Friday, September 30, 2011

Its been one year since you looked at me; Cocked your head to one side and said, "What the heck did you take on your trip?"

Today marks our one year anniversary on the road.  Three hundred and sixty five days ago we left 45 W 10th to board our flight to Santiago Chile.  Today, tens of thousands of miles later, we are in Berlin, Germany, and look back on an amazing year.  We've visited places we never thought we'd see in this lifetime.  We've had intentional adventures that we will never forget, and unintentional ones that will surely be just as prescient.  And we did it all each carrying one small bag and one small backpack.  So, you must be asking yourself, "what did you guys bring?"  You're thinking, "they always look so stylish, so fashionably dressed, yet they collectively have only 175 cubic liters of space!?!" You're thinking, "where are all of Jesse's shoes?"  And most pressingly, "how can I outfit myself for my next trip just like JDMesh"
Twinny Orange & Brown and
all our gear leaving New York
Twinny Brown and all our
gear atop Annapurna Circuit
Twinny Brown and all our gear
rolling through the Gobi desert
These are good, and common, questions we receive.  Here is a breakdown, along with our remarks, of the gear we took on our grand tour.  Its broken down into the following categories: Luggage; Clothing; Electronics; and Others.

Today's list: luggage.  Enjoy!

NOTE: If you are going to purchase any of these items, we’ve also included a link to our Amazon store, which means you pay the exact Amazon price (not a penny more), but Amazon shares a little, tiny bit of the purchase price with us (not enough for a latte in Berlin, but more than enough for a noodle soup in Thailand).  Its win-win.


Gear
Osprey Sojourn 25 Inch (AKA Twinny Orange and Twinny Brown).

This luggage has been exceptional.  Great zippers, weatherproof (not waterproof), and tough as nails.  The bag can roll (and it rolls really well) and can also turn into a full backpack.  And, in backpack mode, it's really comfortable, with a thick waist strap and complete adjustability. 
Osprey Kestrel 32 Mountaineering Backpack
This pack has been a workhorse.  Its thick waist strap (seatbelt) is about as ugly as you can get, but when it’s loaded down with all the electronics you can stuff in its 32L that added support is wonderful.  The only downside is that there are only two pockets – one really large one, and one small top pocket.

KIA - This pack was stolen was in UlaanBatar.  Boo.
Deuter 20 L Spider daypack
Jesse’s day bag is the perfect size for a day excursion.  It fits her big (but thin) MacBook in a protected computer area, along with our rain jackets, kindles, warm shirts, and a few other odds and ends.  Comfortable, with a good waist strap, this bag has performed quite admirably.  Purchased in South Africa, following the demise of her old highschool backpack.
This was the replacement bag I bought in the State Department Store in Mongolia.  I'd hoped that by buying a German import I could avoid any Mongolian type of problems with it.  Actually, not.  The bag broke within a few days of my purchasing it.  I blame Mongolia more than Tatonka, but still, a major disappointment.

KIA - the stitching holding together the straps (an important part of a backpack) broke on its third day of life.  After a week we discarded the whole thing.

Osprey Manta 25L backpack
The Osprey Manta is the replacement, replacement backpack.  And I love it.  He is just the right size, is super comfortable, and has a bunch of small exterior pockets that the Kestrel lacked.  Plus, in storm gray he is a lot less flashy than Tatonka's bright blueness.  I really, really like this pack.
eBags Packing Cubes
We bought a number of these 3-piece sets.  The large cube is great for pants and shirts, the smaller ones for unders, socks, or electronics.  Rather than dig through a stuffed bag, you can just grab the cube and place it right into the closet, drawer, or locker (hello hostels) and you are unpacked.  It also makes looking for that one item you packed in the big bag, but need right now much easier to find.  From now on we will always, ALWAYS, travel with packing cubes.  Can’t recommend these highly enough.
eBags Shoe Sleeves
These sleeves are the perfect spot for your dirty flip-flops or sneakers in your luggage.  A pair of women’s sneakers or flip-flops will fit into one sleeve; men’s shoes (well, large men’s shoes, like mine if you know what I'm saying...) each require their own sleeve.

NOTE: Jesse never had such a fancy pair of shoes in her shoe bag...
Ebags Portage Jr. Toiletry Kit
Jesse is the master of the toiletry bag (dop kit for some readers), but this guy holds everything.  And in those unfortunate circumstances where I’ve packed the toiletries, and there’s a spill, the separate compartments make it much easier for Jesse when she cleans it all up.
Flip & Tumble 24-7 Bag
This little guy comes in handy when we want a small, light bag.  It folds into a built-in stretchy pouch that is smaller than a tennis ball.
Victorinox travel wallet
The ballistic nylon and great zipper keep all our important travel documents in one safe place.  Interior zip pockets also allow us to keep extra cash or other important documents out of sight, but easily available. Our two passports each have their own spot, as do boarding passes, credit cards, and even baggage tags.

Next up: Our sweet threads (that means clothes).

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