All dressed up but nowhere to go

It would be remiss of me not to begin this post with a line such as ‘2020 huh? What a year’. Like everyone else I have spent most of the year hunkered down in one location. The whole ‘living out of a bag so I can jet off somewhere exotic at any moment’ has been somewhat undermined, and the benefits of my minimalist lifestyle seem far less significant this year.

That said, it has been reassuring to discover that, even with a significant lifestyle change, my onebag of 137 things is enough to sustain me for another year, and being static has not meant a static onebag, I’ve made a few changes to my belongings, including perhaps the biggest change of all; my onebag itself.

After almost 6 years I have decided to replace my superb Tortuga Air. As the container for my worldly belongings this was a big decision, and one that, thanks to Covid, hasn’t really been validated yet. My Tortuga didn’t fail, in fact it still looks remarkably good, but there was a fairly urgent need that drove this change.

Last year, thanks to a very delayed Flybe flight I found myself running from Manchester airport terminal 1 to 3 with my fully laden Tortuga, for a connecting flight to Oman. I made the flight (literally as the gate was closing) and after I’d finished congratulating myself for not needing to check a bag (which wouldn’t have been an option) I noticed that I couldn’t move my neck.

It turned out I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder and this one injury almost wiped me out for my Oman trip.

I have been living out of a bag for over 8 years now, and I turned 43 this year, an age that somehow seemed pretty ancient even when I started this adventure.

I now have a pension, a personal hair trimmer and a physiotherapist. His name is Jim and after this particularly painful shoulder episode, he suggested my Tortuga may not be providing the necessary support for my back and neck when fully laden.

This was a fair assumption, the bag’s primary feature is its feather weight (requiring minimal structure). It’s a superb bag and it’s served me well but the time had come for something with better structure and support, and perversely I would have to consider heavier bags for the sake of my health. Enter the Minaal 3.0.

Minaal 3.0

The Minaal Carry-On has been cooking (their term) for almost as long as I’ve been carrying my Tortuga, it always struck me as sleeker and sexier than the Tortuga Air but the weight difference (1.5kg to 1.0g – both 35l capacity) was a turn off.

With the recent release of the 3.0 the Minaal team introduced a new lightweight ‘unified harness’ featuring a dense EVA foam back panel, thicker EVA foam handles, and remarkably strong magnetic load lifters which make a big difference.

The first time I lifted this bag on to my shoulders and adjusted the straps, it just felt right, good balance and excellent weight distribution, even when full.

The sternum strap is strong, comfortable and makes a hell of a difference to the ease of carry. It is also easily stowed in its own clip when not in use, which is neat.

There are other killer features too – including the material itself (1200D and 600D Picton) which is significantly more water proof and abrasion resistant than the Tortuga’s Denier material (which was getting a little ‘fluffy’ after so much use).

There’s a clever system of pockets (particularly towards the top of the bag) that are larger than the Tortuga’s – which I really appreciate, particular when under pressure at airport security.

The solid grab handles are a delight and having one on the side of the bag makes all the difference when retrieving from awkward positions such as overhead bins.

The internal pockets also reduce the need for packing cubes although the Tortuga’s internal mesh pocket created two large packing cubes which is a feature I shall miss.

I did try the Minaal packing cubes but I am so used to how my gear packs in the Eagle Creek Specter cubes (which still fit inside the Minaal remarkably well) there seemed little point in making the switch. The Eagle Creek cubes are lighter too – although it is marginal (19g vs 30g for a Medium).

The hidden passport pocket is a nice addition and the lie flat laptop compartment is neat if a little gimmicky although the ‘Devicenest’ system itself is very cool; protecting the laptop from impact on all sides – particularly from drops on the base of the bag.

The ability to hide the straps, and in super quick time, for that professional look, is impressive, and the way the rolldown cover stashes is very clever.

Everything about the bag feels premium; from the lightweight alloy buckles to the hypalon zipper tabs which make closing the bag so much easier.

I really appreciate the inclusion of an integrated raincover (and raincover pocket in the base of the bag) and the water bottle pocket is very well thought out, secure and much deeper than on the Tortuga.

The dimensions of the Minaal (55 x 35 x 20) are also better for a onebag than the Tortuga (48 x 32 x 18) – maximising most airline carry on limits (56 x 35 x 22) while minimising the external trappings for what can only be described as a minimalist sleek ‘flow’ look.

The Minaal feels roomier than the Tortuga Air (even when the latter is expanded), and yet the extra weight isn’t very noticeable when being carried, thanks to the harness system.

Time will tell whether the Minaal 3.0 will reduce the drag on my shoulder and neck, but for now I am hopeful.

Also I will be updating my ‘Everything I Own’ for 2020 in the next couple of weeks, there have been some other changes to reduce weight I hope you will find useful.

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.


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.




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.



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 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.


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.



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.



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.

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


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

Dopp Kit


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.




  • 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.

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 😊


Onebag Packing List 2015


Onebagging means traveling light, packing easily and quickly, breezing through airport security, never having to wait for luggage (or the dreaded lost luggage), being mobile at all times and changing plans at the last minute without having to plan ahead for a case drop or locker, peace of mind of knowing where everything is and having it to hand if you need it, and generally having a happier, lighter, easier time on your trip. I’ve been a Onebagger for many years and having just returned from a Onebag trip round the UK for a month, here’s what I carried.


My bag is the Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack (1077g).

IMG_1718My fully packed Tortuga Air waiting to board at Sydney Airport.

I use this bag as my daily backpack for work and for commuting to Melbourne (which I used to do weekly). The compression straps on the side mean that it can be used almost empty and still look good.

The Tortuga Air is the lightweight brother of the Tortuga Backpack, designed to fit perfectly within the size limitations imposed by airlines whilst maximising carry on space. Normal capacity is 27L which may seem on the low side for a month but if you pack sensibly it absolutely isn’t.

The bag features a hidden zip which expands the capacity to 35L, I didn’t use this feature once while traveling but it was great to know I could carry more stuff if I had to. The full specs are here but my primary reasons for selecting this bag were;

  • Lightweight (just over 1kg);
  • Clamshell style opening for easy access on the go;
  • Easy access, well padded dedicated laptop compartment (on the back);
  • Easy access top compartment;
  • Water bottle pocket;
  • Excellent padding on the straps; and
  • Expansion from 27L capacity to 35L via a hidden zip.

Airport security was so much easier with a top pocket to empty pockets in to and easy access to the laptop, I kept my liquids at the top of the front pocket too. The bag straps are very comfortable and, while there are no hips straps, the sternum strap does a remarkable job of spreading the load and taking the weight off the shoulders. It helps to pack correctly too – Tortuga offer some excellent advice here.


My Carry-on clothes (clothes I was wearing are not pictured)

Monochrome simplicity at its best – yes I only wear black.

[1] – 5x Outlier Pure Ultrafine Merino Tee (180g)* These tees are voodoo magic or something. I have raved about the benefits of merino previously but these are the softest merino tees I have ever worn (and I have tried many). They weigh slightly more than the Icebreaker Tech Tee but they drape beautifully and feel so amazing they’re worth the extra 55g.
[2] – 7x Icebreaker Merino Anatomica Boxer Briefs (52g)* It has taken many years and many attempts but I have finally found the perfect boxer briefs, they fit perfectly, perform brilliantly, and weigh just 52g per pair. Like all the greatest clothing, they’re merino wool and, unlike the ExOfficio range, they’re anatomically forgiving (!). They also manage moisture far better than Uniqlo Airism and are incredibly durable when compared with Uniqlo Tencel.
[3] – 7x Icebreaker Merino Lifestyle Ultralight Crew Socks (46g)* As an Icebreaker fan these seemed a sensible choice. All the benefits of merino in a dress style sock suitable for use at work and at play. The fit is good and the performance is excellent but these socks have been prone to pilling which is a shame. It may be a reflection of the pounding they receive as I do walk a lot but I am currently on the lookout for alternatives and may be turning to Outlier’s Megafine Merino socks soon
[4] – 1x Icebreaker Merino Sierra Plus Hoodie (465g) Despite being about half the thickness of a cotton hoodie this piece of merino tech clothing manages temperature like nothing I have ever owned. I have worn it in the midday sun at Uluru and the depths of winter in Copenhagen and on both occasions felt comfortable and isolated from the temperatures. It is a beautifully considered top with zipped pockets and an extra zip compartment to the left chest and two internal pockets. It packs down (rolls) remarkably well showing little or no creasing and it dries quickly compared to cotton. Very happy with this.
[5] – 1x Outlier Slim Dungarees (415g) Outlier pitch these dungarees as a ’21st century jean – tough and casual’. For my part I was looking for a lightweight jean replacement that would be comfortable for travel without looking like travel clothing. In the end I couldn’t have been more happy with my purchase. The fit is excellent, the material is very strong but still breathable and comfortable. They wash incredibly well and dry in a fraction of the time jeans take. All in all the perfect travel pant. They are fairly expensive though.
[np] – 1x Crosshatch New Techno Jeans (687g)* Yes I know, the age old Jeans debate, they’re heavy and take forever to dry but they are durable and barely need washing. I also think they look good and despite owning Outlier’s SDs I’m not a denim hating convert yet. These jeans are actually 60% cotton and 40% poly which make them marginally lighter and significantly quick to dry than normal jeans.
[np] – 1x CK Plain Leather Belt (109g)* The oldest piece of kit I own – purchased in Hawaii in 2001 because the very attractive sales assistant was flirting with me. But yeah – it’s just a belt.
[np] – 1x LLD Soft Black Leather Jacket (890g)* My luxury item, who would travel Onebag with a leather jacket? Well rules are made to be broken. I like it and I don’t mind carrying it so ner.
[np] – 1x Dr Martens 8053 Shoe (1288g)* Travel shoes are hotly debated. Personally I favour the ‘one shoe to rule them all’ approach and for me, these are they. Formal enough for work and weddings, comfortable enough for commuting and running for connections, rugged enough for trekking and climbing, environmentally capable enough for -20 to +40. What’s not to like? Definitely go for the ones made in the UK though, they are significantly better!

In total this little lot weighed in at 5440g but by following the standard rule of wearing the heaviest items* (in this case the shoes, jacket and jeans) I ended up wearing 3252g of clothing and carrying 2188g.

The quantities are based around a washing schedule; unlike many Onebaggers I don’t like to want to waste chunks of my trip doing laundry (either at a laundromat or nightly in hotel rooms). Being merino, the boxers and socks are good for two days at least (actually longer but two days is acceptable to the SO), the merino tees are good for three days at least and jeans are good for a week at least (although again – much longer in reality). So this gives me 14 days of underwear, 15 days of tees and 14 days of jeans. In essence I can go away for the best part of a month and get away with just one wash mid way. I actually did two washes this trip but only because the facilities were available.

Formal Clothes

Normally I wouldn’t be carrying  formal clothes on a jolly, but on this trip I was best man at my buddy Simon’s wedding. I was fully prepared to use my extra 7L Tortuga expansion allowance for this little lot but in the end I didn’t need to.

IMG_2853-tag2Formal clothing (required for a wedding)

[1&2] – 1x Brook Taverner Slim Fit Cassino Suit (958g) I wear a suit for work most of the time, the challenge has always been finding a suit that performs well as a travel suit and looks good in the boardroom. Brook Taverner have excelled here, the Cassino (and the Avalino before it) are machine washable – which makes a huge saving in the money and simplicity stakes, and they are crease resistant so can be worn straight from being folded in a bag. Moreover with 44% wool content they look great and are remarkably comfortable in all weather (even the Sydney summer sun). They’re not too cheap retail but they almost always have a 50% sale on.
[3] – 1x M&S Pure Cotton Formal Shirt (227g) I’m holding out for Wool & Prince forthcoming black merino button down shirt which I suspect will soon become my goto shirt forevermore. However, for now there are no decent black merino shirts so cotton will have to do. I did try the Icebreaker Seeker Shirt but it just hangs like a sack and is not at all suitable to be worn with a suit. I have to give a nod to Formal Friday who do make awesome shirts but their Charcoal shirt which looks so great on the website just wasn’t black enough for me.
[4] – 1x Pure Silk Tie (60g) No tech here but if you’re going to a wedding go for a silk tie over a poly one, even if you toss it afterwards.

So 1245g of formal clothes in total, not inconsiderable considering this was only worn for one day of the trip but totally worth it; a truly brilliant day.


IMG_2856-tagEagle Creek Washbag and contents

I try to keep a generic washbag ready at all times for trips – I also try to keep it as light as possible – currently 707g.

[1] – Lint roller (24g) Required for suit!
[2] – Alfred Lane Bravado Solid Cologne (23g) Recent discovery and brilliant stuff – one teeny tiny dab and you smell great for the day. Love the smell too, as does the SO.
[3] – Muk Styling Mud in tub (36g) This is a water based styling product that smells great and holds incredibly well. It’s available in 85g tubs but to save weight I transferred to a smaller (more durable) plastic tub.
[4] – Dr Bronner Pure Castille Soap (60g) Most Onebaggers use Dr Bronners. It’s the ultimate cleaner – good for hair, body, clothes, dishes, even teeth (if you’re brave). It’s entirely natural and a few drops go a very long way.
[5] – Savlon Antiseptic Cream 15g (18g) Antiseptic cream is a necessity but finding the ultra small 15g tubes is tricky. As far as I can tell they’re only available in the UK.
[6] – Colgate Toothpaste (86g) There are more lightweight alternatives (like tabs) but I prefer toothpaste.
[7] – Borghese Hand Lotion (11g) I got given this on Thai Airways flight. A teeny tiny bottle that’s remarkably good at preventing dry hands on long haul flights.
[8] – Panasonic EW-DS90K Electronic Toothbrush (41g) By far the lightest electronic toothbrush I could find. Requires just one AAA battery. I use Energizer Lithium batteries which last much longer and weigh less than Alkaline.
[9] – Chapstick (9g) Generic and cheap but required for long haul flights
[10] – Oral B Satin Tape Floss (15g) I prefer tape floss over normal anyday.
[11] – Philips PQ203/17 Micro + 2HD Travel Shaver (130g) & brush (2g) I prefer the convenience and speed of electric shaving over wet shaving – and I’m willing to lug the extra few grams involved. The shaver takes two AAA batteries which are Energizer Lithium batteries.
[12] – Seki Edge Nail Clippers (32g) By far the most effective nail clippers I have ever used, they cut through anything like butter and it’s good to have something that can be used in lieu of scissors when traveling.
[13] – Tweezers (7g)
[14] – Spare Hearos Earplugs 5x pairs (4g) These really are Hero’s! The most effective earplug by a long way (assuming you fit them correctly) and incredibly comfortable.
[15] – Body Crystal Mineral Salts Deodorant (138g) Yeah this is a bit tree-hugging hippie crap but it is remarkably effective at controlling the stink. The mineral salts are actively anti-bacterial which kills the source of BO, it leaves no residue (important for blacks!) has no smell, and crucially lasts forever (well certainly more than a year!)
[16] – Swisspers Q-Tips (4g)
[17] – Lifeventure Unbreakable Travel Mirror (24g) I actually carry this mostly as a holder for the Tweezers and Nail Clippers. I don’t recall using it as a mirror in a while.
[18] – Eagle Creek Specter Pack-It Quick Trip Washbag (43g) Super lightweight washbag which I am very happy with on the whole (although it does get a bit wet in steamy shower rooms)


sony-vaio-pro-svp13213-spec2sSony Vaio Pro SVP1321C5E Laptop

[1] – Sony Vaio Pro SVP1321C5E Laptop (1059g) I purchased this machine in June 2013 and over two years later nothing has come close to rivaling its specs. The processor is a 4th gen Core i7 (1.8GHz), it sports 8Gb DDR-3 RAM and an incredibly fast 512Gb SSD (which is where most competitors fall short), the super bright full HD 13.3″ display is touchscreen, battery life is around 7hrs and it tips the scales at a smidge over a kilo. It is a solid performer and it looks fantastic, I have received many compliments during presentations over the years. On the downside it doesn’t have an Ethernet or VGA port which means carrying two adapters most of the time (from USB 3.0 and HDMI respectively), but this is a small price to pay for such a capable piece of kit. It recently handled the upgrade to Windows 10 without issue too.

IMG_2859-tagTech bag and geeky gear

My tech bag (819g) is also fairly generic and lightweight although I do swap out a couple of bits for daily use.

[1] – Sodial Retractable RJ45 Ethernet Cable 1m (23g) This and the USB 3.0 / Ethernet adapter are required to repair the family’s routers as I tour the country
[2] – Amzer Retractable Micro USB Cable 1m (20g) with Mini USB Adapter (6g) and Lighting USB Adapter (1g) This is a lightweight way of bringing three cables – especially since I never need them all the same time
[3] – Sodial Retractable 3.5mm Phono Cable 80cm (11g) Good for playing tunes from the iPhone which I tend to do using other folks’ (heavy) speakers
[4] – Splitter 3.5mm Phono (5g) Excellent for sharing tuneage – although the SO wasn’t with me this trip so could have saved 5g there…
[5] – TX-500 Comply Foam Buds, Elacin ER20S Musician Earplugs, Spare Headphone Clip (8g) The Elacin’s are great for avoiding tinnitus after gigs, the spare Comply Foam buds are necessary as they do fail.
[6] – Spare Ultimate Ears 600VI Noise Isolating Headphones (18g) Music is very important to me and the prospect of being without it because the kit has failed is not acceptable. Onebaggers don’t allow for redundancy often but 18g is a small price to pay.
[7] – Ultra slim HDMI Cable 1m (27g) This was the lightest HDMI cable I could find although the search continues…
[8] – Apple Lightning Cable 1m (17g) I have an iPhone, so this is a must.
[9] – Apple USB Charger (Aus) (28g) The lightest charger block, works well with the Kikkerland for global charging
[10] – Sony VGP-AC10V10 Laptop Charger (Aus) (289g) Man I wish there was a lighter solution, but again it works well with the Kikkerland and has a USB charging point too
[11] – Sony Anti-Static Cloth (14g) Essential for a touchscreen laptop, good for wiping sunnies too
[12] – Kikkerland UL03A Travel Adapter (49g) Brilliant piece of kit this – the lightest universal travel adapter. However – no good if all you are converting *from* UK socket to ROW
[13] – Microsoft Business 5000 Bluetooth Mouse (80g) I have had this mouse for a long time. It’s good but I’m sure there are better smaller solutions – currently looking at the Microsoft Bluetooth Designer Mouse
[14] – 2x Transcend USB 3.0 Flash Drive 32Gb (8g each) The fastest USB 3.0 drives I have used – and cheap too.
[15] – Anker AstroMini 3200 Portable Battery Backup (83g) Very useful piece of kit for long days of photography (given that I use my iPhone as my camera). This came in very handy at the wedding!
[16] – Anker RJ45 to USB 3.0 Adapter (20g) Lightweight. Cheap. Works well. Bosh.
[17] – Griffin Power Jolt Dual USB in car charger (12g) Teeny tiny double USB charger for car charging ports. Excellent for road trips (although not so easy to get out of the car socket)
[18] – Generic Tech Bag (92g) This is actually fairly heavy for a tech bag, I am currently looking for a lighter alternative


IMG_2861-tagPersonal bag and contents

My personal bag (435g) is the one I keep with me at all times – it sits next to me on planes and it’s always at the top of my bag for easy access.

[1] – Soap2Go Anti-Bacterial handspray (12g) This is the lightest variant I could find of this product.
[2] – “Oh Shit Kit” (35g) containing plasters, 3x Lemsips, painkillers and other useful medication.
[3] – Hearos Earplugs in plastic case (5g) See above for my love of Hearos.
[4] – Boots Saccharin Sweetner 1000 (20g) Teeny tiny, lightweight and fantastic for sweet tea.
[5] – Moleskine Mini Notebook (37g) Despite being almost 100% digital there are times when only paper will do.
[6] – Passport (35g)
[7] – 2x Uniball Pens (10g each), 1x Biro (6g) I prefer ink pens but sometimes a biro is necessary (credit cards etc).
[8] – Keys (92g) Assorted keys to the various houses I would be staying in (folks are so trusting!)
[9] – Pocket Tissues (23g)
[10] – Baggie of baggies (16g) It is surprising how often baggies come in – good for keeping coins together, storing smaller tech like headphones and adapters, and keeping cuff-links together when you get the as a surprise gift for being a best man.
[11] – Baggie of rubber bands and paper clips (8g) I seem to find a use for rubber bands and safety clips on every trip.
[12] – Business cards, credit cards and travel cards (35g)
[13] – Cash UK Pounds (4g) Weighing currency and wondering what the hell you’re doing…
[14] – Silnylon Travel Bag with loads of pockets (87g)

Other stuff

I also carried with me (mostly on my person):

[1] – Sea to Summit Ultrasil Packable Daypack (73g) An incredible piece of tech, a usable 20l daypack that is water resistant and packs down to something no larger than a juggling ball. Brilliant. Sea To Summit recently ‘upgraded’ this bag to a larger 98g version which I like a lot less.
[2] – Basic Grey Case for Sunnies (42g) and Sunnies (26g) Just cheap ones because they get scratched so easily
[3] – Ultimate Ears 600VI Noise Isolating Headphones (18g) These are the most robust quality earbuds I have ever used. They are significantly better sound quality than Sennheiser or those truly awful Beats cans. They have an inline remote for volume and playback control, they also use foam buds which are so much more comfortable than rubber.
[4] – 2x Eagle Creek Silnylon Packing Cube (Half) (18g each) I am a recent convert to packing cubes, whilst I have always been a compartmentalised packer I previously opted for clear plastic bags reasoning that they weighed so little it was a more effective solution for the ultralight packer. However I recently discovered Eagle Creek’s Specter range of silnylon ripstop cubes which are incredibly strong, retain their shape for packing ease and weigh next to nothing. I used two of these – one for tees and the other for underwear & socks.
[5] – Slimfold Micro Soft Shell Wallet (18g empty / 60g full) This is a brilliant minimalist wallet. It easily fits notes and up to 8 cards. It isn’t quite big enough for UK notes but doesn’t struggle with Aussie notes. Prior to the Soft Shell I had a Tyvek wallet which was also super durable but showed it’s age fairly quickly. After 6 months the Soft Shell looks as good as new.
[6] – iPhone 6 128Gb (129g) No I’m not an Apple fan but they do make the best phones. This one stores all my music and replaces so many pieces of kit I used to carry. It is my communication center, camera, calendar, contacts list and calculator… and that’s just the c-words.

IMG_2850-crop4x Outlier tees packed in to one cube and the 6x Icebreaker boxer briefs and 6x Icebreaker socks in the other.
Oulier Slim Dungarees and Icebreaker hoodie to the right.

IMG_2854Tortuga Air with suit, shirt and tie in the left section and 2x packing cubes
Oulier Slim Dungarees and Icebreaker hoodie in the right.

IMG_2862Tortuga Air with clothes in the main compartment and 3x smaller bags
(Tech Bag, Washbag and Personal Bag) in the front compartment.

IMG_2864Tortuga Air fully packed bag ready to go. Total weight 7700g with plenty of room to spare.