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Thread: Synapse and MCB for a Week in Illinois

  1. #1
    nsh
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    Synapse and MCB for a Week in Illinois

    Next Monday I am headed on a week long trip that has been complicated to pack for because of my itinerary. Three different hotels, one rental car, several cabs, and lots of different events...I was worried if my Synapse would do the job but of course, with some practice packing and careful clothing selection, I am sure that it does the job!

    Itinerary: Visiting my husband's hometown in a suburb of Chicago and his father's grave (I never had the fortune of meeting his Dad so this will be a special visit), spend two days in Champaign visiting dear friends, a very fancy dinner in Chicago at Blackbird, 2 days of academic conference presentations in Chicago (I will present at one meeting and chair another one).

    TB bags: Synapse (18) and MCB, TB wallet, TB travel sack and little doodads like the compass and whistle (hey, I might get lost in the big city and need the whistle after all...!)
    Technology: iPad, iPhone, Kindle, USB drive with conference presentations, Olympus PL2 camera

    In Synapse
    Clothing:
    1 Icebreaker black wrap dress and black cardigan to be worn on plane and several other occasions (I can easily change the look with my scarf)
    1 Shabby Apple day dress with a full bright skirt
    1 Shabby Apple polka dot peplum dress for my presentation
    1 (I don't know where I got it) short blue dress for fun days out
    1 Betsey Johnson dress from 2002 (good quality!) in navy and lace up dress for the evening out
    Black Dankso clogs- comfy and go with all the dresses
    3 pairs of black tights to keep my legs warm/undies and 2 bras (in purple sack)
    Red spring coat (not pictured) but necessary for early spring in Illinois
    Scarf (not pictured) for warmth and style
    White night gown (not pictured)
    Toiletries- 1 case for liquids, the other for solids
    iPad
    Purple water bottle
    I have Global Entry (finally) and that means I won't have to take out my liquid case when going through security. Plus, I get to go in the fast lines too!

    In MCB:
    Kindle
    Wallet
    Phone
    Camera
    Sunglasses
    Power cord (for super easy access)

    Pictures:

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  2. #2
    ceb
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    Going to Chicago? I don't see the flak jacket
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    @ ceb: wtf.

    @nsh: full report requested of Blackbird. I tried to hit Avec when I was last in town (for my December nerdcation), but just couldn't make it. Blackbird is totally on my list, and I'm interested to hear how you like it.

    Also, I know I say this every time you post, but I'm totally jealous that you can manage conference travel with a Synapse. There are no words.
    nsh likes this.

  4. #4
    nsh
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    @ceb- I didn't even know what "flak jacket" meant and had to google it. I don't know what that says about me. It is a bullet proof/protective vest? There are times when I have done work in refugee camps near Syria in 2012 and should have been wearing a protective vest! Also, some academic conference presentations can be brutal enough to warrant a protective vest too. Fingers crossed that my trip is a smooth one.

    I will let you know about BlackBird! My husband is into fancy restaurants (we are even going to Le Bernardin in May) so he schedules these special dinners for us. I am very happy to eat delicious food and be his date!

    @Badger- I am not sure if you are male or female but I do think men have a harder time packing in a Synapse if they wear suits/professional clothing. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make my husbands gear fit in his Synapse. I think he might be getting an Aeronaut for his July birthday!!

  5. #5
    ceb
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsh View Post
    @ceb- I didn't even know what "flak jacket" meant and had to google it. I don't know what that says about me. It is a bullet proof/protective vest? There are times when I have done work in refugee camps near Syria in 2012 and should have been wearing a protective vest! Also, some academic conference presentations can be brutal enough to warrant a protective vest too. Fingers crossed that my trip is a smooth one.

    I will let you know about BlackBird! My husband is into fancy restaurants (we are even going to Le Bernardin in May) so he schedules these special dinners for us. I am very happy to eat delicious food and be his date!

    @Badger- I am not sure if you are male or female but I do think men have a harder time packing in a Synapse if they wear suits/professional clothing. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make my husbands gear fit in his Synapse. I think he might be getting an Aeronaut for his July birthday!!

    - please PM me about your work in Syria. My sister's organization is becoming very active there.

    Yes, any sort of traditional backpack shaped bag is difficult for suits (male or female) as they really only can be packed "square". Quite frankly, I far prefer my TriStar (or - dare I say it - the AirBoss) over the Aeronaut as I'm not really a fan of bundle packing (the Aeronaut excels at that) and I tend to use packing cubes and shirt folders more than bundles.
    nsh likes this.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsh View Post
    I will let you know about BlackBird! My husband is into fancy restaurants (we are even going to Le Bernardin in May) so he schedules these special dinners for us. I am very happy to eat delicious food and be his date!

    @Badger- I am not sure if you are male or female but I do think men have a harder time packing in a Synapse if they wear suits/professional clothing. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make my husbands gear fit in his Synapse. I think he might be getting an Aeronaut for his July birthday!!
    Your husband sounds awesome. Let's all be friends. BTW, if you want a post-conference cocktail (provided you survive the discursive snipers, that is), three words: The Violet Hour. I know I bang on about it all the time, but it's an amazing place and would be a perfect place for a drink before your special dinner. I am going at the end of April and am already counting down the days.

    I am not a dude but yeah—dress shirts get me every time, as do shoes (which is ridiculous given my short stature). I've worn Campers to less formal conferences, but I couldn't get away with that at, say, MLA; my dress shoes are definitely of the foot-coffin variety and I need to bring another pair lest my feet fall off.
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  7. #7
    Registered User helen_uk's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm so impressed that you've managed to fit all those dresses in! Have a great trip.
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  8. #8
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I love your packing lists and photos, nsh. Hope you have a great trip.
    nsh likes this.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  9. #9
    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post

    Yes, any sort of traditional backpack shaped bag is difficult for suits (male or female) as they really only can be packed "square". Quite frankly, I far prefer my TriStar (or - dare I say it - the AirBoss) over the Aeronaut as I'm not really a fan of bundle packing (the Aeronaut excels at that) and I tend to use packing cubes and shirt folders more than bundles.
    As a youth I used to have two distinct looks: Saturday's involved skin tight jeans, sleeveless t-shirts, basketball boots and a black leather biker jacket; Sunday's a smart 3 piece Harris Tweed suit, Jermyn Street shirts, silk Gieves ties and hankies, Church's brogues and a gold pocket watch! Every time I had an exeat weekend I would put outfit one on my back, the other in my ever-faithfull Karrimor rucksack and headed to my girlfriend's parents' house. Come Sunday, when we would head off to church (twice - she played the organ), her parents couldn't quite get their heads round the transformation or see how neat, pressed clothes could come out of a traditional climbing sack. My secret was that my maternal grandmother's 2nd husband was an ex-naval rating. He packed his no.1s in a standard kitbag and had to keep sharp creases present and wrinkles absent! His answer was to roll everything and he taught me how to do it. However, the use of heavier, more chunky tweeds rather than fine merino wool helped. My answer now is to not wear a suit if at all possible, and as I'm the boss, whose going to stop me?

    Next month I'm off to Sunderland for a christening and, as my wife is Godmother, I'm under orders to take a suit! So will a suit for a 6'2", 250lb, 48" chest guy fit in a Western Flyer, Tri-Star or will it need the daddy; the Aeronaut? Watch this space....
    Last edited by Fat Crip; 04-04-2013 at 07:45 PM. Reason: Putting an 'r' in shirts... hope I didn't offend anyone!

  10. #10
    Registered User Kiddo's Avatar
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    What a coincidence! I will also be at The Violet Hour at the end of April.

  11. #11
    Registered User marbenais's Avatar
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    I roll my dress shirts & pants, then hang them up when I get to my destination next to the shower. The steam takes care of wrinkles for me. Granted, I'm 5'0" (but not skinny) so I don't have the same problems as my 6'3" brother does . . .
    nsh likes this.
    I have : many pouches & wallets & 3D Cubes & CQPCs & Stuff Sacks & Shop Bags, plum & black (C) & black/UV & aubergine/UV (B) Side Effects, steel/UV Citizen Canine, black FJN, plum/wasabi SCB, Cork Little Swift, black/steel Co-Pilot, old plum/olive (C) & black/UV (D) LCB, plum/black (C) Swift, old plum/olive (C) Imago, old plum/wasabi Ruck's Sac, steel WF/TS PCB, plum/solar & black/UV (C) & steel/UV (D) Synapses, black/iberian Smart Alec.

  12. #12
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    nsh, I'm always so very inspired by what you can fit in the Synapse 19! Wow. wow. Most impressive.

    As a Minnesotan who has been transplanted academically to central IL, my Navy Synapse 19 and I will keep our eyes open for you and your Black Synapse 19!
    nsh likes this.

  13. #13
    Registered User Mausermama's Avatar
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    Wow. Just. Wow. I am so impressed at what you can fit into those two bags! So, when I travel to Kansas next week, you're saying I should be good to go with just my Synapse 19 and my Imago? I can't even imagine! Of course, I'm a knitter, so I must always travel with yarn and needles. But still... I bring Kindle, iPad, iPhone, camera, and chargers, so aside from the knitting, it seems like we are similar.

    And I'm only going for 5 days. I am actually thinking about trying it. Thanks for the motivation!
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  14. #14
    Registered User roarmouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    Going to Chicago? I don't see the flak jacket
    Not required in Chicago..Detroit(Our City of Reduced Police Presence) :/

  15. #15
    nsh
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    Hi All!
    I got back from Chicago on Sunday. My TB bags were amazing, I packed the right amount of stuff though I wish I had packed my winter coat instead of my spring coat because it was quite cold in the evenings.
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    Here is a trip review:
    1) We disliked the Hilton Hotel at O'hare. It was so noisy and though we picked it for convenience we suffered from a lack of sleep because of car noise and air traffic noise. The Hilton at Logan (our home airport) is way quieter and better kept so we had high expectations that we could get a good rest then zip off the next day. We learned our lesson and do not plan on returning to the O'Hare Hilton.
    2) We visited Wheaton, IL and had an awesome Chicago dog, fries, and orange crush at Jack Straw's, my husband's favorite fast food joint from childhood.
    3) We loved the I-hotel in Champaign. It is located past the stadium near VetMed and was recently built (last 5 years). Quiet, modern, and affordable ($120/night). We also had tasty food in Champaign- I recommend Maize. Tiny little Mexican joint with a handful of tables but quick, cheap, and delicious. We also liked the pineapple gimlets at Boltini's.
    4) We stayed at the Sofitel in Chicago and loved the room. It was quiet and had a lovely city view. This was billed to my work expense account so though it was pricey it was a great stay.
    5) We enjoyed Blackbird but didn't love it. It had a nice atmosphere and we enjoyed the evening out but honestly, I did not think the food was seasoned well (the hamachi was not so good) and it was kind of overpriced. For us, the highlight was dessert with homemade ice cream and wispy merengue.
    6) My conference was pretty good. My paper was well-received. In awesome news, I found out that my manuscript was accepted for publication at a top journal in my field so that was a great confidence booster right before the presentation!

    Wishing you all happy travels!
    PS- My family is doing fine in Boston but we are just very very sad.

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