Over time, people have asked me about my stuff (what I think of them, where they can get some, etc.). So I’ve made notes here, so I remember where I got them.
Since I travel a lot, I need a backpack designed for secure urban laptop transportation rather than wilderness bushwacking.
Do the qualities I’m personally looking for below match your needs too?
I’ve done a survey of various ones out there, and here’s the features I’ve seen.
Heavy-duty zippers, as that is where my previous backpacks wore out first. “YKK” brand zippers (from Japan) are considered the best. New versions are leak-resistant.
Internal compression straps to keep things from knocking into each other inside the pack.
Some provide soft pull-out packs. But I prefer harder boxes so they stack neater in the pack.
This is a filter for various options available:
The maximum size to qualify as carry-on luggage (22 x 16 x 8 inches) may be too big for some. But I would rather cinch up a pack than not have enough room when I need it.
Lightweight to me is generally 2 pounds or less. But it’s a trade-off.
Wheels add weight, so I’ve steered away from them. (I can’t resist the pun).
But seriously, some (with sore backs) find wheels a must.
Adjustable shoulder and side straps really help, especially for women.
water tube to reach an internal water bag makes it not necessary to stop and remove the bottle for a drink. Some bags have them built-in but there are add-ons available.
Pack can open completely open (splayed) [Astor]
A dark gray color backpack is less noticeable than a bright-colored pack for thieves.
Easily lockable zippers to make it harder for people standing behind me in line to explore the pockets on my backpack
A sleek look without side pockets (that never seem to be the right size) [Astor, Minaal]
Cut-proof fabric [LocTote, XDDesign Bobby]
Hidden zippers [XDDesign Bobby]
High density foam [XDDesign Bobby]
Emergency information slot
Alarm. This can be added on.
- Red LED rear light for safety [Astor]
- Red LED side light for safety [Astor]
- Front lights [Astor]
- Locator beacon (such as Tile)
I don’t care about the pack being:
water-tight as I use Ziplock bags and rigid water-tight boxes to hold stuff, anyway.
Velcro patch to attach skateboard [Unitty]
- Lumos Astor by Gandharv Bakshi for cyclists with built-in lights.
The backpack that meets my specs:
It’s bigger than some backpacks, but the cinch straps on its side flattens it out.
I’d like to put a patch over the logo, though.
Other alteratives I considered:
The D3 Traveller is a duffle bag which costs $983 because it looks like a used trash can liner. It is ultralight even though has double walls of waterproof scan-resistent fabric.
Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack ($160) This one’s nice but a bit spendy.
A hose to suck water from a sack inside the backpack is great for backpackers.
It’s a true luxury to have a hot drink on a cold night or a cold drink on a hot day.
Double-walled canisters keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.
I keep a couple meals in my pack.
Ideally, it would not have much sugar, salt, MSG, etc.
- Jerky has a lot of salt
PROTIP: Put a date on each item and enter a replacement appointment on your calendar so it’s eaten before gong stale.
[ ] Long spoon
[ ] Big Cup, made of metal to cook with.
[ ] Herbs and spices you like to add to your food.
[ ] Shampoo
[ ] Sunscreen
[ ] Hand sanitizer
[ ] Hair gel
[ ] Personal lubricant. Jo hybrid is our favorite.
[ ] Toiletries bag that hangs, such as the Ogio Doppler bag.
[ ] Breath mints
[ ] Antacids
[ ] Deoderant
[ ] Nail clipper
[ ] Toothbrush
[ ] Toothpaste
[ ] Dental floss
[ ] Disposeable shaver
[ ] First-aid
[ ] Q-tips
[ ] Small roll of toilet paper in a wet and abrasion-resistent bag.
[ ] travel-sized Febreze To Go.
[ ] Ear plugs - Hearos Ear Plugs (they’re cheap and effective)
[ ] Eye mask
[ ] Bug repellant
[ ] Matches
[ ] Trowel
[ ] Nylon cord
[ ] Whistle
[ ] Compass
[ ] Mirror
[ ] Nail clipper
[ ] Wash Towel (polyester for faster drying than cotton) Use it to clean computer screens.
PROTIP: An extra pair of socks and underwear makes for great padding at the bottom for electronics.
[ ] A rainsuit (with pants) takes less room than I thought. The Frogger
The rainsuit means I don’t need to carry around an umbrella, which doesn’t work that well anyway.
[ ] Big waterproof bag for storing soiled underwear.
[ ] Underwear from Ex-officio, at $25 each, is worth every penny for its comfort and quick-drying properties (not cotton)
[ ] Hat, because you loose a lot of heat.
[ ] Gloves with touch-screen fingertips. I prefer leather gloves for its wind protection.
[ ] Woolite Travel Laundry Soap or Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets so you can hand wash laundry in a sink.
[ ] Scarf
[ ] Stain remover
[ ] Extra bag for souvenirs
[ ] Money & passport hider
A tent and sleeping bag are really the two items which separate a city packing and wilderness packing.
But here are a few items when you don’t have 600-count sheets in a five-star hotel:
[ ] A “space” or “survival” mylar reflective blanket is less than an once. $6.20 for 10
I was glad I had one to put on top of someone who had fallen, passed out on the sidewalk. That may keep someone from going into shock.
[ ] $50 Cocoon Silk TravelSheet Silk Sleep Sack) keeps your skin away from quesionable sheets with a nice-feeling one. Lightweight and compresses to a small size.
[ ] Clear repair duct tape. A small roll to patch fabric tears. $5.80 for 5 yards 1.5 inch wide.
[ ] Flashlight. Have it near where you can reach in the dark.
[ ] Sunglasses (in a case)
[ ] Reading glasses (in a case)
I got a few Tile chips when they were first on Kickstarter.
But after a year, when I needed it, I realized they had died.
[ ] In many airports, my electrical cord with 3-prong plugs enabled me to keep my stuff charged.
[ ] There is a big battery to power my Mac laptop for a few hours. But it’s heavy.
[ ] Instead of turning on the light to wake everyone up, Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight is an amazing little flashlight that is super bright and tiny.
[ ] I have a Mac, so I need a VGA monitor adapter. And an Ethernet network dongle.
PROTIP: I don’t recommend solar panels. Small ones don’t make that much energy. Plus I’m not outside much.
Where do I get those headsets that the feds and CIA wear, so I can look bad-ass too?
There is nothing that says “leave me alone” like having headphones on.
In-ear headphones hurt my ear.
[ ] Micro USB to USB-A to transfer and charge Android mobile phone.
[ ] PROTIP: The Android mobile battery charger enables me to charge one battery while another is being used.
PROTIP: The ability to remove and replace batteries is why I went with Android rather than iPhones.
[ ] A Google Cast HDMI plug and micro-USB electrical with a long chord to project to a TV from your laptop.
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