I spoke a little about it earlier but I’ve been spending the last few months with a couple of brand new Arc’teryx travel bags. I was given the opportunity to test them out and I’m thankful for that as I’m a big fan of demoing and testing anything, but especially suitcases, tennis racquets and ice cream! Actually I’m kind of lactose intolerant so let’s sub out video games for ice cream, my apologies Ben and Jerry… sorry, back to talking suitcases and Arc’teryx bags!
Ok so the first trip was a 5 week tour with my band Rococode. Now since I don’t like bringing too much on tour I opted for the smaller ‘carry-on’ sized bag, the Arc’teryx Covert CO. The following trip, a vacation family to Hawaii, I thought I’d pull out the big guns and use the larger sized, Arc’teryx Covert CI. Two different excursions, two different needs.
On a side note, after spending the past few years only touring with a carry-on sized bag for whatever length of trip, I’m still trying to figure out how I filled the larger one up on only a two week vacation?! For the sake of my reputation, let’s just call it thorough testing…
Let’s get straight into it and talk about their features…
Aside from the size and color, the features and designs to these bags are the same, both feature very sturdy zippers, super high strength fabric, plenty of gripping handles, and then straps for converting into a backpack. They don’t have wheels, but they also don’t have an inner spine so in return it keeps the weight to the bare minimum. After filling up the larger bag with all my entire closet, I’ll admit, it was a little heavy for those straps, especially if you were hoping to walk comfortably across an airport such as Heathrow or O’Hare, but then I’m talking about the Covert CI, and the CI stands for ‘Check In’ for a reason! The plus to having a spineless bag that converts into a backpack is that heavy or not, it feels comfortable against your back. It’s build-in inner compression straps keep everything inside tight and together, helping it conform to your back. It made me feel ‘one with my bag’. You do start to feel the weight on your shoulders over a longer haul due to the thinner shoulder straps. But it seems as though nothing was done without a reason, and the reason behind the thin shoulder straps is because they can be removed and slid away into a sly pocket near the top handle. I like this feature and it makes the bags look so slick. Clean lines. I’d take a slimmer shoulder strap that tucks away from a larger clunky strap any day. Maybe it’s just my love for suitcases but the word sexy comes to mind when I think about this feature.
A slight personal beef with these bags are that when the shoulder straps are out and being used there is almost 2 feet of extra strapping just dangling around on each strap and they don’t really stay in the pocket that is meant for the full strap when in hiding. BUT once again, there is a reason for this too! If you only pull out one strap, zip the other one away, then you can use the extra strapping and convert it into a shoulder strap like a satchel or in my case a large murse, or ‘man purse’ . I like the idea, great versatility… but the straps still annoy me when I use it as a backpack. Nothing a simple elastic can’t solve though, ha.
One of the other features that I noticed right away was the tiny little zipper pulls. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about them at first. They felt sturdy and of good quality but I wondered if people with larger ‘mitt’ hands might find them too small? By the end of the trip I knew I liked them, the look, design and feel of them won me over.
“The logo side goes against my back?” I pondered to myself upon first putting to my back.
“Aren’t I supposed to be a walking billboard and display the bag logo to the people behind me?”
Nope. Not on these bags. The logos are small and subtle, a classy move in my opinion, and on the front of the straps, not the back. My theory is this: When you remove it as a backpack, it falls off your back and onto it’s back, straps (and logo) facing up towards the sky… so logo remains upright and more importantly I feel, cleaner as it’s furthest from the ground. Maybe I think too much about this things, but with a company like Arc’teryx, I’m willing to bet they have more reasons that that for it.
These bags are ideal for anyone wanting a little more get up and go options while still maintaining the true shape of a suitcase. Ideal for anyone hoping to trade a little suitcase weight in for a few more clothes. Ideal for anyone who wants a sleek looking bag and cares about its longevity. All in all, there’s an exceptional level of craftsmanship that has gone into these bags and if you don’t mind loosing the wheels to your carry-on or check-in then I know these will be right up your ally. I’m sold.
Thank you Arc’teryx for this opportunity.
The Covert CI in the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii
my first pack in the Covert CO
and don’t forget that the best book ever, award winning even, also fits quite well in these bags. To get your own personalized copy, go here!
How flip flop sandals can save your life, a short essay assignment by Shaun Huberts.
I’ll make this as simple as possible…
Public showers (but also including hotel pool areas, rock star arena change-rooms, guest rooms and green rooms) are gross. Sometimes even filthy.
Do not enter these places on a regular basis without expectations for developing some sort of foot rot. That is unless you wear protection. That’s correct, this is a safety message brought to you by your local podiatrist and me! WEAR FLIP FLOPS! They are so easy to travel with, they are light, they dry quickly and they’re cheap! They will protect your feet from the grime that may sleeping on the floor of that old venue shower just waiting to climb aboard your foot, dig deep into your skin or toe nails and infect the shizz outta ya! Ok sorry, now I’m going for the shock value message, but it’s only because I care. Oh and did I mention sandals were cheap?! As in even cheap enough for musicians. Yes, that cheap.
So no excuses, pick up a cheap pair for your next trip, vacation or tour, and at least save yourself from contracting swine flu? This lesson was also brought to you by the letter ‘W’… as in warts. I’ve said enough.
for more thoughts and advice, you can always browse through my book?! Until next time,
How Do You Pack?
So it’s a new year, 2013, (oh and ps Happy New Year to you all) and so it’s time to get some new packing talk, photo’s and fun from all of your favorite Rock Stars! I like my collection of this in the book BUT I think we can go deeper and further and find some of your other favorite musicians, right? Agree? Well let’s do it, so stay tuned and you’ll start to see some newer content from even more, even bigger, and who knows what else, but stay tuned!
If you have any suggestions for people you’d like to include, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR maybe even TWEET at them and suggest that we should get in touch :)
side note, thanks to my friends Daria, Phoebe, Radka and Griffin for sending in these great shots of their suitcases and starting us off and answering the question, How Do You Pack?!
Merry Packing Christmas! I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and safe travels if you are heading home to visit family at all. Much love, and we’ll talk more packing fun soon! OH and DON’T FORGET TO TAKE PICTURES and send them to me to tweet me up or Facebook em to me, whatever you do, just send them and you could win FREE BOOKS!
Also it’s been a while and I just remembered that I did this video with a super shaking camera and all but if you want to watch a creepy fun Christmas art video (possibly again) that I did a while ago, here it is, enjoy, and Merry Packing Christmas everyone!
Ok here’s the deal for the How To Pack Photo Contest… I want you to take a picture of your suitcase wherever you are during these holidays, whether at your parents, away on vacation or home by yourself! Get as creative as you can! Exotic scenery is great but so is a Star Wars Christmas, so the only rule is to have fun and show off your packing skills! After you have created a masterpiece, send that image to me either by twitter @shaunhuberts #howtopack, facebook.com/howtopacklikearockstar or by emailing it directly to me at email@example.com.
That’s it! OH RIGHT, the prizes?! Well the winner will get a copy of the book for themselves AND a friend along with a couple special edition postcards and luggage tags! If you don’t like those prizes but I choice your photo as the winner then we’ll barter for something even cooler?!!
PS If you need any ideas or refreshers on how to pack, have a look at some of the galleries that I’ve put up from others who’ve sent in shots or some of the real rock star’s packs… PACK LIKE THIS?
OH and yes, there probably could or will be a bonus for those who can include any How To Pack stuff in the pictures… but then again if you already have a copy of the book then you probably wouldn’t be as interested in entering the contest… unless you feel like you have something to show off and you have completely mastered the art of the pack and want to one-up me?!! To that I say, I double dog dare you.
CONTEST has no end, but HERE ARE THE RESULTS!
Congrats go out to Brandon, you won!
BUT there are other winners too… I just decided today that I had to hand out at least one more award so…
2nd place (for creativly packing in your clothes into your gig bag) goes to Radka, you’ve won a book too!
There are also a bunch of Honorable Mentions and so I’m going to send you each a limited edition How To Pack postcard personally thanking you for entering the contest, so congrats to Ellen, Griffin, Amy, Phoebe and Daria! And thank you everyone else who entered!!!
I’ve spent a lot of time debating on whether or not to trust the hotel iron. I’ve been in hundreds of hotel rooms, from absolute shite to utter delight, and almost everyone one of them had an iron… to some level of usability! And chances are, even the rooms which don’t have an iron would have one available for you to use at the front desk. So keeping with the ‘lighter suitcases are better suitcases” theme, I wouldn’t recommend worrying about bringing your own wrinkler-remover device while you travel. That being said (and possibly completely contradictory!) a small personal steamer doesn’t take up much room or weight as well as a flat iron used for you hair can sure come in handy for smaller jobs like shirts collars (as mentioned in my book).
OK but on to the real debate, can you trust, The Hotel Iron? In my opinion it depends on a few things. First of all, what you are ironing?
Is it expensive, and would you be extremely angry if it was ruined? If yes, chances are you’re not staying in a seedy motel and therefore 87.2% (rough estimate) of the irons you will encounter should keep you calm.
light in color? If yes, test the iron first on something else white, like a hotel bath towel. I have encountered dark dyes and residue stuck onto an iron before and didn’t realize it until it was heated up and ready-to-go… and when I say ready-to-go I mean ready to go and stain my white shirt. Beware. Also beware if the hotel you are staying in has dark towels instead of clean white ones… *side note, brown towels scare me the most.
Delicate fabric? Well you know best how to look after this type of clothing, so it should come as common sense when using the hotel iron… use your best judgment!
In closing, most hotel iron’s should work just fine and do the trick BUT don’t just turn it on and assume that, test it out first. If it doesn’t look up to your standards call the front desk and ask if they have a newer one. Oh and this goes for the ironing boards as well!
Happy travels and best of ironing luck to you.
Suitcases come in all shapes and sized, and while some may be better than others, just remember that it should suit you, your style and your personally. If you like the pliability of a duffel bag and don’t mind slinging it over your shoulder then go with that. Prefer four wheels and an upright easy push? Then go with that. Don’t worry about what works for others, do what works for you, cause that’s how to choose a suitcase.
In saying that, I’ll now talk about what works for me and why… and yes, I get the irony here…
I tend to go with a 20″ soft-case carry on. I’ve got a larger 24″ bag too but after a few tours with just a carry-on I find that a larger bag is excessive now. Even on a 4-6 week tour I find that I’ve got enough room in my carry on for all my needs… minus perhaps a warm coat if entering a colder country (but I’d wear it on travel days so no need to pack it)… and granted I am a guy and it’s easier for us; a few jeans, a few shirts and we’re good to go!
I’ve tried various brands, shapes and sizes and there are great features and pros to each but to me, portability is the key! I try to keep the size and weight down, keeping my ability to toss my bag from here to there while maintaining it’s shape and keeping my clothes in order is a plus.
Duffel bags are excellent for this, extremely light and super pliable, jam it into any ‘ol space, but it’s harder to keep it’s insides looking neat, therefore I don’t get the joy of opening my bag and looking at a solved game of tetris. A 4-wheeled easy-push is nice for smooth surface pushing, like in an airport, but outside even a rough sidewalk can cause these small shopping cart like wheels to tremor. They open nicely and keep your clothes protected with a nice rigid case, but struggles with it’s weight and pliability. Sounds like I’m talking about a body builder from muscle beach… weighs a lot, not too flexible and has trouble keeping their balance (shaped like a triangle, tiny legs, add other jokes here)…
Ok before I get off topic, let me repeat my entire point here… in order to find the best suitcase for you, try borrowing a few suitcases from friends and test out a few different styles. And whatever you do, find out what works best for you!
on a side note, this Fall I will be testing out a couple of bags from Arc’teryx, ones with no wheels and kind of a duffel bag slash soft case hybrid… anyway, more about that in an upcoming post!