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Travel Unravel Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Travel Unravel

GORUCK GR2 34L vs. 40L: Choosing The Right Size For You

Extremely durable, GORUCK’s GR2 series backpacks are appealing choices if you’re looking for a medium-sized travel bag with a tough aesthetic and smart internal organization. The GR2 are popular for many reasons but when deciding to buy one, trying to pick between the 34 liter (L) or the 40L can be tricky.

GORUCK’s website recommends if you’re 5’8” (172 centimeters) or shorter, go with the 34L. Taller people, go with the larger bag. Easy advice to follow for those who are decently away from that common average height. To see what a GR2 34L and 40L look like on someone about 5’8”, you can watch my video above or read on.

The Differences Simplified

Looking at the specs, the GR2 40L is only two inches taller than the 34L, with all the other dimensions the same. The 40L does weigh more though, a noticeable half pound (~250 grams) in the hand. In both cases, neither of these bags look huge because of the black color and smart use of the space. The GR2 doesn’t bulge at the bottom or sides like many bags this size, even if it’s stuffed to capacity.

goruck gr2 34l vs 40l

Let’s begin there. If you already have a larger (30 liter or more) backpack filled to capacity – particularly with electronics – go with the GR2 40L. I say this because even if you’re a lot shorter than 172cm, if you’re maxing out a 30-33 liter bag (like the Aer Travel Pack 2) already, you may as well get the bump up in space. You should probably carry less since one thing most travelers should avoid is a backpack that touches the top of your butt cheeks when you walk.

Cheeky Measurement

Backpacks that touch the top (or lower) of your butt cheeks when walking cause the bag to move with every step. That constant motion causes a continual shift in weight that becomes very uncomfortable quickly, particularly as the load increases. For many people 5’8”, the 40L won’t touch the top of your butt, especially when it is full since the bag tends to “lift” away from your lower back when fully packed. It’s fairly close though, so your individual torso length will make all the difference here.

  • Shirts – Another reason not to get the 40L if it’s going to move across your back with every step – the 1000 Denier nylon used on the GR2 is strong, but also hard on clothing. You’ll go through a lot of shirts if you get a GORUCK GR2 that’s too big.

goruck gr2

15-Inch Laptops

One thing to be aware of is the 2-inch (5 cm) shorter 34L makes it difficult to get a larger laptop in and out of the laptop pocket when the rest of the bag is full. I use an Incase sleeve to protect my laptop when traveling but even without that, it’s a very tight fit requiring some gentle jamming into the GR2. Smashing your laptop in and out of this pocket can’t be good for your expensive Macbook Pro, for example. Personally, the smaller laptop pocket was a deal-breaker on the GR2 34L I was maxing in the front compartments. Some electronics like mirrorless cameras do well with compression, laptops do not.

Still Right In The Middle?

Ultimately, if you’re 5’8”, the 40L may not be too big on you. It’s really the length that’s in question here – at 22 inches (~59 cm) long it’s a close call. I understand GORUCK leaving in some leeway here and the absolute height cutoff is probably closer to 5’7” or 6 (168-170 cm). I’d suggest if you’re around 5’8”, trying to pack or reorganize a bit because the 34L can practically hold everything a 40L can. (I was able to fit all my electronic gear, albeit tightly.) If you’re shorter than 5’7” then the added space of the 40L won’t be worth the discomfort during travel.

In case you still can’t decide, order both bags and try them on (fully loaded) to see how they fit. GORUCK has a generous return 30-day return policy if you decide to return one or both back. Some (much less expensive) backpacks you may also want to look at are The North Face Recon, Thule Subterra 34L, and Swissgear 1900 which are shorter bags but deeper, allowing for larger capacities on smaller frames.

How To Travel With CBD

You’ve probably been hearing more about CBD lately since changes in hemp laws are making it available in a growing number of countries worldwide. CBD is an active ingredient in cannabis that doesn’t have psychoactive effects and many claim it’s a remedy for a variety of issues, including jet lag.

Aside from its effectiveness there’s still a lot of confusion among travelers around if CBD is legal and how to travel with it. If you’re one of those travelers you can watch the video above or read on to learn more.

What Is CBD?

CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol, one of the two main compounds in marijuana. The other compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the one that gets you high if you smoke or ingest it. CBD doesn’t get you high (unlike khat) and its popularity is based on its potentially therapeutic effects. Being sold in familiar foods such as chocolates and gummies also makes CBD easy to market. CBD oil is also sold separately which you can use to add to tea, for example.

CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, then the THC removed yet many CBD products have trace amounts of THC. So long as the CBD contains less than the local permitted amount of THC, it may be considered legal. In the United States CBD extracted from hemp is legal if the THC content is below .3% – at least in most states. Because CBD is not regulated, the amount of CBD as well as trace THC often varies from what the label says.

Depending on the legal status of marijuana where you are, CBD with THC may also be available. This is an important distinction in a lot of places and for this post, we’ll focus on just CBD. If you’re curious what the local marijuana laws are around the world, you can check this free map or download GrassFox on iOS or Android.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
How To Travel With CBD

Obviously a lot of these rules will depend on jurisdiction but for now the best advice is not to travel with CBD internationally. The rules regarding CBD and marijuana are a complicated mesh which may or may not be well understood, even by those enforcing them. Marijuana possession is a very serious offense in a lot of places and CBD branding or oil droppers can easily be mistaken for it. (Or just no distinction made between the different cannabinoids.) Don’t put yourself in unnecessary risk by bringing CBD on an international trip but it won’t hurt to have some before you head to the airport.

cbd airplane

Within the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently clarified CBD derived from hemp (without THC) is legal to fly with. It’s important to note if you’re flying to one of the few states where CBD is not legal, you might run into trouble if you’re found with it. (At a traffic stop for instance.) National parks within the U.S. don’t allow CBD either because they are federal lands. Many theme parks as well as cruise lines prohibit CBD as well.

CBD is available in several European countries but again, since the rules may vary across international borders even within the Schengen Area, don’t go abroad with it.

Does CBD Help Jet Lag?

There is no cure for jet lag which is the result of a bombardment of things that muck up your sleep and body cycles. You can try shifting your body clock with peanuts or using these expert sleep tips but in both cases, the goal is to get good sleep at the right times. Although there’s not much clinical evidence of CBDs benefits, anecdotally it does help many people sleep better. Consumed in food, taking CBD an hour or two before you fly might help you doze off better.

CBD can’t make jet lag vanish but it has some promise for giving you improved sleep so you can more rapidly adapt to a new timezone. A lot is not known about CBDs benefits and side effects so be sure to do your own research and talk to a doctor if you’re unsure about trying it.

What Are The Odds Of A Meteor Hitting A Plane In Flight?

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2019. Top photo courtesy European Southern Observatory, the others from public domain on Wikipedia.

space

I fly a lot which gives me more than enough time to contemplate irrational scenarios of doom in the sky. Nervous fliers might not want to think about a space rock hitting your plane at 10,000 meters up, but just how likely is that scenario?

Plane crashes in general are very rare events that most people end up surviving if they’re in one. A lot has to go wrong for a plane to go down (on average 7 compounding factors) but a meteor strike could be a single, catastrophic disaster. Meteors pummel through our atmosphere anywhere from 11-72 kilometers per second (15,000-257,000km/hour) but what are the chances of being struck? Fortunately it turns out the chances of being struck are astronomically small and the chances of surviving an impact aren’t as hopeless as you may think.

Moving Targets

Let’s first start out with the basics – the average jumbo jet moves at 890kph (555mph). The fuselage of a 747-400 is 70 meters by 6m, the front wings 64m wide, and the tail wings 11m. All of these numbers mean the surface area of the wings is 543 square meters, the fuselage roughly 420m. A total of 963 square meters of area but since a meteor would only be coming from above, let’s cut down the total vulnerable surface area by half: 480m^2.

Meteor Size

Most meteors that are visible from the ground range in size from a grain of sand to a pebble. (They’re so bright because of the speed at which they enter the atmosphere, not their mass.) Most meteors smaller than a marble never reach the lower atmosphere where planes fly.

meteors in the sky

In 1996, David J. Helfand, chair of the department of astronomy at Columbia University and his colleague Charles Hailey determined the size of a meteor needed to significantly damage an airplane would need to be baseball-size or larger. Several thousand meteors this size or large hit the ground each year, mostly in the oceans and other unpopulated areas. At the time, a meteor impact was considered (but later ruled out) as the cause of the TWA flight 800 crash.

Cars Are Still More Dangerous

David Morrison of the NASA Ames Research Center, gives the best estimate of the possibilities of a plane being struck by a meteor entering Earth’s atmosphere:

“A typical car has an area on the order of 10 square meters, and there are roughly 100 million cars in the U.S., for a total cross-sectional area of about 1,000 square kilometers. The typical airliner has a cross-sectional area of several hundred square meters, but the number of planes is much smaller than the number of cars, perhaps a few thousand. The total cross-sectional area of airliners is therefore no more than 10 square kilometers, or a factor of at least 100 less than that of cars. Three cars are known to have been struck by meteorites in the U.S. during the past century, so it would appear that the odds are against any airplanes having been hit, but it is not impossible that one might have been.”

Morrison adds that it’s much more likely for a plane to be struck on the ground (since that’s where they are the majority of time). Any impact to a plane in flight Morrison notes, wouldn’t necessary result in an complete disaster. Assuming the meteor were relatively on the smaller size and did not hit the fuel tanks, a successful emergency landing isn’t impossible.

For you nervous fliers, it might help ease your nerves to know even a supersonic rock from space is something your aircraft and pilots could potentially handle. But the overwhelming odds are you should be more worried about having a middle seat or lost luggage than any space debris.

Is Globalism The First Step To Star Trek’s Utopian Society?

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2019.

This is a guest post by Joao, one half of No Footprint Nomads, devoted Trekkies who write about sustainable travel from their experience of over 9 years on the road. Top photo courtesy No Footprint Nomads.

no footprint nomads

On Earth, the creation of life has evolved from individuals to groups: first particles, then cells and on to more complex creatures like animals, who organize in their own social structures. Homo sapiens have also followed this natural progression. By first gathering in groups, then cities, later countries – and more recently, unions of nations.

When looking at the large scale of events, we are evolving towards consolidation, even though we sometimes feel we are living in the most nationalistic time of our common history. The often used term “globalization” is real and nobody can deny we are more connected now than ever.

Internet, extremely low travel costs and the rise of remote work have created an ever-increasing flow of movement around our planet that is surpassing records every year. We can already see the effects in locations like Venice, Italy, where they have to limit access for tourists to protect the local lifestyle.

This natural law will affect all areas of our society like capital and money – although we’re still far away from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Neutral Zone“. (Where several 20th-century people wake up in the future to find out capital and property are no longer present in society.) This may be difficult to imagine in today’s capitalistic world.

Planet Earth in the Star Trek futuristic world is a border-less society. Our current globalization trend (e.g. European Union) is a stepping stone to that world. And when we talk about modern nomads, we are talking about the first truly border-less individuals. I use the term “modern” on purpose because the original nomads were very different from today’s. Back in the day, they traveled for survival to find food and shelter; today’s nomads travel to experience the world’s diversity. Society 1.0 represents the first nomads on camel-back, sedentary societies became the norm for 2.0, and now we are becoming nomadic again, hence society 3.0.

A nomad sees the world as an endless opportunity for exploration, either for pleasure or for personal growth. Time and borders are not as important in their life, although we are still somewhat far from a totally border-less society. Visa limitations, strict immigration rules and warfare are still very present in our world and defy the ambition of true nomads. But nomadism is essentially a mindset, a way of looking at the world and not being blinded by borders, by human-created divisions when, in fact, we are all the same species.

airplane window sunset

A nomad can live in a country for awhile until they feel the need to explore something else, like meditation, and then move to Thailand to dive into that passion. The world becomes a potential open university, and borders don’t matter anymore.

I’ve been involved with the nomad community for some time and there are some trends that arise after years living this lifestyle. It reminds me again the same TNG episode when Captain Picard replies to the man from the past, who does not understand the reason for living without material needs:

“The challenge, Mister Offenhouse, is to improve yourself. To enrich yourself. Enjoy it.”

In the nomad community it is not unusual to talk about meditation, healthy food, book reading, stoicism (yes, Gene Roddenberry’s inspiration for Vulcans), yoga, self-learning and all other activities related to enriching yourself, just like Picard said.

Every day that I live this life and meet more inspiring fellow nomads, I can see a little more of our future the way Roddenberry, a true visionary, painted for us in the series. If you are a true Trekkie, then consider embracing the world as a true nomad and forget any differences we might have.

Thank you very much Joao for this Trek-inspired guest post! You can find Joao and Sara on this site, No Footprint Nomads, where they write about sustainable travel. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Qa’plah!

8 Reasons An Area 51 Raid Would Fail

You may have heard about that Facebook group with over a million people, claiming they’re going to raid the Area 51 military installation in Nevada to uncover the existence of aliens. Area 51 of course, being that rather not-so-secret facility where some alien bodies and their technology may have been stored after UFOs crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. That’s the rumor anyway.

I’m pretty sure nobody is actually going to show up to Area 51 but as someone who’s been right outside the gates, here’s 8 reasons a raid attempt would go very, very wrong.

1. Area 51 Is Remote

The primary way to get close to the only unmarked gate into Area 51 is off the Extraterrestrial Highway, near Rachel, Nevada nearby. Population: 100. The closest gas station is 100 miles (160 kilometers) and 800,00 cars would probably be stopped before getting remotely close to Area 51.

rachel nevda alien

2. Rough Terrain

Area 51 covers 1,500 square kilometers (~932 square miles) around Groom Lake so you’ll be running a long way over rough desert. There are cactus, large rocks, extreme sun, plus plenty of rattlesnakes along the way. Sprinting across those conditions for long isn’t likely.

area 51

3. You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

The entire area is massive and from the entrance gate in the middle of nowhere, you can’t see any visible structures. Someone raiding Area 51 wouldn’t even know which direction to go.

area 51

4. They Probably Don’t Have A Doorbell

Assuming you did find a structure above ground (who knows how much is underground) how would you get in? Pretty sure they lock the doors. Wouldn’t you if you were hiding aliens? (Not to mention if you did get inside what are you going to do, just run around the hallways hoping to run into Brent Spiner?)

area 51 rachel

5. Cameras

There are a few your can see around the gate, probably a few more not so obvious.

little ale inn nevada

6. Motion Sensors

Being out in the open, a horde of raiders would be hard to miss but even for a single individual, being inconspicuous is nearly impossible. Oh, and motion sensors. Probably.

extraterrestrial highway

7. Mysterious White Vans

As they’ll tell you at the Little Ale Inn in Rachel, you’re free to take pictures of the gate but don’t point your camera at any white vans on either side of the Area 51 border.

black mailbox nevada

8. You Might Be Shot

As they’ll tell you at the Little Ale Inn, every year a few idiots try to get a selfie from just behind the gate. Hey, nobody’s around right? Well, there are clearly eyes on you and this is probably the best case scenario. A gun to the head and being put on the United States terror watch list is setting one step inside – a full on sprint well, things might get dicey.

little ale inn

Look Up Instead

With all those eyes on you, potentially dying, and no evidence of aliens actually being in Area 51, not many of the stars align for a raid. But camping out near the Black Mailbox at night and looking up, who knows what you may see. During my road trip across Nevada, I was buzzed by some fighter jets that didn’t look more than 40 meters above. Not extraterrestrial but an impressive sight nonetheless like these nearly out of this world places.

Why Do You Fart So Much When Flying?

Extra flatulence is not just you (or the person next to you) but rather a phenomena everyone experiences to varying degrees as altitude increases. It’s something you may have pondered the last time you flew and my video above explains exactly why this happens and a few things you can do to mitigate farts when flying.

Essentially, as you go up from sea level, the decrease in air pressure allows the gas already in your gut to expand. As the gases expand, they start putting extra pressure on your insides, eventually wanting to make their way out from the only exit available.

Start With Less Gas

Since these gases are created by the bacteria in your gut as a byproduct of digestion, the first countermeasure is to reduce the amount of food for them prior to flying. Ideally, flying hungry first thing in the morning should mean fewer farts in flight. (Keep in mind when you land, air pressure closer to sea level increases which can also cause cramping.)

In case you can’t avoid eating right before or during a flight, sticking to lesser processed menu items may help. Roughly 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant to some degree, so ordering a vegan meal can help you avoid dairy products. Less processed food could also be beneficial.

You can catch up on all the gassy details in the video but keep in mind about 60% of pilots report regular bloating while flying, meaning it is something we all have to deal with. Even on the ground, the average person farts about 10-20 times a day but if you’re particularly concerned about stinking up the cabin, some charcoal-filtered underwear might be an option for you. For everyone else, the bathroom is a good alternative if you can make it on time.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More


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