I was going to post something new today, but there are so many questions on the 2011 Gear Post that I figured it's better to answer them in a separate post rather than the comments, since blog commenting systems suck.
What happened to the Vibrams / huaraches?
Vibrams are gone. They just smell too bad too quickly. That includes the Smartwool ones, which I was very hopeful about. They seemed to take longer, but still not long enough. I still have the huaraches, and love them. I roll them up and stuff them at the bottom of my bag and always wear the Terra Planas when traveling (in general, always wear your bulkiest items and pack the other ones).
Where do you get the wool pants? Would they work for bartenders / rock climbers?
I got them off eBay. You probably won't be able to find the same ones, but there are always some on there. Make sure to get a 100% wool pair, not a blend (unless blended with cashmere or silk). I'd link to some now, but the links would be useless within a week or so. It might take time to find some that you like that are the right size. In general they will be black or grey. Once I wear out this pair, I will test dying them with indigo to see if it's possible to get actual blue jeans.
They'd be great for bartenders. The look pretty cool and resist stains very well. I actually think they'd work really well for rock climbing, too. They have a little more stretch than nylon and aren't tight. Then again... I can't do a split to test for you.
If you didn't like the organization, why don't you use packing cubes?
I sort of hate packing cubes. It's one more layer between me and my stuff. I use one for my cold weather gear, so that I can add and remove it from my pack quickly, but other than that I avoid them. They also take up a small amount of space, which I'd prefer to be filled with more useful items.
What's your current laptop?
Still the Sony Vaio Z12. The new Z series looks far worse to me (no optical drive for me to remove and replace with a big HD, no integrated graphics card), so I'll probably be sticking with this computer for a while.
If you need space for video or game/3D render, get the Z12, otherwise wait for the new thinner one.
I don't believe that there's extra room!
There is. I'll prove it soon.
Wearing sunglasses is bad!
I know. I also think that it's good for melatonin production and such for your eyes to be exposed to sun. I mainly wear them when riding my motorcycle or when the sun is so bright that I have to squint. Or when I'm singing gangster rap on cruise ships.
Still using the APC INPA power adapter?
Yep. And still astonished at how terrible every other adapter is in comparison. By the way, everyone thinks that you need bulky voltage adapters as well - you almost NEVER do. Check all the things you plug in, and you'll find that they universally support 100-240V.
Tell me more about the backpack colors
Mine IS available. It's the Steel / Solar Dyneema. You can only get it at TomBihn.com-- I can't link directly to that color, so you'll have to sniff it out for yourself.
I also agree that bright interior color is genius. I actually am surprised they don't use a flourescent color, since that converts non-visible light spectrum to visible.
I have no idea how the thread turned into everyone telling me to be safe on a motorcycle. I understand the importance of motorcycle safety (the first thing I did when I got my license is read a 200 page book on motorcycle safety). I wear a helmet and gloves now, and am looking for the right jacket.
I don't want to get into a big discussion about this now, but I believe that motorcycle riding, the way I do it, is far safer than most people think. I'm going to do some more research on actual numbers and write a post eventually.
You hardly have any shirts. How do you prevent them from getting stinky? Do you take an extra when you travel?
It doesn't take much to prevent them from getting stinky. Airing them out is surprisingly effective. When they do start to smell bad, just wash them in the shower-- easy.
I'm always (well... almost always) wearing one, and the other is always in my backpack. That goes for day trips as well as three month long journeys. One of my goals was to make my stuff so compact and light that it's trivial to bring it everywhere.
Photo is my new bizcard. Printed on real birdseye maple. BOOM.
Instead of the packing cube, you might like the compression sac for you not-frequently-used cold weather clothing, saves space!
Who made the comment that sunglasses are harmful? I have a couple of optometrists in my family and I've lost track how many times I've had the lecture on not wearing sunglasses.
UV rays and blue light rays are harmful to the eyes. Your eye's lens is unable to repair itself when damaged and cells and proteins that are damaged do not get replaced. This is irreversible damage...
Also if you're not careful you can sunburn your eyes, too.
Spend a couple minutes on WebMD and Google to see for yourself.
Probably looking into wool pants - had dinner at a formal restaurant in HK last night and felt pretty awkward showing up in a dress shirt (that I just got a tailor to make for me for $25USD) and my arcteryx pants. Though on that note, have you thought about having your clothes made custom? You've got a BKK tailor, right? I'm thinking of maybe getting this guy in HK to make me some wool jeans, though the suit wool material isn't really right. Not sure how I'd do that, but I like the idea - then I could get hidden zipper pockets and stuff.
Hey man- great site- left for south america 2 months ago and quickly realized that the best way to travel is to not look like your traveling...
so im going to buy the Tom Bihn bag- but Im wondering if you think it will fit a small lightweight sleeping bag? (http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/68618?page=ultralight-sleeping-bag-30)
Its been invaluable at cold hostals/crashing on friends floors- but seems to be the only thing between me and a truly minimalist travel experience
Icebreaker crafts performance wear in the merino wool flavour, maybe those are the right thingy for climbing - never tested, just stumbled onto it in a running magazine. Have fun!
What is up with those shoes? You didn't really go into a whole lot of detail on them.
They look like a normal shoe but just wider, do they avoid smell?
I just remember reading about you having complaints about the smartwool vibrams and others smelling bad but then you just went to shoes and socks.
Are the simply because you ride a motorcycle?
I had a bit of a love affair with the Vibram Five Fingers. Todd got a pair right before we headed to Tokyo on Life Nomadic 2008, and I was jealous the whole time. Near the end of the trip Vibram graciously sent me a pair (intentionally delayed until after the running of the bulls, because they didn't want to be associated with that), and I wore them as my only shoes for a couple years afterwards.
I love how the Five Fingers feel, I love how they look, and I love supporting such an innovative company, BUT.... they smell terrible.
If you wear them as your primary shoes, you have to wash them every five to seven days or they smell really bad. When you live in an RV, this is difficult to do well, and when they're your only set of footwear, it's annoying to wait for them to dry. So I began searching for a replacement.
I had the distinct (dis)pleasure recently to be served two of the most heinous excuses for a Manhattan. Fortunately, I also enjoyed one of the best examples of this cocktail as well which likely rescued me from swearing off this excellent drink whilst out and about. I'm going to teach you how to make a Manhattan so you might avoid this indignity. But first I must rant.
The first travesty was issued forth by Louisville Rex on Main Street in Louisville, CO. I rolled into the Rex with Spike for a pre-diner cocktail, ready for a decent drink. We asked the bartender if she was able to make a Manhattan, she assured us she could. I watched her pour out the Makers Mark, add a couple dashes of bitters (Angostura, the only bitters on hand as in most bars), shake it lightly and pour it out. Ooof. When politely queried on whether she added any vermouth she replied, "Well, since I moved here nobody ever wants vermouth in their Manhattans". Um, you mean Martinis? "No, their Manhattans". Fail.
The second injustice was served forth in Austin, TX after a long day of drinking Imperial pints from the can at ACL Fest. Needing a reprieve from beer, my buddy Josh and I wandered into the Upper Decks, a self-proclaimed "upscale sports bar". Which means they had leather chairs and bar stools and several flat screens on the walls. The pride of UT (hook 'em horns! sigh...) was behind the bar. I know this because she was wearing her best burnt orange t-shirt. Keep it classy Austin. At any rate, I proposed the same question, "Can you make a Manhattan?". She of course replied yes, and inquired as to our preference - on the rocks or up. We requested up, expecting a well made drink in a martini-type glass. Fools that we are.
It gets worse. She returned a few moments later to share the sad news that she was out of cherry juice but could substitute grenadine. That should have been our sign that it might prudent to order a draft and get the hell out of there. Maybe it was the long day in the sun, maybe the unrequited desire quashed by my previous experience at Rex, but we soldiered on and pass along some drink making guidance - Makers, vermouth, bitters. And that's what we got. Not shaken. Not stirred. Not even cold. Just warm bourbon, warm vermouth, too much bitters, all in a warm rocks glass. Fuck.
The lesson to be learned here is that you will likely have much better odds of a decent cocktail if your bartender is dressed like the banjo player in Mumford & Sons that a Mid-South Texas Rodeo Queen (er, 2nd runner up...). Or you stay home and make your own.