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Thread: Review of the travel tray

  1. #1
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    Review of the travel tray

    I bought the travel tray on a whim when making a holiday order from Tom Bihn. In the interests of full disclosure, I'm pretty hard-core about traveling light, so any extra weight--even a few ounces--has to pay its freight and then some. Having said that, I travel a lot internationally, but not to four star international chain hotels. So, unlike a lot of light packers who insist that you shouldn't pack things that you *might* need, I prefer to pack a lot of items that I hope I won't need, but that would be a real hassle to have to pick up on the road. So when I'm on the road, I tote along stuff like: a few bandaids, tweezers, a tiny sewing kit, a business card case, a magnifying mirror, a few Lara bars for emergency snacks, nail clippers, a mini flashlight, small packets of over the counter pills (because who wants to be trawling the streets of Kuala Lumpur searching for a place that sells Immodium when you made an unwise choice of dinner at a street stall?), etc. Not things that weigh a lot, but lots of little items. Stuff that is a pain to keep organized when you travel, especially when you room in places that don't have drawers to corral your stuff.

    Enter the travel tray--it's light as can be, but holds an amazing amount of miscellaneous stuff and keeps everything in one easy-to-search place. And when it's time to move on, the drawstring closure lets you just cinch it up tight, and tuck it into a corner of your Tom Bihn packing cube and toss it all into your bag. Nothing gets lost, nothing insinuates itself into cracks and crevices and hides itself away so that you find yourself wondering whether you left it back at the last hotel. Easy-peasy organizing for those of us who secretly wish we could just tie up our stuff in a bandana on a stick and hit the road. The travel tray is the next best thing.

    So, do you need a travel tray? Nope--it's clearly an optional accessory that the traveler could do without. But will I ever hit the road again without mine? No how, no way.
    Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.

  2. #2
    Registered User lonestar6's Avatar
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    Flitcraft, great ideas for the travel tray, thank you.

    Early in my traveling career I use to just lay a bandana down and put all my small items on it, so I would not lose them.

    Later I upgraded to a travel tray that laid flat and had snaps on the edges to create a rim. Good but uni-functional.

    I also was lured into buying a TB travel tray as an add on to a major purchase. Not only does it function as a travel tray and catch all for your bag, but I use it to lighten the hassle of airport security checks.

    I pack my 3-1-1in it at home. When I get to security I pull out the tray, remove the 3-1-1, empty the contents of my pockets into the travel tray, cinch it up and move on.

    I am thinking about purchasing another travel tray to use when i would like a stuff sack with structural integrity, as some of the knitters have been discussing recently.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by flitcraft View Post
    I bought the travel tray on a whim when making a holiday order from Tom Bihn. In the interests of full disclosure, I'm pretty hard-core about traveling light, so any extra weight--even a few ounces--has to pay its freight and then some. Having said that, I travel a lot internationally, but not to four star international chain hotels. So, unlike a lot of light packers who insist that you shouldn't pack things that you *might* need, I prefer to pack a lot of items that I hope I won't need, but that would be a real hassle to have to pick up on the road. So when I'm on the road, I tote along stuff like: a few bandaids, tweezers, a tiny sewing kit, a business card case, a magnifying mirror, a few Lara bars for emergency snacks, nail clippers, a mini flashlight, small packets of over the counter pills (because who wants to be trawling the streets of Kuala Lumpur searching for a place that sells Immodium when you made an unwise choice of dinner at a street stall?), etc. Not things that weigh a lot, but lots of little items. Stuff that is a pain to keep organized when you travel, especially when you room in places that don't have drawers to corral your stuff.

    Enter the travel tray--it's light as can be, but holds an amazing amount of miscellaneous stuff and keeps everything in one easy-to-search place. And when it's time to move on, the drawstring closure lets you just cinch it up tight, and tuck it into a corner of your Tom Bihn packing cube and toss it all into your bag. Nothing gets lost, nothing insinuates itself into cracks and crevices and hides itself away so that you find yourself wondering whether you left it back at the last hotel. Easy-peasy organizing for those of us who secretly wish we could just tie up our stuff in a bandana on a stick and hit the road. The travel tray is the next best thing.

    So, do you need a travel tray? Nope--it's clearly an optional accessory that the traveler could do without. But will I ever hit the road again without mine? No how, no way.
    Flitcraft - you've totally sold me.
    The concept that I love about the travel tray is that the items within it become so accessible when you undo the drawstring. This is unlike a pouch, stuff sack, or whatever, where you have to fish things out.
    My little set of TB stuff:
    Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
    Small Pouch (cork)
    Large Shop Bag (solar)
    packing cubes

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonestar6 View Post
    Flitcraft, great ideas for the travel tray, thank you.

    I pack my 3-1-1in it at home. When I get to security I pull out the tray, remove the 3-1-1, empty the contents of my pockets into the travel tray, cinch it up and move on.
    SUCH a great idea!
    My little set of TB stuff:
    Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
    Small Pouch (cork)
    Large Shop Bag (solar)
    packing cubes

  5. #5
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    A quick question: with the Travel tray at security: do they let it go through even if contents are not visible? in other words, can I put some toiletries in there or is it just for other stuff? wallet, keys, phones etc. I am assuming the travel tray does not have a clear bottom unlike the yarn stuff sack.

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiva View Post
    A quick question: with the Travel tray at security: do they let it go through even if contents are not visible? in other words, can I put some toiletries in there or is it just for other stuff? wallet, keys, phones etc. I am assuming the travel tray does not have a clear bottom unlike the yarn stuff sack.
    Although I don't have a travel tray, I'm pretty sure I'm right about this: the 311 bag must be totally visible in the bin. I think lonestar was saying that they keep their 311 in there UNTIL security. Then the 311 is taken out, replaced with keys, etc., and everything is put in the bin, with the 311 bag loose.

  7. #7
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    When they first came out I bought two and gave one to my sister. Then my sister-in-law came over and she does a lot of traveling so I gave her mine. Just ordered and received a new one for myself. Wanted to get a solar one before they run out, although Katy promises we'll all like the new color.
    Aeronaut (crimson) with Absolute Strap, Synapse (navy), Smart Alec (black/steel/solar), Shop Bag (solar), cache for MBP, cache for iPad2, and numerous pouches and key straps.

  8. #8
    Registered User lonestar6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    I think lonestar was saying that they keep their 311 in there UNTIL security. Then the 311 is taken out, replaced with keys, etc., and everything is put in the bin, with the 311 bag loose.
    Thanks Badger, that is what I do. The 311 goes in the bin seperately. Because my pocket contents are in the travel tray and closed I can toss it in my Luggage or in the bin next to the 311. Once through security, I can leave the area and reassemble myself at my leisure.


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