)
- Boots Saccharin Sweetner (20g)
- EuroSchirm Light Trek Automatic Umbrella 2014 (353g)
- Ultimate Ears UE Roll Bluetooth Speaker (314g)
- Apple USB 2.0 Lightning 100cm Cable (18g)
- Skross Pro Light World Dual USB Travel Adapter (178g)
2963g in total. Big change here is the weighty 178g Skross charger in place of the lightweght 49g Kikkerland. I loved the Kikkerland but the truth is, it didn’t work very well. The design meant it didn’t fit all sockets, and when it did it would hang precariously – particularly with something plugged in, but worst of all was finding that it just plain didn’t work (Italy, UK and even Australia). The Skross, on the other hand, is triple pronged and therefore maintains its ‘socket grip’ well, it also has two USB charging ports which is very useful.
My four year old Sony Vaio Pro laptop is still going strong. I’ve had to replace the fan and heatsink (which failed very noisily), the battery is down to around half original capacity and the processor is slow compared with modern equivalent (it’s a 4th gen i7) but it still gets the job done and it still hasn’t been beaten on weight (except for the Microsoft Surface range which is tempting but would mean a compomise on ports and form factor).
I still use the UE Roll daily (love this little speaker) and my backup drive is the same 4TB Samsung as I carried last year (minus the case which I figured I didn’t need thanks to the pocket system of the Tortuga.
My trusty Tortuga Air has seen me on umpteen global trips in the past two and half years and carried my gear to work and back every day to boot. The capacity is 27l but this extends to 35l in a pinch due to a idden zip. The clever laptop compartment at the top keeps my Sony Vaio well protected and easily accessibe for security, and the drop pocket at the top is just a genius idea that I find myself using daily. Considering all it’s been through it’s still standing up remarkably well. It weghts just 1077g so with the 4255g of gear I’m carrying about 5.3kg on my back.
So that’s it – 10.4kg case and 5.4kg backpack when I move. Plenty of opportunity to Onebag light by transferring some clothes to the Tortuga. Not hugely different from last year which makes me think that what I have works pretty well 🙂
Thanks for reading – hope you found this useful.