Category: Travel gear

Yak Pak shoulder bag (messenger bag) review

I mentioned Yak Pak a month ago as a possible holiday gift idea. It’s probably too late for Hanukkah but not for Christmas so I’m going to give my review now even though I’ve only had my messenger bag for a few hours.

I like it. I don’t have any pictures yet but you will see some eventually; my wife says I should take it on my upcoming trip to Europe because it matches my new coat (pretty lucky since I didn’t pick out the colors – Yak Pak did) and because it’s more casual than the shoulder bag I bring to school.

By the way, the exact model I received for review is the basic shoulder bag. My color pattern is not pictured there though because it’s a 2010 model.

The quality seems very good. I like how there’s a buckle and velcro to keep the flap closed. I like how it seems sturdy. Something tells me the shoulder bag will last a while. The shoulder strap is wide and comfy and the handle is fine too (though it’s not padded so if I had packed the bag real heavy and not been wearing gloves the handle may not have seemed comfortable).

The only negative thing I have to say is that it doesn’t always retain it’s shape. Today we went to a Christmas party and the bag was underpacked on the way there (2 t shirts and a small book) so it had a dent at the top. On the way back home we stopped at Starbucks and picked up some of the leftover coffee stuff they give away (you put it in the fridge or the closet and it’s supposed to be good). Two coffee bags fit in the Yak Pak bag easily but again warped the shape some.

This is not a deal breaker for me but potential buyers should know it will probably look better with folders and text books than with funnily shaped items like packages of left over Starbucks coffee grinds.

I just realized that I can’t comment on value because I don’t know the retail price of the Yak Pak. I have an email in to my contact there so I’ll try to update this post with that information.

Edit: The basic shoulder bag goes for a round $15.00 (this is a correction – I previously had the wrong price here). I think that’s a good value. I asked my wife to guess the cost and she said $35.00. I figured it would be higher, around $40-$45… You can not buy direct from Yak Pak – they have a list of retailers here.

Bose Quiet Comfort 3 Headphones vs. other high end headphones

I’ve heard that there are better headphones out there for sound quality but that Bose is #1 for comfort on long plane trips.

I know one person with the Bose 2 model who is very happy with them. They block out low humming noise like airplane engine noise. This way he doesn’t have to crank up the volume of an in-flight movie or whatever. They don’t block out all noises so you will still hear conversations, yelling kids and crying babies

The Bose 2 sit on top of the ear so after three or four hours his right ear starts to hurt. So he thinks the Bose 1 which are over the ear might be better in this regard. The Bose 3 are supposed to be like the Bose 2 only more compact.

Another friend basically said, before you spend a lot more for less, check out the line of Sennheiser headphones. They provide better sound for less money. But I don’t know how comfortable they are for long flights either.

And Sharon mentioned Quiet Point headphones on this old post. I had never heard of them before and haven’t heard of them since so I don’t know what people are saying about them.

Travel gear advice needed

I could use some help.

With my wife’s birthday coming up and then Christmas a few weeks after that I’ve started thinking about presents. Since we like to travel I was thinking there must be some cool travel gear I can get her. On this site I’ve talked about space bags (practical but does that make them a good gift?), travel socks, and luggage stickers.

I’ve also been thinking about sleep masks / eye shades or nice earphones for noise reduction and because my wife like to listen to music or watch an in-flight movie or two when we fly. I’ve heard that Bose makes the best earphones. I’m not sure about the sleep mask – maybe Nikken?

Any ideas would be welcome!

Vicariously visit the Texas mexico border?

Here’s a book review for Vanishing Borderlands. This is said to be a collection of travel essays and photographs of the very dangerous Texas and Mexico border. Sure sounds like a bad place to vacation:

Bottom line: These borderlands are “not a safe place.” They were always primal Wild West territory, but now Border Patrol and DEA agents – even tourists and National Park Service rangers – have been killed here. Deserts, once protected by remote locations, deadly cold or waterless, searing heat, are routinely torn up by smuggling activities and off-road pursuits. They are littered with abandoned vehicles, test-range targets and downed aircraft, ripped-up airstrips, trash and urban pollution. The $2.4 billion Secure Fence Act of 2006, which provided a 698-mile barrier meant to curb immigration, has created an ecological nightmare, a detriment to delicate habitats and easily reduced to pointlessness by ladders, ramps, steel bracing, demolition, tree limbs, ropes and human determination.

I guess that means if I want to ‘see’ this area I’ll be buying the book…

And not to get too political, but I’ll take the risk – why bother building a wall that is easily climbed over?

Upcoming review: Ames Walker Microfiber Travel Socks

I recently received this information and an offer for a sample pair of socks from The review will probbaly come after my vacation, since I doubt I’ll get the socks in time to try them out this time around. However I thought the information in the email might be useful:

Millions of people will be traveling to visit friends/loved ones for the holidays. While overbooked flights and bumper to bumper traffic are always a concern, not enough attention is given to the health risks associated with extended travel. Travelers use compression travel socks while traveling to help prevent blood clots (deep-vein thrombosis) — a potential killer. Even healthy people can get blood clots in their legs during long flights and long car rides. To help minimize the risk, offers Microfiber Travel Socks, which offer the following benefits:

· Help promote venous blood flow in the legs

· Help prevent leg swelling and discomfort

· Reduce the chance of blood clot formation in a DVT

· Improve circulation in legs

Gift ideas for travelers

My birthday was last month but I suppose I could start an early Christmas list with some help from this article. I did actually get some good ideas – since I’ll be in a hotel in Munich for Christmas I was wondering what to get my wife. Something from home and hide it all the way to Germany? Buy something in Germany when we’ll be together the whole time? Nothing seemed so easy. But maybe something from the hotel if they have a spa or maybe something else along those lines would work. Perhaps a special dinner in Munich – anyone know of something?

Don’t forget to charge your batteries before you go on vacation

Here’s a quick article on getting your digital camera ready for your vacation. It basically says to bring extra batteries and/or a charger (and if you’re going overseas an adaptor or converter) and make sure you have enough space on your memory stick.

Personally, my wife and I love our Sony Cybershot (we’re on our second). Battery life is excellent so as long as we leave the camera off when we’re not taking pictures we really don’t need extra batteries. We’ve lasted 11 or so days in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore on one charge.