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Wilson Mar

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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.


$42 On Amazon: Kopack Laptop Backpack Shockproof Anti-theft Travel bag Lightweight Hiking Daypack ScanSmart TSA Friendly Waterproof 15.6 16 most 17 inch


  • 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]

See 5 Amazing backpacks #1 and #2:

  • Lumos Astor by Gandharv Bakshi for cyclists with built-in lights.
  • LocTote

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:


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.

Liquids bag

[ ] 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.

Sun Protection

[ ] Sunglasses (in a case)

[ ] Reading glasses (in a case)

Locator chips

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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