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Thread: Yikes! 5 kg carryon limit!

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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Yikes! 5 kg carryon limit!

    Having finished a fun trip to Brazil, where I was allowed to take a ridiculous amount of stuff with me on the plane, it's time to start freaking out (um, planning) for my May 2011 trip to Hungary. I managed to end up with the final leg of the flight on what turns out to be a budget airline: Helvetic Air. Their carryon limit is one bag, 5kg (11 pounds). This totally screws up any ideas I had for one-bag travel. I guess the Tri-Star I'd been considering buying is totally out of the picture.

    For the carry-on, the absolute minimum I need to take is my MacBook Air, Panasonic GF1 with one pancake lens and one zoom lens, mobile phone, Kindle, chargers for all this crap, snacks, vacuum bottle and one change of clothes. Now I'm wondering if, with an 11 lb limit, even a Western Flyer is feasible!

    I've seen jackets with pockets mentioned before. If I could find something a little bit feminine and stylish, (probably not a Scottevest!), that would be suitable to wear for the entire two week trip in Hungary in early spring, it might help with any overload. Suggestions welcome!

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    Registered User blackfungi's Avatar
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    you know what, the tropical jacket with removable sleeves would be your solution. if they don't weigh what you have on your body then the jacket would solve your carry on solution. so put whatever is over 11 kg into the jacket. i can tell you that you can fit in quite a bit in the jacket internal pocket and there is a way of putting more inside the jacket, it's weird but your hand and arm has to do this loop thing inside the internal wall of the jacket and this space is huge, it goes all around the jacket. again, get the tropical jacket for women, it does not look too bad.

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    I think a tropical jacket might be far, far too light for Hungary in early Spring! Last time I was in Hungary in January it was well below freezing and the Danube was starting to freeze. Early Spring will surely still be very cold?

    Hm. Is May really "early" spring? (Just read read the original post.)

    Audrey

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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconea View Post
    I think a tropical jacket might be far, far too light for Hungary in early Spring! Last time I was in Hungary in January it was well below freezing and the Danube was starting to freeze. Early Spring will surely still be very cold?

    Hm. Is May really "early" spring? (Just read read the original post.)

    Audrey
    Well, whatever season you call it, the temperature should be between 52-72 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the BBC's weather site. Guess that's quite a range! I'd like a jacket that has some extra interior pockets deep enough for my camera and lenses, and cell phone, should I have to resort to wearing these items on the flight, but is also nice enough to wear out to dinners.
    I'd rather layer a sweater underneath the jacket than have a super-heavy coat. Not completely sold on the Scottevest idea, though I'm keeping those on the list. At least I have a few months to research this.

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    Hmmm...you may have reached a dead end as far as one bag travel goes. Your Macbook alone with take up close to two kilos (with charger and a sleeve). Add in the Kindle and camera and bits and well, is it a clothing-optional trip?

    I'm sad to say I'm not a fan of the Scottevest line. My partner and I each bought the vest and a jacket apiece. (Trying to beat the Ryanair restrictions, which are looser than your budget airline.) Construction on them leaves something to be desired--loose threads, one seam missewn on my jacket, and the zippers are, frankly, crap. The jackets look fine for very casual wear and hiking, but they really can't double up for restaurant wear, in my opinion. And the neck area chafes because of the amount of velcro in that zone--I would sacrifice a few extra little pockets for comfort myself. I found the sizing on the women's jacket to be a problem--they only come in one size range and the sleeves are way too long for me. I ended up taking mine to my local tailor for retro-sizing, but that added 40 bucks to the cost! They also cater mainly to the svelte--I usually wear an 8 or 10, so I don't consider myself plus-sized, but I had to send the large back for an extra large. Honestly, I'm not sure why they decided that a more form fitting style was a good idea in their women's line--the whole point of the jacket is to disguise the fact that you are carrying a ton of stuff, which is easiest if the jacket skims the body and hangs straight. Bottom line was that the jacket seemed like a good idea, but it ended up going to Value Village in the end. The vest is a bit more versatile size-wise, though it carries a lot less. Still, it has stayed home and will probably end up at Value Village, too, once I convince myself that I will not use it again.

    Another (sadly non-Bihn) option might be to think about the Campmor Essential Carryon bag. It's somewhat lighter than the Western Flyer, though greater capacity. Not remotely in the Tom Bihn league when it comes to quality of construction and thoughtful design, but it will shave some weight and it only costs about 30 bucks.
    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.

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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the comments, and flitcraft, I appreciate you sharing your own experience. Since I am about your size and also have short arms, that's doubly helpful!

    This has given me some ideas though. Since I need a new winter coat, I think I will first shop around and see if I can find a reasonably nice coat with internal pockets. Maybe a wilderness store like REI would have something. I'd rather be able to try it on before buying anyway. If I could store just a few of the heavier items in my jacket (let's say the camera and lenses, just for the purposes of boarding), I'd probably be OK.

    Still fuming about this though. The idea of a weight limit is totally ridiculous to me. I can understand sizing restrictions for the sake of preserving overhead space, but if something fits under my seat, I can't see how it matters what it weighs.</rant>

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    I don't think the weight restrictions have any purpose except to encourage the checking of baggage (and the enhanced revenue for the airline that checked bags bring.) *cue rant here*

    But, it occurred to me that, assuming that your winter coat is not too form-fitting, you could add your own internal "pockets" by velcro-ing in Tom Bihn pouches. (Actually, sewing a few buttons on would be my preference, though I hate to mar the fabric of the pouches by putting in button holes.) That way, when you didn't need the extra storage, the pouches could be whisked out. The hooky side should be on the pouch, so that your coat wouldn't snag knit clothing when the pouch wasn't there.

    Just a thought...
    Last edited by flitcraft; 12-28-2010 at 01:50 PM. Reason: subject verb agreement in embedded clause
    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.

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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Flitcraft, that is hilarious! I actually laughed out loud when reading it.
    Maybe I could just sew some D-rings inside my jacket?

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    Could you do without the Kindle?

    Is it necessary for you to take the big camera, could you substitute a point and shoot?

    Within Europe, it would have been better to opt for train travel but if your flight on Helvetic Air is direct check your Western Flyer just for this flight.
    Last edited by backpack; 12-28-2010 at 03:46 PM.

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    Do you sew?

    Take a look at this site from Oregon: http://www.saf-t-pockets.com/

    Although the patterns are for women, the pockets for men would be the same. If you make sure to use plastic zippers with plastic pulls, they're even WTMD (uh, metal detector) friendly for flying. Jackets and overshirts with pockets will need to be removed fror the NudeOScopes. If you have a regular shirt with full pockets (even if it doesn't set off the WTMD) and get put through the NOS, you will be subjected to a pat-down. Wear a liner shirt underneath it and put it in a bin for security if you don't want groped by the TSA.

    But wearing the stuff through check-in (and, later, boarding your plane itself) may save you from checking your bags - nobody from the airline is going to weigh your jacket (or your shirt) and it's amazing how many things you can squirrel away in good pockets.

    Click on the 'patterns' tab for their current patterns. I have most of them, and they're quite comfortable. Make one of the jacketsor shirts out of fleece (use a matching nylon for the inner pockets - I shop at http://seattlefabrics.com/ for my outerwear fabrics) - sew or buy an ultralight waterproof jacket with an attached hood (or a hat) for over it, and with a silk liner under your usual shirt you'll be set for anything spring in Europe can throw at you.

    If you do a lot of public transport, putting an extra pocket at shoulder height inside or outside for your bus pass or bus card comes in very handy (not that I use my shoulder pocket any more, my card resides in a Tom Bihn Clear Organizer Wallet on its 16" Key Strap).

    If you sew your own, you can put on as many o-rings or d-rings as you like!
    Indigo Co-Pilot w' Cache, Sapphire/Olive Medium Cafe bag, Sapphire/Black and Indigo Ballistic Swifts, 50+ assorted Stuff Sacks/Pouches/Key Straps, 4 Shop Bags. 2 Absolutes, 2 Strap Wraps, a #5 Brain Cell, 3 Clear Quarter Packing Cubes , 3 Aeronaut cubes, a 3D, a Kit, a Convertible Shoulder Bag and Convertible Backpack for my Indigo/Solar Aeronaut. Last, 3 Lifefactory Bottles and my Plum Field Journal! Plus a blue (natch) FOT. All bags decked out with Tom Bihn luggage tags .

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    What about a Tilly "tropical" vest? Or the "VOMP"?

    http://www.tilley.com/Tropical-Blend...cket-Vest.aspx

    http://www.tilley.com/Different-Drum...y-On-Vest.aspx

    http://www.tilley.com/The-VOMP.aspx
    - the above will cause sticker shock, and it's unisex sizing too.


    They certainly aren't chic and lady-like, but I too am thinking of getting one when I have to fly with such weight restrictions for carry-on. (And I considered myself fairly tailored too and even I am considereing one of these. At least here in Toronto I can go to their stores and try them on, they even have on-site tailoring.)

    This reminds me when I was looking into flights from Canada to New Zealand. I thought I would fly Air New Zealand...and looked into their restrictions. 7kg (15lbs) maximum only one piece of carry-on luggage. You can have a personal item like a handbag or something like that in addition to the carry-on luggage one piece. HOWEVER, if you are flying from the USA - even with just a stop-over, they are really strict about only ONE bag, no exceptions for even a small handbag as an extra. My travel dates were flexible, so I thought I'd just make sure I'd fly via Vancouver which has a direct flight and not have to worry about passing into the USA...then I saw the price difference! I think it was almost $1,200 more! (They have fewer flights via Vancouver and I guess the demand isn't there so they can charge more?) Yikes, I might as well ship my bags via Fed Ex.

    I remember telling the booking agent on the phone that if the airlines charged by weight per passenger and not just per bag - they would make more money. She actually stated she wondered why they haven't thought of that yet. (And here was my attempt to say I should be allowed extra carry-on weight as I'm below average weight for my height....)

  12. #12
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the answers!
    Maria, I'm intrigued by the Tilley line. I'm going to have a look; they are sold locally at a few stores here in the US. Crazy prices but I bet it is really quality stuff. My camera is actually very important to me, and is almost always with me. So it might be nice to have a way to carry it without having to wear a bag, for hikes and such.
    Beth

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    Registered User Maria's Avatar
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    Beth - I've owned several Tilley pieces and despite being rather dowdy in terms of style or fashion - they are really well made (reminds me of Tom Bihn quality!). A friend of the family went to Afghanistan with a Tilley vest and wore it out every single day as it would hold a great deal and was secure. I think he got the "VOMP" - the rather expensive one! He packed his camera, lenses, sunglasses, etc. I have a picture somewhere - wish I could post it. If I'm not mistaken, there is a huge pocket in the back too.

    Forgot to add - maybe the vest could be used for the flights / travel...and for hikes and such, and just bring a small light bag when you want to go out and about for dressier events. One presumes travel vests are not attractive in a fancy restaurant.

    I tried a ScottEVest jacket and sent it back straight away. I don't mind spending money for quality, but this jacket was horrible - poor quality seams, haphazard sewing, missing seams and frayed edges, thin as in cheap material (and it was a coat for winter!), clumsy cheap zippers, and the jacket's arms were so long - I left like a gorilla. I ordered a larger size and yet couldn't close the jacket in the front when only half the pockets had items in them and were not packed full. (And I'm NOT a busty female either!) Okay I only tried this one item from the company, but I feel it is not a product line that lives up to it's own ad campaign. Great "gimmick" but poor follow through. Yet they were very nice to me, and took it back right away.

    I wonder - if we tried to hook various organizer pouches to our clothing via key straps and just have them dangle from belt loops and so forth, could we get away with it? I'll say it's the new fashion (at least amongst one-baggers!)
    Last edited by Maria; 12-28-2010 at 06:37 PM.

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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    To follow up on a few of the other points:

    aiethabell: It took me a while to catch on to what that site was. Very cool! I don't actually sew but that's a neat idea.

    backpack: The GF1 is fairly small and light. It's an absolutely terrific DSLR alternative that I purchased specifically with this travel in mind. The trip is a heritage tour of places that some of my ancestors lived, and I want to bring back great photos for the people who don't get to join us.
    The Kindle might get left behind, though, if it becomes a real crunch. I can read on my iPhone though that's a lot less pleasant.

    After finally reaching the airline (their phone center was backed for a few days due to the storm), Swiss Air claims that their higher limit of 8kg applies for both flights, including the Helvetic one. Well, we'll see what actually happens at the gate. I'll take a small compact bag (probably the Tri-Star) and, if it gets challenged over weight, temporarily place a few items in my pockets. The Tri-Star actually meets the size requirements for both airlines; in fact in height and length it is significantly less. Depth is 5mm over but I'd imagine that since it squishes a little, that would be OK.

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    Beautiful camera! I recommend Padded Pouches for it and the lenses.

    They are like Caches for electronics.
    They weight nothing and are so protective, a wonder of engineering!

    I hope your MacBook Air has a Cache.

    I read everything on my netbook.

    My suggestion for the jacket is to buy one made for outdoor photographers.
    They have pockets and velcro straps for lenses, etc...

    If you find one in black or sand (no camouflage), it will be nice looking enough to wear under a big wrap.

    As others say, do plan for cold weather if you are average size, you can find well made clothes in Europe. Most countries support artisan knitters who sell their one of a kind pieces at permanent city markets or weekly farmer's markets.

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