With an international trip fast approaching, I have been refining my kit. I’m fairly confident I’ve nailed it.

Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack

This very lightweight bag has a main compartment with 2 interior pouches sewn on the back panel, as well as the front pocket with diagonal opening.

Main Compartment

The bottom pouch holds a Patagonia Torrentshell packed into its own front pocket. The top pouch holds a bag containing a pair of Bose QC35, complementary audio cable and headphone splitter with Lightning adapter attached, and a Kindle Voyage. The main compartment also holds:

Front Pocket

  • passport wallet
  • sunglasses case
  • pencil pouch from Hobby Lobby to hold tissue, eye drops, Neosporin, hand sanitizer (once through security)
  • Wet Ones & Q-tips

Quick Aside on Health Measures

Wet Ones are to wipe the plane seat down (especially armrests). Q-tips are to apply Neosporin to the inside of my nose as a moisturizing and germ-prevention tactic. Drinking plenty of water also helps counteract the plane’s low humidity.

Aer Travel Pack

I have the Kickstarter version of the Aer Travel Pack. While I overall like the bag, I have a couple small qualms.

  1. Unless you are very careful not to overfill the main compartment, you will have a difficult time putting things in the front compartments.
  2. The shoe compartment takes up a lot of space if you use it. I’ve started rolling it up. Sometimes it’s okay for holding dirty laundry, though.

In the past, I’ve tried folding, rolling, and bundling clothes. For this trip, I ordered Eagle Creek Specter Tech Compression Cubes(recommended by Wirecutter).

Packing Cubes

I can only offer a true verdict on packing cubes once I actually travel with them, but I like the promise of an organized bag, the contents of which do no spill out upon opening it. And these particular packing cubes are impressive, allowing me to fit a great deal without overstuffing the Travel Pack.

The Medium holds:

  • 3 shorts
  • 5 t-shirts
  • 2 tank tops
  • 2 casual button down short sleeve shirts

The Small holds:

  • 8 pairs socks
  • 8 pairs underwear

So, I am able to pack 1 Medium cube, 1 Small cube, the Aer Dopp Kit, a pair of dress shoes, jeans, slacks, and dress shirt into the Aer Travel Pack’s main compartment and pull the Aer’s compression straps completely tight without any unsightly bulging.

Aer Dopp Kit

  • 1 quart liquids bag:
  • sunscreen
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • 2 hair products
  • contact solution
  • toothpaste
  • cologne
  • hand sanitizer
  • eye drops
  • soap bar
  • Anker SoundCore Sport
  • cartridge razor
  • toothbrush
  • disposable ear plugs

Charging Kit

The zipper pocket in the Aer’s main compartment also perfectly accomodates a 3 ring binder pencil pouch holding an Anker PowerPort Speed 5 port, Apple Watch charging cable, 6’ Anker PowerLine+ Lightning cable, and 2 1’ micro-USB cables (came with the PowerCore, I think). I’m keeping cables tidy with 6" Gear Ties; I am also testing Velcro One-Wrap thin ties, since they can be configured to stay attached to an unraveled cord.

A Note on Clothes

For this trip, I plan on wearing trackies, t-shirt, hoodie, and Vans on the plane to maximize comfort. This is not usually how I travel. On my last international trip, I needed to be in business casual when I got off the plane, and I had to pack much nicer (bulkier) clothes overall. I have a trip like that coming up next summer, so we’ll see how it goes then.

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