I spent most of my unexpected layovers in Bahrain and London reading most of the posts on this forum. I have a few questions for the experienced users here regarding a better luggage solution than what I have now.
Warning long and scrolly post!
First a few job details. I am on the Surface Nuclear Propulsion Mobile Training Team for American East Coast based aircraft carriers. What this means is that I fly out to carriers and inspect/train their nuclear crews. I'll have this job for the next two years. I just completed my first overseas trip. The journey involved a regional jet from Norfolk to Washington Dulles, 777 to Heathrow, 757 to Bahrain, COD (Carrier onboard delivery, think turbo prop cargo plane with seats bolted in backwards) flight to the carrier. Then reverse that to get home. We had a 26 hours in London, 12 hours in Bahrain and were scheduled for about the same on the way back. Snows in London changed that to 2 and 1/2 days in Bahrain with a six hour layover in London.
Based on the advice of fellow teammates I packed with no intention of doing laundry. And I did not. I brought everything I would need to wear for a 9 day trip.
Below is my packing list, some things are mandtory, such as uniform items. Others were perhaps overkill.
2 pairs of coveralls
1 pair of black saftey toe boots
5 white undershirts
1 Khaki belt
1 black pullover wool sweater
1 pair of Khaki pants
4 Long sleeved shirts
9 pairs of underwear
9 pairs of black socks
2 running shorts
1 compression short
Garmin Forerunner 405
1 pair running socks
1 pair running shoes
1 pair of shower shoes
1 pajama bottom
1 pajama top
1 Shaving cream
1 razor with replacement blades
3 oz shampoo
3 oz body wash
1 body scrubber sponge thingie
Worn on plane
1 pair of jeans
1 long sleeve shirt
1 REI jacket with removeable liner
1 pair black socks
1 pair RM Williams boots
1 black felt hat
1 work laptop Dell D630
1 personal laptop Acer Aspire One
1 Ipod Nano
1 cannon powershot
1 cell phone
1 LAN cable
Power cords/bricks for the above
All packed in a Samsonite bag similar to this with the expansion zipper fully open, and a Targus backpack style computer bag I've had for years.
In the Targus I had 1 cover all, 1 pair black socks, 1 pair underwear, 1 white t-shirt, all the electronics including laptops and both books.
Obviously, I need to pare down. Things that I did not wear such as the black pullover sweater will not make the next trip.
My questions to the forum are these:
1) Assume the working clothes functionallity has to be maintained. What cotton/polyester type t-shirts dry the fastest? I think that I could get by with just 3 white t-shirts, but they must be either cotton or cotton/polyester (fire hazard on the ship, otherwise)
2)How washable are the exoffico type boxer briefs? I think I could get by with just 4 pairs.
3) What about socks? I'm a little more open for synthetics since the leather boots will provide quite bit of protection.
4) Travel clothes. I will often have a day on either end of my trips, where I would like to be prensentable and able to attend things with a bit of culture. For example I went to see the "Sound of Music" in London's West End while I was there and felt quite comfortable in my slacks and a nice long sleeve shirt. What clothes would you recommend for travel? One cavet, the COD flight left my REI jacket smelling ever so subtly of jet fuel. Must be easily cleaned.
5) I plan to drop my workout gear down to 1 set. I was thinking under armour for that. Any better suggestions?
My dream is to get my load down to a carryon and a personal item. Currently leaning towards the Aeronaut and maybe an Empire Builder for that combo. Any one use that combo? or is it overkill?
I'm 5'10" 230 lbs with a 48 or 50 R sport coat (which I have to either buy the athletic cut or have the waist taken in, thank you very much!) I don't mind a heavy load, provided the suspension works. I'm checking with my work to see if I can just use my personal laptop to drop some of the weight. I refuse to do without it as I have a 7 month son whom I like to tuck in using Skype video.
Since taking the trip, I have come to a few conclusions:
1) I packed way too much
2) I am willing to do laundry either in my sink which I have on board ship since I'm an officer and rate a stateroom or at the hotel.
3) I am willing to buy a new wardrobe if needed to accomplish my goals.
4) I am willing to wear my black safety boots and just pack my running shoes, but only as a last resort. They are plain toed, but they really do look like worker's boots. And they don't breathe so well.
5) I need either the pajamas or a robe since I have to walk down passageways to get to the bathroom. Think leaving your hotel room and walking across the street to shower; its a public venue. I prefer the pajams since they give me a layering option should I get the stateroom right next to the air conditioning unit. I've seen 60 F in staterooms in the Persian Gulf during the summer.
Thanks for reading this far.