Gear Post 2024

Remember the days when I would actually get the gear post done in time for Black Friday so that you could get better prices? Well, those days are back, at least this year. I’m really excited about this year’s post because I have a few new things that I bet you aren’t aware of…

If you’re new to my annual gear post, I travel indefinitely (often 30+ days at a time) with a small backpack, and I maintain a list of everything I travel with every year. I’ve been doing it since about 2008, and people on onebag have said that I was the first one to do this style of post, though I have no way of knowing if that’s true for sure.

I’ve found that my typical cycle with gear is that I find the best thing possible, but often keep looking to upgrade it every year. Once in a while, though, I find something that I feel can’t possibly be improved. I’ve labeled these as “perfect” this year. That doesn’t mean I can’t be surprised by some new innovation, just that I love this item so much that it feels like it’s been designed to its perfect form.

I am always interested in reader suggestions, and usually incorporate one or two every year, and that’s especially true of items that aren’t perfect.

I do get affiliate commissions from some of the products here, but it does not affect my recommendations. If you look year over year you’ll see that I often replace commission items with non commission items. Sometimes companies give me things for free, but that also doesn’t affect me. I think integrity is important and my reputation is far more valuable to me than free products.

Wool and Prince Merino Henley Perfect

This is my second year using the Henley instead of a more traditional button-down. I like both, but the Henley is so soft and comfortable that it makes a big difference when trying to sleep on planes or curl up and read a book. It also has a lot more stretch, so it’s better for active things.

Buy at Wool and Prince

Wool and Prince V-Neck T-Shirt

New year, new color! This might be the longest running item on the gear list, though I’m not sure. Maybe I should start tracking how many years everything makes it and it would be like a competition. As always, I love this shirt but wish it had a pocket for folded up boarding passes.

If you’re new to the gear post, this is probably a good time to say that the only reason I’m able to keep my packing so light is because I wear wool. I routinely wear this shirt 7-14 days in a row without washing it, and it stays fresh. Wool and Prince is my favorite wool company, but there are other good ones out there, too.

This is literally the only shirt I wear all year, even when I’m at home, unless I have to go to a wedding. I generally switch colors every year, which shocks the people in my life because they’re so used to seeing me in one color.

Buy at Wool and Prince

Wool and Prince Stretch Canvas Pants

These pants made it another year! Last year I commented that I seemed to switch pants every year, but these are so good that I haven’t really even looked. They look like black jeans, have a really good amount of stretch, and are comfortable and durable… except the pockets!

I keep meaning to write in to my friends at Wool and Prince and tell them, but the pocket material isn’t durable enough and keeps tearing. I’ve had to resew my phone pocket twice this year after repeated awkward phone-down-the-pantlegs incidents.

The pocket issue is probably at least partially because I have a large oddly-shaped phone. I keep my phone in my left pocket and that’s the one that always breaks.

These are 55% merino wool, which is higher than most wool pant blends. You need some material besides wool to keep it durable, but despite these being a higher amount they have been extremely durable. I’ve put them through their paces, worn them every non-warm day, and they’re in perfect shape.

Unfortunately, as I was editing to add the links, I saw that these pants aren’t made anymore! I’m shocked, because they’re so good. Instead I’m linking to the jeans, which I also like and would buy instead.

Buy at Wool and Prince (link is to jeans substitute)

Faherty All Day Shorts 9″ New Perfect

Until now I recommended Rip Curl Boardwalk Global Entry shorts, but this year I accidentally wore them while painting and got white paint all over them. When I went to order replacements I found that Rip Curl now uses much worse material that is way too coarse and uncomfortable. I tried another pair of their shorts and a couple other brands as well and they were all very bad.

A year or two ago a reader (email me for credit if this was you) suggested Faherty shorts, and I was lucky enough to remember the name as I was looking for a new pair. And… WOW are these shorts great!

What makes shorts like these special is that they look good enough to wear every day as shorts, but they dry quickly and have a draw string. The draw string doesn’t serve a huge function if the shorts are the right size, but by tying it together and popping it over the waistband I feel like the shorts look like a bathing suit enough that you don’t look out of place swimming in them. All of the pockets have a mesh portion to drain.

The material is even better than rip curl, they look much less casual, and they seem to dry just as fast (I swam in a cold swimming pool in late November just to give them a full test).

Buy at Faherty

Icebreaker Merino Men’s Anatomica Cool-lite Trunks

This underwear was also new last year but made it another year. When they wear out I may try the Wool and Prince ones, which I had previously tried in my briefs era.

I switched to trunks because every once in a rare while there’s some reason I need to be wearing my underwear in mixed company. This year I found myself jumping into the ocean in Greenland to swim to an iceberg in front of some bewildered cruise passengers.

Buy at Amazon

Montbell Plasma 1000 Jacket (Japanese Version) Perfect

Earlier I said that my t-shirt might be the longest running gear item in the list, but this has been around for longer if you don’t count upgrading from the 800 fill count to 1000 fill count years ago when they started making it.

This is simply the lightest and most compact jacket that will actually keep you warm in any normal situation. Don’t be fooled by all of the marketing hype for synthetic down— they just don’t work as well. Having a small jacket is such a key piece of being able to travel with a tiny bag, and this is the only one that I consider to be good enough.

This jacket has lasted for many years now, is nice and warm, and looks decent. If you buy it in Japan it will have pockets, but if you buy it in the US it won’t.

Adam Ruggle let me know that you can order it from the Japanese webshop (linked below) and it’s even cheaper than buying the US one at current rates.

Buy at Montbell or in Japan

Rab Cinder Phantom New

I loved the idea of the windbreaker as a shell until I found myself running through a storm in Riga, soaking wet, desperately trying to find a working ATM so that I could get cash to get to the airport.

I had a great shell last year, the Arcteryx Norvan SL Hoody, but I lost it (I seem to be doing a bit more of that these days…) and couldn’t replace it because gore-tex phased out its shake-dry product.

What I’ve learned about waterproof shells is that the lightest ones are made for bikers. This makes for a slightly shorter cut (in the photo it’s folded over, not super short), but they look normal enough for regular use. After a ridiculous amount of research I ended up on the Rab Cinder Phantom.

Don’t be tempted to get pullovers. You can save a tiny bit of weight but they are really annoying and have fewer options for temperature regulation.

Besides keeping you dry, a shell is critical for the coldest weather, as it traps the heat when worn on top of the Mont Bell plasma. Between the two you have a range of warmth ranging from unzipped plasma in the spring and fall to zipped plasma with shell for winter and snow.

The Rab Cinder is 3.5oz, which is a full 25% lighter than the last one, and it is definitely waterproof. The only thing I don’t like about it is the stuff sack is tricky to use and the hood doesn’t follow your head very well when you turn it.

Buy at Rab

Merrel Hydro Moc

I just happened to take a hike through a muddy area (in Vegas, no less) right before the photoshoot, so sorry for the dirty shoes. I’m not sure if I now look rugged or sloppy.

I love these shoes and was tempted to label them as perfect, but I’m not sure that label can be applied to shoes that look like this. Then again… I did wear them to a wedding this year and wasn’t kicked out.

The point of wearing shoes like this is that you don’t need to wear/pack/wash socks. Most shoes like this (e.g. Crocs) don’t quite have enough ventilation to never smell bad. These do. Unlike normal shoes, they can also be used as water shoes and they dry quickly and easily.

Buy at Amazon

Roav Eyewear Lennox Sunglasses Perfect

These are the smallest folding sunglasses you can get. They look really good, weigh almost nothing, and have survived years of use without issues.

The only thing I don’t like about them is that the nose pads flop around too much. I’m still giving them a perfect rating because it’s not a huge deal.

I’ve always hated the case that these came with, since it seemed too big for the small amount of protection it provided. ROAV also sells a fake leather pouch that looked similar. Ever since I got them I wanted to make a custom pouch.

Last year in Madrid some friends organized a leather making workshop where we all got to make our own projects, so I made this little case. Now that I know how to make things out of leather I will probably make many more custom cases for things.

Buy at ROAV

Roav Eyewear Lennox Glasses + Lensabl Lenses New Perfect

I now wear regular glasses for three things: watching ballets, watching hockey games, and watching TV. My friend Michael Alexis showed me that he had taken ROAV sunglasses and had them fitted with regular lenses, and they looked great!

The way it works is you buy the regular sunglasses from ROAV, you send them to Lensabl, and they replace the lenses. I don’t know enough about lenses to make specific recommendations (I just ordered the cheapest option, I think), but I’m super happy with the end result. They look like they were meant to have these lenses in them.

As you can see from the pictures, I made a second glasses case. The two have slightly different textures so I can reach into my bag and know which is which.

Buy glasses at ROAV + Lenses at Lensabl

Breitling Transocean Unitime Watch Perfect

This is one of few mechanical watches that can show all 24 time zones and can switch between them with a twist of the crown. It’s a little bit big for my wrist, but worth it to easily be able to see all of the time zones at once.

I actively look at all smart watches and suspect I’ll eventually switch to one, but so far I haven’t found one with acceptable battery life, size, and set of features.

As I mentioned last year, a more budget version is the Omega Seamaster GMT, though there are a few Breitlings that are around $3500 with a leather band or $4500 with a metal band.

Buy on ebay

Minaal Daily Backpack

I keep waffling on backpacks, and I’m back to the Minaal Daily backpack. I had unpacked my other backpack for some reason and when I went to repack it I just thought, “Maybe I should try the Minaal again”. I haven’t gone back since then.

I love the high quality construction of the Minaal. It’s like the difference between walking on a hardwood floor and a laminate floor that looks like wood. The difference in quality is obvious. I really like the simple shape and design. The laptop compartment is great.

I really dislike the organization (or lack thereof), and I hear the same thing from all of my friends (most of whom have also landed on the Minaal). But still— there’s nothing that has the quality and simple design of the Minaal, so I keep going back to it.

Buy at Minaal

Philips One Toothbrush

I like having an electric toothbrush, and this one is good enough. I wish it was more powerful, but this one is a big enough improvement over a non-electric that I’m happy with the compromise. Get the rechargeable one. I got the one that uses batteries but it’s very hard to replace them, so it sort of defeats the purpose.

Buy at Amazon

Scissors and Nail Clippers Perfect

The nail clippers are my trusty Henckels Ultra-Slim Nail Clippers. This is the same pair I’ve had for six years and they’re still just as sharp and effective as ever.

The scissors are Tweezerman GEAR Scissors. I think that I actually bought some fancier Dovo Solingen ones when I thought I lost these, but to be honest I can’t tell the difference from a practical standpoint, so it’s better to just buy these.

Make sure you get the rounded tips. Most places don’t care, but I went through security three times in Australia recently and they were militant about checking to make sure the tips were rounded.

Keith Titanium Travel Tea Set Perfect

I know the portion of people reading a gear post who actually want tea gear is vanishingly small, but this is maybe my favorite item on the entire list. It’s an absolutely perfect tea set, made of titanium, and the next best alternative is SO much worse that I have a spare set just to make sure I never have to go without. I also bought an extra cup so that I can serve three guests instead of only two.

I modified the set by anodizing the titanium and cutting off the handle of the fairness pitcher. The titanium imparts no flavor and is virtually indestructible. If you love tea and you travel, you should have this.

The cups and gaiwan are double walled so they are never hot to the touch, and the shape and edges are ideal.

Even though I marked it as perfect, I wish there was some way for the interior of the cups and gaiwan to be white to better sea the color of the tea. I think it’s just not possible with titanium, though.

Buy at AliExpress

Kanpai Titanium 350 Thermos and 3D Printed Tea Containers Perfect

This is the lightest double wall water bottle you can get. I love the extra-wide mouth and the no-taper design that makes it easy to clean and to store things inside. It comes with three tops but I just use the hot water one. It’s absolutely perfect for keeping boiled water in. I replaced the noisy rubber seal with an o-ring, and it works perfectly.

As soon as I got my 3D printer I designed and printed a set of stacking tea containers designed to take up about 95% of the interior volume. I can now hold 50% more tea than I could before. They were hard for me to make, especially because they were the first time I tried to make screw threads, which took a lot of trial and error.

The tea containers hold NFC tags and made a script using Tasker so that I can use to electronically label the teas. You can download the files and print your own here.

Buy at Amazon

300W Immersion Water Heater

In case it’s not obvious, I put this in the Kanpai Thermos and use it to boil water. Often I’ll put the top on and wait until I’m in the air before I make my tea. You can also ask for hot water on the airplane, but it’s sometimes not very good because of mineral buildup.

The model with the switch is no longer available, but I might go without it anyway. I once had someone turn on the switch when it wasn’t in water and we almost burnt an airbnb down. Now I unplug it every time anyway.

It’s very important to get a model that can run on 120v or 240v. I suspect that all of them can and that some manufacturers just don’t bother to label it, but I don’t take the risk. In Europe (or on cruises) you can use 240v to boil 4x faster. 300W is a good compromise between size and speed of boiling.

Buy at Amazon

Carbon Fiber Money Clip Perfect

I still have my rather expensive Koolstof carbon fiber money clip, but there are cheaper options on Amazon now that seem to be identical, so I’m linking one of those instead. I can’t imagine why someone would use any wallet other than this. It’s super compact and light, doesn’t set off the metal detector, and is very easy to use. Mine has retained its springiness for many years now.

Buy at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 NEW

Folding phones are just so good that I feel bad for all non folders out there. You have to get over the “but it’s thicker” factor, and have to fight against the Apple blue-bubble brainwashing, but once you do you’ll never go back.

I thought that I wanted the bigger screen for watching movies on the plane, and while it is noticeably better than a regular phone for that, it’s not the main draw. My favorite thing to use the big screen for is reading (it’s bigger than a Kindle’s screen) and web browsing. I read six and a half books on my last cruise and I don’t think I would have done that with a nomal phone screen.

I used to hate browsing the web on my phone, but now I do it all the time because the size and shape feels like a normal screen. If I need to copy information from one app to another I just open them side by side and it’s like having two phones.

Everyone predicts that they will hate the crease in the middle of the phone, but you really don’t notice it. The inner display has no notch or even a punch-out (or, *cough*, a dynamic island), but instead has a mini screen that covers the camera when it’s not in use. If you look directly at it you can tell that it’s not like the rest of the screen, but when you’re watching a movie or something you forget it’s there.

When the phone is closed it is narrower than a normal phone but thicker. While I would obviously prefer a thinner phone, it’s a very manageable size and fits easily in tight jean pockets.

I even considered getting rid of my laptop and using this with USB-C docking stations and a wireless keyboard, but it wasn’t quite good enough for that.

I upgraded to the Z Fold 5 only because I got sand in the hinge of the Fold 4 and it stopped opening all the way (incredibly infuriating). I’ve used the Google Pixel Fold and I think it’s at least as good as the Fold 5. The biggest upgrade with the 5 is that there’s no gap when it’s folded (same with the Pixel), but if you don’t care you could save money by getting a 3 or 4. They’re about 90% as good.

I didn’t upgrade to the Pixel because Samsung DEX is a seriously underrated feature. It’s hard to explain, but it essentially runs a virtual computer and sends it to a screen. It’s not just mirroring your phone— you can use both independently at the same time. I mostly use it to play shows on TVs (and in conjunction with another item coming up on the list..).

The only reason I didn’t label this as perfect is because I wish it had a 5-10X zoom and I now worry a bit about the hinge. It’s close, though.

I use T-Mobile service with the Global Plus add-on, which gives me free LTE/5G everywhere. I happened to add it on during the <7 days where it offered unlimited LTE rather than a 15GB cap. Project Fi can be a bit cheaper, but T-Mobile includes free voice calls to and from every country with Global Plus, and I’ll definitely get a lot of use out of that.

Buy at Amazon

Lenovo X1 Carbon 11th Generation New Perfect

My X1 9th generation suddenly had a weird issue where it seemed to be sending a random keypress that would interrupt typing. If I flexed the computer a bit it would stop. I ordered the new laptop and as soon as it arrived the problem went away and never came back (I use it as a backup computer now). Oh well.

The main story here is that the X1 Carbon is a perfect laptop. It has the best keyboard of any compact laptop, has a touchpoint (and a trackpad, but once you adjust to the touchpoint it’s SO much better), and has a great screen and other specs.

The X1 is very high performance, has a 5G sim slot, has a trackpoint, an excellent screen, the best keyboard, and plenty of other benefits.

Despite having a bigger screen, the X1 is 15% lighter than a Macbook Air. It can also have twice the RAM and a better OLED screen.

The screen I chose was the 2800×1800 OLED that can run at 90hz. I’ve never had a laptop that can run at 90hz before, and it really makes for a buttery-smooth experience. I don’t miss 4k at all.

I run Arch Linux on my machine and all of the hardware works perfectly out of the gate. I stopped getting a laptop with a built in modem because It never worked perfectly with Linux and it’s easy enough to hotspot these days.

The port selection on the computer is perfect (2 USB A, 2 USB C, HDMI).

Buy at Lenovo

Rokid Max New

I was in Japan earlier this year and saw a demo of some glasses like these. They claim to give you the impression of a huge screen in front of your face when you wear them. I was skeptical, but I plugged in my phone and put them on and was amazed— I had tried similar glasses in the past but they never looked very good. These looked great.

On a whim I bought them for the flight home, thinking that I could always sell them for more in the US (due to the exchange rate and tax-free purchase) if I didn’t like them. I kept them on for most of the flight and watched a bunch of TV shows.

I then did research, found out that these were even better than the ones I bought, so I bought them for the gear post.

They do make you feel like you’re looking at a huge screen, but my favorite part is not having to crane my neck to look at my phone and hold the phone up the whole time. I pop on a show, lie back, and watch. Even in a middle seat, you can forget where you are.

They have lens covers to block out all light, which I normally use for better contrast, but I like keeping that part off in the beginning of the flight so that the flight attendant can get my attention if necessary.

I put my old pair next to my bed and have occasionally used them to watch a show in bed. If you’re an in-bed TV watcher, you’d love them.

Best of all, they’re tiny. With the cord wrapped around the bridge you can fit them in a pill-shaped sunglasses case instead of the huge case they give you.

I’ve also experimented with using them as a second monitor because the image they project is higher than your laptop screen in normal posture. It’s ok, but I found I got a bit fatigued refocusing back and forth.

Buy at Amazon or Rokid

Mogics Adapter MA1 Perfect

Last year someone recommended this travel adapter to me and it’s incredible.

It’s just a tiny cylinder that can convert any plug to a US plug. Unlike previous iterations, I don’t think that this could get any smaller.

It is slightly difficult to get. You can order it directly from Singapore through the Qoo10 site, or you can order a bundle on Amazon that includes it. I ordered my first one through Amazon and then ordered 4 more through the Singaporean site for when I inevitably lose one.

Buy at Amazon or Qoo10

CIO Novaport Duo 45W Charger New Perfect

Ok, so you can only get this in Japan (at LABI electronics store), but it is so excellent that I have to recommend it. It is about the same size as my old 30W charger, but it’s 45W and has two ports instead of one. If you have a laptop plugged in it will charge at 45W but if you add a phone it will split it 30W/15W. The prongs fold.

They also have a super flat one that actually takes up less volume which I also bought, but mine developed a rattle after just a few weeks of using it, which freaked me out. I was scared to plug it back in after that, just in case it was a piece of metal that was going to short it out.

I ordered a bunch of USB C cables and the best one by far was the Anker Powerline II. The newer III is worse. The II was the least bulky and easiest to coil.

Buy in Japan

1964 Ears Custom IEMs With AliExpress cable

Last year I tried to switch to something that’s easier for people to buy (Samsung Bud Pros), but these are just so comfortable that I keep going back to them. Because they are custom molded to my ears they don’t push on my ears at all, so I can wear them for a whole flight and barely notice that they’re there.

The audio quality is predictably excellent and better than I really need. I may have to research and see if any custom IEMs have noise cancellation, because that’s the only way I could imagine them getting better. The custom fit blocks a lot of noise, though.

They were originally wired, but you can buy all sorts of replacement cables on AliExpress that convert them to bluetooth. I like this style, which allows me to drape them over my neck so that they hang there when I have them out.

Buy at 64 Audio (Realistically mine are a totally different model that they don’t make anymore, so you may have to do your own research)

Incharge 6 Keychain Cable

For those who aren’t familiar, this can connect any combination of USB A, USB C, micro USB, and lightning (or USB-C to USB-C). I use it for transferring files and for charging my phone while my laptop is plugged in.

Buy on Amazon

Summary

This year was a lot of the same stuff, so I tried to write a little bit more about each item, especially with a newer reader in mind that maybe doesn’t understand why I wear wool or have tiny electronics. That said, I’m so happy to get both the charger and shorts to perfect level.

The Rokid Max is small enough and changes flying so much that I think I may keep it forever, whereas the old Quest headset was bulky enough that its space was always in jeopardy.

It feels, to some degree, like the inventory is reaching a state where stuff may not change out very often. I think the biggest areas for improvement are the shoes, backpack, and water boiler, but we’ll see. I also wonder if some day my phone will be good enough to use as my laptop.

The point of optimizing gear isn’t to nerd out about all of the items, but to enable me to have a small and light backpack that never gets in the way of doing the important stuff— traveling and having experiences with people who are important to me. It’s never a burden to carry, even if I have to hike up a mountain with it, and I’m prepared for anything.

###

Let’s do a tea time livestream where I’ll talk about the gear post as well as other random things. Maybe pinball or my new project to make the craziest tea inventory system ever.


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50 responses to “Gear Post 2024”

  1. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Consider the Macpac Nitro or a similar Alpha Direct fleece. It offers advantages over the Montbell Plasma 1000, being lighter, more breathable, and easier to clean. When paired with a shell, an Alpha Direct fleece can match the warmth provided by the Montbell Plasma 1000.

    1. Tynan Avatar

      This looks really interesting, and may be the right choice for more active travel (constant hiking) or for spring/fall, but the Mont Bell is about 3.5x warmer per ounce (90gsm Alpha Direct has an R value of .43, Montbell was measured at 1.48), both are around 4.5oz.

      1. kyler Avatar
        kyler

        I agree. The alpha direct fleece fabric is more geared toward active use. I have tried several weights (60/90/120) and they all have pros and cons. They are extremely lightweight and pack down to nothing (at least the lower weights) but they must be paired with a shell if there is any kind of wind. They are also somewhat fragile and prone to snags, even from the friendly fire of your own velcro!

      2. Nick Avatar
        Nick

        This isn’t necessarily true.

        You can get alpha shirts that way less than that. I’m 5’9 150 athletic build and rolled my own 60gsm alpha direct fleece I ordered off eBay and it weighs 2.5 oz last I checked.

        You can then pair this with a Copperfield wind shirt and you have an extremely versatile combo for activities or stationary warmth.

        I used to use a Houdini for wind / rain but never liked it’s pack size (bigger than coke can). The Copperfield packs down WAY smaller and alpha direct is insanely compressible and DOESNT lose loft / effectiveness like packed down will

        Everyone always forgets down isn’t suited for long term travel due to this and the loft being killed which is how it’s warmth works.

        1. Tynan Avatar

          I was using 90gsm in the R value comparison.

          I tried a wind shirt in the past and it wasn’t waterproof when I needed it to be, so I’ll wear the lightest rain coat.

          The montbell loses its loft when packed but within 15-30 minute of wearing is back to normal (and I suspect it’s warmer than the alpha even when half-compressed). I usually only pack it tightly when I’m nowhere near cold weather anyway. My bag is empty enough that if I take it off to go inside somewhere I’ll just stuff it in.

  2. gavdos Avatar
    gavdos

    Enjoyable and informative, as always. And kudos, kiddo, for posting early this year.

  3. gavdos Avatar
    gavdos

    Most enjoyable and informative, as always. And kudos, kiddo, for posting early this year.

  4. Josh Skaja Avatar
    Josh Skaja

    re: your Lenovo X1 Gen 9

    Could be the battery—I once had a MacBook that needed a new battery because the old one was slightly swollen, pushing up into the trackpad & causing phantom clicks.

  5. Hasan Avatar
    Hasan

    Thanks for posting earlier this year. A lot of Christmas gift ideas from the post

  6. Bradley Avatar
    Bradley

    The Wool & Prince henley shirt has 28% nylon.
    I’ve noticed with other brands that mix nylon into the merino that they start smelling much more quickly, after a day or two. Have you noticed this?

    1. Tynan Avatar

      I haven’t noticed but I never wear the henley without the t-shirt anyway. The t-shirt is also not 100% wool, though.

  7. Jon Gould Avatar

    Love it. Just upgraded my wallet this year.
    Rokid’s are out of stock but i expect this genre to explode in the coming years.

  8. Alexandra Avatar
    Alexandra

    Nice! And yeay for the early post 🙂
    A few questions:
    – in what way(s) is the Anker Powerline III cable worse than the II ?
    – how do you normally pack all the smaller items like cables and adapters? Do they have their own pouch or pocket or something?
    – what’s the “thing” in the main picture right above the tea set?

    1. Tynan Avatar

      Powerline III was either thicker, less coilable, or both. I can’t remember now because I bought a bunch of cables and tested them. Powerline II was thin and easier to coil.

      I normally put cables, chargers, headphones, and glasses in the small top front pouch of the bag. I hate packing cubes and bags-within-bags because they add bulk + steps to get to items.

      The thing is a tiny scale for tea. It’s actually meant for diamonds and small amounts of gold (the brand is GemOro), but it’s perfect for tea.

      1. Isaac Nichols Avatar
        Isaac Nichols

        I’ve changed to using Apple’s new USB-C cable, specifically the new 1m woven one (https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MQKJ3AM/A/60w-usb-c-charge-cable-1-m) for charging my laptop. It’s far lighter than any other cable I’ve tested and coils very nicely. I have two of these cables and connect them with a USB-C female to female adapter like this (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BN3NH57G/) to make a 2m length cable when I need the extra reach for a power outlet. Also having two cables gives me redundancy and is useful for charging other devices at the same time (all my devices are now USB-C). I’ve been really happy with this setup, which is both overall lighter than the Anker cables and more flexible for my charging needs.

        I like the looks of the CIO Novaport Duo 45W Charger – I’ll have to go looking for that the next time I make it over to Japan!

        1. Tynan Avatar

          Huh… the coupling idea is really good. I might try that. Do they often disconnect accidentally? Also have you tried the Powerline II? Curious if the apple cable is thinner. My impression is that Apple cables break more easily than most, but maybe with two it doesn’t really matter.

          1. David Avatar
            David

            I can also vouch for Apple’s new woven 1-meter C-to-C cable. It’s extremely nimble and light (17g). It’s hard to imagine a cable being easier to bend than it, but I haven’t tried Anker’s Powerline II yet. Apple only has a 1-meter version of this cable though. Their 2-meter C-to-C cable seems to be thicker (I guess to support faster data transfer speeds).

            I don’t know about durability for this cable, but it certainly feels more durable than Apple’s old rubber cables.

          2. Tynan Avatar

            I’ve been testing it since the first post about it and it’s great. If it stays in good shape all year it will be in next year’s post, I suspect.

          3. Pop Avatar
            Pop

            Yeah. I’ve been using a coupler to double the length of my USB-C cables, when I need a long reach between wall charger and laptop — say at a coffee shop — or a power station. It’s a great cable strategy.

  9. Samir Avatar
    Samir

    Great post as always!

    One note:
    It looks like you can get the MOGICS adapter delivered to the US for significantly cheaper here https://www.elvesfactory.com/worldshop/EN/MOGICS/MA1-B (mogics directly links to this elvesfactory from their website with the buy now button: https://www.mogics.com/2935-2)

    1. Morgo Avatar
      Morgo

      Regarding the switch on the immersion boiler: shouldn’t be too hard to install your own if you’re decently handy with a soldering iron.

  10. Keith Mander Avatar

    Superb list, as ever.

    The only item I really don’t get is the money clip.

    Living in the UK, I barely touch cash anymore, so don’t even bother carrying a wallet at all.

    But if travelling, I’d definitely want to have a wallet to have discretion about items of value. Having a wedge of cash looks flashy and projects a certain image (ego, lack of empathy, etc). Sure, who cares what others think and all that – but there is a line. I’d also be aware of security. Showing off wealth could invite envy that leads to something quite nasty.

    A clip also is less practical. Went to get out a $10 bill? Take out all your notes, flick through them, and find the one you want. With a wallet, you can pluck it straight out without anyone being the wiser as to what else you have.

    You might also have a couple of cards (driving license etc) and having a designated spot for it in your wallet also helps you instantly know that it’s in its place. That’s harder to achieve with a clip.

    There’s some nice Dyneema wallets from small brands or homemade on Etsy. Combines the benefit of a wallet whilst being low-profile and light.

    Prove me wrong!

    1. Tynan Avatar

      I always put smaller bills on the outside, so I doubt anyone thinks I’m flashy showing a couple $1s (I moved a $2 to the outside for the picture). Sometimes I have no bills and it’s just a few cards. If I’m waiting in line to pay for something I just take the clip off and hold it in my left palm, and from there it’s really simple to pull out bills or the right card. No downsides as far as I’m concerned! I think a super lightweight wallet would be just about as good, but I prefer the clip.

      1. Jake McCrary Avatar

        I used a money clip for years and agree, they are great! A huge benefit of them is it really encourages you to only take what you need.

        I did switch to using a slimfold tyvek wallet around 2012 and really enjoyed it, though it needed replacement about once a year from wear (not due to functionality but appearance).

        I backed the 2014 kickstarter for a softshell slimfold and have been using the same wallet since. It is thicker than the tyvek version or a money clip but I’ve gotten used to having a tap-to-pay train fare card on one side of the fold and another tap-to-pay card on the other, which I find very useful.

        Though with phones being able to replace that functionality now, perhaps it is time to go back to the money clip.

        Thanks for the gear post. I find it interesting to see how it has evolved over the years and it has helped me tweak some of what I pack for travel.

    2. ethan Avatar
      ethan

      i’ve been using hawbuck dyneema wallets for years and i love them. this year i upgraded to the international size to hold yen. it’s super light and convenient. highly recommend if you’re ever considering converting from the money clip.

  11. Michael Stewart Avatar
    Michael Stewart

    Check out

    * Vibram Ultra III Bloom
    * Anker GaNPrime 100W wall charger (2023) (has holes in the prongs so I can keep it looped on my keyring)
    * inCharge XL
    * PhonePal phone wallet

    1. Tynan Avatar

      Ordered the Vibrams and had actually already ordered the inCharge. 100W is too large for me and no desire to stick cards to my phone. Thanks for the recs.

  12. Adam Ruggle Avatar
    Adam Ruggle

    Hey Tynan,

    Enjoyed the list (as always) and it sparked ideas (as always). Keep up the good work!

  13. Drew Avatar
    Drew

    Thanks for posting this every year.

    Been reading since 2008 and I’d really love to see a blog someday that is a kind of retrospective on your various learnings and experiments. Like, what would you differently, spend more/less time on sooner/later, what are you still doing, what was vital even though you no longer do it, etc.

    1. Adam Ruggle Avatar
      Adam Ruggle

      I second this.

    2. Tynan Avatar

      Great idea. I’ll write the post. Anything in particular you want to make sure is included?

  14. Seth Avatar
    Seth

    I’m going down the rabbit hole of custom IEM’s as we speak and my Airpods Pro are looking over their shoulder. Lots to learn and lots of options.

  15. Lorenzo Avatar
    Lorenzo

    I was curious what incidentals you carry. Do you pack things like bandaids, sunscreen, OTC medicine, cards, etc. or do you just pick items like this up as needed? I think I might be carrying too many “just in case” items! Thanks!

    1. Tynan Avatar

      I carry a ton of cards… credit cards / membership cards / etc. Nothing else. For toiletries I only have toothpaste, dental floss, and deodorant. On my last cruise I got a horrific sunburn so I just went into port and bought a bunch of aloe.

  16. Ed Nawotka Avatar

    Love that you keep this up! Been a fan for years!

  17. Pop Avatar
    Pop

    Laptop Charger: I’m still using that old Lenovo Lavie (360 2in1 version) that you were using a few years back. I charge it with this $20 65W GAN charger from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0876XZ5SS

    I use this exceptional USB-C- USB-C charging cable that displays power *and* voltage, to see how voltages/currents devices are charging at and to avoid frying devices when I dealing with a untrusty USB-C-PD charger: https://www.amazon.com/j5create-USB-C-Dynamic-Power-Charging/dp/B0868S782Z

    1. pop Avatar
      pop

      I also use Lithium, USB-C rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, such as these:
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08C7SQTMW (AA)
      and
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08C7SJLSL (AAA)

      for things like the Sonic toothbrush.

  18. CA Avatar
    CA

    You had mentioned in one of your videos (I think) that you were evaluating other insulated bottles (including the larger stainless Snow Peak). Curious what else you evaluated and what your thoughts were? Seems this one is still the top of the pile!

  19. Pop Avatar
    Pop

    Want white titanium? Think oxidation, e.g. Titanium Oxide (like you use for sunscreen). A layer of oxidized titanium should turn the surface white.

    If you can figure out how to oxidize the inside of your cups, you’ll have that white color you want.

    I’ve seen some research papers on plasma oxidation of titanium that turned the surface a brilliant white color. Seems chemical treatment has potential to work at the right temperatures. But titanium IS valued for is ability to resist oxidation and not corrode.

  20. Dear Reader Avatar
    Dear Reader

    How many hours battery life do you get on the new X1 Carbon? And how does the keyboard compare to the old one? Did they change it to make it “thinner” like on the X1 Nano? I find that one significantly worse than the old Carbon one 🙁

  21. Steven Avatar

    2 big differences:

    1. I go for the ASUS laptops .. they make a super thin laptop that s easy to travel with.
    2. Custom rom flashed Xiaomi Pad 5 is nice
    3. The Monoprice Gav USB c charger is super powerful https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=41988

    1. Dear Reader Avatar
      Dear Reader

      Which model do you like, and does it work well with Linux?

  22. Gear Reader Avatar
    Gear Reader

    I bought the Plasma 1000 on Montbell’s USA site and it has two hand pockets just like Japan now. That’s why the old ones without pockets were on clearance like you mentioned in Gear Post 2023.

    I will try the Rab shell. The store reviews seem to have a bigger issue with the shortness of the bike cut than you did.

    https://montane.com/products/montane-mens-minimus-lite-waterproof-jacket

    This is a shell similar to the Rab I used before (also 2.5 layer Pertex Shield). It’s designed for trail running so the cut is probably less short than the Rab. It has two zippered hand pockets, but is heavier (215g) and probably doesn’t pack down as small.

    I wore it for a little over two years until the butt area was significantly pilling, probably from abrasion with the Minaal Daily and general wear and tear. I found the Pertex Shield on it to get closer to saturation than I’d like under heavier rain. The Rab says HH at 20,000 mm, but Montane doesn’t specify.

    https://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2328169

    Currently, I use this shell. It has two zippered hands pockets and very long armpit zips for ventilation (the standout feature for me), but trading off weight (184g) and packability vs the Rab.

    It’s a longer cut which is nice because it covers my pants pockets in heavier rain. Gore-Tex Windstopper 30,000 mm is noticeably better than Pertex Shield on the Montane, but unknown vs Rab.

    I’m curious how long the Rab will last durability wise since it’s so light. Did you notice any durability issues with the Norvan towards the end before you lost it?

    1. Gear Reader Avatar
      Gear Reader

      The Montane is 20 denier. The Rab is 7 denier.

  23. Joe Nass Avatar
    Joe Nass

    I’ve been a reader for a long time, always enjoy these posts even tho I’m always tend to overpack myself still. ^^

  24. David Avatar
    David

    I got one of those Incharge USB cable adapters and I couldn’t figure out how to expose the USB-A connector. I watched a bunch of videos about them but none of them show the actual switching process.

    I don’t need that often so it’s not a big deal. Can anyone tell me how to get to the USB-A connector?

  25. AW Avatar
    AW

    Great post. Been following your blog for awhile, Wool and Prince makes great clothes. I’m going to buy that Montbell jacket, I have an old Patagonia (same style) that’s totally trashed.

    What do you do for shaving? That’s always a pain for me, I prefer the electric shavers but they are quite bulky.

    Also do you not bring soap? A towel? I guess it depends where you are staying, if it’s hostels and such you need to be more self-sufficient.

  26. Greg W Avatar
    Greg W

    I like Wool and Prince and have a few of their items. There are several good Merino companies I like though everything I have from W&P is solid. Regarding the wallet, I believe I have the best ever and a great balance between full wallet and money clip. It gets no love online as far as I can find and it’s kind of expensive but it is the single best wallet I’ve ever owned. I bought several over the years in case they go out of business though I’m still using the first one I purchased – Probably going on 6 years. It’s the Wrap Wallet by Thread and Leather. Fantastic and worth checking out.

  27. Alan Costello Avatar
    Alan Costello

    I can’t recommend the Columbia OutDry Extreme Mesh Hooded Rain Shell Jacket enough, it is my perfect shell, got it in a dark red colour last summer on sale. Packs in to the pocket and is incredibly flat, absolutely waterproof, but still breathable and so comfortable. It’s also not short, covers the top of my butt and the sleeves actually go midway down my palm, perfect for a rain shell.

  28. 01530 Avatar
    01530

    Hey Tynan, I’d love to read about if you were starting today with the best possible IEM solution. You’re in good company, Mike Bazzell has a similar audiophile bent and is solving this alongside many of your readers trying to implement what you have above.

    DO you still recommend CIEM’s, with the bluetooth tether? I wonder whether or not to ditch the cord all the time.

    Cheers.

    https://inteltechniques.com/blog/2023/11/24/offline-life-daps/
    https://inteltechniques.com/blog/2024/02/07/offline-life-iem-fit/

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