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May 27th 2012
Published: May 28th 2012
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I really enjoy finding the right tool for the job, and getting ready for a trip provides some wonderful opportunities to obsess about gear. Here's what I'll test on this trip.

A Jansport Odyssey 39 backpack. the main compartments look like they'll provide a better configuration for my gear. The 39-liter capacity is generous enough while still fitting in carry-on spaces on planes. Compression straps help hold the load steady. It has a light internal frame and is short enough for my torso. Lots of little pockets and places to clip cups, solar chargers, and sandals. Purchased at REI with holiday gift cards from my family. Thanks, family!

A Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 Shoulder Bag. Also from REI, but purchased with my dividend. Thanks, REI. If you've read my travel blogs in the past, you know I love Pacsafe products. I travel with an exomesh security web backpack cover, a waist wallet, and often a Citysafe handbag. The shoulder bag gives me another option that still has a slashproof strap, slashproof panels, and an easy locking mechanism for securing it to a table, chair, rail, suitcase, or other object. I'm very fond of my Eagle Creek shoulder bag, but I wanted something larger and more secure. This has a 7-liter capacity and can hold my ASUS netbook.

You may not know this if you have height privilege and are always banging your knees on the back of the seat in front of you, but if you're short, you know what I mean when I say that long flights can be excruciating if your feet don't rest on the floor. In the past I've used a folding footrest intended for guitar players. It does the job pretty well, but it's comparatively heavy. My upcoming trip has a leg that's 14.5 hours long, so I'm testing the Design GO Inflatable Footrest, purchased at Corporate Travel Safety. It's supposed to raise my feet about 6", which should relieve my knees and lower back.

Also from Corporate Travel Safety, a luggage lock that's intended to rectify a serious design flaw in continuous loop zippers, which can be pried open, then re-sealed by running the zipper tabs over the opening. This lock attaches the locked tabs to the handle of the suitcase so they can't be used to re-seal the zipper. This should dissuade tampering at best and provide evidence of it at worst.

Oh, Corporate Travel Safety, you had me at the inflatable foot rest, but these tiny zipper locks (actually tiny s-biners) make it that much harder for anybody to open a zipper covertly. They won't stop someone if the bag or pocket is unattended, but they discourage casual theft from any compartment with two zipper tabs or a tab and an anchor. They're also nice as a guide to keep earbuds or other wires snug and low-profile if fixed to a buttonhole or other anchor point. Also, they're just so darn cute.

Yes, I have reading glasses. Yes, a pair in every bag, at every room, at every desk or table. But they tend to fall out of the shallow pockets that plague women's clothing, and they don't fit in my waist pack or wallet-sized shoulder bag unless I take them out of their case. Fortunately, Magnivision's Microvision Folding Readers are to glasses what cute little folding thread cutters are to scissors. I got mine at Albertson's, but you can find them online as well.

Finally, the GoPhone, because I don't want to schlepp a smartphone to another country where I won't be using it, so I needed a stupidphone. AT&T offers a good deal on really basic, light, do-nothing inexpensive phones for which you then add call time in $15 increments. Excellent for managing missed connections and other domestic transit problems, not a heartrending loss if liberated from your person.

Not pictured at present:

My wonderful travel computer, a 7" ASUS Eee netbook that runs Linux is still in service, but virus protection updates are no longer available. Since my HP Mini expired, I needed a new computer. Alas, though there are Droids and tablets and iThings and notebooks, the true small netbook has pretty much disappeared. I am trying out an ASUS Eee 10.1" so-called netbook. Its virtues are that it runs Windows 7 and I was able to load MS Office 2010, it's still pretty light, and though it's somewhat slow, the GUI is much better than the one for the 7" model.

A couple of weeks ago, I received instructions to bring a dress or skirt with me as we'll be meeting with a chief. In the US I'd wear nice pants; in Africa, sure, I'll wear a skirt. This meant I needed to get a skirt. Fine. I got a skirt. So it goes.

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28th May 2012

Shoshana in a skirt. Really???? Wish I could be there to see that one! Safe travels, my friend. Will look forward to your posts!
28th May 2012
Jansport backpack

Shoshana, So cool to read your blog! I hope that you're travels continue to be safe and productive. Tell me how that plane pillo worked out - I've been wanting to try one of those. Looking forward to reading more...
1st June 2012

Can not wait till you get to Africa and we can her about your experiences there.

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