It’s the first day of 2022, which means I’m probably due my annual blog post. Huge thanks to my readers – all 4 of you – for prompting me again this year. I do mean that – it’s so nice to be read 🙂
So it’s been another year of almost no travel and while I have to confess that I haven’t been AirBnB-ing it through the pandemic I’m still proud to say that all of my personal belongings still fit in my Onebag.
For those that don’t know I left the UK in 2012 with my worldly belongings on my back and I’ve been living ‘light’ ever since. This blog was started to help others that might want live a nomad lifestyle – or just travel with some lightweight (but functional) gear. Also I only wear black.
So what’s new? Well not a huge amount – I do seem to have settled on a base wardrobe that hasn’t changed much in the last few years, but I have new trainers and jeans, replaced boxers and I have ditched some (but not all) formal wear that wasn’t being used.
Like most, I have spent very little time in the office over the last few years, and while I don’t expect to be working in an office environment again anytime soon, I can’t bring myself to let go of the suit completely. There’s always the possibility of a surprise conference or wedding and I’m not convinced that renting a well fitting suit at the last minute is the right solution. So instead I pared it back – just one pair of trousers (instead of two) and two shirts (instead of three) reducing the weight from 2144g to 1588g (including tie and belt). It’s still a lot to be carrying purely for those special occasions and I may yet give it up completely… one day.
Merrell Bare Access XTR
Shoes are always the most difficult purchase for onebagging and, after almost a decade, I have concluded that there just isn’t one pair to rule them all, and even if there were, two pairs are always required in case of mud / rain (a lesson learnt while travelling in a thunderstorm in Kuala Lumpur 3 years ago which ended with a very uncomfortable and soggy flight). Last year I ditched the Vessi Skyline shoes for a pair of Nike trainers. These were actually my old pair which were already on their last legs so time for something new.
The water resistance of the Vessi shoes was their killer feature, however it also meant they were not breathable which led to a miserable hiking experience – especially in hot weather. The relatively simple sole and the high heel to toe drop was clearly meant for city walking rather than trail hiking.
These Merrell Bare Access Trail Runners are the polar opposite. They breathe wonderfully which means that they let water in (and out). The Vibram sole is a beast on the trail (but a squeaky bitch on polished shop floors) and the zero drop ergonomic footbed makes long uneven distances very comfortable and far less prone to blisters.
I’m always on the hunt for shoes that offer something more (and I still dream of utopia of breathable water resistant comfortable footwear) but for now these are pretty great. They are surprisingly light at 480g the pair and they dry very quickly (even while being worn).
Western Rise Evolution Pant
I bought my Prana Brion pants over 6 years ago now and they’re still going strong, so it stood to reason that the Prana Bridger jeans would have a good few years in them. Perhaps it was the cotton content but after around 2 years each of my 4 pairs failed. I had one pair left when I wrote my last blog and the hunt was on for something new. After experimenting with Proof Nomad pants 469g (too heavy and synthetic/swishy) and Thunderbolt Jeans 443g (too thick, unbreathable and not very comfortable) I tried Western Rise Evolution.
My first pair arrived when the weather in Sydney was pretty chilly so at just 316g I was surprised by how much warmth they retained, and yet wearing them now in the middle of summer they breathe beautifully. The material feels thin and almost natural (even though it’s 96% Supplex Nylon and 4% Elastane) which means that, while they have a ‘rougher’ feel than jeans, they are far less ‘swishy’ than other tech jeans. They offer 2-way stretch which makes them comfortable for hiking and while the water resistance is not up there with a new pair of Outlier Slim Dungarees it’s pretty awesome. Overall I was so happy I ordered a second pair… just as they changed the design.
The new design replaces the rivets (often seen on the seams of jeans) with a less visible bar tack (apparently that’s what it’s called don ‘cha know), and the seams are now sewn rolled and stitched internally reducing puckering and giving a ‘cleaner’ look. The end result is a significantly dressier pant – far more suited to the office or a nice dinner. I actually really love the changes although I find the original pair marginally more comfortable (perhaps because they’ve been worn more). In any case I now find myself with the best of both worlds; a formal and an informal pair of the same pants :). Only 8 and 4 months in respectively but the reviews seem to suggest these pants are fairly durable so I guess we’ll see.
The Icebreaker Elemental hoodies I bought in the bitter cold of June 2020 are just too thick and too heavy for my needs, especially as I intend to spend more time in warmer climes in 2022. I will definitely be swapping out at least one of these for something lighter next year, but with the exception of my Icebreaker boxers which required a refresh (as they do every 18 months or so), everything else is doing pretty well:
The changes since last year were actually pretty minimal:
|Techbag||WH Pencil Case (2004!)||56||Eagle Creek Isolate Quick Trip XS||47|
|Cables||3x 10cm cables|
2x 100cm cables
|6x 10cm cables|
2x 100cm cables
|Speaker||Anker Soundcore Mini Icon||210||Anker Soundcore Ace A0||62|
|Headset||Eruw K10 Bluetooth Headset||19|
|Carabiner||Nite Ize S-Biner #2||7|
|Mask||Stylemask 3 layer cotton mask||14||Masque Co (Polyester / Spandex)||10|
|Documents||Immunisation History Booklet||15||Electronic Immunisation Record 🙂||0|
|Toothbrush||Colgate Omron Pro Clinical 150||55||Xiaomi Mijia T100||48|
|Trimmer||Wahl Micro Groomsman||34||Xiaomi Portable Trimmer||64|
|Flossers||Care Dent Eezi Flossers x5||10||Wisdom Naturals Flossers x5||6|
The search for the perfect techbag has been ongoing since 2012 and I finally feel like I’ve found it.
Eagle Creek’s superb Pack-It Isolate Quick Trip washbag is part of a new range of ripstop polyester packing cubes (as opposed to their previous ripstop silnylon) which is infused with anti-bacterial agents. Of course this doesn’t make a big difference when used for tech but the layout (of one main compartment and zipped pockets either side) combined with the shape retaining poly ‘frame’, super light material and damn near perfect dimensions makes this ideal for me. I use one side zipper for USB drives and adapters (of which I have a few) and the other for short cables – which I also doubled up on this year. Switching my toothbrush means that I am finally battery free and since most of my devices still use micro-USB to charge I figured a couple of cheap 6g USB-C to USB-micro cables from Amazon couldn’t hurt. The 6th cable was a 7g USB-A to USB-Micro which came with my headset and seems to be the only cable that charges it.
I previously used my Anker SoundCore Icon Mini for tunes while working and as a speaker/microphone during Zoom calls ever since the speaker on my laptop packed up. Given the huge increase in such calls over the last couple of years it made sense to look for a solution more geared to cleaner voice audio with occasional tuneage. Enter the Anker SoundCore Ace A0 and the Eruw K10 headset. The A0 speaker isn’t quite as powerful as its predecessor but it’s not far off and the interference is only really noticeable at high (antisocial) volumes, this is perhaps understandable given that it’s less than 30% of the weight of the Icon Mini at just 62g (compared to the Icon Mini’s 210g heft).
The Eruw headset is incredible. It feels a bit plasticky and cheap but the audio quality is superb, the bluetooth connection is solid and the microphone made a *huge* difference to my Zoom calls. At just 19g it’s barely noticeable on my ear or in my bag and I find myself reaching for it for all YouTube videos these days. The battery is also pretty solid at around 8hrs of solid use which gets me through the work day. I recharge my headset and mouse daily now.
The mask swap was primarily down to comfort and the fact that the cotton masks shrunk in the wash (I should have seen that coming tbh). The 15g weight saving in my documents pack was as a result of Medicare’s awesome online immunisation history (and the general use of digital certificates for proof of vaccination). I was gifted a Nite-Ize S-Biner from a friend who assured me it would ‘come in handy’. At 7g I’m OK with waiting to see. It hasn’t come in yet.
My Colgate toothbrush was the only device I was carrying that still used batteries, while the 2x AAA batteries only weighed 14g and usually lasted around 4 months I was still generating avoidable waste so I did some research on USB charging portable toothbrushes and decided to give the Xiaomi Mijia T100 a shot.
Ah new years… the only time of year I can feel OK about putting my toothbrush on the floor for a photo…
I have been impressed with Xiaomi as a brand and my Xiaomi shaver has been going strong since June 2019, Kogan here in Australia seem to stock a lot of Xiaomi so it’s not tricky getting replacement heads. the brush itself is longer and the Colgate and stretches the Sea To Summit washbag a little but it weighs less than the Colgate with batteries at 45g (Unit 40g, head 5g) vs 52g for the Colgate (Unit 34g, head 4g, 2x AAA 14g). The clean is excellent although the brushes feel softer than the Colgate brushes. The battery lasts a good couple of weeks before requiring a recharge which is via the micro-USB port (one day everything will be USB-C… one day). I’ve been using it since August and I’m very happy – particularly with the lack of waste.
On that topic I switched up my brand of flossers from Care Dent to Wisdom Naturals Floss Picks because they’re a) biodgradable, b) cheaper (at almost 1/3 of the price) and c) smaller and lighter (although when you’re debating between 2g and 1g you’re probably not the most exciting person at the party <looks at self>. Either way it’s another small step towards generating less waste.
I swapped my Wahl Micro Groomsman pretty quickly when the damn thing fell apart leaving an exposed razor blade. Even prior to that it cut me during use (although it may have already been failing then). Either way 34g for a flimsy plastic trimmer is not the way to go. Sticking with my favoured Xiaomi I was able to pick up a Xiaomi H3 2-in-1 Personal Trimmer for a good price and at just 63g (60g unit and 3g trimmer head) it does an excellent job and retains charge for ages although I don’t really need to use it that often. Yet.
Everything else is pretty much as was. It hasn’t been significantly road tested (short of a couple of jollies up to Cairns and the Sunshine Coast) but here’s the full list of gear for 2021:
|1||Minaal 3.0 Carry On 35L Backpack 55x35x20||1555|
|1||Sea To Summit Silnylon Traveling Light Washbag (Small)||44|
|1||The Crystal Deodorant Ammonium Alum 40g||64|
|1||CHANGED Xiaomi H3 2-in-1 Personal Trimmer (60g, head 3g)||63|
|1||Xiaomi Home Mi USB-C Shaver (88g, band 2g, brush 2g)||92|
|1||CHANGED Xiaomi Mijia T100 USB-Micro Electronic toothbrush (40g, head 5g)||45|
|1||CHANGED Xiaomi Mijia Toothbrush Heads (x2)||10|
|1||Seki Edge Stainless Steel Nail Clippers||32|
|1||Zwilling J.A. Henckels Stainless Steel Tweezers||10|
|1||Hearos Earplugs (x5 pairs)||4|
|1||CHANGED Biodegradable Interdental Flossers (x3)||3|
|1||Earthsider Reusable Swab Q-Tip||2|
|1||Shampoo 50ml (in Muji 12g poly tube)||70|
|1||Sunscreen 30ml (in Muji 8g poly tube)||42|
|1||Hand Moisturiser 12ml (in Muji 3g poly tube)||14|
|1||Hydrocortisone 12ml (in Muji 3g poly tube)||14|
|1||Hair Muk 10ml (in Muji 20g plastic tub)||37|
|1||Hearos earplugs in Case||6|
|1||Relight My Fire Little Spork||8|
|1||Bic Pen Mutifunction 4 Colour Ballpoint Pen||12|
|1||Uniball Micro Blue Rollerball Pen||11|
|1||Sharpie Permanent Marker||8|
|1||Maui Jim Sunglasses Case and Cloth||53|
|1||Maui Jim Sugar Beach Sunglasses||14|
|1||Montbell Travel Umbrella||87|
|1||Montbell Tachyon Parka Raincoat||72|
|1||Muji Double Zip Pouch (Small)||15|
|1||CHANGED Masque Co Poly/Spandex Mask||10|
|1||Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Drybag||30|
|1||NEW Nite-Ize S-Biner Carabiner #2||7|
|1||Sea to Summit TPU Guide IPX8 Water Resistant Accessory Case (Small)||18|
|1||REDUCED Documents, Mugshots & Spare Credit Cards in Poly Pocket||43|
|1||Eagle Creek Zip Stash Pouch||16|
|1||Misc Plasters & Medistrips||5|
|1||Titanium Pocket Bit Screwdriver Keyring||4|
|1||Sewing Kit (Needles & Thread, Buttons, Safety Pins)||8|
|1||Antiseptic Cream (in Muji 12ml 3g poly tube)||18|
|1||Zwilling J.A. Henckels Stainless Steel Nail Clippers Ultra Slim||15|
|1||Zwilling J.A. Henckels Stainless Steel Tweezers||10|
|1||HP Spectre x360 – 13-ae003na (i7-8550U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) Laptop||1238|
|1||HP Tilt Stylus Pen||14|
|1||Anker Soundbuds Slim+ Bluetooth Headphones||15|
|1||CHANGED Anker Soundcore Ace A0 Bluetooth Speaker||62|
|1||NEW Eruw K10 Bluetooth Headset||19|
|1||Anker Powercore+ Mini 3350mAh Battery||84|
|1||Swiftpoint ProPoint 600 Bluetooth Mouse||24|
|3||Patriot Supersonic Rage Elite 1TB USB-A 3.0 Flashdrive||30|
|1||Mopoint 66W GaN charger (2xUSB-C & 1xUSB-A) w AU, UK & EU adapters & 3g band||163|
|1||Apple Charger USB-A 5W AU||28|
|1||Griffin Power Jolt Car Charger 2x USB-A 5W||12|
|1||Anker Powerline II USB-C 2.0 to USB-C 200cm Cable||54|
|1||Mbeat USB-C 2.0 to USB-C 100cm Cable||27|
|1||Amzer USB-A 1.0 to USB-Micro 100cm Retractable Cable||20|
|1||TRVL USB-C 3.1 to Lightning 10cm Cable||7|
|1||TRVL USB-C 3.1 to USB-C 10cm Cable||9|
|1||TRVL USB-C 3.1 to USB-A 10cm Cable||11|
|1||NEW Amazon Basics USB-C 3.1 to USB-Micro 10cm Cable||6|
|1||NEW Amazon Basics USB-C 3.1 to USB-Micro 10cm Cable||6|
|1||NEW Eruw USB-A 2.0 to USB-Micro 10cm Cable||7|
|1||Apple USB-A 2.0 to Lightning 100cm Cable||19|
|1||HDMI 4K female to USB-C male Adapter||10|
|1||USB-A 3.0 female to USB-C male Adapter||7|
|1||USB-C female to USB-Micro male Adapter||3|
|1||USB-C female to USB-A 3.0 male Adapter||4|
|1||USB-C female to Lightning male Adapter||2|
|1||USB-Micro female to USB-C male Adapter||1|
|1||USB-Micro female to Lightning male Adapter||2|
|1||USB-A Charger for SwiftPoint ProPoint 600 Adapter||3|
|1||Sony Anti-static Cloth||14|
|1||Ultimate Ears 600VI Wired Headphones (with Apple Lightning Adapter)||20|
|1||CHANGED Eagle Creek Isolate Quick Trip XS||47|
|1||Sea to Summit Airlite Towel Large||47|
|1||Sea To Summit Ultra Sil Nano Daypack||30|
|1||PVC Massage Ball||37|
|EVERY DAY CARRY|
|1||Apple iPhone 8 256GB (150g & case 15g)||165|
|1||Slimfold Micro Soft Shell RFID Wallet||78|
|1||NEW Masque Co Poly/Spandex Mask||10|
|2||Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Medium Cube (18g ea) for boxers & socks, tees||36|
|2||Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Small Cube (14g ea) for cold weather gear, sundries||28|
|1||Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tube Cube (19g) for shoes||19|
My gear weight has reduced from 5357g to 5234g (saving 123g) and my clothes weight has reduced from 8354g to 7936g (saving 418g). I am now carrying 40 items of clothing and 96 items of gear so 136 total which is up from the 132 (41/91) last year. No huge changes but small refinements which make life easier and I’m down to 13.17kg or 11.68kg carried which is certainly comfortable – if a little heavy for some airlines. Perhaps one day I’ll feel brave enough to ditch the 1kg suit and fixing up my hoodies should save some weight next year. I’m also on the lookout for a lighter laptop as my HP Spectre is on it’s last legs and buying a new phone may allow me to ditch the 83g Anker battery too as it seldom gets used these days.
Right, that about wraps it up for another year. Wishing you all a superb 2022, stay safe and healthy – and thank you again for reading my ramblings. I hope you found something useful!