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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.

How NFTs Could Change Travel

Everydays: The First 5000 Days

The digital photo above sold for $69.3 million dollars. It’s called Everydays: The First 5000 Days by the artist Beeple and although the digital art was auctioned off at Christie’s, you can see I was able to easily copy and paste it above. That does not mean though I’m the owner of the NFT, a concept that may revolutionize how we travel.

What Are NFTs

NFT stands for non-fungible token, in other words something that is unique and can’t be duplicated. NFTs are in a sense akin to rare baseball cards like a 1952 Mickey Mantle that sold for 5.2 million USD. A baseball card is something tangible however, you can hold it in your hands, you buy it and it’s yours. With NFTs the digital file like the image aboven can still be copied like any other file except the NFT, like a public certificate of authenticity, belongs only to one individual.

To get more detailed: the only way to own an NFT is to buy it through a transaction that’s recorded on the blockchain. Blockchain is a way of publicly documented translations. The person who bought Beeple’s artwork above has a public record of that transaction. You can listen to a more thorough explanation of NFTs on the foXnoMad Podcast but your two main takeaways should be: NFTs establish authenticity and chain of ownership.

Wild West Of NFT Trading

Imagine your favorite musician minting songs from their new albums to sell as NFTs. Everyone can still listen to the music but only one person will own the NFT. Think of it as sort of an autograph: you can get the album anywhere but there’s only one Britney Spears signed limited edition.

listening to music

The same concept can be applied to a driver’s license or passport. Fakes are possible but when you check the authenticity of the document against the records of the government who issued them, the frauds become evident. Right now, NFTs are making headlines with high price sales of NBA video clips selling for $240,000 and the grumpy cat meme selling for $83,000.

So why would anyone want to buy one? Well, NFTs have made it possible for specific digital assets to be rare – a rarity people are so far, willing to pay for. The market for NFTs is a rapidly evolving on sure to make even more expensive headlines but aside from the art trade, it has implications for travelers.

True Digital Passports?

Given how digital everything is these days, it does seem a bit odd to carry around a paper book you get stamped when entering a new country. Of course those paper passports are authenticated through centralized computer systems but NFTs could solve that middleman process. Being one of a kind authenticated digital assets that are publicly documented could mean an eventual end to paper passports.

An NFT-based passport and visas would be much, much more difficult to forge and if you lose the device containing your NFT passport, regenerating one through a digital portal is a lot faster than today’s snail mail methods. Of course, how this will all look (an app on your phone?) isn’t clear since it’s the very early days of NFT popularity. The reach into the travel industry for NFTs though is wide from everything to plane and event tickets to yes, maybe your passport too.

5 Ways To Use Frequent Flyer Miles (Other Than Flying)

air force one replica

You might not be flying as much lately – global pandemic or otherwise – but your accumulated frequent flyer miles don’t have to go to waste. Although many airlines have extended frequent flyer programs so your miles won’t expire any time soon, you can put the miles you have now to good use.

Here are 5 ways to use your frequent flyer miles for everything that’s not a flight.

1. Shopping

Most airlines have online malls with a number of retailers including Apple and Best Buy. You’ll find these online malls through the airline mileage website and can use any miles you have for discounts or to purchase items outright. Additionally if you’re using a credit card with mile perks, they most likely will have an online store as well.

sydney australia mall

2. Take A Road Trip

Frequent flyer miles can be used for car rentals or hotels so don’t limit yourself to the sky. As a general rule you’ll get more bang for your mile using points in the travel industry as opposed to a new iPad (see point 1 above).

3. Convert To Cash

You can trade in frequent flyer miles for cash, especially if they’re accumulated through a credit card. NerdWallet breaks down Marriott’s award program (.3 cents per point) but according to Alex Miller, the CEO of Upgraded Points, you want to aim for conversions of a cent per mile.

trove wallet

4. Donate

You’re a good person, I’m sure but just so you know, unless you bought your frequent flyer miles donating them won’t be a tax deduction in most cases. You can though donate your miles, in case you didn’t know that. (Works for random currency you’ve accumulated traveling too.) There are a number of good causes most mileage programs have partnered with and your miles can help others escape political violence or make ends meet (by converting miles to cash).

sunset flight

5. Give To Friends And Family

There’s often a fee to transfer miles to another account (if you’re married though maybe not so contact the airline) but for those people who need to fly, your miles might help them get what they need for a free flight. Like many of the points already mentioned, the best way is through the airline’s online mileage program site, then call to see what better options they might offer you.

While You Wait

Most people haven’t checked up on the miles they have recently or when they might be expiring. If that sounds like you, check your frequent flyer miles right now to make sure they aren’t (or haven’t) vanished. Contact the airlines to see what extension plans are in effect since when travel does resume, you’re likely to get some great deals with the miles you have. So, unless you have a good reason not to, it’s best to stash your miles until you’re ready for sky time since they can protect you from flight cancellations as well.

Trove Wallet Might Convince You On Minimalist Money Carrying

The Trove Wallet is a slim wallet that differs itself from the competition buy going for a small and soft aesthetic that might entice you to finally leave the fold.

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

Trove’s Minimalism

Like most slim wallets, the Trove Wallet cuts down on pockets by giving you space for the stuff you actually use. Unlike most slim wallets however, the Trove is made of an elastic material, not hard plastic or metal. The flexibility of the design, which primarily uses two fabrics stitched together results in a wallet that’s only as big as it needs to be.

trove wallet

The first elastic fabric comes in a variety of colors you can choose from with a single piece of material (reflex, carbon-fiber, or leather) used to hold the form together. (Reflex and carbon fiber are vegan options.) All of the components can be configured with the colors you want from the reflex to the stitching or you can choose from Trove’s default selection.

Additionally, you can add a “Swift” tab which let’s you pull up your cards out of the front pocket of the Trove. Honestly, I couldn’t see using this wallet without it.

Fabric Design

Although the Trove Wallet is physically small, it’s also physically diverse and inconspicuous. There are three compartments, two on the top and one on the bottom formed by the tension between the two top pockets coming together. The best way to use the Trove is to put your 2 or 3 most used cards in the front pocket, less used cards in the rear pocket, and cash in the “underneath” pocket. You could also use this underneath pocket for receipts or miscellaneous items like a coin or two but you won’t be able to carry much change at all.

Who’s The Trove For?

Read this part first, react, then give it a second to sink in: the Trove Wallet holds up to 10 cards and a few bills of cash, maybe a receipt. Your gut reaction might be “there’s no way I can reduce my wallet to all of that!” But if you check your current wallet, that’s probably all you’re carrying as it is. (Plus that membership card you haven’t looked at in 5 years.)

For frequent travelers, the trade offs for a slim wallet will be worth the switch. The Trove Wallet is slim, light, and so much more convenient although it takes a week to get used to the new form factor. Traditionalists who don’t like change probably aren’t reading at this point but if you’ve been on the fence about slim wallets, the Trove brings a lot of the best from folding and slim wallets.

How To Rent An Office Anywhere In The World

Renting an office most anywhere in the world can be an expensive commitment. Often on trips longer than a few days (or just pandemics in general) you need a quiet place to work outside of your home or rental accommodation. Regus Spaces is a service that let’s you rent temporary space in over 3,300 locations worldwide with agreements as short as one month. Here’s how it works.

Regus Rentals

Regus is a company with a network of 3300 work spaces worldwide and includes other brands like Spaces, which is focused on temporary or short-term rentals. There are a number of options using Spaces but it basically breaks down into two basic categories: time and type.

The first general option with a Spaces subscription is the duration. You sign up for a monthly or year subscription (discounts if you do the latter) and can cancel with one month’s notice. If you only need temporary office space for a month, simply cancel the day you sign up. Options to rent are 5, 10, or unlimited days in a month with some restrictions. Most notably the days of the week (business days only) and hours (typically from 9am-5pm). Otherwise you’re free to use your office days as you please and can book at any of the 3,300 locations the day before.

regus spaces office

The second option is type.

  • Lounge Access – Similar to an airport lounge, this levels gives you access to Regus business lounges. These are open spaces with free high-speed (I’ve tested, it’s fast) wifi and common facilities like a printer, scanner, and photocopier.
  • Co-Working Option – Includes all the Lounge Perks but guarantees you a desk with rates (varying worldwide) starting at a little over $100.
  • Private Office – Gives you a dedicated private office space, including access to all of the perks and spaces in the other plan types.

The private office option usually runs about double the price of a co-working monthly membership.

Not Renting A Single Space

It’s important to note that in all of these Spaces plans you’re not renting a single co-working desk or private office in say, Berlin. Your subscription gives you access to all of the 3,300 Regus locations. Working one day in Berlin then flying to London for a business trip? You can split your days in between them or simply try a new office across town from another Regus location.

Every office has a different design, some are open plans with large windows while others are more traditional four walls and a desk. You can visit any of the locations as a member or set one up to see what nearby options are before you sign up. Take a look in my video here of a look inside a Regus/Space temporary office. For those of you who travel frequently or simply need a quiet place to get some work done outside of the house or hotel, Spaces has a number of flexible places in a location that might be close to you.

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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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