Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23
Like Tree3Likes

Thread: On Tour: 18 days with an Aeronaut & a Smart Alec

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    58

    On Tour: 18 days with an Aeronaut & a Smart Alec

    I wasn't sure if this was the proper forum to post this in. Feel free to move it as necessary.

    I make an odd living selling merchandise for bands on the road. It's a crazy, fun, unforgiving lifestyle where grown men sleep in bunk beds on a tour bus and eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for dinner. It also requires expert packing and lifehacking skills. After my first couple years of touring I was fed up with my large, bulky hardshell suitcases that required being checked. I've dealt with lost baggage on several occasions. It's a scary realization when you land and your life isn't there to greet you at baggage claim. And you might be hundreds of miles away in 24 hours at another gig. Thankfully, after many hours of research and comparison I stumbled upon Tom Bihn. I've made a few purchases that have changed my touring life and made it for the better. And I hope to make more in the future.

    Here's how I lived for 18 days out of two bags, without doing laundry, while selling merch and doing tour photography for Josh Ritter (http://www.joshritter.com) this month.



    Aeronaut: Steel/Solar w/ Absolute Strap
    - 8 t-shirts
    - 4 button up shirts (1 dress shirt, 2 plaids (1 not pictured), 1 short sleeve)
    - 1 herringbone vest
    - 1 pair of jeans (I wore a second pair on me to the airport)
    - 1 pair of gym shorts
    - 1 pair of pjs
    - 10 pairs of socks
    - 10 pairs of boxer briefs
    - shower kit (soap, shampoo, face wash, toothpaste, deodorant. All lovingly assembled and labeled by my girlfriend)
    - 1 hair straightener (not pictured)
    - keys (not pictured)



    Smart Alec (Steel Solar) w/ Brain Cell & Snake Charmer
    - 1 Macbook Pro 13" (kept in Brain Cell)
    - Canon Rebel XT w/ 17-70mm lens attached (not pictured because it's taking the pictures!)
    - 2 zip up hoodies (One for wearing, one to wrap around my camera to keep it safe)
    - 1 external hard drive w/ USB cable & case (for music and photo storage)
    - 1 power strip
    - first aid kit (tylenol, advil, bandaids, etc)
    - sunglasses w/ case
    - passport (I keep it tucked inside the small pocket on the front of the Brain Cell)
    - stack of business cards
    - 1 poncho (for emergencies!)
    - 2 ball point pens
    - Earbuds
    - 1 medium sized notebook
    - toothbrush w/ case
    - earplugs
    - Snake Charmer - in which I keep:
    - computer charger
    - iPhone charger
    - camera battery charger
    - 2 camera batteries
    - 2 CompactFlash cards
    - camera transfer hub
    - 1 external hard drive (for Time Machine back ups)
    - 2 USB cables
    - 1 screen cleaning cloth

    As you can see, I'm heavy on the technology. The contents of my backpack alone are pretty pricey. But they're all tools which are necessary to my job. My Aeronaut was a champ and kept all my clothing close by, fit easily in my planes, and stowed nicely at the foot of my bunk. Most of the other guys on tour keep their giant suitcases in storage in one of the bays underneath our tour bus. My bags were small enough to stay in my bunk and still give me plenty of room to sleep.

    Now don't gross out on me, but you're probably wondering how I lived 18 days on 10 changes of clothes. Well the obvious answer is the correct one: showering every other day or so. Sometimes showers aren't always available in clubs or the hotel room is too far too walk with my limited schedule (I'm a busy guy!) It works out well. Though I'll admit the Aeronaut could use a heavy febreezing.

    I'd like to note that on my return trip home from tour I packed my Aeronaut to the gills with records (read: vinyl) that I picked up in record shops along the way. 10 of them to be exact - adding a hefty 10 extra pounds to my luggage weight. Thankfully the backpack straps did a magnificent job of keeping the weight manageable.

    Thank you Tom Bihn and company for making my life and job a breeze. You've earned yourself not only a customer for life, but a martyr for your products. I talk my bags up to anyone and everyone. I'll be flying out again in just two weeks time to start another run of tour dates with Josh Ritter. We're playing the Showbox at the Market in Seattle sometime near the end of June. Let me know if you all would like to attend - I'll make sure tickets are waiting for you at will call.
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    425
    Magnificent post.

    Actually, showering every other day is better for your skin. Perhaps pack a sea sponge to wash the naughty bits daily and use antiperspirant instead of deodorant.

    Since you don't mention shoes, you had one pair, yes? What about slippers? Soft ballet slippers (they come in men's sizes) are lightweight, take little space, and work great as slip-ons with the heel flattened down.

    "heavy febreezing"—yuck. Have you tried a lightweight bag for the dirty laundry?

    How do you carry the Smart Alec with the Aeronaut on your back?

    What kind of earplugs?

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by gmanedit View Post
    Magnificent post.

    Actually, showering every other day is better for your skin. Perhaps pack a sea sponge to wash the naughty bits daily and use antiperspirant instead of deodorant.

    Since you don't mention shoes, you had one pair, yes? What about slippers? Soft ballet slippers (they come in men's sizes) are lightweight, take little space, and work great as slip-ons with the heel flattened down.

    "heavy febreezing"—yuck. Have you tried a lightweight bag for the dirty laundry?

    How do you carry the Smart Alec with the Aeronaut on your back?

    What kind of earplugs?
    I've tried using one of those synthetic loofahs on the road, but there's no time to dry them and they just end up getting funky. My shower is normally in, out, dry, get dressed, pack everything up. So I normally stick to hotel wash cloths or whatever is provided by the clubs.

    Yes, I only had one pair of shoes with me for the run. My trusty Vans slip ons. I have pretty wide feet and Vans accommodate them nicely. Not to mention being great for the airplane and tour in general. And I line them with gel inserts.

    Can you recommend a somewhat permanent laundry bag for travel? I'm certainly not opposed to the idea.

    On my return trip I carried the Aeronaut with the backpack straps due to the added weight. Then either slung one of the Smart Alec's straps over one shoulder or carried it by the foam handle. Or I made my girlfriend carry it when she picked me up from the airport :D.

    And I have a pair of earplugs similar to these: http://amzn.to/b2EMWf They allow for a pretty wide range of tones, though not very friendly towards high tones - which is a shame.

    Thanks for the comment!
    Last edited by leviathan; 05-25-2010 at 08:47 PM.
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    989
    So, you're a career roadie? Wow!

    Do you ever carry your Digital Rebel in a separate case inside the Smart Alec, as opposed to the "hoodie wrap" approach? What about lenses? Do you use any Tom Bihn organizer pouches?

    I don't envy you taking a shower every other day, but I am green with envy in regards to your Aeronaut and Smart Alec. When I get enough money, I may grab one of each!

    Keep havin' fun on the tour!

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    425
    On the laundry bag front, nothing in particular to recommend—just a stuff sack or a plastic bag (or a plastic bag in a stuff sack). I bought a set of nylon stuff sacks from L.L. Bean (years ago, before they were bought by Sears) that worked well for laundry.

    Again, great post, and great pictures. It's funny that when you buy Bihn, you wind up with matched luggage!

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    suburbs of Washington DC
    Posts
    85
    Love the photos and descriptions of your bag contents and lifestyle. Just wondering though, how showering every other day enables you to change clothes every other day. Are the two linked somehow?

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    So, you're a career roadie? Wow!

    Do you ever carry your Digital Rebel in a separate case inside the Smart Alec, as opposed to the "hoodie wrap" approach? What about lenses? Do you use any Tom Bihn organizer pouches?

    I don't envy you taking a shower every other day, but I am green with envy in regards to your Aeronaut and Smart Alec. When I get enough money, I may grab one of each!

    Keep havin' fun on the tour!
    I've been holding out for Tom's Camera Insert for about a year and a half now. Otherwise, no, I've never employed a separate case for my camera. When not traveling I use Lowepro's SlingShot 100 (http://products.lowepro.com/product/...-AW,2034,4.htm) for my camera. I have yet to purchase a large collection of lenses, but it's quickly becoming a necessity if I want to keep shooting and growing. Any suggestions as to what I could use to keep my camera safe and mobile?

    I highly recommend both bags if you're looking into them. The Smart Alec is incredibly huge on the inside. I've lived out of it alone for 3-4 days before. And the Aeronaut is just a dream for heavier travel. Good luck with your future purchases!


    Quote Originally Posted by gmanedit View Post
    On the laundry bag front, nothing in particular to recommendójust a stuff sack or a plastic bag (or a plastic bag in a stuff sack). I bought a set of nylon stuff sacks from L.L. Bean (years ago, before they were bought by Sears) that worked well for laundry.

    Again, great post, and great pictures. It's funny that when you buy Bihn, you wind up with matched luggage!
    I've used grocery bags before for exactly that, but I think I'll look into a sturdier, more permanent solution. Thanks for the idea!

    And I definitely made a conscious decision to have my bags match. It just makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ams123 View Post
    Love the photos and descriptions of your bag contents and lifestyle. Just wondering though, how showering every other day enables you to change clothes every other day. Are the two linked somehow?
    I just don't change clothes between showers. Haha. Though I normally wear shorts during the day for heavier work and switch to jeans at night for the shows.
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    60
    Very cool! I'm a longtime Josh Ritter fan and will be at the LA show next month - if you see a Plum/Olive Imago in the audience, it's probably mine!

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    564
    For laundry bags, I use stuff sacks made for camping or backpacking. I usually get them at a place like LL Bean or REI. I like to wrap my running shoes in one to help block the smell from seeping into my Aeronaut. I use the other for laundry. Only drawback is I start with TB packing cubes so when I start filling laundry bag my loading of the Aeronaut is a bit wonky.

    Do you roll your clothes or fold them? I just read an article from a flight attendant and I'm considering giving rolling a try again.
    Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot

  10. #10
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    273
    Excellent packing story! I don't mind going occasionally without a shower for a day ... but am glad that's not a regular practical requirement ;) Some people's hair etc. seems to stand up to it, but not mine.

    Because Wikipedia has the answer to most things, I jumped there to read about Josh Ritter. (My media bubble is ... irregular, let's say.) Sounds like a really interesting performer -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Ritter

    timothy

  11. #11
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    273
    BTW, depending on how many outlets you actually end up needing, you can save a few cubic inches at least with a smaller mutli-plug; Monster sells (or at least brands) a few variants where the cord wraps neatly around the plugs, and there are also simple heavy-duty splitters that make 2 outlets from one, with a total length of just 18 or so inches, like a 2-arm version of the larger PowerSquids now popular. I often carry one (or even two) of those splitters; at an airport etc, usually easy to convince someone to yield an occupied power outlet for a moment, and then share the split connection. (And because the ends are no on one small strip, they easily accomodate wall-wart style connectors.)

    timothy

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    21
    I know what you mean by "After my first couple years of touring I was fed up with my large, bulky hardshell suitcases that required being checked". Almost 4 years ago I had the same feeling, that's when I decided to not use that kind of bag anymore and learn a new travel style.

    10 days ago I returned from Europe, and my luggage was my Western Flyer (you can see my packing list here: Western Flyer). It was a relief not to bring unecessary weight. :)

    My WF takes turns with my Aeronaut, since sometimes I need to bring heavier gear like you did on your trip.

    Nice story. Cheers.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by teresapoet View Post
    Very cool! I'm a longtime Josh Ritter fan and will be at the LA show next month - if you see a Plum/Olive Imago in the audience, it's probably mine!
    Awesome! Come say hi to me! I'll be the guy selling shirts and running around taking photos.

    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelb View Post
    Laundry stuff sacks

    Quote Originally Posted by timothy View Post
    Monster power strips
    Thanks for the pointers on these! I picked up a dry sack and a Monster power splitter on Amazon for $30 shipped! You all are wonderful help.
    http://www.playthisrecord.com

    My Tom Bihn arsenal
    Bags: Steel/Solar Aeronaut w/ Absolute Strap | Black/Steel Brain Bag | Black/Cardinal Tri-Star | Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec
    Accessories: Camera I-O, Tripod Quiver, Brain Cell, Snake Charmer, Vertical Freudian Slip, Vertical iPad Cache, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Kit, Travel Tray, various Organizer Cubes & Pouches

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    989
    Quote Originally Posted by leviathan View Post
    Any suggestions as to what I could use to keep my camera safe and mobile?

    I highly recommend both bags if you're looking into them. The Smart Alec is incredibly huge on the inside. I've lived out of it alone for 3-4 days before. And the Aeronaut is just a dream for heavier travel. Good luck with your future purchases!
    Regarding the camera thing: I do not yet own a digital SLR. That's still pretty far off for me. I may someday buy a DILC instead, like the Panasonic G2 or just-released Sony Alpha NEX-3 or NEX-5. That's a ways off.

    Actually, I'm just wading into the camera bag arena myself. I use a cheap old Ambico camcorder bag for my prosumer Canon Vixia HV 40 (HDV camcorder) and an unpadded gun holster from Sportsman's Guide for my aging Canon PowerShot S2 IS ultra-zoom that I usually carry in my cheap Wal Mart backpack. The Vixia is brand-new. Everything else I just mentioned is due to be replaced whenever the $$$ are available.

    I am a big believer in cameras being carried in padded cases, even when the cases with the cameras are themselves being carried around in other bags. The way you travel, though, I can understand how that would be impractical. B&H Photo has quite a variety of camera case types from a variety of manufacturers. I like the fact that Porta Brace is made in USA, but I hate Porta Brace's constant use of velcro. I'm finding it a no-win situation, it's tough to find the kind of bags I want for my equipment. So it's a never-ending exercise in compromise, I guess.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,772
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Regarding the camera thing: I do not yet own a digital SLR. That's still pretty far off for me. I may someday buy a DILC instead, like the Panasonic G2 or just-released Sony Alpha NEX-3 or NEX-5. That's a ways off.

    Actually, I'm just wading into the camera bag arena myself. I use a cheap old Ambico camcorder bag for my prosumer Canon Vixia HV 40 (HDV camcorder) and an unpadded gun holster from Sportsman's Guide for my aging Canon PowerShot S2 IS ultra-zoom that I usually carry in my cheap Wal Mart backpack. The Vixia is brand-new. Everything else I just mentioned is due to be replaced whenever the $$$ are available.

    I am a big believer in cameras being carried in padded cases, even when the cases with the cameras are themselves being carried around in other bags. The way you travel, though, I can understand how that would be impractical. B&H Photo has quite a variety of camera case types from a variety of manufacturers. I like the fact that Porta Brace is made in USA, but I hate Porta Brace's constant use of velcro. I'm finding it a no-win situation, it's tough to find the kind of bags I want for my equipment. So it's a never-ending exercise in compromise, I guess.

    I checked the dimension of your cams and they both seem to fit the Super Drive Padded Pouch.
    You'll need 2 but at $16 each, it is a bargain for the peace of mind it brings.

    CANON VIXIA
    (W X H X D) 3.5 x 3.2 x 5.4 in. (88 x 82 x 138mm)

    POWERSHOT

    4.45 x 3.07 x 2.97 in. / 113.0 x 78.0 x 75.5mm (excluding protrusions)


    Padded Pouches

    Medium measures: 10.3" x 7" (260 x 180 mm)
    SuperDrive measures: 5.47" x 5.47" x 0.67" (139 x 139 x 17 mm)


    I use the Medium Padded Pouch for my own smaller by design, setup.

    The Padded Pouch is lightweight, very nice looking and because it looks like a regular Pouch, it doesn't scream, "electronic equipment here!"

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0