Prior to leaving on my week-long trip to New Zealand, I announced my participation in the SCOTTEVEST Light Baggage Challenge. You can read the original piece for yourself, but in brief I’m usually an outrageous over packer and am determined to mend my ways.
The fine folks over at SCOTTEVEST provided me with one of their signature vests, a Fleece 5.0 Jacket. SCOTTEVEST is all about creating travel clothes that are not only comfortable, but which double as and replace traditional carry-on bags.
My goal for the trip was to not just see if I could travel taking only a fraction of my normal gear, but to create habits so that I can travel more efficiently in the future. I think I can comfortably say that I accomplished both.
During my New Zealand trip I kept a diary detailing how I was getting along with the SCOTTEVEST and the light baggage challenge. Overall, it was a very positive experience.
Fewer bags means fewer bags – Without a doubt the best perk was not having to check any bags. Because my vest doubled as my carry on, I was able to take my duffel bag onboard as my one allowable bag. While it may not seem like a significant detail, it was freeing not to be “tied down” with a checked bag. Plus, since everyone else on my flights had checked luggage, I was the first through immigration and customs. I’ve never had a more positive experience traveling internationally.
More convenient – Normally when I travel I have a carry-on that not only contains my electronic gear, but all the associated odds and ends one takes on a long flight. Usually though I have a hard time finding items in my bag, the object of my search usually ends up buried on the bottom. With the vest, there was a pocket for everything and I quickly got used to using the vest as storage. Its usefulness extended well past the flight, I used the vest throughout the trip as storage and was really pleased with how well it functioned during normal sightseeing activities.
Fewer bags means fewer bags – The one bag I took was small, and I had to pack for a variety of climates and activities. Mentally, it was hard to resist the desire to over pack. I usually worry about unknown situations that may require a variety of clothing options, but on this trip I had to be realistic and pack only for the circumstances I thought would actually happen. That’s fine, but even with the sharply curtailed packing list, the bag was full and heavy. Very heavy actually and since it was a carry-on, it was annoying in airports, especially when I had long layovers. The bruise on my shoulder is slowly going away, but serves as a reminder to find a better solution the next time I travel.
There also wasn’t much room for souvenirs, which ultimately wasn’t a bad thing I suppose. It forced me to think about my purchases and to look for flat-pack, travel friendly items. I also wasn’t able to pack for all contingencies, which meant I was totally unprepared for the ungodly cold weather in Wanaka and Queenstown and had to buy gloves and a hat at a tourist shop.
As far as cons go though, these really aren’t that bad and the convenience of going light far outweighed the negative aspects.
So, will I travel this way from now on? Well, I probably won’t be using a duffel only, but I have definitely learned some lessons. I’ve learned that I don’t need to over pack and that a small, easy to use bag is more than enough for everything I need. I’ve also become a SCOTTEVEST convert. Yes, they gave me the vest for free but that’s it. They left everything else up to me and I warned them that I’d be brutally honest one way or the other. Luckily for them, I loved the vest and intend on buying some more of their products for future trips.
NOW it’s your turn to try the SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 for yourself. SCOTTEVEST has agreed to give one of my readers the same vest I wore throughout my New Zealand adventure. (well not the SAME vest, that’s mine)
Entering is easy, all you have to do is visit the SCOTTEVEST site, take a look at their products and let me know in the comments section which item you’d like to own. The winner will be selected using Random.org.
Contest begins July 6, 2011 at 11:59PM and ends on July 13 at 11:59PM. Rules subject to change and LandLopers.com reserves the right to change or discontinue the contest for any reason at any time.