15 November 2015

tortuga air: run 00

Impression of Memphis:
  1. People are afraid to park on the middle levels of parking garages
  2. The number of tall buildings can be counted with a single hand
  3. The airport has water features that belong at a luxury hotel. 
Highlight of the trip is definitely the fried chicken. It was so crisp on the outside yet still juicy on the inside. I do mean crisp, not like how KFC's crunchy coating (which is also good), but crisspppp *u* 
Lessons learned for packing:
  1. Packing cubes are really wonderful 
  2. It is awesome having back-ups / travel sized containers of skincare / make-up items permanently packed. Saves time scrambling the morning of. 
  3. It was a good idea to bring multiple smaller bags within my Tortuga Air since most of my days were spent doing field work (need to carry a bunch of equipment) interlaced with eating out (brought a smaller clutch). For longer trips, would carry daypack separately. 
It was a really short trip, so it was hard to go wrong with the packing.

Speaking of my Tortuga Air, the verdict is that I do like it and is a good purchase. Let me go over the whole purchase story.

Quite some time ago (yeaaars) I came across the Goruck GR1 and that was the pack that set off my interest in packing light / one bag (of course there's a subreddit for this). While I'm not at the level of ultra-light yet, I was determined to go one carry on sized bag for all my trips (okay except for when I'm coming back from China).

The GR1 is quite pricey, and not designed for travel in mind. But it is tough as hell and sleek looking. I did discover Tortuga back when they just started out, but the first model was quite ugly to be honest. After browsing /r/onebag and some other travel blogs sporadically over the period of said years, my shortlisted bags were the following:
  • Goruck GR1
  • Tortuga Air
  • Osprey...either the Farpoint 40 or Porter 46
I chose the Tortuga in the end because it was designed especially for travel, and a smaller size. The smaller size is actually the biggest factor since I want to eventually explore Europe and fly on those notorious budget airlines. The Air fits under the seat, which saves me the trouble of battling for overhead storage. In fact on the flight back from Memphis, those without carry-on items (translation: do not need to use the overhead bins) had priority boarding. I'm also a wimp so carrying a 40L pack while walking around sounds absolutely miserable (like that time I had to lug my small, almost carry-on size, suitcase up and down the stairs of the tube stations in London...).
Other things that I like:
  • the organization
  • top pocket for easy access, and easy to take out laptop
  • opens flat like a suitcase
  • understated look
  • water bottle side pocket, honestly why is this not on every pack?
  • expandable!
I was hesitant about buying a backpack online since I couldn't try it on. But they offered free returns, so might as well. When it arrived, I tried it on while it was loaded it up with a couple hardcover books and a bunch of dried pantry items...and it was not comfortable. Okay so that wasn't a practical amount of weight to carry, so I unloaded a couple of items and tried again. Better this time, but I was still hesitant. But alas the hassle of having to return something got the better of me and I decided to keep it. Luckily I had a bunch of short trips coming up so I could gradually ease into the pack.

When I loaded it up for Memphis and carried it around, for most of the time it was very comfortable. Then again I was carrying field equipment so I don't expect the bag to be heavier on personal trips. New York will be the real test.

Side story: I discovered Tom Bihn Synapse just a couple of weeks after ordering the Tortuga. Had I known about this back then, it's a toss up between which one would've been my final choice. I like how there's a full line of accessories.


lac29 said...

I had a phase in college where I was into backpacks and bags (part of being a product design student mayhaps), and I also frequented Carryology quite a bit. I've used a Goruck GR1 for the past two years (ps it's actually worth the money). It is as tough as everyone says, and a pleasure to use in most situations. My only regret is that I compromised on color in order to get a good deal (coyote instead of black.

I've also owned a Boreas (via kickstarter) that was an interesting interchangeable light hiking backpack concept and has been meh. Funny enough I also looked into Tom Bihn (the Smart Alec and Synapse) before I bought my Goruck but boy do all the add-ons add up (hah)! What I like about carry solutions is their balance between utility (Goruck), aesthetics (Cote&Ciel), and technology (Missionworkshop). There are a ton of smaller companies that have interesting carry solutions. I've always wanted to try a Missionworkshop and Osprey bag. But I tend to like more of the black/gray bags with technical fabrics and interesting features.

Sidenote: Are you or have you become a coffee drinkers since going to college? Or would that be blasphemy to your tea sensibilities? And have any of the other reddit hobby bugs bite you? (ex. fountain pens, mechanical keyboards, mechanical watches, edc, headphones)

Weijie said...

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I've never quite liked the aesthetics of Cote&Ciel. It seems like an overly architectural building haha. So what is your main bag now?

I drink coffee for utilitarian purpose, and usually only when there is free espresso available (so first year dorms, and now at the office). I haven't had enough good coffee to appreciate it, or even know what is good coffee haha. Feel free to educate me, since it seems much more intimidating than tea.

Hmm...fountain pens a little bit, I had a stationary phase before, but that seems to have died down a little once I realized I have enough supply to outlast myself. I also prefer super thin nibs, so that limits fountain pens quite severely. Otherwise, never been that into the other hobbies that you listed.

Weijie said...

PS. comments aren't the most convenient means of having a conversation, feel free to find me on other social media / email :)