Everything I Own 2019

With just a few days of 2019 remaining I’m just in time for my annual gear post. Big thanks to John and Rob for prompting me to do this!

If you’re new to my blog I have chosen to live out of a bag; everything I own fits in to hand luggage and I carry it on my back. I keep things as simple as possible (thus the black palette) and I weigh everything I own to ensure it is worth carrying. I maintain this blog to help others who want to do the same, I hope this helps you too.

Clothes

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Key changes to the clothes; I ditched my Outlier Slim Dungarees for an extra pair of prAna Bridger jeans. I found the SDs tugged at my leg hair slightly (not as much as the Outlier Futureworks did but enough to make me want to switch). The Bridger jeans are tried and tested and supremely comfortable. Sadly they don’t seem to be as durable as the Brion pants and my older pair (now 26 months old) are failing.

I’ve also changed my shoes entirely; the Arc’Teryx Acrux failed remarkably quickly (less than 1 month) with holes developing on both sides of both shoes around the mesh panels. In hindsight I should have seen this coming and it certainly looks like a major design flaw. I am now rocking a pair of Vivobarefoot Ra II shoes for work and a pair of Vessi Skyline ‘trainers’ for fun.

Vivobarefoot Ra II

vivobarefoot-ra-ii-source

The Vivobarefoot Ra II shoes are zero drop meaning they can be quite hard on the shins, I’ve mitigated this by using gel insoles which improve the comfort hugely and still keep the weight down. They’re very light and very flexible, they feel fairly breathable too – and look good for workwear (being leather). I swapped the laces for Hickies to minimise lacing time.

Vessi Skyline (‘Everyday Slip On’)

vessi-source

The Vessi Skylines are an interesting mix; waterproof soft wrap shoes that feel more like a sock with a sole. I’m still making my mind up on these and may write a full review in due course. They’re not as breathable as I had hoped (perhaps due to the waterproof membrane) but they are very comfortable and the grip is better than I imagined. They are excellent for beach walks because the sands just brushes off and streams are no problem; however the material is less suited to bush walking where vines sometimes get caught on the outer and dust requires a good hosing. However I am concerned about their durability as they are showing signs of wear after just 5 months. I may be putting their warranty to the test very soon.

Everything else remains exactly the same as last year (with a few refreshes)

6 Outlier Ultrafine Merino Tee 180 1080 Refreshed
2 Icebreaker Merino Sierra Zip Hoodie 445 890
1 Arc’Teryx Atom LT Hoody 358 358
3 Libertad Merino Travel Shirt (for work) 230 690 Refreshed
1 Brook Taverner Cassino Jacket (for work) 623 623 Refreshed
2 Brook Taverner Cassino Trouser (for work) 335 670 Refreshed
1 Outlier Slim Dungarees 415 Replaced
1 2 prAna Bridger Jeans 465 930 1 Extra
1 prAna Brion Pants 328 328
1 Icebreaker Merino Oasis Leggings 168 168
2 Outlier New Way Longs 277 554
7 Icebreaker Merino Anatomica Boxers 68 476 Refreshed
7 Outlier Megafine Merino Socks 45 315
3 Icebreaker Merino Run+ Ultralight Micro Socks 30 90 Refreshed
1 Icebreaker Merino Sierra Gloves 30 30
1 Icebreaker Merino Pocket Beanie 40 40
1 Buffwear Merino Buff 47 47
1 Arc’Teryx Acrux SL Approach Shoes
726 Replaced
1 Amuri Cloud Xero Sandals
316 Replaced
1 Vivobarefoot Ra II Shoes 510 510 New
1 Vessi Skyline (Now called ‘Everyday Slip On)’ 440 440 New
1 CK Plain Black Belt 109 109
1 Silver Tie 61 61
45 TOTAL CLOTHING 8409

So that’s 45 items of clothing weighing in at 8409g (and a carried weight of 7206g since they like you to wear clothing when you travel in public).

Non Clothing

Some minor changes to the gear too… but not that many.

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Changes

Rather than force you to read through everything I’ve listed the big changes below:

2018 2019
Mouse Logitech M337 Bluetooth 74 SwiftPoint ProPoint Bluetooth 24
Speaker UE Roll Bluetooth Speaker 314 Anker Soundcore Mini Icon 211
Sunnies Ray Ban Aviator w case 82 Maui Jim Sugar Beach w case 67
Umbrella Lewis+Clark Light Compact 282 Montbell Travel Umbrella & Montbell Tachyon Parka 87
72
Washbag Eagle Creek Specter 42 Sea To Summit Silnylon 44
Daypack Matador Freerain 24 154 Sea To Summit Ultrasil Nano 30
Shaver Philips Norelco PQ208 130 Xiaomi Home Mi (with band) 92
Deodorant Body Crystal 100g 138 The Crystal Deodorant 40g 65
TOTAL 1216 TOTAL 692

Mouse

propoint1-300x300

The Swiftpoint ProPoint has been a game changer. It’s so tiny and took a little bit of getting used to but now I couldn’t do without it. It’s ergonomically designed to mimic holding a pen and it’s remarkably powerful for scrolling and presenting. It comes with a tiny magnetic charger that plugs in to a standard USB port and a magnetic ‘parking spot’ that sticks to a laptop allowing the mouse to be carried easily. I absolutely love this little mouse. It wasn’t cheap but it’s more than paid for itself over the last year.

Speaker

anker-soundcore-mini-icon

The UE Roll was a wonderful little speaker but just that little bit too big for daily carry. Initially I tried the Anker Nano which weighs in at a miniscule 80g but perhaps unsurprisingly the compromise on audio quality and particularly battery life was too much. The new Anker Souncore Mini Icon seems to be the sweet spot – sounding superb and lasting a commendable 8hrs.

Sunnies

maui-jim-sugar-beach

The swap to Maui Jim Sugar Beach sunnies was on the back of a recommendation from my cousin who is an optician. She said the Maui Jim lenses were an order of magnitude better than Ray Ban and were much lighter too. It’s early days but I am impressed by the coverage and the weight (down from 32g to 14g). Since the Maui Jims are somewhat ‘wraparound’ I have kept their clever case too which packs flat when not in use but weighs a little more than the Ray Pan case, and is a little more difficult to squeeze in to the top pocket of my Tortuga.

Umbrella

montbell-travel-umbrella

Having been lugging around the 282g Lewis N Clark ‘Light Compact’ umbrella for nearly 2 years the 87g Mont Bell Travel Umbrella feels like absolutely nothing. It fares wonderfully in light rain and is relatively easy to use (if a little more fiddly than the automatic mechanism of the Lewis & Clark).

montbell-tachyon-parka

Of course when the storm hits this thing will be utterly useless… but then I have lost plenty of umbrellas in the Sydney storms and I generally find myself reaching for a rainjacket rather than a brolly when the winds are kicking in. For that reason I also bought myself a 72g Mont Bell Tachyon Parka for the worst weather days. Even combined they still weigh less than the L&C.

Washbag

sea-to-summit-travelling-wash-bag

It turns our my new smaller Sea To Summit washbag actually weighs 2g more than the Eagle Creek Specter washbag it replaces. However it’s black and it occupes less space in my Tortuga which also menas the washbag contents don’t slosh around as much.

Daypack

sea-to-summit-nano-day-pack

I have raved about the Matador Freerain 24 perviously – in many ways it is more functional than my new Sea To Summit Nano Daypack that replaces it with the two side pockets and watertight main compartment. However, the S2S daypack weighs in at an incredible 30g as opposed to Matador’s weight 154g so, in terms or daily carry, there is no competition. The S2S offering is understandably basic but for lugging a water bottle, hoodie and snacks it is perfectly serviceable and packing this in to it’s own pocket for an attentive audience is an absolute joy.

Shaver

xiaomi-shaver

The new Xiaomi Home Mi shaver is a marvel, the blades are super sharp, the magnetic foils seem very durable (although I do protect mine with an Outlier band) and the runtime on a single charge is excellent (around 5-6 uses). My primary reason for buying was the USB-C charging but this is a bit of a lie as the device does not support PD (power Delivery) which means it’s really just a standard USB charge with a USB-C port. However at 92g it shaves 30% off my total weight. See what I did there? I know…

Deodorant

crystal-body-deodorant-stick-40g

OK this is a bit of a copout as I replaced a 100g rock with a 40g rock and claimed a weight saving. It’s fair to assume this new crystal will only last 40% of the time of the previous but then, these things last for years anyway. I’m totally fine replacing it every few months at less than $5 a pop. Sadly it’s fallen out of its plastic base already but still perfectly usable, I may even be able to further reduce weight by finding an alternative means of protection (bearing in mind that if the rock gets smashed it is essentially useless).

Bag

On to the full list for anyone that hasn’t read my blog before.

imagesIn to it’s sixth year of daily use my 2014 Tortuga Air has been my constant companion on trips through Denmark, Singapore, Italy, Thailand, Cambodia, France, China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Austria, Sri Lanka, Oman, UK, Morocco, Spain, and Australia. While it no longer looks new it is showing no signs of failing. I have lost count of the number of times I have yanked the full bag by the handles and still no damage or wear. Basically I love this bag and I will be devastated when it finally has to go… which may be sooner than I want and not because of the bag. A recent shoulder injury has prompted me to re-assess my current load and bag. I will write properly on this later but at this stage I am reviewing my options purely for health reasons.

Tortuga Air Backpack (27L / 35L) 1030
TOTAL BAG 1030

Dopp

dopp2019

The only big changes here were the washbag and shaver previously discussed. I swapped out my hand moisturiser for a smaller bottle since I use so little (44g -> 24g) and I’ve ditched the interdental brushes as I can rely entirely on the floss sticks for flossing these days (and they’re easily obtainable in most countries). Stingose has gone as it transpired the active ingredient was simply Aluminium Sulfate which can be more easily obtained in a (dry) Styptic pencil (see my OSK below). I’ve swapped my Red Muk hair fiber for Grey Muk as it is even stronger and requires even less for excellent hold. I also lost my little tiger balm to a good man in Sri Lanka who was struggling with a cold.

Sea To Summit Travel Washbag 44
The Crystal Deodorant Ammonium Alum 40g 65
Xiaomi Home Mi USB-C Shaver (88g + 2g band + 2g brush) 92
Colgate Omron 150 Toothbrush (33g, Head 4g, Guard 3g,  2xAAA 14g) 54
Colgate Omron Toothbrush Heads (x3) 12
Toothpaste 50
Shampoo in 50ml 11g poly tube 71
Hand Moisturiser in 18ml 7g Poly Tube 24
Sunscreen in 30ml 8g Poly Tube 42
Stingose Gel (to be replaced with Hydrotortisone 1%) 30
Antiseptic Cream 15ml 18
Hair Fiber (Grey Muk) 10ml in 20g plastic tub 37
Seki Edge Stainless Steel Nail Clippers 32
Stainless Steel Tweezers 7
Hearos Earplugs 4
Interdental Brushes 3
TOTAL DOPP
585

Gear

gear2019

In addition to the changes to the umbrella and sunnies I also invested in a couple of Muji Double Fastener Cases to hold the smaller items; one for my cables and adapters and another for my plane gear (headphones, earplugs, sweeteners and tissues). They’re lightweight, functional, cheap and readily available.

Hearos earplugs in Case (new case care of Oman Air) 6
Pocket Tissues 24
Saccharin Sweetener 20
Passport 34
Vaccination Certification 15
Humangear GoBites Duo Grey (Spoon and Fork) 11
Bic Pen Mutifunction 4 Colour Ball Pen 12
Uniball Micro Blue Pen 11
Travel and Spare Credit Cards 35
Maui Jim Sunglasses Case and Cloth 53
Maui Jim Sugar Beach Sunglasses 14
Keys 44
Montbell Travel Umbrella 87
Montbell Tachyon Parka 72
Muji Double Fastener Case (Small) 15
TOTAL GEAR
453

OSK

I ditched the butterfly plasters as I hadn’t used them in over 5 years, regular plasters are all people need most of the time. The chapstick too – through lack of use, to be replaced by the Styptic pencil, and I added some Pro Plus after struggling to find good coffee in India and deciding that the withdrawal headaches weren’t worth it.

osk2019

Eagle Creek Zip Stash Case (OSK) 16
Ibuprofen 6
Antihistamine 2
Loperamide 3
Lemsip x2 8
Paracetemol x2 12
Pro Plus (Caffeine) 6
Misc Plasters & Medistrips 5
Titanium Pocket Bit Keyring 4
Sewing Kit (6x Thread, 4x Needles, 8x Buttons, 6x Safety Pins) 8
Styptic Pencil (Aluminium Sulfate) replacing Chapstick 7
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Stainless Steel Nail Clippers Ultra Slim 15
Stainless Steel Tweezers 8
TOTAL OSK
100

Laptop

laptop2019

The only changes to my laptop setup have been the ProPoint mouse described above and the Stylus Pen – I swapped the battery powered HP Tilt Stylus for a rechargeable version to save having to carry a spare battery (and to save the planet a bit too).

Laptop HP Spectre x360 – 13-ae003na i7-8550U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD 1238
Laptop Charger 45W 131g w AU plug 17g and 2m Anker cable 52g 200
Swiftpoint ProPoint Bluetooth Mouse 24
HP Tilt Stylus Pen (rechargeable) 14
TOTAL LAPTOP
1476

Tech

tech2019

In addition to the previously mentioned Anker Soudcore speaker, Muji case (which finally replaces my 56g WH Smith pencil case from 2001!) and the little USB adapter that charges my new ProPoint mouse I also acquired a few more mini Mimax cables, these are superb for charging or data transfer and weigh next to nothing. I also ditched (or lost) one of my apple iPhone charges (and haven’t replaced it) and swapped the short data cable from a USB-A / lighting to USB-C / lightining as it’s faster. I lost the VGA adapter as I didn’t need it at all this last year (clients are finally embracing HDMI !).

Muji Double Fastener Case (Small) 15
Samsung SSD Portable T5 2TB USB 3.1 51
Anker Battery AstroMini 3200mAh out 1A 84
TRVL Short Cable USB-C Lightning 10cm 6
Logitech Ultimate Ears 600vi Wired Headphones (w Apple adapter) 18
Sony Antistatic Cloth (6.5 years old!) 14
Adapter USB-C male to HDMI 4K female 10
2x Momax Adaptercable USB-A to USB Micro 6g ea 12
2x Momax Adaptercable USB-A to USB-C 6g ea 12
2x Momax Adaptercable USB-C to USB-C 6g ea 12
Adapter USB-A to USB-C 6
Baggie Comply Tx-500 w Wax Guard Medium 2 pairs 2
Lexar Flashdrive USB 3.0 128Gb Jumpdrive S45 2
Transcend Flashdrive USB 3.0 32Gb Jet Flash 710S 3
Transcend Flashdrive USB 3.0 *and USB 3.1* 64Gb Jet Flash 890S 4
Laptop Charger Adapters (UK 26g, EU 17g, US 11g) in bag 13g 67
Apple USB 2.0 Lightning Cable 100cm (for iPhone) 18
Apple USB Charger OZ (for iPhone) 28
Griffin Power Jolt 2x USB Car Charger 12
Anker Soundcore Mini Icon Bluetooth Speaker 211
TOTAL TECH
587

Other Stuff

rest2019

The only change here was the aforementioned daypack swap. Packtowl still serving me well after almost 5 years now!

Ultralite Grey Packtowl XL 100
Sea To Summit Ultra Sil Nano Daypack 30
Fortress Exercise Band 42
TOTAL OTHER
172

Packing Cubes

Once again I forgot to photograph the 8 Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes I use to organise all of my gear (153g)

2x Large Eagle Creek Specter Cubes (28g ea) for suits & shirts, jeans & shorts 56
2x Medium Eagle Creek Specter Cubes (18g ea) for undies & boxers, tees 36
3x Small Eagle Creek Specter Cubes (14g ea) for winter gear, tie & belt 42
1x Tube Eagle Creek Specter Cube (19g) for shoes 19
TOTAL PACKING CUBES 153

EDC

No changes at all to my everyday carry.

Apple iPhone 8 256GB w case (Phone 148, Case 15) 163
Bluetooth Headphones Anker Soundbuds Slim+ (Micro USB) 15
Ice Unisex Watch 46
Wallet Slimfold Micro Soft Shell RFID 64
TOTAL EDC
288

So that’s 87 items of non-clothing weighing just 4844g, a grand total of 132 items weighing in at 13253g (approx 11.5kg carried). Down 686g on last year for gear alone.

Thank you for reading – hope you found something useful, please feel free to share any suggestions for weight improvement in the comments, I have discovered a few awesome products through your recommendations and it is appreciated!

Everything I Own 2018 (Pt 2)

Clothing aside, I have 92 items of gear (including tech) all displayed below.

gear-and-tech

Like last time, I’ll talk through the differences rather than covering everything again.

Dopp Kit

dopp

The only changes to my Dopp were:

  • The washbag itself; I swapped my well worn white Eagle Creek Specter ‘Quick Trip’ washbag for a black one (or Ebony as they like to call it).
  • I found some awesome small polyethelene travel bottles at Muji for my shampoo (50g), sunscreen (30g) and hand moisturiser (30g) which were very cheap at $2.50 and $1.75 respectively.
  • I now carry a teeny tiny 10g pot of Tiger Balm which was a giveaway at a hotel in KL.

I have tried a different deodorant this year in Arm & Hammer ‘Natural’ Baking Soda but it didn’t agree with me and despite claiming to be ‘scent free’ was noticeably citrusy. Everything else is the same although I’m lower on supplies than last year.

Eagle Creek Specter Washbag 42
Body Crystal Deodorant Ammonium Alum 138
Philips Norelco Shaver PQ208/40 (92g, Brush 2g ,Guard 6g, 2xAA 30g) 130
Colgate Omron 150 Toothbrush (33g, Head 4g, Guard 3g,  2xAAA 14g) 54
Toothpaste 50
Shampoo in 50ml 11g poly tube 71
Hand Moisturiser in 30ml 8g Poly Tube 44
Sunscreen in 30ml 8g Poly Tube 42
Stingose Gel 30
Antisepctic Cream 18
Hair Fiber 10ml plastic tub 37
Seki Edge Stainless Steel Nail Clippers 32
Electric Toothbrush Colgate Omron Heads (x2) 8
Stainless Steel Tweezers 7
Tooth Floss Sticks 5
Hearos Earplugs 4
Interdental Brushes 3
TOTAL 715

Gear

tortuga

Ah my trusty Tortuga Air (2014)… my daily companion for almost four years now and still going strong. The straps are beginning to show signs of wear and the material is a bit fluffier than last year but it’s still a workhorse and my favourite bag ever. I’ve made some minor modifications; including removing the internal straps and applying velcro loops to the loose shoulder straps – reducing the weight to a nice 1030g. Frankly I think I’ll be hard pressed to replace it when it finally gives up. There are very few 35l bags in that weigh range these days.

The rest of my gear is the same except:

carry

  • I invested in a HumanGear Go Bites Duo after ordering curry from a posh restaurant (where they clearly expected customers to bring the food home to a fully functional kitchen) and I had to eat it with two hotel tea spoons.
  • I ditched the Sharpie after not using it for a year. I also found a black version of the Bic 4-colour pen, which I just had to have.
  • I swapped my beloved (but hellish expensive) Logitech Ultimate Ears (18g / £75) for a pair of Bluetooth Anker Soudbuds Slim (15g / £15). I was astonished by the sound quality (once I’d fitted Comply Foam plugs) and the battery life is pretty great too. I bought a second pair for my EDC.
  • I also found some passport sized grip seal baggies to provide some water protection for my only paper belongings (Passport and Vaccinations certs).
Hearos earplugs in Case 6
Pocket Tissues 24
Saccharin Sweetner 20
Passport 34
Vaccination Certification 15
Humangear GoBites Duo Grey (Spoon and Fork) 11
Bic Pen Mutifunction 4 Colour Ball Pen 12
Uniball Micro Blue Pen 11
Travel and Spare Credit Cards 35
Ray-Ban Sunglasses Case and Cloth 50
Ray-Ban Sunglasses Unisex Adult Aviator Black 32
Keys 44
Lewis N Clark Light Compact Travel Umbrella 282
TOTAL 576

OSK (Oh Shit Kit)

oskThe meds in my OSK may have swapped around a bit but the contents are essentially the same and it still weighs in at just 100g.

Eagle Creek Zip Stash Case (OSK) 16
Ibuprofen 6
Antihistamine 2
Loperamide 3
Lemsip x2 8
Paracetemol x2 12
Butterfly Plasters 4
Misc Plasters & Medistrips 5
Titanium Pocket Bit Keyring 4
Sewing Kit (6x Thread, 4x Needles, 8x Buttons, 6x Safety Pins) 8
Chapstick 9
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Stainless Steel Nail Clippers Ultra Slim 15
Stainless Steel Tweezers 8
TOTAL 100

EDC (Every Day Carry)

This year I opted to upgrade my flagging iPhone 6 for the new iPhone 8 (rather than the X as I still appreciate an actual hardware button). The uplift to 256GB SSD is a game changer for me as it means I can carry all of my music without continually having to delete old to make way for new. I’m not willing to shift to streaming as I fly too much. The camera is also noticeably better. As mentioned previously I upgraded my UE headphones for Anker bluetooth but the wallet and watch are the same as last year.

Apple iPhone 8 256GB w case (Phone 148, Case 15) 163
Bluetooth Headphones Anker Soundbuds Slim+ (Micro USB) 15
Ice Watch Unisex 46
Wallet Slimfold Micro Soft Shell RFID 64
TOTAL 288

Laptop

laptop

I’ve described my new laptop setup in a previous post although, since then, I’ve ditched the swanky HP mouse that came with the laptop as the bluetooth kept crapping out. Back to my old trusty Logitech M337.

Laptop HP Spectre x360 – 13-ae003na i7-8550U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD 1238
Laptop Charger 45W 131g w AU plug 17g and 2m Anker cable 52g 200
Mouse Logitech Bluetooth M337 (59g + 15g AA) 74
HP Tilt Stylus Pen 10g w AAAA battery 6g 16
TOTAL 1528

Techgear

techstuff

My techgear now weighs in at just 825g and everything fits in the ten year old WH Smith pencil case bar the awesome UE Roll Bluetooth Speaker. Here’s the full list:

WH Smith Pencil Case 57
Samsung SSD Portable T5 2TB USB 3.1 51
Anker Battery AstroMini 3200mAh out 1A 84
Amazon Short Cable USB 2.0 Lightning 10cm 6
Anker Bluetooth Headphones Soundbuds Slim (Micro USB) 15
Sony Antistatic Cloth 14
Adapter HDMI male to VGA female 10
Adapter USB-C male to HDMI 4K female 10
2x Momax Adaptercable USB-A to USB Micro 6g ea 12
Adapter USB-A to USB-C 6
Baggie Comply Tx-500 w Wax Guard Medium 2 pairs 2
Spare Batteries AA 15g (Mouse) and AAAA 6g (HP Pen) 21
Lexar Flashdrive USB 3.0 128Gb Jumpdrive S45 2
Transcend Flashdrive USB 3.0 32Gb Jet Flash 710S 3
Transcend Flashdrive USB 3.0 *and USB 3.1* 64Gb Jet Flash 890S 4
Laptop Charger Adapters (UK 26g, EU 17g, US 11g) in bag 13g 67
2x Cable Apple USB 2.0 Lightning 100cm (for iPhone) 18g ea 36
2x Charger Apple USB OZ (for iPhone) 28g ea 56
Cable USB 2.0 Micro USB 100cm (for UE Roll) 18
Charger USB OZ (for UE Roll) 37
UE Roll Bluetooth Speaker 314
TOTAL 825

Other Stuff

miscgearWhich just leaves my MSR Ultralite Packtowl, my Matador FreeRain 24 Waterproof Daypack and my Fortress Exercise band given to me by my physio after a recent shoulder injury.

Ultralite Grey Packtowl XL 100
Freerain 24 Waterproof Ultra-Sil Nylon 24L Daypack 154
Fortress Exercise Band 42
TOTAL 296

I also neglected to photograph the 9 Eagle Creek Specter packing cubes I use to organise my clothes weighing in at 172g.

So that’s it 92 items, weighing in at 4500g (excluding the 1030g Tortuga bag). Everything gets used and everything is worth the weight.

Everything I Own 2018 (Pt 1)

It’s that time of year again folks! Actually I’m a little late this year but who’s counting eh? This year has seen a few changes to my gear – not a lot but a few. The biggest change was buying a new laptop which led to a few changes in peripherals (to make use of the wonders of USB-C). I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago… so let’s start this years list with;

Clothes

clothes-quants-2018

I did have fun making this image. Apparently it’s called knolling. It’s a thing now. Also since I do this with everything I own I guess that makes me a knoll it all.

I’ll get my (one) coat…

If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I basically have a uniform of black merino, and an asset maintenance regime that’s almost military in its geekyness. The end result is that my clothing setup doesn’t change much and it has been essentially the same for about 4 years now. However I did have to refresh a few things (worth noting for maintenance costs) and I also found a rather interesting pair of shoes (changes marked up in red):

I now own 45 items of clothing weighing in at 8.4kg (down from 48 items and 9.8kg last year). For my full review of all of these items see my 2017 Gear Post.

The downside to having only a few items and using them a lot is that they do need replacing regularly, notably my Brook Taverner suit (always good to look sharp in the office). I generally find socks and boxers only last around 2 years on continuous rotation but that does equate to over 100 wears and washes each. I was slightly disappointed that my prAna Bridger Jeans only lasted a year but I love them enough to give them another shot and I did wear them a lot.

Shoes

I have been wearing Dr Martens for many many years. They’re heavy (1250g) but they look good and they’re very comfortable for daily wear. I generally buy a new pair each year as I do a lot of walking and kill them quickly. Normally I buy the AirWair brand from the UK, because the ‘proper’ Dr Martens made in China are of lower quality. This time I picked up a pair whilst in the UK in November for my brother’s wedding but it seems that all DMs (including AirWair) are now made in China. Sufficed to say the heel came off after just four months which was pretty disappointing.

Around the same time my beloved Nike Free 5.0s (480g) also started to fail after 3 years of thrashing, the tread was gone and the colour had shifted from the pitch black of shiny newness to a light charcoal grey (likely as a result of significant sun exposure).

I set myself a challenge of finding one pair of shoes to serve both purposes; office and trekking / hiking at the weekend. They needed to be smart, simple, black (duh), comfortable, water resistant and offer good grip without too much bulk or height.

arcteryx-acrux-sl-2Arc’Teryx is a brand I have a lot of respect for but, honestly, I’d not seen their shoes before. The Acrux is designed for comfort and uses an integrated tongue making it more like a slipper with laces than a shoe. There are three variants; The SL, the GTX (GoreTex) and the GTX Leather. I opted for the first because it was the only one that looked like it could pass for an office shoe, the other two are clearly designed for trekking and look the part. I’ve only been wearing them (daily) for one month but thus far I am loving them. They have coped incredibly well hiking over rocks, beaches, and trail paths and look equally at home in the office and on the wet streets of Sydney. If the durability is good I may have found the perfect shoe for me.

I’ll list my 92 non clothing items next time.

Faster, Better, Lighter…

RIP Vaio

This year has seen some big updates to my tech gear. After four and a half years of fantastic service, my beloved Sony Vaio Pro 13 finally gave up the ghost last November. How I loved this machine; purchased in June 2013 it was one of the last Vaio machines produced by Sony and, for the briefest of windows, it was their flagship; a 4th gen core i7-4500U processor with 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a  1920×1080 13.3″ touchscreen.

sony-vaio-pro-svp13213-spec2sThe killer feature, for me, was the weight; just 1050g (primarily as a result of the beautiful, if alarmingly flexible, carbon fibre frame). I think it’s fair to say I thrashed the hell out of this machine with daily use and some serious processing (for work) not to mention multiple international trips. The battery started off at around 6hrs but progressively dropped until I was squeezing less than 2, the touchscreen developed an annoying shadow screen left just 2 years in but it was a failed fan that ultimately lead to an overcooked CPU (and some worried fellow employees after a noisy demise in my open plan office).

Time to hit the savings account

So off I went on the hunt for a replacement for the best laptop there ever was… starting with some requirements 😉

  • Lightweight. Just in case that wasn’t obvious? I’m kinda interested in the weight
  • I’m a Windows kid; mostly because of the database I need to use for work
  • I need a lot of disk space for all my photos and all the database crunching for work
  • During my work day I tend to move from meeting to meeting with my laptop so a decent enough battery life would be good
  • I’d also like to upgrade to a form factor that supported tablet mode which is useful on planes when space it as a premium.

After five years I naively assumed I would easily be able to improve on the Vaio specs without taking a hit on weight. I was wrong. While the processors are faster, the storage is bigger and the screens are better there are literally no machines on the market that are lighter than the Vaio with even an equivalent spec.

HP Spectre x360

After discounting most of the leading lighter weight ultrabooks for lack of ports (Surface Pro) or mediocre specs (Dell) I finally settled on the HP Spectre x360. Weighing in at 1238g it offers an 8th gen core i7-8550U processor with 16GB RAM, a whopping 1TB SSD, a gorgeous 3840×2160 13.3″ touchscreen and a form factor that works remarkably well for me (I find myself using the ‘tent’ mode in presentations a lot). It also ships with a ‘Tilt’ stylus that has proven surprisingly useful (16g with a 6g AAAA battery) which replaces my old 25g Kensington PresentAir Pen (same battery).

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The battery life is a significant improvement (a claimed 12 hrs) and I love the dual IR camera for Windows hello. I made a small compromise on the ports (no HDMI so a 17g adapter is required) but the single USB-A 3.0 and dual USB-C (one for charging) means I can cut down my other peripherals and compensate for the weight gain in the machine.

Peripherals

miceI had to travel to the UK to buy the ‘dark ash grey’ version over the garish Aussie native ‘silver’ version. I needn’t have bothered as the trim is still showy in ‘rose gold’, but in addition to a UK jolly, this enabled me to buy the matching HP Z5000 Bluetooth mouse (right) which is just beautiful, and weighs just 60g with a 15g AA battery, as opposed to my old Logitech M337 (left) 74g with the same battery.

Charger

In 2013 the Sony Vaio shipped with a charger that weighed 270g and featured an extra USB 3.0 charging port which I used a lot. Despite charging via USB-C the HP Spectre ships with a single purpose 60W charger that weighs an entirely unnecessary 315g. Unsurprisingly this was replaced very quickly with a much lighter alternative: the awesome Mbeat Gorilla 45W charger. mb-chgr-pd45_web_1This well constructed little device weighs a paltry 131g and offers two USB-A charging ports in addition to a 45W supply via USB-C (it’s 45W total output across all ports – so a little slower to charge than the HP, particularly while charging other devices, but perfectly adequate). It comes with interchangeable mains plugs (AU 17g, UK 26g, EU 17g and US 11g) and a little black 11g polyester bag for stashing the mains adapters not in use. You will also need a decent USB-C cable to connect to the laptop (I went for a 2m Anker cable at 52g). Unlike other adapters this doesn’t run hot, doesn’t spark when inserted in to sockets and offers an earth pin on the AU and UK plugs (ensuring a secure connection each time). I discounted the otherwise rather interesting Card adapter for this reason. All up that’s 265g for a charger that works the world over and can power all your USB devices. At just 5g less than the Sony Vaio charger this wasn’t a huge saving but the universal adapter function of the Mbeat (with two USB ports) allowed me to ditch my 132g Skross Pro Light USB World adapter.

Backup

Finally the HP Spectre’s on-board samsung t5storage bump from 512GB to 1TB allowed me to downscale my backup drive, in quite a big way. My trusty Samsung 4TB portable HD had served me well for over 3 years but at 242g (plus a 22g cable) it was a bit on the heavy side. I had been eying up the hellishly expensive portable SSD drives for a while now and when Samsung finally released their flagship T5 USB-C 3.1 2TB device I knew it was time. This thing is so small and light I actually thought I’d been shipped a fake on unboxing. It’s about half the size and half the depth of the HD and it weighs just 51g. Remarkable. It’s also incredibly fast, supports USB-C data transfer, and being SSD is (presumably) incredibly robust. Certainly I’ve not had any issues in the first 6 months of ownership. I also managed to find a crazy small Momax USB-C cable weighing just 6g (so 57g instead of 264g)

Weight Loss

So what was the overall weight impact?

Sony Vaio HP Spectre
Laptop 1050 1238
USB-C to HDMI Adapter 17
Presenter Pen / Stylus 25 16
Mouse 74 60
Charger 270 200
Universal Adapter / Plugs 132 65
Backup Drive 264 57
TOTAL 1815 1653

A whopping 162g saving. Yeah… could have just ditched a tee shirt.

Asset Management with 137 Things

I live with very few things, 137 in fact. They all fit in hand luggage and I carry them with me. I have done this now for over six years and in that time I have become very aware of the total weight of my stuff because, well… sometimes my shoulders hurt.

In addition to being a minimalist I’m also a bit of a geek and one of the tools I developed about five years ago was a spreadsheet of my things with some interesting metadata:

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Once I had the list, I could do some cool analysis on the data in true geek-out fashion. Frankly I do this mostly for fun but it is also kinda useful.

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I categorise my 137 things according to 21 categories which broadly fall in to four groupings:

  1. Luggage (Category 1)
  2. Clothing (Categories 2 – 12; Shoes, Boxers, Socks, Tees, Tops, Pants etc)
  3. Gear (Categories 13-17; Misc Gear, Packing, Carry, OSK and Dopp)
  4. Tech (Categories 18-21; Laptop, Techbag, MiscTech and EDC; Every Day Carry)

This allows me to do some cool analysis:

Weight Management

This was the start of my journey in to data analysis; where can I drop the excess weight? Certainly some interesting metrics here, the heaviest thing I own, it transpires, is not my laptop, or my Dr Martens… but the wheeled case I use to lug it all, in fact my luggage accounts for nearly a quarter of my carried weight (in red).

inventory-weight-pies

I feel this is currently justified as I am not simply backpacking my way around the world – I still have to work so need to carry a suit and an umbrella and the trappings of the office environment. I also need to look semi professional, so the roller does it for me. Nice to know that if I was able to quit my job and disappear off around the world I could pack everything in a backpack and travel even lighter.

The blues in the above pie charts represent the various categories of clothing – interesting to note that clothing represents less than half of my carried weight, just 7.08Kg. Of course carried weight does not include the clothing I travel in.

Insurance

How much have you spent on your stuff? If you lost it, do you know how much it would cost to replace? If you only have 137 things it turns out it’s pretty easy to calculate, and pretty reassuring to know how much I’d need to claim on my insurance should the worst happen.

inventory-cost-pies

By recording the amount I paid for each item, the vendor and the date I purchased it I stand a good chance of replacing like for like in the event of disaster or, more likely, re-ordering when something fails (I am not a keen shopper). It’s also reassuring to note that my most expensive items are also my most oft-used belongings; laptop and phone. Spending done right.

By recording an estimated ‘lifespan’ of each item I can also calculate each item’s current worth – given my recent tech spending it’s not a huge surprise to see so much green. Taking this one step further I can actually calculate the daily depreciation of my belongings. Apparently each sleep costs me £6.60… which is cheaper than an AirBnB.

Asset Management

Yeah OK… with 137 things how important is asset management? Moreover who the hell does asset management on their belongings?

Turns out I do.

Recording the date of purchase and the estimated lifespan enables me to monitor the ‘life remaining’ of the items I own. This enables me to predict failure (basic FMECA right here) and plan financially since many of the items I own, notably the merino clothing, is not so cheap to replace.

inventory-life-expired-180421

My most recent purchases include my newly replaced Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers and my new laptop (more on that in my 2018 Gear post), associated tech (it’s a USB-C powered machine which, of course, necessitated some new USB-C gadgets). It would appear that my tees are nearing end of life (which is true – two of them have holes now) and my Extras (tie and belt) are on their way too.

I refine the ‘lifespan’ fairly regularly – boxers only last a year but tees last three, the lifespan for my belt is an estimated twenty years which is probably OK since I bought it in Hawaii in 2000. Moreover I probably don’t need to worry about replacing much else just yet… which is nice.

Also; my motto of monochrome simplicity does not apply to my Excel spreadsheets (or my Powerpoint presentations for that matter).

Everything I Own (2017 Update)

Everything I Own (2017 Update)

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.

Clothes

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).

Tees

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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.

Hoodies

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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.

Shirts

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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.

Suit

brooktaverner

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.

 

Jeans

 

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.

Shorts

 

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.

Boxer Shorts

icebreaker-anatomica-boxers

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.

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.

Jacket

atom-lt-hoody

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.

Thermals

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Buffwear Buff

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.

Shoes

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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

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.

The rest

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
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Clothes packed in to 8x Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

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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

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Top left = Techbag, Top right = Dopp kit, Bottom = Tortuga Air and contents

Dopp Kit

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Dopp Kit

  • 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.

Techbag

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Techbag

  • 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

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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.

Bag

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 🙂

bags

Thanks for reading – hope you found this useful.

My 100g OSK (Oh Shit Kit)

My 100g OSK (Oh Shit Kit)

When I was about 8 years old my familysunsites took a camping holiday in the South of France. The holiday was run by Sunsites who offered a ‘Magpie Club’ for kids. I remember it being a lot of fun; playing games, sports and earning coloured stickers through completing tasks. The gold and silver stickers were the most sought after and one day we were given a scavenger hunt task. I did not win. In fact I came last as I was unable to locate a tea bag. I earnt no gold or silver stickers that day. This scarred me and from that day forward I carried many of the things on the scavenger list in my pocket just in case. This included a tea bag which would regularly split in my pocket… a small price to pay, I felt.

Of course, over the years, I have managed to let go of most of the crap I used to carry in my deep coat pockets, but there remains a core set of small items (notably first aid related) that have proven remarkably useful over the years. Despite being a minimalist I do not believe in getting rid of things which add value to my life and so I created my ‘Oh Shit! Kit’ (OSK).

osk-closedI carry the OSK with me on a daily basis and the contents are designed to be TSA friendly so even the hyper paranoid security at Sydney (who confiscate TSA approved scissors and screwdrivers) can unclench. My most recent addition to the OSK is the case itself; an Eagle Creek Zip Stash clearly originally intended for cash and coins. It weighs just 16g with the key loop and has three distinct sections for organisation. It’s also water resistant and perfectly sized for the contents.

osk-contentsIn terms of First Aid I carry:

  • 2x Large Elastoplast Plasters 4g – for the elbow and knee grazes
  • 8x Medium Medistrip Plasters 5g – for cuts (most commonly used)
  • 10x Small Butterfly Plasters 4g – for deep cuts (to hold the cut closed)
  • 8x Ibuprofen 5g – my go to pain relief and long haul survival mechanism
  • 8x Paracetemol 5g – for pain relief on an empty stomach
  • 3x Lemsip 15g – surprisingly useful, mostly for other people who are suffering, but three sachets is enough to curb the effects of an oncoming cold

I also carry:

  • Sewing Kit (6x Thread, 4x Needles, 8x Buttons, 5x Safety Pins) 8g – This kit started out as a posh hotel freebie but I replaced the bag with a tiny ziplock and ditched the green and pink thread in favour of black (since I use this the most). I also replaced the needles with three quality needles, added the spare buttons from my suit and shirts, and threw in a few safety pins which do come in (mostly at weddings!)
  • Ultra Slim Stainless Steel Nail Clippers (Zwilling J.A. Henckels) 15g – I actually carry these, not for clipping nails, but in lieu of scissors which aren’t permitted in hand luggage. These clippers do a good job of trimming thread but are also strong enough to cut tags off clothing and I’ve even used them to extract a pair of scissors from the retail card (genius design right there).
  • Stainless Steel Tweezers 8g – Good for removal of splinters, and ticks (although I’ve never had to deal with that thankfully). I have also used these when fixing computers and phones in a pinch.
  • Titanium Pocket Bit 4g – The closest I am going to get to carrying a screwdriver these days but despite the size these things are cleverly designed. The key ring allows a good grip and enables decent torque. I’ve tightened up the screws on chair legs and even dismantled an old laptop with this thing.
  • Chapstick 9g – A remnant of Winter living in the UK but still useful for long haul flights in harsh aircon. I’m toying with replacing this with a small tube of antiseptic cream if I can find the right one.
  • Finally; Interdental brushes and Floss Stick 2g– These are stored in my Dopp kit but since I don’t carry that with me every day and occasionally need the services for that stray bit of spinach I carry spares here too.

So that’s it – TSA approved and 100g on the nose. Don’t leave home without it 😊

osk-insides

The Ultimate Daypack

The Ultimate Daypack

In my experience the notion of ‘onebag’ is seldom actually a reflection of the number of bags carried by onebag travellers; because most travellers prefer to have a separate daypack for carrying at destinations on a daily basis (touristing / trekking etc).

Generally, these daypacks are around 20 litre capacity – enough for the daily essentials; a hoodie or coat, a bottle of water, a battery backup, sunscreen, basic first aid and maybe some food. Since this is very much a subset of a full travel packing list, using a onebag for this purpose is inefficient and weight wasteful, it also means completely emptying said onebag before it can be used as a daypack. The sensible solution is therefore a separate daypack which must be carried inside the onebag on travel days. Ideally, therefore, the daypack should be as light and small as possible, but remain functional and comfortable.

For thes2s last two years, I have been using the Sea to Summit UtraSil 20L Daypack which is a marvel of efficiency weighing a mere 72g and packing down to something little bigger than a tennis ball. It’s durable, fairly water resistant and spacious and I actually like it a lot.

If I were to criticise the S2S it would be the lack of water bottle pocket (an essential for trekking in hotter countries), the poor bag structure (a symptom of the material) and the uncomfortable straps which have a tendency to slip even when tight. I was also aware after a recent rather rainy trek in the Blue Mountains of Sydney that the ‘water resistant’ claim was not entirely true after my hoodie, which was safely packed away in the S2S, was decidedly damp on the train journey home.

matadorI recently discovered and purchased the Matador Freerain 24; a slightly larger, more expensive but altogether more feature rich daypack. The Matador addresses all of my issues with the S2S. With water bottle pockets on either side I’m spoilt for choice and despite being made from exactly the same Silnylon as the S2S, the Matador offers a much more impressive support and structure with a double layer face and thick but light and breathable shoulder straps.

The waterproof aspect is covered by taped internal seams and a rolltop in lieu of a zip and while the contents would not stay dry if the bag was submerged nothing got wet during my testing in the Sydney March showers (fairly heavy of late). I was also aware that sealing the bag with air inside created a balloon effect which demonstrated how airtight the bag is. The Matador Freerain24 is also black (or black/grey) – as opposed to the garish yellow/red/green/blue options of S2S which is a pretty big win for me and my monochrome simplicity.

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The bottle pocket on the size is brilliantly designed – deep enough for a large bottle (700ml Smart Water bottle in photo) and elasticated at the neck to prevent movement. Even holding the bag upside down the full 700ml water bottle did not shift.

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Fully loaded bag containing the following gear:

Main pocket:

  • 1x Arc’teryx Atom LT Hooded Jacket 358g
  • 1x Icebreaker Sierra Merino Hoodie 450g
  • 1x Packtowl Ultralite XL 104g

Front pocket:

  • 1x Anker AstroMini 3200 mAH Battery Backup 83g
  • 1x iPhone cable 18g
  • 1x Sunscreen 47g
  • 1x Bite cream 30g
  • 1x OSK (Oh Shit Kit containing plasters, painkillers etc) 40g
  • 1x Ray Ban Case & Cloth 50g

TOTAL = 1334g (inc 154g for the Matador)

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L-R: Meds, Sunnies case, Towel, Charger & Cable, Icebreaker Hoody, Matador Bag Arc’teryx Jacket

Of course all of these features come at a price. The Matador Freerain24 is 154g and almost twice the size of the S2S when packed down. It’s also more expensive at $59.99 USD compared to Sea to Summit’s $32.95 but for me, the extra cost and weight is worth it for the functionality (water bottle pocket, taped seams) and particularly the comfort when carrying.

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The Matador Freerain24 It is available now from the Matador website. Matador also offer a slightly cheaper and smaller 16L / 116g daypack for $49.99 but this has been sold out for a while now.

A Simple Life

simpleIt’s very easy to come across as judgemental or even ‘preachy’ when discussing life choices, and of course there is no right answer. For me, a happy life means simplicity and while I recognise that my approach is unlikely to work for you, here’s what works for me:

  1. I live out of hand luggage. I can pack up everything I own in minutes and carry it on to a plane; a grand total of 150 things which together weigh in at less than 20kg. I don’t deprive myself but equally I keep only what I need.
  2. I wear only one colour; black. I don’t have to think about what to wear each day, what to wash or buy. Laundry is a simple single load per week (less if travelling). Everything goes with everything, nothing gets stained, everything looks sharp.
  3. I wear the same clothes. My 7 pairs of socks are the same, my 8 tees are the same my 3 work shirts are the same. Almost everything is merino wool so nothing needs ironing, hang dries quickly and performs superbly whatever the weather.
  4. I live in Hotels or AirBnBs. My furniture, appliances, kitchenware, towels and bedding are all provided. I have no gas, electric, water or internet bills as they are all included. I pay nightly or weekly so I have no commitment.
  5. I don’t have a car. I rely on public transport (Uber when I have to) and generally I walk wherever possible. I love getting out in to nature when the weather is nice – which it usually is in Sydney.
  6. I don’t have debt. I pay off my credit cards every month and I detest shopping. My most expensive possessions are a 3 year old phone and a 4 year old laptop. I’m not rich but what matters is that I don’t need to be.
  7. I spend my money on experiences (almost always travel) and not on stuff. This is an easy decision when buying a new ‘thing’ means adding it to my pack weight, and it means getting to spend some quality time in some very beautiful places.
  8. I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I’ve seen the impact on all of these on lives of those important to me, and while I try not to pass judgement these days, I don’t want that in my life.
  9. I don’t have a wife or kids. This is not a popular lifestyle choice but it suits me. I have always maintained that choosing to be with a person every day without obligation is far healthier than being forced to stay because of a title.
  10. I truly value time spent with family and friends. Taking myself a world away from everyone I loved was a strange but effective way to come to the stark realisation that relationships and experiences are really all that matter in life.

The greatest shirt ever made?

vidsnip1Way back in September 2015 I discovered a Kickstarter by the name of Libertad. Kyle wanted to make ‘the perfect travel shirt’ with the two guiding principles of ‘style’ and ‘performance’.

As a career man I wear formal shirts to work each day – always black, but despite many attempts to locate the perfect merino shirt I was losing hope. I had sampled the Wool & Prince Black Twill Button Down (far too heavy at 170gsm), the Wool & Prince Solid Black Button Down (still heavy and white buttons? Really?) and eventually landed on the Icebreaker Departure which had a fairly informal cut, awkwardly ‘frilly’ shoulders and a fairly weak structure, but at least it was a longsleeve black merino shirt so no stink, no ironing, quick drying and thermal perfection.

emailThe Libertad shirt was due to ship in January 2016 so I figured I could hold out on Icebreaker until then. Of course, as is common with Kickstarters, the inescapable delays began. While it’s easy as a consumer to get angry as the months roll on I really did feel for Kyle as he constantly kept his core faithful up for date with all the gory details of delays due to the small order size, issues with packaging and crucially issues with the initial weave of material. Eventually – just before Christmas 2016 the emails came that the shirt was about to ship. By then my initial batch of five Icebreaker Departure shirts had all failed and Icebreaker had discontinued them (presumably because of the poor construction). I had scavenged amazon.com and managed to secure three from some US outdoor store’s stockpile at outrageously inflated prices but after a few months even they were on their way out with small seam tears.

img_9938Just before New Years 2016 my Libertad shirt arrived. I’d opted for a Medium ‘tapered’ shirt and the first time I tried it on I was in love (apologies for the less than impressive photo). The cut is fantastic; Outlier make a big deal about their ‘pivot’ sleeves allowing full arm movement in a shirt, the Libertad shirt has a variant of this which is freeing but doesn’t result in bunched up parachutes behind the armpits when arms are not outstretched. The shoulder and chest is spacious but not baggy and the midriff perfectly pulled in a modern tapered cut that still allows room for a pasta lunch (if you know what I mean).

The material is beautiful, it’s 130gsm but feels altogether lighter than the Wool & Prince – in fact it is at 228g compared to the 236g W&P Solid Black (130gsm), 310g W&P Twill (170gsm) and the 256g Icebreaker Departure. It is softer and less itchy than W&P (although admittedly both shirts get significantly less itchy after a couple of washes) but sufficiently solid to maintain shape (unlike the Icebreaker shirt). It breathes beautifully – having tested it in some of the hottest weather Sydney has seen in the last decade, 42 degrees anyone? The weave is so fine that sweat is not wicked as quickly as, say, an Outlier Runweight tee, but this is to be expected from a structured weave necessary for a formal shirt.

cuffThere are some lovely features too – like a separate pen pocket within the chest pocket, a secret internal pocket, double buttons on the cuffs for a more fitted look. It also has a convertible cuff allowing for cufflinks for that altogether more professional look. It washes beautifully – even at home (low temperature – hang dry), requiring no ironing. The same could not be said for either of the W&P shirts.

All in all I would wholeheartedly recommend this shirt for any travelling professional. I have since bought another two and while I’m only a couple of months in to it, I feel like they will last me a good while yet. Libertad Travel shirt – available now for $129.