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Help me refine my packing list for Japan!

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    Help me refine my packing list for Japan!

    In a little over a week, I'll be going to Japan for 7 days. I'll be meeting up with my boyfriend (taking a week off after being there for a week for business) and his sister and her fiance (who have been traveling for a couple months so I'm really looking forward to joining them for a little bit!). Plans are very up in the air, but we're probably going to get out of Tokyo almost immediately and are trying to visit some smaller towns, see some temples, and do some short hikes (recommendations are always welcome! I've been eyeing Kamakura, Hakone, and the Kiso Valley). So packing light and being able to easy go from place to place is very important. Also of note, I'm petite so my clothes don't take up much room (lucky me).

    I definitely want to take my S19 as my main bag - it fits me so perfectly and will be useful for hiking. I'm not good at one-bagging it so I'll also have a second bag, worn crossbody. Option 1: second bag is my Side Effect - would then have the S19 under the seat and SE hanging from the seat back. Option 2: second bag is a larger bag (probably a to-be-acquired MCB? I live in Seattle so can get this fairly last-minute) - would then put all my plane needs in the second bag to be under the seat with the S19 in the overhead bin. I'm not sure if I can fit everything with just the SE as my second bag, so I'm leaning towards Option 2.

    Here's the list (note that pretty much all clothing is merino) - please help me cut down and/or pack efficiently!

    will wear on plane:
    1 pair undies, 1 bra, 1 pair socks
    leggings, dress, wrap cardigan
    circle scarf
    minimalist shoes

    These can all fit in a WF small packing cube:
    2x tank top
    2x long sleeve shirt (might wear one of these over the dress on the plane, depending on weather)
    1x long sleeve button up
    1 pair jeggings
    1x sweatshirt

    Other clothes that I need to figure out how I'm packing:
    rain jacket
    extra undies
    1 bra
    2 pairs socks
    pj pants + top

    Electronics:
    smartphone, Kindle, charging cable, jackery bar, ear buds

    Toiletries:
    3D clear organizer cube w/ travel-sized toothpaste, soap, deodorant, lotion
    travel toothbrush, small comb, floss, chapstick, lint brush, luna cup, razor (I think I can actually fit all/most of this also in the 3D cube)
    meds in small organizer pouch
    couple pairs of earrings

    Other:
    small wallet
    compact shopping bag
    sunglasses in case
    keys
    stainless steel water bottle & plane snacks (probably a bag of mixed nuts, a piece of fruit, and a small salad) - these are non-negotiable, as I get very grumpy if I don't have lots of water and snacks

    Listing it all out, it seems like it should fit in the S19 + SE, but I'm not sure about the best way to fit it all in. I've tried putting the rest of the clothes in stuff sacks and fitting them in the main compartment, but it gets crowded fast and doesn't seem to be a good use of space - maybe another packing cube that I can put on top of the WF small one (which I can squeeze in horizontally)? Things would obviously be less crowded if using a larger second bag - I'd be putting all the electronics, the meds, and everything under "other" in there - does a MCB seem like a good fit for this? Does anyone have experience using the S19 and MCB together?

    Any suggestions are welcome!

    #2
    @ClaireJ,

    Quick initial thought: could you use a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag in place of the Side Effect as your second bag? It has larger capacity and is very light, plus you can also use it as your in-flight seat bag. It has less internal organization than an SE, but you could also fold it completely up to carry as an empty bag, too, and is better for clothes. Your travel documents and boarding passes could go into the front diagonal pocket.

    HTH

    moriond

    ETA: Did you see @Lani's old Travelite blog post about packing a Synapse for a week-long trip to Japan? The Eagle Creek Specter 2 cubes can also be helpful here (it's why I pack my merino garments down into the Quarter Cube -- if you're petite, you can use less room this way than you'd need for a size #2 TSS, so a combination of the more structured Tom Bihn packing cubes and the lighter weight (and differently sized) Eagle Creek Specter 2 cubes can be effective.
    Last edited by moriond; 03-11-2015, 01:53 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      I also like the EC specter 2 compression cubes. They do end up pillow-like, but that allows extra space for a TSS here and there. I like the Size 2 TSS for my waterproof jacket, but if I want it to be flat, it works well in the half compression cube.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

      Comment


        #4
        @moriond Thank you for the suggestion! I used to have a PCSB but I ended up selling it because it didn't quite work for me - I ended up only using it as a packing cube because it was a little too floppy/unorganized as a shoulder bag for my taste (and I prefer a vertical orientation to the horizontal one), so I figured I was better off with a dedicated packing cube. Might be time to re-purchase though because it would be very useful for this particular case...

        I'm definitely going to look into the Eagle Creek Specter cubes! The half-cube looks like it might be just the right size for the rest of my clothes on top the WF small cube... Actually I think the travel store near me carries them, so should be no problem getting them last minute.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ClaireJ View Post
          @moriond Thank you for the suggestion! I used to have a PCSB but I ended up selling it because it didn't quite work for me - I ended up only using it as a packing cube because it was a little too floppy/unorganized as a shoulder bag for my taste (and I prefer a vertical orientation to the horizontal one), so I figured I was better off with a dedicated packing cube. Might be time to re-purchase though because it would be very useful for this particular case...
          @ClaireJ I agree with you that the PCSBs in 200d Dyneema can be a bit floppy for some uses as a shoulder bag. It's why I believe they should continue to offer this accessory in 400d Dyneema, and why I made sure to buy the PCSB in 400d Dyneema last year Spring when they did their one-time, limited production runs of the PCSB, PCBPs for WF/Tri-Star and Aeronaut 45, and Shop Bags, when they ran low of their supply of regular 200d Dyneema.

          My recommendation for making a PCSB of 200d Dyneema less floppy is to insert a Medium Double Organizer Pouch in the front diagonal zippered pocket. The doubled layer of clear urethane+pouch fabric acts as a stiffener, since the pouch nearly completely fills the pocket. The medium DOP also serves a useful purpose of carrying your tickets, boarding passes, or travel itineraries, along with your passport, etc. in separate pockets. It's also good for holding postcards, stamps, etc.

          My preference is to use a lightweight, smooth fabric like 500d Cordura or Parapack for these purposes, but they may have used up a lot of the remaining 500d Cordura making linings in Crimson, Sapphire, etc. for bags like the ID, Ego, Zephyr, etc that are being retired. Parapack is also nice and smooth, if less colorful.

          As @Pokilani said, the EC Specter cubes allow you to pack things in rectangular cubes that can be easier to efficiently use available bag volume. The limitation/feature is that the Silnylon material is so lightweight that the cubes take their shape from their contents. That's why having a combination of the Tom Bihn packing cubes (to provide structure while still being light weight) and the EC cubes can be useful. The EC cubes are also good for delicate items, like scarves, because the material won't catch on the light weight zippers.

          HTH

          moriond

          Comment


            #6
            I did Japan with my clothes in an S19 and my tech gear and "others" in a 10-litre Co-Pilot. And yes, I also used Specter cubes. The 8-litre MCB would probably work too but I liked the compartmentalization that the Co-Pilot offers.
            @mrbrown on Twitter, happy owner of a Black Original Halcyon A45, Navy and Burnt Orange A30s, Navy Tristar, Navy WF, Navy NFTD, Navy DLBC, Navy Pilot, Navy and Burnt Orange Co-Pilots, Navy, Burnt Orange, Nordic and Black Halcyon Side Effects, Burnt Orange, French Blue and Nordic Halcyon DLBPs, Linen SCB, Nordic Halycon S25, Nordic Halycon HsJ, Burnt Orange Maker's Bag, and Burnt Orange, Navy and Original Halcyon S19s (yes three, because they are THAT awesome).

            Comment


              #7
              @moriond, you always have such great advice! I never thought about putting something like the Medium Double Organizer Pouch (can I call this the MDOP ??) in the PCSB to add structure - I can definitely see that helping with the floppiness, plus being useful for documents.

              @mrbrown, yes, I remember you posting that packing list! I'll admit it was part of what pushed me to really try for the S19 as my main bag for this trip. I have mixed feelings about the Co-Pilot - I suspect I would absolutely love the organization (the centered water bottle pocket is one of my favorite things about the Synapse), but I find the shape, especially in black which is likely the color I would get, to look very luggage-y, and I'm hoping for something that can "pass" as a purse (part of why I love my Side Effect).

              A MCB (in Azure! Normally I'd go for a neutral, but since black is back-ordered, I'm thinking this might be a good pop of color for spring/summer against my mostly neutral wardrobe) may have fallen into my cart this morning. I also needed an excuse to check out the small size of the Q-Kit. As usual, TB goes above and beyond and my order has already been shipped so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an arrival tomorrow for test packing this weekend! And if it's not quite right for this trip, that doesn't necessarily mean I have to return it, right?

              Comment


                #8
                FWIW, I had a similar setup during a week-long trip to the PNW last year. I went with the A30 + MCB, and I found the backpack + crossbody worked really well for transit (planes and trains). I also used the MCB as my purse and took it on day hikes. I'd travel with that setup again in a heartbeat.

                And if the MCB doesn't work for you, I insist that you keep it! I mean, AZURE!
                kindness is contagious.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Bermudajes, your "insist" comment just cracks me up!

                  Azure, yes! I am tempted to get a cafe bag just for Azure. Alas, the flap closure is not really my thing. I'm hoping Azure will appear in other items soon.

                  ClaireJ, here's hoping it will be the perfect combo for your trip! I'd love to see photos of your practice packing, if you can. elisa

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I've been warming up more and more to the idea of Azure, especially in a PLO (love the forum acronyms . I've already severely limited the colors in my wardrobe (trying to do the whole minimalist thing), and I think it will match all of them without adding more boring black! Keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well with the near-neutral burgundy/wine color I really like.

                    I'm not the best at packing photos, but I'll try to take some when I practice pack this weekend, at the very least to show off my gorgeous grey S19 and (hopefully arrived and hopefully gorgeous) azure MCB!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ClaireJ View Post
                      I've been warming up more and more to the idea of Azure, especially in a PLO (love the forum acronyms . I've already severely limited the colors in my wardrobe (trying to do the whole minimalist thing), and I think it will match all of them without adding more boring black! Keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well with the near-neutral burgundy/wine color I really like.

                      I'm not the best at packing photos, but I'll try to take some when I practice pack this weekend, at the very least to show off my gorgeous grey S19 and (hopefully arrived and hopefully gorgeous) azure MCB!
                      @ClaireJ, Azure and Grey look lovely together! I'm not at home, so I can't run back and take a picture (and I only have a wallet in Grey). I think you'll definitely want to keep that bag whether or not you take it along with you for your trip.

                      As for MCB vs. other bag options for your second bag, go with the bag that makes your heart sing! By all means take along a Medium Cafe Bag if that's the bag (and color) that calls out to you. Sometimes, just viewing the spot of color makes people happy.

                      moriond

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The MCB came today! It's bigger than I expected (compared to the SCB I have), but I'm coming around to the size because it's really perfect for what I want to use it for. Azure is *very* bright and a bit greener than I thought it would be. It's definitely a pop of color which I'm pretty sure is a good thing but will take a little getting used to, coming from my very neutral color palette. Here's a quick shot (my cat is a box fiend so had to come over to look too) - note that it's not super color accurate on my screen, IRL Azure is more vivid and more green.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ClaireJ View Post
                          The MCB came today! It's bigger than I expected (compared to the SCB I have), but I'm coming around to the size because it's really perfect for what I want to use it for. Azure is *very* bright and a bit greener than I thought it would be. It's definitely a pop of color which I'm pretty sure is a good thing but will take a little getting used to, coming from my very neutral color palette. Here's a quick shot (my cat is a box fiend so had to come over to look too) - note that it's not super color accurate on my screen, IRL Azure is more vivid and more green.

                          @ClaireJ, So glad you like your MCB! Azure is greener than I originally expected, too. Here's a comparison picture of Azure with a Turquoise Clear Organizer Wallet that I posted a couple of months ago that brings up the green tones:



                          I think that azure goes better with Grey than Turquoise does. I ordered an Azure Clear Organizer Wallet thats coming in the shipment currently en route (with the new FJN).

                          BTW, The cat "makes" your picture.

                          moriond

                          Comment


                            #14
                            As promised, here are some photos of my practice pack. It's a bit gloomy out today, but I did my best with what natural light there was.

                            First, everything all laid out, ready to go. See the list in my first post for what's there.
                            Click image for larger version

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                            Then, into packing cubes, etc (I also forgot my packtowl in the earlier photo and stuck in there here - it's to the left of the Eagle Creek cubes). The EC spectre cubes definitely slide in nicely with their slick fabric, thanks for the recommendation everyone! I also found the sizes to be perfect - the quarter cube can just squeeze in my socks, undies, and bra, while the half cube fits my PJs with room to spare (I like having them in their own space for easy access if arriving somewhere late and tired and easy packing if leaving somewhere early), and for now the rest of the clothes are in the full cube, might switch them to the WF small cube, but I do like that there's a bit more wiggle room in this cube. Oh, and there's a size 3 stuff sack in there as well for separating dirty clothes.
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                            And then into the S19 and MCB. I was actually able to fit just about everything in the S19 and SE, but like the extra room by using the MCB (plus the ability to stick the S19 in the overhead and have a little more leg room). I'm planning on using the SE for snacks, so it'll be empty and ready to be used as a small purse once I get to Tokyo.
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                            So unassuming, barely looking full at all but ready to go:
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                            ETA: My (not necessarily accurate) travel scale says the S19 is ~8.5lbs and the MCB is ~5lbs (including a full bottle of water). Not too bad!
                            Last edited by ClaireJ; 03-15-2015, 05:45 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Another shot of the two bags together:
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                              Closer...
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                              Closer...
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                              Okay, close enough!

                              I tried my best to adjust the colors to accurately represent Grey and Azure. I think Grey looks pretty accurate, but Azure is a bit more saturated/vivid IRL.

                              Phew, getting these photos took some work - I have extra admiration now for those of you taking such beautiful shots of TB bags! I'm afraid my skills don't quite live up to some on here, but hopefully people can still find this helpful.

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