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Luggage Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Luggage

The Osprey Kyte 46 Is Just Big Enough For A Week Hike And That’s A Good Thing

The Osprey Kyte 46 liter hiking backpack is in all sorts of sweet spots lately, both in terms of size, quality, and price as one model overlaps the other, often at nearly 50% less cost. You take a look at the Kyte 46 and think it’s not big enough for a hike of several days to a week but when you get a bigger bag, your back will remind you daily that was a bad choice.

You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Who This Bag Is For

Since the Kyte 46 collapses so efficiently (seriously, almost all the pockets can be shrunk down with straps or zippers when empty), it doesn’t look as large as it is. Yet for short hikes of 3-4 days or so, it is the right amount of space. All of us tend to pack our bags to capacity, a psychological factor that’s best mitigated by controlling the size of the bags we choose. With a touch of minimalism, the Kyte’s capacity can easily be stretched out to a week.

osprey kyte 46

There are two sizes of the Kyte 46, a bag primarily developed for female travelers. A XS/S and an S/M – both of which have roughly the same capacity of 46 liters but the Small/Medium is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) taller. The real distinction however, is between Osprey’s newer version of the Kyte, which price competes with itself.

Speaking Of Versions

As of this post, there are two versions of the Kyte 46. A newer model with the same name that’s essentially the same bag with some slight modifications to the coloring and exterior design. The former version of the Kyte 46 is still on sale, although quietly, and you can find it on Amazon for roughly half the cost. Prices for the both Kyte 46 have been changing frequently but if you keep an eye on them (latest sales listed right below) you can likely get this bag for less than $100.

So long as Osprey can’t decide on how to handle this overlapping rollout of gear, it’s in your benefit if you’re bag shopping.

Strong Design Quality

Osprey bags are durable. I’ve used this bag for 8 years, this one for 4, and have reviewed a lot of their gear and it simply holds up. A good bag will last you years – obviously cheaper fall apart frequently enough they end up costing more in the long run. Travelers looking for a solid outdoor bag for relatively short journeys in summer mountains or in cooler climates will save both money and space with the Kyte’s 46 liters.

The Aer Travel Pack 2 Is Nearly Tech Backpack Perfection

Backpacks, especially the larger kind, tend to be made either for cloths or computers but rarely both. There are plenty of smaller backpacks like the Swissgear Scansmart 1900 (my full review) that have plenty of pockets but good luck trying to fit an extra sweater in there. (Planes are COLD and airplane blankets never washed.)

Aer’s Travel Pack 2 though is very close to perfection for digital nomads who carry an office on their back and has become the main carry-on bag I use. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on for some brief highlights.

Right Size

Versatile backpacks have a large, empty front pocket. Electronics bags similar to Dell’s Premier (full review here) try to guess the most common slots and pockets you’ll use. For travelers with a lot of electronics though, cameras, drones, and other bulky items are inefficiently stored unless you can do the organizing.

aer travel pack 2

The Travel Pack 2 has a good combination of large pocket with organization… almost. First, the main compartment is spacious at 34L but front-loading unlike the Thule Subterra’s open-top design. It’s nearly an ideal big compartment, except Aer has put in a shoe compartment common to other bags this size.

  • Dear Aer, look, this is clearly a tech bag, the shoe compartment isn’t needed and the pocket eats into space many need for camera lenses, microphones, that sort of thing. We can still put shoes in a bag and jam them into the Travel Pack 2 if needed.
  • And as Mr. Robot as those compression straps look (I’ll admit they come in handy on occasion) they make opening the main compartment cumbersome. Maybe placing them at an angle would solve this problem.

Otherwise, the build quality, intuitive front organizational pocket, and slim design make this a very enticing bag for travelers with a DSLR or drone, or some combination or large electronics. Plus those who want to be able to pack an extra shirt or two as well. Brrr.

A Roundup Of The Most Intriguing Travel Tech From CES 2019

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is over 3.2 million square feet (297,200 sq. meters) of the most current, upcoming, and concept technology, brands and startups alike want to share with the world. There were a lot of travel products at CES 2019 and starting in the first part of this video series, you can see the emphasis on wearables and enhancing experiences on the road.

Check out the video above for the second part of my visit to CES or read on for the most useful inventions that might help you travel smarter and easier in the near future.

Headphones

The audio industry seems to have two takes on headphones pitting portability against quality. Most headphones under $100 don’t have premium audio quality (the kind that’s hard to resist once you’ve heard it) so to keep costs down, companies like ToughTested are innovating with physical designs. The Bluetooth ProComm Flex 2 have a flexible neckband which is meant to withstand regular smashing into small backpack pockets.

toughtested procomm flex 2

On the other end of the audio spectrum, a newcomer to headphones is the audio development company Jabra. They debuted the Jabra Elite 85h at CES combining their audio expertise with artificial intelligence. Without a doubt the Jabra 85h have the best noise-cancelling of any headphone I’ve worn (including the Bose 20i). For air travelers, even without music playing, the 85h’s noise-cancelling will turn a plane in flight into a silent room if you want it to be. Using the AI, the Jabra 85h automatically tune the headphones to allow some sound in when it might be important, for example when there’s a gate announcement or at a crosswalk.

Underwater Drones

The majority of travelers aren’t using flying drones yet but the underwater drone category might quickly surpass them in popularity. One big disadvantage of underwater drones is that radio waves move very poorly in water. Navatics MITO gets around the problem with a 130 foot (40 meter) tether attached to a floating buoy.

navatics mito

Alternatively, the PowerDolphin stays on the surface of the water while the RoboFish has two modes, an on-surface mode controlled through a phone app plus an sonic remote you place into the water to direct this cute drone.

Capturing Your Vacation Virtually

Nobody likes sitting through your vacation photos (says the guy who blogs for a living) but the Vuze XR might change that. Pocket-sized, the Vuze XR captures 180 or 360 degree footage you can live stream to Facebook or YouTube but even better, use to create your own virtual reality experience of a trip. Using the VR myself at CES to see what the Vuze XR was capable of, I was impressed how well it could recreate a trip of say, your day wandering around the streets of Istanbul.

vuze xr

With Wheels

Moving on to the technology that actually moves you, BMW showed me their electric iNext car, with embedded touch sensors in the seats, smart lights that follow what you’re looking at, and yes, it drives itself. (The car in some form is scheduled for release in 2021.)

Gyrolift showed off a Segway-inspired wheelchair that allows travelers with disabilities to move over sand, dirt, city terrains and generally get around much easier, as well as adjust their height easily when needed. (I could see this being useful, among other things, to better read signs often posted at standing eye-level.)

modobag

  • Most Fun Product – The Modobag. Although I’m not completely convinced as to how practical it is, riding this motorized suitcase without a smile is impossible. Also, I’ve got a $300-off coupon code for you CES2019 good through March this year.

Travel Vlogging

Some other products that stood out were the Shure MV88+, the best microphone this size I’ve tested and one that can double as a voice-over as well as on-the-go microphone for a larger camera or smartphone. Speaking of smartphones, Huawei unveiled their Honor View 20, with it’s AI ultra-clarity feature best seen in the video above, that could help you read far away signs.

There are still a lot of other gadgets I haven’t covered year, from airbag vests and air-purifying masks for cyclists, space tourism opportunities, and flying vehicles. One thing is clear though, the trend is for inexpensive electronics to become more creative as premium products refine at the highest levels, with a shrinking market in between.

Review Of The Dell Premier Backpack: Built For Business Travelers

I once said the Dell Premier Backpack might be the best electronics backpack for travelers and having taken another look at it again, would say the same – with a caveat. Finding the perfect backpack is difficult because it’s a very subjective measure and rather than trying to make something for everyone, Dell focused on the business traveler. In doing so, Dell very nearly created a perfect, generalized electronics backpack – but ended up with a very good bag for a particular type of travel. Frequent business travelers who need more storage for gadgets than other generalized travel gear like extra clothing should take a close look at the Dell Premier Backpack. My full review in the video here.

The Osprey Sojourn 60L Is Nearly Everything Right With Luggage

Most luggage seems like it’s better designed to look good in a storefront than actually be used for traveling. Considering how bags are handled by airline staff, generally overstuffed, and often too heavy to avoid fees, you would hope someone would make a bag that’s light and durable – not to mention sleek and efficient.

The Osprey Sojourn 60L is a piece of luggage that, if you’ll let me be cliche for a moment, actually seems like it was designed by travelers, for other travelers. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s how I feel about the Sojourn 60L. You can watch my entire review of the Sojourn 60L luggage in the video above (after 8 years of wear and tear) or read on to find out why I think it’s so great.

To Roll Or Carry

There are two reasons I initially considered the Sojourn 60L. The first is the Sojourn 60L is wheeled luggage that can be used as a backpack; the second reason is because it’s just at the limit of what most airlines consider carry-on size. As it turns out, using wheel luggage is a lot more efficient when you carry two bags (no double-turtle shell) and the Sojourn 60L looks too big for airline staff except on the largest of planes.

sojourn 60L

In other words, I’ve hardly ever used the Sojourn 60L as a backpack and don’t usually bother entering a debate with airline staff by not attempting to bring it as carry-on. Despite not really meeting my two first expectations, my experience with the Sojourn 60L has given me a new checklist for every bag after.

Selective Size

Like a gas, you’ll end up filling most of the empty volume within a given bag, no matter how large it is. A bag that’s too small will increase pressure on the person packing, terrified they won’t pack enough. Scale the bag up to 90 liters and now you’ve got pressure on your arms, back, mind, and baggage fees. 60 liters seems to be a size that’s spacious but conservative enough to force yourself to pack wisely.

sojourn 60l osprey

Two internal compression straps can be used to secure and tighten your packed clothes, which not only keeps the Sojourn physically smaller, but reduces stress on the seams. There are two external straps as well, which also redirect a lot of the pulling that ends up destroying most luggage over time.

8 Years And Going

All of those design efforts, the compression straps, exterior stitching, and selectively used hard plastic are probably what’s made the Sojourn 60L so durable. I’ve been using the Sojourn 60L in the video for 8 years and it’s in great shape. I don’t plan on replacing it any time soon and considering I travel several times per month, I suspect it might last much longer for most people.

Knowing all of this now, the Sojourn 60L has certainly earned its price. Osprey sells the Sojourn 60L for around $250, which isn’t inexpensive but given its durability, is a good investment for frequent travelers. On top of that (literally) the Osprey Daylite day pack [full review here] attaches to the Sojourn; given how well that’s held up after a year, it’ll probably last forever too.

SwissGear Scansmart 1900 Backpack Review: Lots Of Pockets For Little Gadgets

The SwissGear Scansmart 1900 is a durable backpack with a lot of benefits for most travelers that leads to one big drawback for everyone else. One of the most popular travel backpacks, especially for people who carry a lot of electronics, the Scansmart 1900 has pockets for just about everything.

Plentiful pockets is not surprising for a brand associated with functionality, but the Scansmart’s dividers rob it of a large main storage compartment, meaning it’s a great backpack if you only use 75% of it.

Durable Unlike Most Others

The SwissGear line of backpacks are designed to last – I used the Synergy for over 10 years – and have been using the 1900 as my primary electronics backpack for the past 18 months or so. (I switched because I needed a larger bag to carry this stuff.) The 1900 has held up very well over the extreme amount of travel I’ve done, though there are small indications of imperfection I never noticed on the Synergy.

swissgear scansmart 1900

A slightly loose plastic logo on the handle and a few errant strings in the stitching are things I wouldn’t even mention for other backpacks but SwissGear have set their own bar very high. Still, the Scansmart will last, despite my constant over-stuffing of this bag, the seams have held strong and survived where many other backpacks I’ve reviewed wouldn’t.

Divided On Pockets

Originally I moved to the Scansmart 1900 when I picked up a Mavic Pro drone. I organized the drone, as well as my Panasonic Lumix G85, in two SwissGear toiletry kits. They fit perfectly into the front main compartment of the 1900 but two additional dividers in that compartment steal space if they’re not used. In other words, a notebook, cable organizer, and some other small items would fit well; it’s when you stuff the main compartment those dividers force the bag into an awkward, uncomfortable shape. Sure, the Scansmart 1900 can handle it, though your back might be slightly sore after a long journey.

swissgear scansmart 1900

Then, there’s the biggest complaint I have about the 1900: the thick dividers between the laptop compartment, tablet compartment, and main compartments. Those dividers take up space, again, which is fine if you’re not going to really fill the main compartment. Using the laptop and tablet compartments push those bulky dividers forward into the main compartment and if you try to fill it up too much your backpack will look like a water balloon ready to burst.

The Size Of Your Stuff

Alternatively, the North Face Recon I’ve previously reviewed, has roughly the same internal capacity though allocates much more space to the main compartment. It’s got one roomy laptop pocket in the main compartment without cutting it up into smaller sections. For travelers with a lot of small items, the Scansmart 1900 might be a better backpack, because it’s designed not to be filled anywhere near capacity.

The Recon on the other hand, has a large main compartment that can easily fit a DSLR, small drone, or otherwise be jammed with clothes when you don’t feel like packing properly. The Scansmart 1900 is a large backpack designed for small things, best compared to the Dell Premier backpack, if you’re not planning on pushing your bags limits.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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