Traveling: Your Carry-On (Part 1)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I think people should travel more. There's an entire world out there waiting to be explored, and it's not as difficult or expensive as you might think. All you have to do is take that first step. Unfortunately that first step is usually the most difficult.

One of the headaches with taking that first travel step is knowing what (and how) to pack. Packing can generally be broken down into the following categories:
  • checked luggage - The luggage that you check in at the airline counter. It gets transported in the belly of the plane and (hopefully) arrives when you do.
  • carry-ons - The bags that you store in the overhead compartments in the cabin.

While I may tackle the intricacies of packing checked baggage at a later date, for the time being, I prefer to deal with the fine art of packing a carry-on, especially one that will help you handle any travel situation in which you may find yourself.

Part 1: Choosing a Bag

The style of bag that you choose largely depends on what you will be doing. If you are a photography enthusiast, as I am, you will want to employ a bag that will accommodate a variety of photography equipment, as well as the capacity to carry other necessary items. For the average traveler, a more general bag may be utilized. To this end, I recommend the following bags:

General Purpose: Timbuk2 Outtawack Day Pack
This medium-size versatile bag is great for the average traveler. Its best feature is its ability to transform from a backpack to a briefcase to a shoulder bag, which makes it a great companion when hauling other luggage. It contains 3 compartments: a front compartment for carrying passports, travel documents, mp3 player, cell phone, keys, and more; the middle (main) compartment is for general purpose items; and a padded rear compartment for hauling a laptop computer.
Day Trip Photography: Tamrac Adventure 8
This lightweight camera bag/day pack can be deceiving. Despite its small dimensions, it has an extremely adequate capacity. The bag is divided into two main sections: a foam-padded compartment for camera equipment and a medium-size top pocket for additional gear. The bag also contains a number of pouches and pockets for extra items. Depending on how you pack your equipment, you can fit a surprising amount of goodies into this bag. An extra bonus—not to mention a safety feature—is that this bag passes for a backpack and not a camera bag.
Traveling Photography: Tamrac Adventure 9 - Photo/Computer Backpack
While the Tamrac Adventure 8 (above) is better suited for smaller trips, the Adventure 9 is the one that I prefer when traveling internationally. The functionality of the Adventure 9 is nearly identical to the Adventure 8, but it has some extra features which make it a better carry-on bag. The Adventure 9 sports a larger top pocket which is better when hauling a jacket or a change of clothes along with your other standard items. This bag also contains a padded rear compartment which can carry a laptop (up to 17") and a separate pouch for cords, cables and adapters.
(When on video assignments, I use the Kata HB-205, which is capable of carrying a pro-sumer digital video camera, a still camera, several lenses, additional equipment, and a laptop. While it's comfortable enough considering the amount of technical equipment it can hold, it's fairly bulky and lacks the capacity to carry some basic items such as clothes, food, etc.)

While analyzing bags may seem like overkill, choosing the right bag can really make a difference in your travel experience.

Next up: Packing your carry-on


Blogger kinzi said...

Dave, great ideas. But, now you have made me really curious!! Aha, you write more than just 2nd grade award winning papers, sa7? Media and Communications? Do you have any advice/books/websites for us fellow bloggers who are wanna-be writers as well to improve?

3/14/2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger Dave said...


I'm not a writer, so I'm afraid that I don't have much advice in the writing category. It's true, I specialize in media and communications, so if you need some advice in that department, feel free to shoot me a line.

3/14/2007 9:56 AM  

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