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My options for 15" Workstation, 3-4 night trips. One or two bags?

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    My options for 15" Workstation, 3-4 night trips. One or two bags?

    Hey guys and gals,

    New member, found you all from the FT forums. I'm starting a new position next month that will require domestic travel, mainly shorter routes in the West, 3-4 nights, 3-4 weeks/month. This is a business casual position(chinos/button-down/polo), installing computer systems into hospital laboratories. I've done slim to moderate personal travel over the years, so needless to say I'm looking to beef up my luggage game.

    I'll plan to take 3-4 pants/shirts, maybe a casual outfit, extra pair shoes, and the normal other clothing/grooming necessities. I also will have a monster 15" HP ZBook or similar which is 15.2"x10.4"x1", along with whatever its power brick is. Other work gear could include a label maker, couple small tools, and a few network cables. Some trips I may only need the laptop. Also some typical office/brief items and electronics stuff including a 9" tablet and earbuds.

    I've had a Samsonite 19" spinner, which is about 19x15x8 inside by my measurements. That works out to about 37L. I put all of my clothing/grooming stuff in there to get a reference and I have plenty of room to throw in a pair of boots too. This did not include any other work/electronics gear.

    I really like the idea of ditching the roller and having maximum mobility. Although my routes and destinations should be fairly easy, personally I'd rather have the freedom to move smartly if the SHTF or plenty of other scenarios. I've read some of the threads and seen a video or two showing options for combining laptop/brief with a larger bag for one-bag carry, but I'm still having a hard time deciding where to start. I definitely need a separate, quality messenger/brief for the laptop and associated work gear for when I reach my destination.

    Given the size of the laptop I need to carry, what would you recommend? How would you carry this stuff? I think I need to go to the A45 if I have any chance of fitting a second bag capable of handling the 15" monster? I've also been looking at the TS for more organization, but I don't think I'm doing all that in one bag. Is carrying two bags my answer?

    Thanks for the help everyone! This is such a helpful place!

    Mike

    #2
    Volumewise, the A45 will easily replace your current roller.

    However, I am not a big fan of putting larger laptops in the A45. That being said, my 15.6" laptop, in a 17" Booq Vyper Hardcase (this sleevecase is sized for a 17" MBP which is basically the same size as your HP) can be slipped into the main compartment - one side at a time. It is a bit harder to take out for TSA but doable. However, this does not allow me to have a briefcase when I arrive at my destination.

    If ok with a 2 bag setup, there are a few options. In fact, given the size of your laptop, I might be tempted to use the WF as a briefacase / personal item (it is just a bit over but other forum members have found luck to have it pass the sizer test as the sizers are actually a bit bigger than the limit). The other bag could be an A30 or even a backpack to hold your clothes.

    Going back to the single bag options, a Brain Bag might work (36L vs your 37L current roller). And, of course, there is the Heros' Journey where I can fit my 17" sleevecase (or even a Cadet) inside the main compartment easier than in the A45.

    BTW - do you mainly have flat items? If so, perhaps a TriStar might work (33L) if you can pair down some of what you carry?

    Hope this helps
    Cheers!
    Last edited by tpnl; 02-23-2017, 04:35 PM.
    TB Ballistic Black/Iberian Dyneema backpacks and briefcases for every occasion together with my cherished Nordic and Solar Dyneema!

    Comment


      #3
      Based on what you're describing, I would take an A45 + a second bag that accommodates your laptop & other gear (sorry I can't be more helpful on the second bag, am very unfamiliar with Windows laptops).

      But, here's another idea: take less clothes. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe is not at all for you, but I would bring a lot less clothing on a 3-4 business day trip. If it were me, I'd wear one pair of pants, and pack a second. I'd bring one pair of shoes, which I would wear, and I wouldn't bring any more shirts than days on the trip.

      A typical packing list for me, for a 3-4 day trip:

      I would wear:
      Button-down shirt, pants (and of course: socks, underwear, undershirt)
      In winter, I would also wear a v-neck sweater and a lightweight down jacket (which is then stuffed into stuff sack once I got to the airport)

      I would pack:
      Toiletry kit (quart size ziplock bag)
      Socks, underwear, undershirt: 3-4 (depending on the length of the trip, but also, I'd never bring more than 4)
      Shirts: 3-4
      Pants: 1
      Pajama pants
      V-neck sweater: 1

      All of that fits nicely in a WF (26L travel bag) or Smart Alec (26L backpack) using an Eagle Creek Medium Folder for the clothes, with some room to spare. Get that into a Tri-Star (33L) and you've definitely got room for some office stuff/electronics, but again, depending on what you need, maybe better to just go WF or A30 for clothes and bring a second bag.

      Again, it's all up to your comfort level - if you're happier with more clothes and two bags, then go for it! For me, traveling a lot, I would always rather have one bag that I can grab and go whenever needed. Even if it's just car, airport, taxi, hotel, I'd rather have all my things in one place, but there are plenty of people who would rather have some more creature comforts (or need to carry more business-y stuff) and would rather take two bags.

      Comment


        #4
        Also, here's a thread comparing the WF (my favorite bag!) and A30. Sounds like even with what you're carrying, you could be close on the WF if your clothes are smaller than mine!

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the replies! Yes, most of my stuff is more or less flat.

          I need to have something sturdy and with a couple pockets/org for the work laptop and items at my destination. So, I'm thinking carrying everything in a single bag probably isn't ideal for me in this case. I could definitely pull it off when traveling for leisure since the laptop wouldn't tag along.

          On that note I think I first need to decide on a bag for the laptop and associated minimum gear for work. The official specs for the laptop oriented bags don't reveal many that "work" with the dimensions I listed above. I understand real world can be a different story. Which of these can I actually get this laptop into?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by afsheen View Post
            Also, here's a thread comparing the WF (my favorite bag!) and A30. Sounds like even with what you're carrying, you could be close on the WF if your clothes are smaller than mine!
            Good point, my clothing isn't really taking too much space. I'm a 29-30 and small slim shirt.

            If I decide to carry two bags, the TS or WF will probably be what accompanies the work laptop bag.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by afsheen View Post
              Based on what you're describing, I would take an A45 + a second bag that accommodates your laptop & other gear (sorry I can't be more helpful on the second bag, am very unfamiliar with Windows laptops).

              But, here's another idea: take less clothes. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe is not at all for you, but I would bring a lot less clothing on a 3-4 business day trip. If it were me, I'd wear one pair of pants, and pack a second. I'd bring one pair of shoes, which I would wear, and I wouldn't bring any more shirts than days on the trip.

              A typical packing list for me, for a 3-4 day trip:

              I would wear:
              Button-down shirt, pants (and of course: socks, underwear, undershirt)
              In winter, I would also wear a v-neck sweater and a lightweight down jacket (which is then stuffed into stuff sack once I got to the airport)

              I would pack:
              Toiletry kit (quart size ziplock bag)
              Socks, underwear, undershirt: 3-4 (depending on the length of the trip, but also, I'd never bring more than 4)
              Shirts: 3-4
              Pants: 1
              Pajama pants
              V-neck sweater: 1

              All of that fits nicely in a WF (26L travel bag) or Smart Alec (26L backpack) using an Eagle Creek Medium Folder for the clothes, with some room to spare. Get that into a Tri-Star (33L) and you've definitely got room for some office stuff/electronics, but again, depending on what you need, maybe better to just go WF or A30 for clothes and bring a second bag.

              Again, it's all up to your comfort level - if you're happier with more clothes and two bags, then go for it! For me, traveling a lot, I would always rather have one bag that I can grab and go whenever needed. Even if it's just car, airport, taxi, hotel, I'd rather have all my things in one place, but there are plenty of people who would rather have some more creature comforts (or need to carry more business-y stuff) and would rather take two bags.
              Thanks for this perspective. I admit, I'm not the lightest packer since I've got little experience so far. I get it though as I sit here and think about doing it week in and week out! Hmm, why is this so hard?

              Comment


                #8
                I'm a huge proponent of one bag travel and learning to travel light, all without making the sacrifices some 'travel light' sites suggest. I've made a few posts over the past couple of months I've been on the forums about this, but one of my favourites is this one. (For additional reading, you can also check out this, this, this or this.) Generally though, the concept is to learn how to pack less.

                In your example, I'm assuming most of your 3-4 day trips actually equals closer to 2-3 nights? That'd be pretty much on par with what I used to do when I was on the road weekly. Fly out Monday mornings, return on Thursday night. Pretty standard for a commuter. The first thing to remember is that whatever the length of your trip, you usually only need 1 day's less worth of clothes packed, since you'll already be wearing a set that first day (unless it's a red-eye). So, for me, on a 4 day trip, I'd only pack 3 shirts, since there's only 3 mornings where I need to get dressed. Pants you can generally get away with wearing the same pair 2 days in a row, so since I'm wearing one pair on the plane on Monday, they get re-used on Tuesday, and I pack a fresh pair for Wednesday that get's re-used for the plane ride home on Thursday. I've covered this in at least one of the threads I linked, but I'd also eliminate the casual outfit. You're already wearing business casual, which is often casual enough for most nights out in a restaurant, bar, etc... Lastly, with the right shoes, you only need the ones on your feet. Second pairs of shoes (and especially boots) kills tons of space and weight. They were one of the first things I eliminated. The only time I've ever brought a second pair of shoes was way way way back when I needed to wear steel toe'd boots on a plant floor, and that plant was within driving distance.

                You're taking the right steps though, with first trying to learn different options. Travelling lighter isn't something you can just jump into, it's something that takes time to ease yourself into the proper mentality. Eliminating too much, too early, and you end up getting frustrated with the lack of 'stuff' to the point you end up relapsing into bringing everything but the kitchen sink. Either that or you end up with a monster backpack that weighs a ton from eliminating too little before trying to go rollerless and then get frustrated with how much 'lightweight' weighs. I'd recommend first looking at only getting a new messenger/brief for your laptop, but sticking with your Samsonite for now. Then, try to slowly work yourself down in 'stuff' until you can comfortably do your trips with your laptop (in it's new bag) inside the Samsonite. If you can get to that point, then it's time consider a new travel bag, one that's now better suited to your new, streamlined lightweight travel self.

                Who knows, you might even end up being able to go as light as I did here, and pack everything in a simple 13L Pilot! (Except, I doubt it'd fit your current monster of a laptop.)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great post Kaadk, thanks! I've seen a couple of your recent posts, very informative!

                  I'll typically be doing at least those three nights, quite possibly four to get a few hours in Friday.

                  I've done a little more fooling around with my stuff this evening. I have an old beefy ASUS 15" that's about the same size along with a Wenger shoulder brief that I would say is big enough for the work stuff at 15.5x12x4ish. I can fit it in the Samsonite easily along with 4 pants/shirts and boots mentioned above since they were still lying in there. I only threw the boots in last night because there was so much room left in the roller once I put in the clothing! lol I already have my interview scheduled for GE/Pre-, so I'll just wear boots on the plane if I really want to bring some along.

                  After reading your posts more, I'm thinking I can get this done in a TS probably without issue, and maybe even a WF. If I keep to a fairly simple laptop bag with just enough space for my essentials for work, I could fit it in one of the compartments. The Wenger bag I have here seems like it could fit either TS or WF based on the large packing cube dimensions for each.

                  Given that, what do you think? Now I'm inclined to just order both the WF and TS to pack them up here at the house to see if I like the idea. I guess that's about the only way I'm gonna know for sure.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I own both the Western Flyer and Tristar. I'd recommend the Tristar for what you want (although the WF could work, but I'd go with the extra space option).

                    Coupling the TS with a smaller second bag seems the way to go and helps distribute the weight from carrying one very heavy bag.

                    Best of luck


                    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
                    Aeronaut 45 (Navy/NWS), A30 (Black/Island), Tristar (Steel/Island), Western Flyer (Steel/Island), Pilot (Steel/Island), Synapse 25 (Mars Red/NWS), Synapse 19 (Black/Island) & (Burnt Orange/Steel), Ristretto 11 (Navy/Steel), Small Cafe Bag (Navy/Steel) & (Mars Red/Dawn), Daylight Briefcase (Cloud/Dawn), Side Kick (Mars Red/Dawn), Travel Cubelet (Mars Red)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Well, thanks for all of the great info guys. After much deliberation I made an order this morning for some items that I think will be a great start for me into TB!

                      I won't start this position requiring the lugging of the large 15" and gear for another couple of months. Meanwhile, I have two upcoming 2-3 day trips(1 bus/1 leisure) in which I will need to take very little with me. For that reason I knew the first logical step for me is the WF. It will fit everything I need for both of these trips with ease, and it will allow me to better gauge if I need anything more down the road. I added in a few obligatory cubes and pouches of course to get me started.

                      After seeing so many of the clever organizational ideas here and bag-in-bag thoughts, I still had to buy more though. I decided that a Halcyon DLBP would be great to use or stow inside the WF during transit and then use as a decently-featured day pack for my leisure trips. The SE clipped inside with the double carabiners trick adds even more org and utility in this case.

                      Oh boy, what have you all started!?!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by MikeM View Post

                        Oh boy, what have you all started!?!
                        I SO feel for you! I realy do. When I discovered Tom Bihn it was like WOW!!! Where to start? How to stop?? :-)

                        Ilkyway
                        “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

                        By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

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