A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to art direct a photo shoot in Asia. On the itinerary: Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, over the course of a three-week period. So I wanted to see if I could do the entire trip with one bag. For everything. Clothes. Shoes. Computer and cords. Toiletries. And the bag had to have room for a souvenir from each country. And it had to be a carry-on.
The trip was very last minute and I didn’t have a whole lot of time to research which bag would be ideal. I did, however, get a piece of advice from one of the photographers I was traveling with to check out: The North Face Base Camp Duffel bag (specs below). He had recently gone on a backpacking/Airbnb trip to England for two weeks and took the very bag he was recommending to me. I went down to my local sports store and picked one up. I didn’t know what size to get, so I got the medium and just rolled with it.
You can read all the technical stuff about the duffel on The North Face site, but in short, the bag rocks. It was exactly what I needed. I plan to use this bag for all my future work trips.
At first glance the bag looks small, but I was able to fit everything in without a problem – even with a little room to spare.
Contents of the bag for the three-week Asia trip:
- Small messenger bag for my computer, cables and extra cell phone battery
- One pair of shoes
- 6 ‘wears
- 6 pairs of socks
- 6 button-down shirts
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 1 pair of slacks
- 1 hoodie
- 1 sweater
- 1 rain jacket
- Dopp kit
- Souvenir from each country (accumulated along the way)
- Bose QC 25 headphones
The only thing I can say is, I wish I had bought the smaller bag (size: Small) and packed lighter. The bag was heavy, and was a little awkward carrying it on my back because of how full it was packed.
Originally, my plan was to launder all my own clothes in the hotel room, and do three loads over the course of the trip. But looking back, I would have packed less and brought clothes that were more travel-friendly, and washed my clothes more often. Washing a week’s worth of clothes in a hotel sink is a pain, not to mention the drying time. And Asia in the summer is humid. It takes forever for clothes to dry. I got pretty creative on how and where to hang wet clothes in a small hotel room.
Even though I packed on the heavy-side, the bag fit in all the airline overhead compartments. It was a little tight, and I did get some interesting looks from the flight attendants and passengers – another reason why I would opt for the smaller-sized bag.
The planes I few on were the:
The North Face Base Camp Duffel – Medium specs:
Size bought: Medium (Comes in a Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large)
Avg weight: 3 lbs 8.09 oz (1590 g)
Volume: 4211 in³ (69 liters)
Dimensions: 13.98” x 25.4” x 13.98” (35.5 cm x 64.5 cm x 35.5 cm)
Fabric: 1000D phthalate-free TPE fabric laminate, 840D Jr. Ballistic s nylon
Guaruntee: Lifetime Warranty
Cover photo from The North Face website.