Luggage Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Luggage

Two Great Portable Tripods For Travel Under $100

A good tripod for travel needs to be light but strong while at the same time being collapsible into a small size. Full-size tripods come in all shapes, sizes, and vary widely by price but two tripods under $100 offer a lot for travelers. The Manfrotto Advanced Compact Aluminum and Neewer Carbon Fiber 66-inch have their strengths for both video and photographers hitting the road.

Photography Choice: Manfrotto

The Manfrotto has a light aluminum body with arms divided into 3 sections that are secured with a latch system. The head is a pan and tilt, good especially at set angles, but not as versatile for primarily video shooters. The Advanced Compact Aluminum is a straightforward tripod that weighs 1.42 kilograms (3.13 pounds) and has a maximum height of 165 centimeters (5.4 feet).

The drawback to the use of aluminum legs is that they can’t support a lot of weight when compared to other materials like carbon fiber. A carrying capacity of 3kg (6.6 lbs) might not be a problem depending on your particular gear and if you’re photo first, the Manfrotto Advanced Compact Aluminum is a good choice to consider.

Video Choice: Neewer Carbon Fiber 66-Inch

Although it’s closer to the $100 price mark than the Manfrotto, the Neewer is a lot less expensive than most carbon fiber tripods on the market. The Neewer is light, weighing 1.54kg (3.4 lbs) but can carry an impressive 12kg (26.5 lbs). A ball head gives more flexibility with shooting angles which are easier to work when filming video, plus the Neewer can be setup completely horizontal. A further tribute to its flexible design is the monopod built into one of the legs.

The Neewer might have a few extra bells and whistles but if you’re looking for something simpler, more photography oriented, and at a slightly lower cost the Manfrotto might be better suited to your needs. Of course if you want to go ultra portable the Joby Gorillapod is a much more compact alternative.

The North Face Recon Holds Up After 3 Years Of Wear Without Tear

It’s been 3 years since I originally reviewed the unassuming The North Face Recon backpack. Those of you who follow my Road Tested! series know though the review doesn’t stop once the camera turns off and the article is posted. The North Face Recon is no different and having used this backpack for the past 36 months, it’s impressed me with its physical durability. The design though, still isn’t for everyone.

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

Hold Up Better Than Well

Typically on a backpack the parts that wear most the those that have contact with the wearer. Especially the straps around the shoulders and the lower part of the backpack since both tend to move most when you’re walking. Against all of that friction the Recon’s spongy mesh holds its bounce and hardly shows its age.

Threading remains threaded without any stray fibers dangling around like a dog’s tongue our a car window. Even the nylon exterior is only as dirty as you are lazy to simply wipe it off with your hand. Given that this backpack costs less than $100, from a durability perspective, you certainly get your money’s worth.

No Changes In Design

Physical durability is one aspect of a products longevity but so is the original design when compared to the newer additions to the backpack market. The North Face Recon still holds its own because it has such a study and straightforward design. On the bigger side of 22 liters, the big front bucket pocket is flexible. You can pack in clothes, books, or electronics or any combination of that or whatever else that fits.

the north face recon backpack review

A large casual open pocket on the front is good for an extra sweater to stuff in but the laptop compartment does eat from some of the usable space inside. The somewhat even design shows what that the Recon is a small backpack made for short day trips but is big enough for minimalist travelers too.

Getting The Best From The Recon

The North Face’s has made a tough turtle shell of a backpack that’s great for school, office, or hiking trips. You can see the Recon was an inadvertent part of the first wave of one bag travel backpacks but that category has passed it by now. Still, if you’re looking for a solid backpack that’s big enough for a weekend trip and solid enough to last years, The North Face Recon is great choice to consider.

Save Money On Timbuk2 Bags With This Checkout Trick

timbuk2

A well throughout design and impressive durability, Timbuk2 bags earn their premium price tags. You can however save money on most Timbuk2 purchases by using a discount trick that requires a little patience.

How To Save 10-15% On Timbuk2

First, head over to the Timbuk2 website. Shop around for the products you like and you choose the bag for you, add them it your cart. Then, begin the checkout process and be sure to add your email address when it asks. Keep going until you get to the part where you enter in payment details.

Don’t enter your payment details on this page. Rather, close it and wait.

You might get a popup offering you a discount before the site lets you close the webpage but if you wait up to 24 hours, Timbuk2 will send you the offer again – which might be even more – up to 15% off.

Not The Only Site

Timbuk2 isn’t the only seller to send email discounts to hook potential customers. Many will offer you a popup discount if you try to leave at the payment page but if you’re not in a rush, you might get an email discount in a day or two. Otherwise you can try corporate discounts or Honey but with the latter, be sure to check their privacy policy first. REI stores in the U.S. also tend to sell various brand bags at a discount, so be sure to compare with their online shop as well to get the best deal.

Pack A Dryer Sheet In Your Luggage So Clothes Smell Fresh Upon Arrival

dryer sheet fabric softener luggage

Stuffing your clothes into a cramped suitcase and flying halfway around the planet doesn’t make for the best scent conditions. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to combat stale smells after a long journey by packing in an extra item: a single dryer sheet.

Obviously you’ll want to start a trip with all of your clothes washed before packing but often times we’re left having to mix clean with worn clothes. Being in such close quarters over an extended period of time can transfer dank smells over to anything that was smelling nice, giving you double laundry at your next destination (or worse, making you the smelling one at that arrival party).

Fabric softener, or dryer sheets, combat unpleasant odors which can be present from your luggage itself. (When was the last time you washed your suitcase?) For placement, pack a dryer sheet in between any dirty clothes or if everything is fresh already – in the center-bottom of your bag. This way, you’ll get the most benefit from a single dryer sheet but if you’ve packed shoes as well, it’s worth putting in a sheet in each shoe as well.

To further fight backpack odors you can throw in and keep a silica bag (those little packets that come with all of your electronics) which do an excellent job of absorbing moisture and preventing the growth of mold. Of course travel enough and you’ll end up with smelly socks at some point which might make for a good ad-hoc mosquito trap.

 

The Narrowing Gap Between Power And Portability

There used to be a time when you had to make significant tradeoffs between power and portability. That was an ancient time known as the early 2010s. Now, a decade later, the narrowing gap between power and portability means we might be closer to understanding the importance of global tourism.

You can watch my video here or read on.

Shrinkage

2020 was the year most everyone couldn’t travel but tech marched on and brought us a few new eye catching leaps forward. The Sony a7C became the smallest full frame camera on the market with a tiny kit lens to match. Apple’s new M1 chip Macbook Air takes leaps toward the rest of the Macbook lineup. I could go on… but the point is these products aren’t stripped down versions of the full sized thing.

The future of portable gear is a merger with power to become a new branch of electronic evolution.

Versatility Domino Effect

Sony’s a7C is immensely customizable and the M1 Macbook Air has 20 hours of battery life. Plucking out those two features shows that portable doesn’t just mean less, it can also mean more useful. Longer battery life has some obvious advantages but look a bit further and it means you don’t always have to bring chargers or extra batteries along. The domino effect is less time spend in airport security lines. Having a 4K video camera in your phone is a travel movie or moment that’s just that much more accessible.

Refocus From Tools

Ultimately, the less you have to think about what will fit in your backpack or how heavy a lens is or that you’re at 1%, the more useful your electronics become. Your focus is best spent on the places you’ll go, people you’re going to meet, and the world around you. As our tech continues to get smaller yet remain powerful (while coming down in price too) it means more of us will get to share. We’ll get to share in different and more creative ways and tell the stories of the world around us.

There’s a quiet revolution in tech that’s happening right now. In the cross-section is a world that’s potentially smaller, more understanding, and filled with more art from around the world.

Ekster’s Aluminum Cardholder Brings Minimalism To Their Slim Wallet Line

Ekster’s line of slim wallets and cardholders has elegantly retained a classic wallet look, while ditching the traditional fold. Those small steps toward a truly minimal, modern slim wallet were a good introduction for those not wanting to make a major change to the way they carry credit cards. For everyone else though, wanting a modern look with a modern design from Ekster, the Aluminum Cardholder is a solid step in the right direction.

Sleek And Slim

The Aluminum Cardholder isn’t marketed as a wallet but its three components give you everything you’d need to carry cards, some cash, and like most wallets… no coins. Slimmer than even Ekster’s other slim wallets, the Aluminum holds 4-6 cards in its 7.4 millimeter main compartment. The exterior space-grade 6061-T6 aluminum does scuff a bit from the included money clip but it’s certainly useful if you carry cash often.

ekster aluminum cardholder

Around the back of the Aluminum is a “backpocket plate” to hold even more cards (up to 6) if the 4-6 in the main compartment won’t be enough for your needs.

Minimalism In Metal

For many, this might be too minimal a design, particularly if you’re coming from a traditional wallet. Keep that in mind for your gift buying ideas as well, someone who’s more traditional will probably be happier with one of Ekster’s more classic looks. Those other cardholders have elements – leather, folds, pockets – from traditional wallets.

But the jump into minimalism here for the Aluminum will appeal to everyone wanting to travel light. The sleek aluminum is unassuming, fits (and doesn’t stick out) of most jean front pockets, and can be expanded with the additional plate if needed.

Right Steps

The Ekster Aluminum falls more inline with competing slim wallets – the metal look, thin profile – while keeping the cardholders signature switchblade card release design. (It’s definitely a strong selling point once you try it.)  On its own Ekster’s Aluminum is a nice cardholder but put into the other options Parliament, Senate, and now you’ve got a broad spectrum to choose from. From modern wallet to ultra-slim, the Aluminum is one traveler’s should take a close look at.

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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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