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Thread: Paris! By train

  1. #1
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    Paris! By train

    I'm going for a 2-day work conference in Paris - by train. The conference is Thursday-Friday. I leave 08.10 Wednesday morning from my little town. My itinerary is my town - Gothenburg - Copenhagen - Hamburg - Offenburg (by sleeper train) - Paris, arriving at 09.35 the Thursday morning and making my way to the conference. On the way back things are not as nice owing to weekend track work in Germany. After the conference is over, I board a train on Friday to Frankfurt, where I stay overnight in a hotel. The next day (Saturday) I go via Hamburg to Copenhagen, where I again spend a night at a hotel. Then finally back from Copenhagen via Gothenburg, arriving at 15.45 on Sunday.

    The travel agency has booked me an Inter-rail pass so if I can figure out a better way I will try to do so. In the meantime I need to plan what to take. I'm so used to travelling with the kids and not for work that I'm a little flummoxed.

    I'll need
    -- work stuff (computer, business cards, notebook, a suitable bag)
    -- clothes for five days, including suitable for a Paris conference (wish I still had a suit!)
    -- a food bag -- who knows what kind of provender will be available on the train

    I'll travel with my A30 which is the right size. Perhaps one end pocket can be given to a removable food bag? My computer fits under the top lid in a case. Or I could use the backpack strap pocket - but this is more difficult with a frame sheet. And will I need the hip belt? Could I do it under 7kg? Many things to be considered.

  2. #2
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    The great thing about train travel is that there are no weight restrictions on luggage; you can generally board with it if you can carry it or roll it on-board and it meets size restrictions. So if you want to take a second EDC bag for the conference, it won’t be that much of an issue. The only concern with two bags is carrying them both while you manage trains.

    I think you can get five days of clothes in a A30 along with the work stuff but it might be a little tight. I wouldn’t pack jeans as they tend to be bulky; instead I would wear a pair of jeans on the train if you wish to. What bag would you use for your EDC/work stuff bag?

    For food I like keeping a separate packable grocery shopping bag handy like a ChicoBag. That way you have a bag that packs up really compact and light and can be used at the destination in case you want to get food there. Also, you won’t have to worry about food spills with your computer and clothes.

    One great train resource I have just found out about is The Man in Seat 61. I’ve been reading his information since I have an upcoming trip to Prague, Vienna, and Bratislava; he’s been in the rail business for most of his life. Mark’s site should be able to give you details about potential routings and on-train food options. I’ve done a couple of long-distance rail trips in the USA and the food on board the train was good enough to where I didn’t need to worry about bringing food except for a couple of snacks.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you're in for an adventure!

    When I take my A30 on trains, I like to have a second little bag for what I'll need en route like hand wipes, medications, and my phone charger. But it could be a bag that fits in the end compartment, like the side effect. A size 2 or 3 stuff sack could hold enough food for a day or two, and fit in the end compartment along with the SE and even a 3DOC of toiletries.

    I carry my Surface Pro in its padded case inside the backpack strap compartment and it acts like a frame sheet, giving the bag some rigidity.

    For me, five days of clothes is:
    Tank top, long sleeve shirt, and hoodie I wear on the train
    Pack another tank, short sleeve shirt, and Merino cardigan. Maybe a blazer if I have to dress up.
    Jeans I wear on the train
    One pair of dress trousers, maybe a second pair of casual trousers like khakis or a skirt or dress
    Leggings & stretchy top for sleeping/being comfy
    Socks/undies
    All of this fits in the A30 main compartment with room to spare.


    For shoes:
    Sneakers on the train
    Work shoes & Crocs sandals in the bottom compartment

  4. #4
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    I just figured out that I can route through Stockholm on the way back and thus spend Friday evening and Saturday morning in Paris, yes please :-) Total travel time with good connections about 26hours (bad connections: 40 hours, not good!!)

    I don't have any TB bags besides my A30 (sad, but that's how it is). I generally have a backpack for work (academic you see), will have to review my bag stash for what is the perfect second bag.

    @Lia that's a nice packing list.

  5. #5
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    I just did a quick work/leisure trip by train and plane which included working for about 5 hours from the cafe car and tray tables on plane. I did it out of my Synapse 25, packing 4 days' worth of business casual attire. When I have to dress well, I prefer to travel with neutral wool trousers and a sport coat or blazer, which is sharp-looking enough but not fine enough that it requires special care. Wool button-ups and button-downs are nice and low-care and resist sweat and stink longer.

    I think you're onto the right track (pun intended) working out of the A30. The S25 worked well for me but needed more careful packing than I really wanted to worry about. Also, with my camera and laptop, I couldn't pack a spare pair of shoes, which I'd really have appreciated having.

    A frame sheet adds nice shape and support to the TB bags, both on and off your shoulders, but I wouldn't wear the hip belt unless you were planning on walking a substantial amount.

    A TSS would make for a great food bag. I use the TSS Size 4 to corral all sorts of things from a set of (clean) gym clothes to snacks to a packable down jacket at different times, and often enough that I've considered buying multiples. But even better than the TSS for travel (though substantially less for daily life) are those little packable backpacks like the Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Daypack or the (much cheaper) Decathlon packable daypack. They are about the size of a tangerine when stowed away but are great for holding snacks, overflow luggage, or even just a few things you need to head out for the day. I know people who use them regularly but I save mine exclusively for lightweight travel since I prefer my S19 for regular use (but it doesn't pack down as small).

    Before I even read your post I started to think about how nice it would have been to carry a Pilot or Cadet with the laptop and all the little work bits, and just stow away the clothing in the overhead luggage. But two-bagging it is cumbersome and marsupializing TB bags gets bulky.

  6. #6
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    I like those packable backpacks but not with the A30 -- I really think a small ZTSB would be perfect for but that's not happening yet, I'll probably just use a regular packable nylon bag. Although -- I don't like the way an unstructured nylon bag lets things fall to the bottom. I'm going to be carrying a thermos, a coffee mug, a water bottle and a cutlery roll and they will all just fall down and crush my food and be impossible to extract in an unstructured nylon bag. For EDC I am undecided still and still looking through my available bags for some kind of packable, professional shoulder bag that can hold my laptop and such during the conference.

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    I agree. I hate unstructured bags because it makes carrying odd shapes uncomfortable and they are totally disorganized.

    But on my last trip, after unpacking my packing cube of clothes, I used it to instead shape and carry around the odds and ends that would normally float around, like sunglasses, a light jacket, and a phone charger. It was a good compromise for a trip that would have otherwise not afforded any second bag at all.

    I guess what we all really need is an organized bag or maybe just an organizer that takes up no space when collapsed. The DLBP and DLBC seem decent at that but are still larger than I'm willing to add to my onebag.

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    I often use the small Shop Bags and small Zip Top Shop Bags as packable extra bags. They lay flat on the bottom of the Aeronauts or roll up and tuck away.

    In addition, have Reisenthel tiny folded shop bags tucked into my bags for emergency carry needs... they aren't as strong & don't have the lovely poron handles like the TB bags, but they pack up super small.

    If I need a small portable backpack, I go with the LL Bean Stowaway Day Pack. As much as I love the TB bags, the DLBP doesn't work for me because it has no easy water bottle pockets and what I carry doesn't seem to work in the shingle pockets.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

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    OK, I found that I have an IKEA lunch bag and another picnic bag that may do for a food bag - they are nylon, lightweight, made of similar material to the big blue bags they have, waterproof. One could go in an end pocket.

    For EDC, I remembered I have a Fjällräven tote bag that also converts to a backpack and it is not very heavy so I think I'll take that. I leave on Wednesday so maybe I'll test pack soon.

  10. #10
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    The A30 is loaded! It is too heavy for the summer trip at 8.3kg, but for that trip I will not have to carry my computer or many of the cables, and honestly will pack fewer clothes. I have more now because I'm being lazy -- I could live for months from this suitcase. I also have taken probably unnecessary food items but I really like to have something in reserve in case the train gets stuck or the bistro is just godawful or the breakfast is unavailable. usually they can muster hot water.

    Clothes (in my two self-sewn packing cubes in the main compartment)
    - three work-appropriate sleeveless tops (black*, burgundy, petrol)
    - three work-appropriate cardigans (navy*, grey, petrol)
    - black and grey stripe t-shirt
    - black skirt
    - jeans*
    - long tunic and loose pants (pyjamas or lounging)
    - 2 pair tights (burgundy & petrol)
    - 3 pair socks
    - 2 bras
    - 5 undies
    - swimsuit
    - small cotton scarf (grey dot); medium silk scarf (black and grey); large cotton lightweight shawl* (multicolour)

    Also in the main compartment:
    - small divided cube with cords (watch, computer, Kindle) and video adapters (computer, phone)
    - tote bag, rolled
    - 13" MacBook, in sleeve

    In the lid:
    - toothbrush/paste, deodorant, and first aid kit
    - pencil case including sewing kit and watercolour kit as well as multipen and pencil, eraser, small ruler

    End pocket 1
    - 1 pair nice shoes or 1 pair leather sneakers*
    - reading glasses
    - water bottle
    - enormous HDMI cable (don't ask)
    - nylon shopping bag

    Outer end pocket 1:
    - interrail pass, insurance card, and euros, inside a clear envelope, tethered.

    End pocket 2:
    - small purse with sketchbook, passport, and homemade pocket containing credit card, bus card, and university ID, plus lip balm, small flashlight, space pen, and pocket knife; phone, charging brick and phone cables, and ear plugs and headphones
    - A5 Filofax notebook
    - cup thermos filled with pre-made spiced oatmeal mix (just add water); miso soup packets; and chicken broth cubes;
    - bag of uncooked egg noodles and
    - beeswax wrap in case I need to save food for some reason.
    - small lidded plastic cup (used for water when painting) containing tea bags.

    Outer end pocket 2 -
    - cutlery wrap (knife, fork, spoon, straw and napkin).

    Business cards would have been an excellent addition to the above but I forgot them.

  11. #11
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    Back from my trip! A30 was the best I've ever done, because I ended up not overpacking it. Halfway through I took out the tote bag I'd rolled up and put books and papers in there; and the foldable shop bag carried food I bought in train stations.

    The end pocket with meal supplies worked great - I ended up putting my Kleen Kanteen coffee thermos there as well, standing up and empty, then when it was in use I could put it in the shop bag if necessary. There were several sections without food or water -- short staffed on one, diversion to bus on another, small regional train without a kiosk on a third, night train etc, so a tip for others is to make sure you have flexible food and water storage. I ended up being sufficiently under packed that it was easy to stash stuff. My A30 never felt too heavy. I used the frame sheet but not the hip belt and didn't feel I needed it. I am cautiously optimistic for our three-week family journey that will begin on Monday (ack).

    Photos for the photo lovers - A30 with food bag waiting at the outdoor platform in Denmark; photo from boat that our train got loaded on to; photo with A30 on sleeper train in Germany; photo of tiny A30 in hat rack on train; photo of station in Sweden showing km between Gothenburg and Helsingborg.

    Paris! By train-img_3080-jpg

    Paris! By train-img_3084-jpg

    Paris! By train-img_3086-jpg

    Paris! By train-img_3116-jpg

    Paris! By train-img_3133-jpg
    Last edited by ejvc; 06-18-2019 at 01:30 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    Back from my trip! A30 was the best I've ever done, because I ended up not overpacking it.
    Very nice!
    And I think I didn't know (or I forgot) that you have a lovely green A30. Is that Forest? What's the interior?
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  13. #13
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    Yep, forest, with ultraviolet interior.

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