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Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
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    What not to pack in a Luminary

    I am absolutely blown away by the amazing reviews already written about the new Luminaries. I cannot even hope to compare to what @Lia, @Anna2222, @aedifica and @bartleby have written.

    It is with a heavy heart that I write this, but you see, I have really been struggling to use the new Luminaries.

    I was eager to try them out because I will have to give up the stroller in the next year or two and I am dreading it because the Parental Unit + Stroller Straps are really the most perfect setup ever, but I would like to have two straps to save my shoulders. The PU is very similar in volume to the Luminaries, at 13L.

    The most important piece of information is probably that everything I carry right now is roughly the size and shape of a 12oz water bottle or a Size 1 Travel Stuff Sack, up to a Size 2.

    The second most important piece of info is that I love pockets and I love everything being as compartmentalized as possible.

    My current EDC is a Parental Unit with a Travel Cubelet inside. The PU excels carrying things of this shape/size, and I can get at everything without stacking anything on top of anything else.

    Today I took out a smaller subset of what's in my PU just to go for a short walk with my kids and stop at the post office. I would say this is maybe half of what I normally have in my PU.

    Today's carry was:
    TC of essentials, 12oz Contigo, two Size 1 Travel Stuff Sacks in Wasabi and UV containing kid clothes, a Solar Size 1 TSS containing cleanup stuff (hand sanitizer, tissues, dry bag, napkins), a mostly empty pack of baby wipes, and a navy stashable Rohan sling shopping bag.

    L12 with today's carry on top of it, laid out how it is packed with the things on the side in the side pocket and the things on top in the main compartment. The wipes sitting above went in the inside zippered pocket.


    L15 with today's carry on it, similarly laid out except the wipes fit in a side pocket:


    How it looks in the L12, pretty much filling it up:


    How it looks in the L15. As others have noted, some extra space sits at the top:


    For me, this setup doesn't really work because I am carrying half as much as normal but there are still things hidden at the bottom under other stuff. The L12 feels like it can fit half as much as the 13L Parental Unit, maybe just because of the shape of my stuff. (I'm so spoiled by my PU I can hardly stand myself right now.)

    In case it isn't clear, my problem might simply be that a top-opening backpack with only a couple of extra pockets is of course going to be a frustration to me. Any bag in this format would offer the same downsides. Before my PU I used a Synapse 25 and sang its praises because of the many external pockets, and yet still I felt I needed more pockets (the PU has 12). What not to pack in a Luminary

    I am looking ahead to the next phase of parenting and I won't always carry what I am carrying now. I assume I will be carrying less! For this phase that I am currently in, the Luminary doesn't really work for me, but in 1-2 years it might, when my needs change again. On the other hand, an S19, with its additional external pockets, might still suit me better.

  2. #2
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    Not all bags meet all needs. It's good to know what the Luminary family's limitations are. Your review will save someone with similar carry and access needs disappointment and shipping costs.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    This is a lovely review! I'm glad you did post it. You were very clear about what worked for you and what didn't, and why. It's too bad they didn't work for you, but as @twosandalz said, your review will save someone else some disappointment!

    (Also, that Aubergine/Cloud is gorgeous, especially with the Island or Fjord PCSB you posted in another thread. I almost chose that combo, and I do love the color combos I did choose, but that still calls to me too!)
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian.

    I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    I have really been struggling to use the new Luminaries.

    I was eager to try them out because I will have to give up the stroller in the next year or two and I am dreading it because the Parental Unit + Stroller Straps are really the most perfect setup ever, but I would like to have two straps to save my shoulders. The PU is very similar in volume to the Luminaries, at 13L.
    Going from a PU to a L12 or L15 is like going from a swingset to a rollercoaster: it will feel and operate VERY differently. I had a PU also, and so appreciated the horizontal layout and the numerous pockets as well. BUT, my needs changed and I realized that a backpack is easier to carry FOR ME. Everyone is different, and kudos to you for giving some great information to folks who might be in a similar situation as you.

    It took me several tries with several TB backpacks specifically, to really figure out how I could use them to my advantage. I was not good at the vertical packing thing AT ALL for pretty much all of the backpacks until the Luminary 10 came along.

    I still am figuring out the S19 and the S25, and how to use the pockets because I usually create my own pockets with all of the 3DOC's I carry. I just want to throw things in and go, and be able to switch bags easily, so I don't even use the S19 and S25's pockets yet to their full advantage (partly because I forget where I put stuff in so many pockets, lol!). I use the cavernous main compartment for the "throw & go" so the Luminary 15's fewer pockets just work for me.

  5. #5
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    Cristina, I really appreciate your honest review. Itís sure to be very helpful to others, especially those who are parents and currently using the Parental Unit. As you mentioned the next phase of parenting will soon be upon you and you will most likely be carrying less, do you think you will go back to a backpack solution since you will not be using a stroller anymore? I ask because I have two grandchildren, ages 3 and 5, and Iím telling you I felt like a pack mule when they were younger and I was carrying diapers, wipes, extra clothes, Epipen, and lots of what-if things for them. Now that their needs are not as great, I find for me itís easier to have their stuff in a backpack with my hands free.
    Seeking Solar shop bags and Solar packing cube shoulder bag Also coveting an Iberian Synapse or Copilot

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator bartleby's Avatar
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    Hi Christina, thank you for your great review! Different bags for different purposes and people! I want to second the remark of @anna2222. To me it boils down to the fundamental difference of organizing things horizontally vs. vertically. I also think that a horizontal organization is better for access to the things you carry without putting the bag down. That is why I prefer shoulder bags for my photography stuff. The vertical organization means almost always that you have to stack things on one another which is less practical but the carying comfort of a backpack is often much better as both shoulders are loaded equally. Since for many people EDC includes heavy electronic devices that are flat and big backpacks seem to have some advantages. But that doesnĎt mean that they are the best solution for all other purposes too.
    ...spread joy in your neighbourhood
    current bags: Smart Alec, Guide's Pack, Guide's Edition S25, Luminary 15, Daylight Backpack, Aeronaut 45, Tri-Star, Road Buddy 36, Daylight Briefcase, Small Yeoman Duffel, bits and pieces

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pammy View Post
    Cristina, I really appreciate your honest review. Itís sure to be very helpful to others, especially those who are parents and currently using the Parental Unit. As you mentioned the next phase of parenting will soon be upon you and you will most likely be carrying less, do you think you will go back to a backpack solution since you will not be using a stroller anymore? I ask because I have two grandchildren, ages 3 and 5, and Iím telling you I felt like a pack mule when they were younger and I was carrying diapers, wipes, extra clothes, Epipen, and lots of what-if things for them. Now that their needs are not as great, I find for me itís easier to have their stuff in a backpack with my hands free.
    Yeah I am still a pack mule, my kids are 3 and 6. What not to pack in a LuminaryI always have extra clothes, emergency snacks, first aid, diversionary items, etc etc.

    The real difference between how I move around now and how I moved around before I had kids is that now I do a lot of standing around and a lot of slow walking. When I take my kids out for the day we usually walk somewhere or take the bus and then walk around or they play and I stand around. Body-wise it is not unlike going to the airport. I walk, I wait. I stand, I wait. Sometimes I sit. Mostly I don't. But since I'm not really parked anywhere for long, I can't put my bag down. I have to keep it with me. My shoulder really suffers if I have my PU on all day, which is why I may shed a tear when I get rid of the stroller!!

    In the next phase, I imagine I might go back to a tote for minimal-need trips, which is what I had before, or maybe my Side Kick, if we are going out to a cafe or something. If I have to pack water bottles, however, I will need a backpack just to handle the weight.

  8. #8
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    My kids are 7 and 11, and now I have to have space for whatever it is that they had on that they now want to get rid of and/or put back on, plus snacks, and things for me to do while they play video games on my phone... Backpack (with snacks and entertainment) and packable nylon tote (for coats/mittens/blankies/snow pants/shopping we forgot) are how I roll. I clip the foldy bags to my backpack so I don't lose them. Also I've trained the 11 year old to carry her own stuff sometimes.

  9. #9
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    Iím still undecided on the L12. On weekends, I tend to carry my iPad Pro 9.7, a minimalist wallet, car fob, sunglasses case, and water bottle. I like a little extra space for capturing smaller items when Iím shopping.

    Thus, the size of the L12 is perfect. The layout? Not so much. The side pockets are really small. Having the built-in water bottle sleeve in the middle of the main compartment doesnít thrill me. I need to experiment with moving the water bottle.

    I also have a SCB which holds all my leisure items and is a perfect size when I donít need space to hold shopping items. Although, Iím not wild about the weight distribution (cross body) of the SCB when Iím carrying a water bottle in it.

    Now Iím pondering whether to keep the L12 or trade it in and get a second S19. I have one I use for work 2-3 days a week but prefer to have separate work and leisure bags so I donít have to continually empty them out as I switch between activities. Although the S19 is more bag than I need for leisure.

    Ack! First world problems! :-)
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). S22 (Aubergine)SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - including Nik's #4 wallets, ghost whales, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyH View Post
    I’m still undecided on the L12.
    Have you tried the L15?

    As for the water bottle mesh... I use 16oz Nalgene bottles that don't leak, so I can toss them in anywhichway, but I find it easier to stick my hand in and grab it if it's upright so I can snag the loop....

    So a compromise I do is put the bottle in the mesh section, but don't zip it into place... whatever else I have tucked into the pack keeps things situated and the water bottle is then upright but can be shoved off to either side. I do this on both the L12 & L15. I generally prefer an exterior water bottle pocket, but the Luminaries are just so sleek that I've adopted some coping strategies.
    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...

  11. #11
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    @G42 — I’m going to keep trying different packing approaches and will try the unzipped sleeve. I didn’t like the S19 at first either for my EDC but after some experimentation it’s really grown on me. It’s possible the L12 may as well.
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). S22 (Aubergine)SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - including Nik's #4 wallets, ghost whales, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyH View Post
    @G42 — I’m going to keep trying different packing approaches and will try the unzipped sleeve. I didn’t like the S19 at first either for my EDC but after some experimentation it’s really grown on me. It’s possible the L12 may as well.
    Hoooookay. Lesson learned....again....with a Tom Bihn bag. If you don’t love a new bag right away, try it with different pack methods.

    I upzipped the water bottle sleeve from the back of my new (burnt orange) L12 and repacked it. After carrying it around the house....Wow! Big difference! Now I’m liking the way the bag expands just enough for my weekend jaunts. During the summer, I may even be able to use it a couple times a week as an EDC.
    Bags - S25 (Mars Red balistic/Northwest sky/halcyon), S19 (Deep blue balistic/Iberian/halcyon). S22 (Aubergine)SCB (Nordic)
    Accessories - including Nik's #4 wallets, ghost whales, Q-kits, pouches, stuff sacks, travel trays.

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