Choosing the right backpack

Most of my opinions on travel have been formed on relatively short term jaunts – a couple weeks here, a month there, or a weekend away. So while I advocate a packing light mantra as a means to free yourself from the confines of heavy bulky gear I have no experience scaling this philosophy to trips lasting a year (I’m not sure I would want to constantly travel for a year but it sounds nice). Geoff in his travel weblog Itinerant Londoner has a detailed guide to choosing the right backpack within the context of a year long trip. His final decision rests with either a Lowe Alpine Travel Trekker ND60 or a Osprey Porter 65 which at 60-65 litres are far larger than the Tom Bihn pack I use. Though large for my tastes they are still far smaller than the packs I used to see backpackers in Thailand carry – backpackers too tired and encumbered from their huge packs to actually enjoy the environment they travelled to.

Travelling solo for a year means there will be very few constants in my life. The most important of which will be my backpack. Choose the right one and it will make my journey easier…choose the wrong one and I’ll be cursing it for being like a ball and chain that I can’t escape from.
I thought finding my perfect travelling companion would be easy, I figured it was largely a matter of deciding what size I wanted and then just choosing one. How wrong I was. What I thought would be a quick decision has taken ages…so I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt along the way, just in case you’re thinking of doing something similar.

He mentions the Osprey Porter 65 and the Lowe Alpine Travel Trekker ND60. Out of the two I would pick the Osprey Porter but the Porter 46 and not the 65.
Continue at the Itinerant Londoner

Lacoste City Casual Medium Messenger

‘The alligator’ is not a brand I would normally associate with bags but I saw a similar messenger while out shopping for post-CNY sales. It’s pretty respectable for basic uses and it has the Lacoste logo front and center for the brand conscious. The City Casual Medium messenger pictured has a large interior pocket with the increasingly popular magnetic flap closure, 2 internal sections, and a key ring loop. It might make a suitable replacement for my current workhorse messenger but I would have to take off the alligator. And that’s the reason it costs so much right? Available online or at a corner near you.

iPod Nano Notebook

While on the hunt for a better case for my wife’s iPod Nano 4G I came across iPod notebook case from Dutch company Scripta. It looks good and would be a good fit with the way she writes notes and reminders. She’s wisely analogue. The case features leather and foam construction in a variety of colors. Pictured is the 3G version with a 4G promised in April.

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OFFI Perf Boxes

A grown-up version of the milk crates I used to use in college. These beautiful and finely crafted boxes offer a great deal of flexibility to store all kinds of things – perhaps even LP’s like I used my crates for.
Available here.

Roger McNamee talks about the Palm Pre

Kara Swisher talks to Palm’s “sugar-daddy investor” Roger McNamee about the Pre. McNamee talks about the features of the smartphone, including a pull-out keyboard, and address book synchronization. Set to address the iPhone and Blackberry, among others, the Pre could be Palm’s comeback kid story.

Elevation Partners believes that in 10 years, 50% of mobile device volumes will run a smartphone OS. I’m really excited about this device.



Dramatically and easily enhance photos from your built-in iPhone camera or iPhone/iPod Touch photo library using CameraBag’s advanced filters that emulate several different camera and film styles, giving your photos an old-school, cinematic appeal.

I’m having allot of fun with this. Love it. CameraBag. Via swissmiss.

Chinese to send 18 bln text messages during Spring Festival

China’s mobile phone users might send more than 18 billion text messages during the week-long Spring Festival that runs until January 31, telecom operators said Monday.
Many of this year’s messages feature a play on words. Under the lunar calendar, 2009 is the year of the Ox, or “niu” in Chinese. So millions of people have gotten greetings saying “Happy Niu Year.”
Text messaging has become increasingly popular during the festival, the biggest holiday in China. Last Lunar New Year, 17 billion messages were sent, compared with 15.2 billion in 2007, 12.6 billion in 2006 and 11 billion in 2005.

It’s holiday here which accounts for a lighter than normal work schedule for me. In the past Chinese New Year meant time spent travelling but with two small children it’s been put on hold for another year.

Chest Hair T-shirt


For those who don’t make the connection between typographical swirls and pectoral curls, “chest hair” is spelled out with calligraphic flair.

Love it. The tee, not chest hair. Available at Veer.

Mickey Tee

This is a daddy version of one of the many characters my kids wear on their clothes. We failed ages ago in our o brand name mantra. I would stick with the black version versus the mustard and pink versions they seem to promote. Available Japan’s Zozotown.

Local Brand Blind T-shirt

I haven’t visited Singapore’s Local Brand in ages. They haven’t updated their online store front in almost the same length of time but their designs still feel relevant and fresh. Above is their ‘blind’ shirt which they describe as:

A progressive society that prides itself in innovation and growth cannot afford to fall into the trap of blind obedience. This shirt is a reminder that it is our moral obligation to challenge norms, question authority and evolve traditions. Obedience is a surrender of power. Dispense it wisely. [The front of the t-shirt boasts an embossed (puff) print of actual Braille lettering that spells the word, ‘Blind’.]

Local Brand