Briggs & Riley Travelware today named their 20 favorite travel websites for 2012. Can you guess who’s listed at number 12? I’ll give you a hint—it’s us.
Thank you Briggs & Riley.
Briggs & Riley Travelware today named their 20 favorite travel websites for 2012. Can you guess who’s listed at number 12? I’ll give you a hint—it’s us.
Thank you Briggs & Riley.
Like many people these days, I travel with electronic devices to make my life easier and my load lighter. And also like many, it can be frustrating to have to turn these devices off during takeoff and landing, and not be able to use some, like those with bluetooth, at all.
Why? Because the FAA “believes” they might cause harm to the aircraft. They have no real proof but continue to perpetuate their beliefs. Yet at the same time, the pilots can use them as much as they want.
Nick Bilton of the New York Times has an article on this matter in today’s paper.
Have a look at it and let us know what you think.
This is just another reason to use carry-on baggage rather then check it. (Wait for the guy in the vest to come over and re-load.)
(Thanks to Paula Bag Lass for alerting me about this video.)
The new Hobbit Film includes a 53 minute long scene of Bilbo Baggins trying to figure out what to pack for his adventure:
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Guragear, a company that makes bags specifically designed for photographers but were branching out into travel. Designing camera bags was, according to the company’s website, their initial goal. Keep this is mind, it will become important, and apparent, shortly.
They thought their Chobe model would be the best one to test and they sent one here to OBOW Global Headquarters.
The Chobe is made of 200d nylon exterior with a 50d lining. It measure 15” x 11.5” x 6.5” and is expandable to 8.5”. It weighs 2 lbs, 9 oz. The zippers are “Ideal.” (For those of you unaware of “Ideal” zippers, they are the second largest maker of zippers after YKK.)
The front of the bag has two exterior pockets. On the left is an organizer pocket with slots and is designed to hold a tablet. (This pocket is not lined so a tablet in it alone, without protection, is not advisable.)
The right side pocket has slots for cards, pens and a key clip.
One one side of the Chobe is a water bottle pocket and the other side has a pocket for a cellphone (My Iphone 5 was too wide to fit in it.)
The rear has an open magazine pocket that can be unzipped tobecome a sleeve that wil fit onto the handles of a rolling bag.
The main compartment has smaller open pockets with velcro closures as well as a hanging mesh multipocket pouch. This compartment is lined.
Behind the main compartment is a lined, separate laptop compartment holding laptops up to 15”
Also available, and probably the main reason to get this bag, is the separate, removable photo insert. It’s fully padded on all sides, including the bottom and has a velcro strip running through the entire inside. It weighs 1 lb.
It comes with 15 dividers, in two different sizes, that also have velcro, allowing you to customize the layout of the insert to perfectly fit your equipment.
The photo insert fits perfectly inside the Chobe when in the expanded mode. It’s really nice.
While I am not a photographer, I can see how well this bag was thought out with the photographer in mind. (Now you see why I mentioned the reason these bags were originally designed in the opening of this review.)
If you have expensive photographic or other equipment that needs to be carried safely, and wish to take along a laptop, tablet, other small items, and possibly even a change of clothes, then this is a bag to consider.
Ever since 9/11, and one incident where I was almost snowed in at an airport away from home, I carry a change of clothes even if my trip is same day out and back. Just in case. This bag would fit the bill for that. It can carry what I need for work and also a change of clothes and toiletries.
Whether in its original size, or expanded, it should fit under the seat in front of you on most airliners. There are foam panels on the front and back of the bag that allows it to keep its shape.
The bag is made in Vietnam. It comes in black.
On the downside, only the main compartment has dual zippers so none of the other pockets are lockable at all.
Let’s see. Have I forgotten something? Oh, yeah. The price. The reason it took me so long to get to the price is because I had to wait for the all clear from the paramedics who were called to revive me after I took a look at the price.
The bag retails for $299 and the photo insert is an additional $50. Seriously? $299?
So I checked the Tom Bihn, Red Oxx and even Briggs & Riley websites for similar sized bags. What I found were bags made of better material, better zippers, and in some cases, made in the USA—for less than half what Guragear is charging.
My final verdict is this. If you are a photographer or someone who carries expensive equipment and wants to be able to tote it in a nicely padded, customizable bag, then I would say consider the Chobe with photo insert. And should you also travel occasionally without the equipment but want a decent overnight bag, then this one could do double duty.
But if you’re looking strictly for an overnight or day trip bag, I’m sorry to say you can do a lot better, and cheaper, with other bags.
Sidenote: After initially looking at the bag’s website I went back today and noticed that between now and the end of 2012, if you buy a Chobe, you’ll get $100 in Amazon gift certificates as a bonus. That helps a little.
In case you hadn’t heard, Delta Airlines is buying a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. The shares are currently owned by Singapore Airlines. Delta is hoping to eventually start a relationship where frequent flyers can use mileage on both airlines as well as open up valuable slots at London’s Heathrow Airport. Sort of something similar to what American Airlines and British Airways have.
Air Canada announce a new low cost carrier to operate leisure flights to Europe and the Caribbean. It’s called “Rouge” and will begin operations on July 1. Air Canada says “Rouge” will make money by paying new airline hires less than current Air Canada employees and add seats to their aircraft—as many as 50 on a 767.
Some “Rouge” destinations, such as Edinburgh and Venice, are not currently served by Air Canada.
Let’s hope “Rouge” is profitable and stays out of the rouge, eh?
Southwest Airlines, which has so far ceased to weigh passengers down with incessant extra fees, announced it will start charging no show passengers. If you’re scheduled to fly on Southwest and don’t cancel your flight prior to its departure, and then want to reuse the ticket, you’ll be charged a fee. No word yet on when this will all take place or how much it will cost.
During the third quarter of this year, the ten largest U.S. airlines each made an operating profit. Much of that profit is due to all the extra fees charged by the airlines—check bag fees, meal fees, premium seating fees, etc. How much? Collectively, the airlines took in $924 million during that three month period. Don’t expect these to go away anytime soon.
A couple of months ago, we announced that Tom Bihn would begin making their travel bags out of a new lightweight material.—400d Dyneema/420d ripstop nylon—in addition to its regular 1050d ballistic nylon.
The manufacturing has begun and two of their most popular bags, the Aeronaut and Tri-Star, made of the new material, have found their way to OBOW Global Headquarters. You might want to get yourself a cup of coffee—this is a long review.
Previously, I’ve reviewed both the Aeronaut and the Tri-Star. Since the design, workmanship and quality of each bag hasn’t changed, rather than go through another complete review, I’m going to focus in on the differences between the two materials. For lack of better terms, I’ll refer to the newer Dyneema/Nylon bags as the “newer” model and the ballistic nylon as the “older” one.
(From l. to r.—Tri-Star in Steel, Tri-Star in Steel Dyneema, Aeronaut in Black, Aeronaut in Steel Dyneema)
The first thing I noticed about the newer bags when I unboxed them was of course, the color and the checkerboard pattern. Both of my new bags are Steel/Steel. (They’re also available in Nordic/Steel.) When I looked at the bags online, they seemed much lighter in color than the steel Tri-Star I currently have. However, once put side by side, the steel in the newer bag is the same as the steel in the older bag—much darker than onscreen. What makes them seem lighter in color is the white Dyneema material.
(As a reminder, the reason the newer bags are not solid color is that they are a blend of Dyneema and Ripstop nylons. While the ripstop nylon will accept dye, the dyneema won’t and it stays its natural white color.)
The next thing I noticed was the weight. The newer bags are much lighter. Each bag is 10 ounces lighter than its older sibling. (The Aeronauts weigh in at 3 lbs vs. 2 lbs 6 oz. The Tri-Stars are 3 lbs 6 oz vs. 2 lbs 12 oz. ) While 10 ounces may not sound like much, we onebaggers know better, don’t we?
Next came the feel. The newer bags are smoother and slightly thinner than the older bags but no slouch. Don’t confuse this newer Dyneema/Nylon material with the lighter, thinner Dyneema/Nylon currently being used as lining in many Tom Bihn bags. This is definitely tougher.
What I believe concerns some people is the following statement on the Tom Bihn website:
It must be noted that while our new 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop is a very durable fabric, there is a compromise in choosing it over 1050 ballistic or Cordura® nylon: your bag will be lighter, but it won’t stand up to the all-out abuse these heavier fabrics can handle. You will need to exercise care and not drag or otherwise mistreat a bag made from 400d Dyneema®/420d nylon ripstop. It’s a compromise many will feel worthwhile, but it’s a compromise to consider.
I want to address that. Yes, the newer material is not as tough or abrasive resistant as the older material. The reason is simple: 1050d ballistic nylon is a double weave and therefore a much stronger material that can take more abuse. The Dyneema/Ripstop combination is a single weave. But don’t think this new bag is a wallflower, it will be able to handle quite a bit as long as the bag is not abused. (The ripstop nylon is very tear resistant. After all, the material was developed during World War II to prevent tears from growing in parachutes.)
What do I mean by abused? If your travels include taking the Congo Railway from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville, or three days in a hammock on a ferry along the Amazon from Tabatinga to Manaus, then you’re probably going to want to get the ballistic nylon bag.
But if your biggest adventure is taking the RER from CDG airport to central Paris or a cab from LGA to midtown Manhattan, then the newer, lighter, Dyneema/Ripstop bag will do just fine.
And that takes us to the big question: which bag to get?
This is a tough one. You really need to think about how you travel. If, as I mentioned above, you’re a true adventure traveler where the bag may get extra rough handling, then go with the ballistic nylon. But if you’re basically an urban adventurer where you go from plane to taxi to hotel, or something similar, then the newer bag will be fine.
Consequently, ask yourself what methods of travel you use. If weight and size are a factor due to carry-on restrictions for the airlines you take most often, then the newer bags would win.
You have to also decide if you prefer a three compartment bag like the Tri-Star or a one compartment bag like the Aeronaut. There are pros and cons to both and it is strictly a personal preference—one is not better than the other.
I’ll give you an example of how I see myself using the newer bags. I’m planning a trip for sometime in 2013 to an area near the Arctic Circle. It will be cold. I want to, of course, take only one bag but the airline I’m flying—the only airline to fly where I’m going—has a limit on both size and weight of carry-on bags. I was able to figure out a way to do this with my older Aeronaut. But with the newer, lighter one, I can now pack an extra microfiber sweater and still stay under the weight limit. I might even be able to take the newer Tri-Star. I like having a choice.
Let’s talk about packing for a moment. I was concerned that the newer bags would bulge more than their stiffer siblings. But I’m happy to say each model, regardless of the material, held about the same and was prone to the same amount of bulging if overpacked.(Sorry, I forgot to take photos of each bag when packed and I was too lazy to redo them all.) Of course, no regular OBOW reader packs their bags to the gills. As we say, just because you CAN take more doesn’t mean you HAVE to.
Empty, the newer bags seem to keep their shape as well as the older ones. Not too much floppiness. (In the following photos, the older bags seem to sag more. They’ve both been used and sadly, were stacked underneath some other bags for awhile so they got “compressed” down.)
A better structured bag is also more comfortable when carrying it on your back. I found all the bags to be comfortable while wearing although the lighter bags made me happier. As I get older, lighter is better.
Personally, I was skeptical about the look of the newer bag. I have a severe allergy to non-dark color bags. I like to blend in. I thought the Dyneema bag would be too flashy for my taste. But I was surprised to find myself actually liking it. Yes, I’ll be using the new bags.
And if I can change, anyone can.
If you’re really not sure about the color, contact Tom Bihn. If they have some available, they’ll send you a swatch of the material. That should help you see their real color and not just a “monitor” color.
Have I answered your questions on which bag to buy? No? I’m not surprised. Every one of you has different criteria for bags. Some will be weight, others will be durability, and for many it will come down to color. Whichever way you go, you’ll get a well built, well designed bag. Go with the bag that speaks to you, the one that fits your needs, the one that excites you. Or better yet, if you can’t decide which material to get, buy one of each. You know you want to. (Bag acquisition syndrome?)
A side note….I just received these bags in the last couple of days. I was fortunate enough to get some of the first ones to come off the line. I haven’t had a chance to actually travel with them. I wanted to get these reviews up in case anyone here is thinking about getting any of these bags for the holidays and wanted to make the shipping deadlines in place for Christmas arrival. I think I’ve tested enough bags over time to give them a good review without taking them on the road. If I find, in the future, that something is different, I’ll note that in a separate posting. But I doubt there will be a problem.
I can honestly say I like both of these new bags and the continuing trend of using lighter material. In all of my reviews, I try to find things I don’t like. Except for the fact that I can’t get the lighter material in a solid color, there really isn’t anything I don’t like about these bags.
Because of the material’s popularity, Tom Bihn has announced it will not only make bags in the new Dyneema material, but many accessories as well. A review of a couple of new ones will be up in a few days.
If you have any specific questions about the new bags and material, let me know and I’ll answer them if I can.
The Aeronaut is listed at $250 and the Tri-Star is $280. Both are available directly from Tom Bihn.
All Tom Bihn bags are made in the USA.
If you see a “d” after a number referring to a type of material, the “d” stand for “denier” which is a unit of weight used for different types of material. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a measurement of strength.
Tom Bihn supplied the Aeronaut and Tri-Star in 400d Dyneema/420d Ripstop Nylon for review. The Aeronaut and Tri-Star in 1050d ballistic nylon were purchased with my own hard earned money.
I am a fan of packing cubes and folders. For years, Eagle Creek has the been the product line is use. They are well made, versatile, and hold up nicely. But, the weight can build up.
Now, Eagle Creek has come out with a new line, the Specter line of packing products.
Sized the same as many of their popular products, the Specter line is made of Silnylon Ripstop, an ultra-lightweight material. This brings the weight down tremendously.
(The photo above shows (clockwise from the left), an 18 inch packing folder, a sac, a set of full, half and quarter sized cubes, and a Quick Trip toiletry bag. A 15 inch folder and full set of sacs are also available.)
The folder weighs just 8 ounces and the cubes/sacs/toiletry bag weigh anywhere from 0.6 ounces to 1 ounce.
.The line is translucent and semi-seethrough so you, or anyone looking, like airport security, can see inside without having to open them up. (Think more Victoria Secret than Playboy—you can see most but not everything.)
The Specter line is available in white with strobe green trim, white with red trim and all strobe green. A line of tangerine colored products is available, and I believe exclusively, at REI.
Except for the folders that come with a plastic “packing board,” the remaining products don’t hold their shape like the standard line of cubes. If you want to use them in a “floppy” type bag, and hope they will give shape to that bag, you’ll have to pack them tight.
I like the line. I’m able to save about a pound in weight yet still keep organized. They cost more than their heavier cousins and the lack of a mesh top doesn’t really make them easier to look into. But if you’re truly looking to save weight, yet get the benefits of cubes and folders, then you might want to consider this line of product.
One note—Eagle Creek rarely has sales but if you’re patient they do come around. I bought all of the above at 20-25% off full retail during sales at Ebags and REI.
I have been flying long enough to have see just about everything the airlines have to offer. From cheerful service and lots of perks to sullenness and extra fees for everything.
Food has always been a contentious area. Sure, we’ve made fun of it, but it was something we could rely on. Granted, we’ve gone from china and real silverware to plastic utensils on paper plates to well, individually wrapped sandwiches and salads at a la carte (ridiculous) pricing.
But one thing that has remained constant is the knowledge that almost all airlines serve a chef created meal on international flights. Well, at least until now.
For a limited time, Japan Airlines will be serving Kentucky Fried Chicken on select flights.
I kid you not.
I no longer take a computer with me when I travel. My Nexus 7 does just about everything I need including the use of a very good on-screen keyboard.
But for serious typing, I have to take a separate one. I already had a Verbatim folding wireless bluetooth keyboard but wasn’t satisfied with it. It was clunky, laid out poorly and a pain to type on. I needed to find something else.
After much searching, I came across the Zaggkeys Flex Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard. I’m glad I did.
The Flex measures 9.4 x 5.0 x .75 inches and weighs 6.3 oz/128g (11.3 oz/320g with case.)
It has a rechargeable battery that supposedly lasts for weeks. (I haven’t had to recharge yet.)
The keyboard contains island style/chiclet keys and there is also a row of special function keys for both audio control and word processing.
The front panel has (L to R) an on/off switch, Android/ios switch to choose between the two types of devices, the pairing button and the micro usb charging port.
The cover folds up into a stand for your tablet. No need to carry an extra one.
When in it’s case, the Flex keyboard keeps a very slim profile.
Pairing was easy on both Android and Apple devices and took a matter of seconds for each one. The keyboard is easy to use and I was quickly up to speed. It is slightly smaller than full size but I’m able to do modified touch typing with no problem. I’m very satisfied with this product.
The Zaggkeys Flex keyboard sells for $79 but it’s available at Amazon.com for less. (If you’re not in a rush, you might want to monitor the price. As the time I’m writing this review, it’s selling for $64. Three weeks ago I paid $52. If you do decide to order from Amazon, please use the link in this paragraph as we get a small commission that goes towards the operation of this website. There’s no additional charge to you.)
A few weeks ago, I received a press release from a company I had heard of, Waterfield Designs, but didn’t know much about. They were announcing their new line of cases for the Ipad mini and Macbooks. I perused their website and saw they made cases for all types of electronics and some for specific items. Since I recently got a Nexus 7, I was intrigued to see they carried numerous cases specifically for that tablet.
The Travel Express for Nexus 7 caught my eye for a few reasons: It was meant for travel, the design was available in numerous sizes besides just for my tablet, and since this was a travel website, it seemed the perfect model for my readers.
So, I contacted Waterfield Design and asked if they would be willing to send one for review. They were and one soon came winging to OBOW World Headquarters.
The Travel Express comes in your basic black with a choice of seven accent colors. I chose copper. The case measures approximately 11 x 7 x 2 inches and weighs 8.6 oz/244 grams. (I’m sure this varies depending on the size ordered.)
The outside of the bag is made of 1050d ballistic nylon and the inside is nylon with a black foam lining. This soft lining protects your devices from scratching. Each of the outer walls of the case have a stiff plastic insert sewn in to help keep its shape and protect the items inside. The other side of the tablet pocket has a gold lined panel with yet another stiff plastic insert making the tablet truly protected.
The case comes with a self-locking YKK zipper meaning when the zipper pull is down, it won’t move. No worries about the zipper opening by itself and the contents falling out. The zipper opens on two sides making for easy packing and unpacking.
Besides the tablet pocket, there are five additional smaller pockets inside. Since this case was made for the Nexus 7, the tablet pockets fits the device perfectly. I’m guessing it’s the same on all of the other models.
The inside holds a ton of stuff.
Besides the tablet, I carry my Zapp Flex bluetooth keyboard (review forthcoming), dual usb power plug, backup battery power supply, retractable USB/micro usb cable, headphones, OTC cable, SD card reader and Ipod Touch. The case for the keyboard turns into a tablet stand but I could easily add my mini-tablet stand if needed.
The case was snug when closed but I have faith the YKK zipper will hold.
Optional “D” rings are available as is a shoulder strap. There is also a small loop on the outside of the bag which I found useful.
As many of you know, I’m very security conscious and was concerned that a thief could easily pick up this case and walk away with it—especially at airport security. So, I put a carabiner with a key ring through the loop and can now easily attach it to my Aeronaut via a key strap and the Aeronaut’s built in “o” rings.
I’ve been using this case for a few weeks. It easily and safely transports all I need in one package. No more separate cases for everything. No more chance of leaving something behind.
As soon as I first picked this bag up, I knew it was something special. It felt sturdy. It felt well made. I checked it over carefully. The material is excellent, the workmanship impeccable, the attention to detail was obvious. And, it looks classy.
I get quite a few products to review. Some get sold because I’m never going to use them, some get stored in my travel goods closet for possible future use, and others get put into daily use. This case is being used daily.
If this case is indicative of what Waterfield Designs has to offer, I look forward to reviewing more of their products in the future. This is a winner.
Oh, and did I mention the case, as is all this company’s products, is made in the USA at their headquarters in San Francisco?
The Travel Express for Nexus 7 and Ipad Mini is $59. For the Ipad and Nexus 10 it’s $69. $10 more if you want the accent stripe in brown leather. “D” Rings and shoulder strap additional as well.
I found a few travel related product deals this holiday shopping weekend:
L.L. Bean has 10% off everything, a $10 gift card for purchases over $50, and free shipping. Use promo code “Thanks10” at checkout. Good thru 11/27
Ebags also has a sale going on. 30% off sale prices and free shipping over $75. Use promo code “EMBFP.” Offer good through 11/25
Some Ebags examples are:
TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible—$59.99
TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible Junior—$62.99
(BTW—no need to put the parenthesis in when applying promo codes.)
If you find any other travel bag/travel product related sales, add to this thread.
Reader “The Foot” has submitted a new packing list for a three day business trip:
Here’s a pack list from a summer business trip. This was a 3-day, 3-night business trip where business casual attire was acceptable. Travel was on direct flights, in the summer, from the East Coast to the Mid-West. The itinerary had me flying early morning and going straight to the office on day one. The return flight was early morning the fourth day.
This was before I added the Tom Bihn Western Flyer to my quiver, so the only bag carried was the Eagle Creek Dane. It’s a convertible laptop bag measuring 17” x 12.5” x 6”. Due to its structure and padded laptop pocket, it’s a tight fit. I didn’t weigh the bag this time, but from past experience, I’d estimate it was apx. 14lbs. For business trips, I usually use TB’s Absolute Strap. I misplaced it prior to packing. So, I just hand carried, and used the backpack straps on the return trip.
My clothes for this trip were from my standard wardrobe for this sort of thing. The shirts were J.Crew button-ups (cotton Super 120 or 80) folded in the packing cube. The creases came out simply by hanging overnight. The trousers I usually pack shed wrinkles nicely overnight, as well (They’re the Banana Republic Signature line made of fine wool or wool/silk fabrics). I’ve tried sox from Icebreaker, Smartwool and REI, and have settled on the Smartwool hiking liners. They are thin black sox that wash and dry in a snap. They look good in a business casual outfit, and are slightly less refined than something I would wear with a suit. For briefs I prefer the C9 performance-whatever from Target. I do think the ExOfficio fabric is great, but the cut is pretty bad for me. The C9s perform very well and are only slightly less durable. The REI Power Dry t-shirts have been in my kit for a couple years. Not only are they a plain white quick dry shirt (difficult to find), but I find them quite comfortable.
I’m a washer. I don’t have a problem spending a little time each evening washing clothes while on trips like this. Unless there is an unusual travel requirement, I will carry a max of 3 dress shirts, and have them laundered as needed. I would send my shirts out at home, as well. Therefore, I see the premium the hotel charges for laundry as a small upcharge for keeping my bag lighter, smaller, and never out of my sight. I have tried this with only 2 dress shirts, but the risk of not getting a shirt back in time is too great.
So, there’s the itinerary, the bag, the clothes, and my thoughts on washing. Below is the specific packing list for this trip, and it fairly representative of similar trips. Regardless of length, the packing list would only adjust slightly to accommodate different weather or activities.
-> TECH and OFFICE
Computer (HP 2560p, 12.5”)
White board marker
Pen (or two, or three)
Notebook (mini soft cover)
Etymotic hf3 earphones
-> PERSONAL CARE
Beard Trimmer (Wahl 9854-600)
Nail clippers (small)
Base Layer (2 of each, wash nightly)
Sox (Smartwool Hiking Liners)
Briefs (ExOffico or C9)
Undershirts (white REI Power Dry)
1 Polo shirt
3 Button up shirts
1pr wool trousers
1pr Shoes (Loafers)
Rain Jacket (Marmot Aegis)
I’ve also posted it in our packing list section.
If you’re planning to fly Spirit Airlines and, like a good one-bagger, are only taking a carry-on bag, make sure you pre-pay for the privilege. If you decide to do so at the gate, it will not cost you $100 instead of the $35 advance fee.
Spirit claims they hope flyer’s never have to pay the fee by getting passengers to pre-pay it.
A couple of years ago, Actor/Director Kevin Smith was booted off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too large for one seat. A war of words began on Twitter and other social media, and the story was eventually picked up by most mainstream media outlets.
It also brought attention to a growing problem in the airline industry: customers too big for the seats. What to do? Sadly, there isn’t one policy to fit all, but each airline handles love handles a bit differently.
Our friends at Airfare Watchdog have put together a chart of Customer of Size Policies of the larger airlines.
BTW, no puns were injured in putting together this posting.
I will allow the comment section to stay open on this but please stay on subject. Any derogatory remarks about people of size will be removed.
Temporarily Offline Due To Storm
I’ve just been informed by Squarespace, the people who operate our server, that they will have to go offline due to hurricane Sandy.
Their servers are located in southern Manhattan and as many of you know, that area was hit hard by the storm. They’ve been operating on emergency power and are basically running out of fuel.
How long we’ll be out is unknown. I’ll try to keep people up to date on Twitter and Facebook:
There is really nothing I can do about this and I appreciate your understanding.
9:00 PM ET Update: Squarespace is somehow keeping their servers going. I’m not sure how long it can continue. Should the servers actually shut down, I will send out a tweet once I’m aware of it and post a note on our Facebook account.
It looks like the much of the eastern coast of the U.S. is going to get hit by a big storm in the next few days. Because of this, most airlines are waiving fees in case you need to change your plans.
Here is a list of weather waivers offered by numerous airlines.
Earlier this year, Eagle Creek came out with a new smaller than MLC bag, the Adventure Weekender Bag. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so many people wanting a review of a particular bag. And since I want to keep my OBOW readers happy, I picked one up.
Let’s start with the specs: The Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender Bag (ECAWB) measures 20 x 13 x 8 in/51 x 33 x 20 cm. It weighs 2 lbs, 9 oz/1.16kg and holds 2500 cu in/41L of stuff. It’s mostly made of 600d ripstop polyester.
There are two external pockets on the front of the bag and a luggage tag held in place by an elastic band.
The smaller of the two external pockets has an organizer panel and another full length zippered pocket that contains a key ring.
The second external pocket is larger and designed for a laptop although there really isn’t much padding. The back wall isn’t rigid and can expand to let larger items fit in this pocket. Be aware, however, that the more space used here, the less you’ll have in the upper internal section. They share that floating panel.
The main compartment opens wardrobe style and has two equal sized halves. This is unusual as most bags have a fairly thin lid. The upper section has a full zipper closure and is partially meshed. It is meant to be used with the Eagle Creek Pack-It system. The other section has two compression straps.
The back has the compartment holding the hide-away backpack straps as well as a pass through should you wish to carry it on the handles of a wheeled bag. (None of you would do that, right?)
The hidden backpack straps area easily clipped into place. They do not have either a sternum or waist strap. The backpack straps are comfortable and fine for short treks.
All external zippers are fully lockable and come with large, reflective zipper pulls. There is a double main handle that can be clipped together. There is also one small side handle.
It comes with a padded, removable shoulder strap and the “D” ring attachments are off-set for better balance while carrying it that way.
When I first got the bag, it seemed a lot smaller than my full sized carry-ons. In the following picture, it’s side by side with the Ebags Weekender on the left and the Tom Bihn Tri-Star on the right:
Although it looks smaller than the Tri-Star, it is slightly longer. And in real life, the ECAWB looks a lot smaller than the Ebags Weekender.
My first impression of the material used was not very favorable. The polyester didn’t feel as smooth or strong as similar weight nylons. But after awhile, the material grew on me and I could see it was stronger than I initially thought. It’s doubtful that this bag would ever have to be checked so I doubt much harm would come to it. And if it does, Eagle Creek does offer a lifetime warranty. The workmanship on the bag is good.
Its briefcase style looks means it could pass as an oversized laptop bag should you need to take it into a meeting. I was actually surprised they made this bag part of their “Adventure” series.
Even with my few issues such as size and feel of material, it’s a well designed bag that would make a good choice for those looking for a slightly smaller than MLC, mid-priced bag.
The ECAWB is available in black, rust and olive. $150 U.S. Made in Vietnam.