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Short Business Trip - with an Empire Builder

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    Short Business Trip - with an Empire Builder

    I recently went on a 3 day/2 night trip to San Jose, CA (flying on Southwest) carrying with just my black/wasabi Empire Builder. I just looked it up in Quicken and realized I bought my Empire Builder with Absolute Strap in August, 2006 so I've had it for more than 8 years! The bag is holding up well. There are two minor issues: the seam where the handles are sewn into the bag is starting to fray and the plastic inserts between the outer and inner fabric that give the bag structure are starting to cup/warp. I asked Tom Bihn about the cupping/warping several years ago and got the reply back that it was normal and I should stuff the bag with a pillow overnight to restore the shape. I did that, but it really didn't help. I use the bag every day so unloading it every night and stuffing a pillow in it to keep its shape isn't viable; if I used it infrequently I could see keeping a pillow inside while it is stored. However, at this point I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be able to get at least 15 years out of the bag so not too concerned about either of these minor issues. The only major issue is probably my fault: the zipper at the bottom on the rollaboard sleeve has become jammed. I'll take the blame for forcing it over the handle on a rollaboard that was a little too large.

    About me: Male, 5'8", 145 lbs, Pre-Check cleared

    Wore on plane:
    - 1 pair gray Bluffworks pants with belt - look reasonably professional and fortunately a sport coat was not required on this trip
    - 1 long sleeve polo shirt
    - 1 pair black casual shoes

    Packing Cube (Although a Western Flyer cube would best fit in the Empire Builder I only have a large Tri-Star packing cube, so I stacked up the clothes on one side of the cube, zipped it up, and folded the extra material back underneath itself before putting it into the Empire Builder. Works great!)
    - 2 Brooks Brothers no-iron dress shirts
    - 2 underwear
    - 2 undershirts
    - 2 pair of socks

    Eagle Creek gadget bag:
    - Macbook Air power adapter
    - Work Blackberry power adapter
    - Compact ethernet cable (never know when you'll need it)
    - Some spare EU/UK plug adapters (extra weight for this trip but don't want to risk leaving these behind when I need them)
    - A few bandaids and other assorted items

    Since the Empire Builder has one large compartment I used two of the plastic dividers to provide a little bit of protection for my laptop. I do not use a sleeve because I find them bulky and unnecessary so I just slipped my MacBook Air 11" between the two dividers. It provided a little bit of rigidity to keep the laptop from moving around. I filled up the empty space with the small Eagle Creek bag plus:

    - Belkin 3 plug power/ 2 USB port power unit (which I needed to use at the San Jose airport to share a scarce power outlet with someone who got there before me)
    - Sennheiser compact headphones in its case
    - 1 quart ziplock bag with deodorant, contact lens case/saline, toothpaste, tooth brush
    - Another 1 quart ziplock bag with electric razor/power cord
    - Small BlenderBottle with supplies inside
    - Work Blackberry (in its case)
    - No rain in the forecast so was able to leave the umbrella at home

    Empire Builder front pocket:
    - iPhone 4S with Mophie (I'll upgrade one of these days!)
    - USB cable for Mophie/Blackberry
    - Wallet (when going through security)
    - Car key fob
    - Eyeglass case

    There was plenty of extra room so if I had needed to bring the umbrella or even a lightweight jacket I would have been fine.
    Last edited by stan01; 11-09-2014, 01:57 PM.