Tag Archive | Osprey packs

Portugal Packing v3.0 – the verdict!

So, how did things go with the items listed on Portugal Packing v3.0?

Very well actually (and everything bar the worn stuff did go into our respective Osprey Farpoint 40 packs). Virtually all of the clothing taken along earned their place in the pack or on me in the case of the items worn on the plane.

The only mistake I made was in taking along my pair of Peter Storm Soft Shell trousers.

They’ve been worth their weight in gold since I bought them last year, but they were too heavy an item to take along and wear in Portugal, especially given the temperatures encountered (even on the couple of wet, windy and generally stormy days).

When the storm hit Porto on the Tuesday of our trip, I ended up wearing one of my Rohan Cool Silver t-shirts, Rohan Goa trousers and the same brand’s Silver containing socks and trunks. The top layer was my HyVent jacket from The North Face. On my feet were one of the two pairs of Salomon ventilated shoes that I’d taken along.

Despite the conditions, everything worked well. Yes, I was wet from the bottom of the waterproof to the pavement and the inside of the jacket’s sleeves were damp, despite the pit zips being opened to provide some ventilation.

The rain was teeming down though and as it was still relatively warm, I’d expected some condensation in the sleeves as the linings were solid rather than mesh and also because I was wearing a t-shirt rather than a long sleeved shirt so my bare arms were helping raise those condensation levels.

Now the Goa trousers may be lightweights and meant for tropical use, but this combination worked in their favour once I got out of the rain and into the photography museum we were aiming for during the storm.

They were soaked when I entered the museum, but as I wandered around, they dried out.

So much so that I was able to sit down and partake in one of the many espressos imbibed over the course of the trip. The vending machine coffee was fine, but it wasn’t going to stop the rain, so after a while it was time to get back out there and try and find some lunch.

And yes, the Goas got soaked once more, then dried out again whilst waiting and eating fodder and then got soaked once more as we left the cafe, went to do some food shopping and headed back to the hostel we were staying in at Porto.

End result? Worn/soaked/dried/soaked/dried/soaked and you get the picture by now. Not only did they perform well under the challenging conditions, they also coped well with the heat encountered later in the week and over the time we were in Coimbra plus the lower temperatures and breezes when we were on the Atlantic Coast.

Washing and drying wasn’t a problem with the Goas either. Once we had a decent sink and places to dry kit out, then there weren’t any problems with the washing and wearing of any of the kit we’d taken along.

Caroline’s storm days kit worked as well as my own – the Rohan Thai trousers worked well as did the selection of tops used on the days and her somewhat elderly Berghaus PacLite Gore-Tex jacket. Her Ecco Blom Lite Mary Jane shoes did get a soaking, as did my Salomons, but they did dry out relatively quickly and were usable a couple of days later (something we’d anticipated, hence the decision to take two pairs of shoes each rather than lighter or flimsier items).

All of our tops performed as expected, especially the Rohan Stratum Polo Long Sleeved which came into its own on the nights when we could sit outside restaurants to have a meal.

Caroline was also more than happy with the couple of Ultra Silver Camisoles and the matching briefs that she’s taken along. These were used on their own or as part of a low-key layering system on cooler days, but washed and dried like crazy every couple of days, as did her Serene vest tops.

One thing that we did forget (okay, one thing that I forgot!) was our Lifeventure travel sink plug.

The sinks in three out of our five different lodgings in Portugal didn’t come with sink plugs, so necessity was the mother of invention. I plugged some sinks with socks whilst Caroline found that the top from her Nivea roll-on deodorant did the job in one place.

Other than that, it was make do and mend with the plastic top off a Pringles tube or the plastic top from a small tub of Hagen Daaz ice cream. Needless to say, a small amount of food consumption went on before these tops were used in the sinks…

Anything else? Yep, the tea tree oil worked well on the insect bites, as did the tube of gel that was bought in Porto to help combat the results of unexpected encounters with mosquitos.

The lavender oil had helped to keep the flying nasties at bay, but some had got through, resulting in 10 bites on my back, legs, arms and face, even though I had kept myself under the bed sheets on even the warmest nights in Portugal.

What I wasn’t expecting was for one of my pairs of shoes to deteriorate. One of the fabric lace retainers came away and as the two weeks wore on, it became apparent that the shock absorbing materials were breaking down inside the sole unit.

Although the shoes weren’t that old, they had done around 400 miles or so. Given that I have gait problems and also have trouble with my left leg as a result of that stroke a few years ago, I knew that it wasn’t something that I could put down as a problem with the shoes as I’ve been wearing Salomon shoes and boots for years now and not had any problems.

As a result, they were left in Portugal – not in a bin, but with someone who was going to repair the lace retainer and hand the shoes over to a local homeless charity.

On a lighter note, the umbrella that I’d taken along didn’t last either. It went inside out a few times in Porto and ended up being left in a guest house somewhere in Portugal.

It had served its purpose though in Somerset, London and Porto and as it had cost me the princely sum of £1, I wasn’t going to complain about being ripped off by a pound shop…

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Portugal Packing v3.0

See – told you that it would be along shortly!

One of the reasons why there’s a Portugal Packing v3.0 rather than a Portugal Packing v2.1 is that our road trip in September 2015 was two weeks long rather than one week and the predicted weather conditions for the first part of the trip were dire…

Had the weather forecast been warm-hot and dry, then there wouldn’t have been any problems as all I would have done is swap a couple of t-shirts for a couple of polo shirts or smarter short sleeved shirts to ensure that there was an element of smart casual rather than just casual when eating out.

But the weather wasn’t destined to be warm-hot and dry over the first week. I’d taken the precaution of adding each of our locations to be visited on the Weather section of the BBC website so I could track a set of ten day forecasts for each town or city that we were visiting.

Every town or city showed the same prognosis for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the first week. Something was coming and it did not look good – heavy rain and high winds.

So our packing lists were thought about and adjusted accordingly to take into account of potential weather conditions that were more reminiscent of Blighty on a bad day…

The heaviest stuff was worn for the flight, a good move as the weather at Liverpool John Lennon Airport on Sunday morning as we crossed the road from the hotel to the terminal wasn’t wonderful (and we were aware of the fact that we had to walk to the plane in order to board it – none of this bus to the plane nonsense here!).

In my case the Rohan Goa trousers were packed not worn and a pair of Peter Storm Soft Shell trousers took their place. The Rohan Stronghold shirt was worn again (plenty of pockets to keep passport, camera, reading specs and change bags to hand) over one of Rohan’s Core Silver t-shirts, but the top layer was a HyVent waterproof by The North Face.

Footwear came courtesy of Salomon once more, but rather than take sandals, flip flops or espadrilles as a second item, an identical pair of Salomon ventilated shoes were packed, just in case. Yes, it was tempting to take a pair of Gore-Tex lined shoes with me to counter the potential weather conditions, but these would have added more weight to the bag and ensured that my feet could sweat buckets if these shoes were worn on warmer days (prefer Gore-Tex lined footwear between October and March in the UK rather than in warmer months).

So, that was the worn line-up, but what was inside the usual Osprey Farpoint 40 bag? Another Rohan Core Silver t-shirt, two blue and one white Rohan Element t-shirts, two Rohan polo shirts (one Progress Polo, one Stria Polo) and a Rohan Stratum Polo Long Sleeve shirt for wearing on its own or as part of a layering unit if eating outdoors on an evening.

Packed trousers were not one, but two pairs of Rohan Goas tropical trousers. I’d liked wearing these during our Lisbon stay in July as they were cool to wear in hot temperatures, had good pockets to help deter thieving bar-stools and dried quickly after washing in Lifeventure Fabric Wash.

Rohan Silver trunks came into their own once more as did a few pairs of the same brand’s socks. New to the equation though were a couple of pairs of M&S trainer liner socks – easily washed/dried, but also useful enough to deal with my feet being encased in approach shoes after several months of padding around barefoot at home or in sandals when leaving the house.

The clear bag to be examined by security contained a couple of travel size Nivea Factor 30 bottles of sun cream, the bottle of King Of Shaves shaving oil that I’d bought for the last trip, a travel tube of Colgate Total toothpaste, small bottles of tea tree oil and lavender oil (tea tree to deal with insect bites and lavender oil to help prevent them – the latter didn’t always work!). Also in the mix was a disposable Gillette razor and the Slim Sonic battery powered toothbrush.

Techie stuff was the usual Kindle and Nikon Coolpix digital compact camera plus respective chargers and one three pin to two pin plug adapter. A Petzl e+Lite was packed as a light source, a Moleskine paper notebook for notes/accounts and a Fisher Space Pen to make the notes with.

I’d also got a new set of specs for this trip so one was worn, the reacting to sunlight specs were packed and the reading glasses stayed in my trouser pocket or day bag until needed.

I’d had reacting to sunlight specs before and found them useful, but the new ones are back with my opticians at the moment as the lenses started to work their way out of the frames after being used twice on this trip – apparently it was known problem with this type, but hadn’t come up in conversation when I was buying them… Ooops!

Owt else? My usual meds and back-up literature plus a small umbrella and a copy of Rough Guide To Portugal as I’d forgotten to copy the relevant pages before we left.

A new travel wallet came into play as a means of keeping my £’s separate from my €’s and to help avoid card details being skimmed by no-gooders with scanning devices. After July’s day bag problem, the chosen one was a nylon drawstring shoe bag that I had at home. It lasted three days and was replaced by a more substantial bag bought in a sports shop in Porto.

Caroline’s bag contents included Rohan’s Thai trousers (comfortable, light, good for hot weather and easily washed and worn again).

Other options included the same brand’s Linen Plus Tunis trousers and a dress that also used their Linen Plus fabric, a couple of Ultra Silver Camisoles and a couple of Ultra Silver Briefs (the camisoles were good for layering when needed and were also easily washed and worn again).

Oh, and her Rohan Serene vests and Malay top also proved their worth once more.

To cope with the rain, Caroline also took her Berghaus PacLite Gore-Tex jacket. Two pairs of Ecco shoes (Blom Lite Ballerina Pump and Blom Lite Mary Jane) were used over the course of the trip and a newly acquired two-piece swimming cossie was used for the obvious and as spare top and knickers if needed.

And her tech? Kindle, Pentax camera, her smartphone and the necessary adaptors. Both of our sets of adaptors were stored in IKEA wash bags – small, sturdy, zipped and cheap too. As ever, Caroline’s day bag was her Rohan Stowaway Daybag 3.

Now you may be wondering why there are so many mentions for Rohan products on our packing lists…

I’ve been using Rohan clothing for around 30 years now and Caroline’s been doing the same for around 10. The items we’ve been using on our travels have usually been bought in the sales or when there’s been specific offers on items instore or online.

Heck, we’ve even paid full price for stuff on a number of occasions, because when we’ve looked at other items from competitors, they’ve not always been what we’ve wanted for one reason or another…

So what are the verdicts on items mentioned in Portugal Packing v3.0?

They will be along on Friday!

Portugal packing v2.0

Why v2.0?

Because we’ve undertaken two visits to Portugal this year and our bag contents were changed from our original Portugal packing list to contend with the very different weather conditions encountered in July and September 2015.

v2.0 covers the stuff that was taken along in July when there was little chance of rain, but a very good chance of high temperatures and top of the charts UV levels, even in Lisbon – our destination and base for the week away. Fortunately, the weather conditions at home were approaching those in Lisbon.

The drive to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and a pre-flight night in the Hampton by Hilton hotel was a late one as Caroline had spent virtually all day at a family wedding. A swift change was made when she arrived home and the car was taken off the drive and pointed towards the M62 in search of the airport.

Baggage choices? Our trusty Osprey Farpoint 40 packs as usual as yes, we were travelling hand luggage, but on an airline that neither of us had used before – easyJet.

And the contents of the bags?

In my case they included a security friendly travel size wash bag that had been bought for the journey. It was originally full of predominately Gillette products aimed at travellers, but a little pruning and replacement ensured that the new contents covered all eventualities.

The disposable razor and small tube of toothpaste were retained, but in went a plastic cased Dove roll-on anti-perspirant instead of the smaller capacity metal aerosol.

That was followed by the Slim Sonic Toothbrush I mentioned a few posts back, a bottle of Lifeventure Fabric Wash for the clothes, a 100ml bottle of Lush’s Flying Fox shower gel for me, a small bottle of tea tree oil, a similarly sized bottle of King Of Shaves shaving oil and two small bottles of Nivea Factor 50 sun cream (Tesco had them on a 3 for 2 promo and they were worth the investment of buying a couple of deals each on Factor 50 and Factor 30 creams…)

Did they work? Oh yes and even though we were keeping the protection topped up, we still came back a little browner than we were when we left the UK.

As before, my usual prescribed meds, yellow Warfarin book and repeat prescription forms went in along with a pack of indigestion tablets and a few sachets of recovery powder (just in case there were too many glasses of vino collapso or local lagers imbibed over the course of a day…

Worn items included a pair of Salomon ventilated trainers, a pair of Rohan Goa trousers, one of four Rohan Core Silver t-shirts (the rest were in the bag along with a couple of Rohan Element t-shirts).

Why so many t-shirts? As good as all of these shirts are, expectations of 30+ C meant that for once I was playing safe and wearing two shirts per dayrather than one a day. I did however regret not having a polo shirt or two as a smarter option as we were eating out so much over the course of the week.

Rohan Cool Silver trunks and suitable socks completed the worn outfit and yes, there were spares in the bag of these. Other packed items included another pair of Goa trousers, my Nikon Coolpix digital compact camera and charger plus my Kindle and charger, a newly purchased Rohan Stowaway Daypack 20 packable day sack and a travel towel. Oh, and a copy of Rough Guide‘s Pocket Rough Guide to Lisbon plus a pair of Next espadrilles for sock free days or nights out…

Caroline’s clothes packing wasn’t quite a mirror image of mine as she packed a couple of Rohan Serene vest tops, a Rohan Malay Linen Plus top and a few other items from that brand’s travel linen range too.

Footwear choices were a pair of Ecco Blom Lite Mary Jane shoes and a pair of Merrell sports sandals. Her day bag was a Rohan Stowaway Daybag 3 packable handbag to hold her passport, camera, travel wallet, tissues, sun cream and a small bottle of water.

Was everything used?

Yes, it was and the washing and wearing processes also worked well too, even when washing out trousers. Washing was typically done on a morning before we went out and left to dry on hangers next to the windows once the clothing had been rolled up in a travel towel as a means of squeezing out any excess water.

The Rohan Goa trousers were just right for the trip thanks to a lightweight fabric that washed and dried quickly, two zipped pockets to take wallet, camera, reading specs and guest house keys and protect them from thieving bar-stools.

We knew that there is an ongoing problem with pickpocketing in Lisbon, but the owner of the cafe we ate in when we first arrived was quite forthright in his views when he warned us of the dangers of losing stuff (we did meet a lady who had had her smartphone stolen on a tram in Lisbon when we were in the queue for the flight home a week later…).

Out of all the things we took along with us, there was only one piece of kit that required a rethink. I’ve no doubt that the Rohan packable day sack will come into its own in the UK over days out and periods away over the coming months, but I have to admit to making a personal wrong choice by using it over the first few days in Lisbon.

It was a bit too big for what I wanted to carry around with me and I ended up buying a small cotton bag that sufficed for the rest of the week. The Rohan item won’t be wasted though, because there’s at least one trip coming up soon where it will be in its element, so it will be used again and again. The cotton bag purchased in Lisbon will be inside to use as a shopping bag…

And v3.0?

Along soon!

Things that make you go ‘mmm’…

Farpoint 40 Lagoon Blue

Osprey Farpoint 40 travel pack

Yes, it’s on here again.

Caroline and I both have one and they’ve proved their worth again on our recent week in Lisbon. Both did their stuff once more and there were a few people checking them out as we headed to our digs in Lisbon and at both Liverpool and Lisbon airports as we waited for our flights out and back. And yes, they do fit in easyJet’s hand luggage cage – we checked!

It’s good to see though that the Farpoint 40 has also picked up the Best In Test kudos in the August edition of Wanderlust Travel Magazine here in the UK:

http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine/issue/august-2015-issue–on-sale-from-2-july

A couple of recent purchases were inside my Farpoint 40 in the shape of the Slim Sonic Toothbrush and the Fisher Space Pen. The Slim Sonic Toothbrush is quite a neat package that runs off one AAA battery that comes complete with a good cover for the business end of the brush which protects both the replaceable head and the all important on/off switch.

My example came from Amazon here in the UK, as did a four pack of replacement heads to keep things sweet for future use:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00FXS46YK?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

The Fisher Space Pen is something that I’ve looked at several times over the many years that it’s been around. Yes, I’ve heard the comments before (in an episode of The West Wing no less) about the Americans allegedly spending money developing the pen for use in space whilst the Russian cosmonauts  used pencils…

The Space Pen is compact when it’s not being used, but once the pen top is removed and put into place at the non-business end of the pen, the whole thing is well balanced and a joy to use.

Mine was stashed either in a trouser pocket or in my reading specs case whilst we were in Lisbon (it now stays in the reading specs case all of the time when not in use), allowing me to have a decent pen with me for use whenever I need it. Am I impressed with it? Yes, as is Caroline, but she quickly handed it back to me when she found out how much it was!

This was another item found on Amazon here in the UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000WGD13U?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s01

The purchase of the Slim Sonic Toothbrush and the Fisher Space Pen were both prompted by the mentions made in a very useful Kindle BookThe Modern Nomad’s Backpack: A Guide To Packing Light For Round The World Travel by Anne Richardson.

There’s a host of other useful ideas in the book that can be followed, especially if you carry tech items with you on your travels…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Nomads-Backpack-Packing-Travel-ebook/dp/B00II2O31E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1437737462&sr=8-3&keywords=the+modern+nomads

Our accommodation in LisbonLisbon Dreams Guest House – was booked via booking.com. I’ll be writing about Lisbon Dreams in a future posting about our week in Lisboa here on wisepacking, but I have to say that one the usage so far, I’m quite impressed by the service offered by booking.com, so much so that I’ve also used the site to find a place to stay in London and for another trip Caroline and I have planned for later in the year.

What we have found is that a couple of places I’ve booked have been via the establishment’s own web site and the when I’ve clicked on the booking button on those websites have led me to booking.com‘s facilities.

In other cases, the places we’ve booked have been sighted before in examinations of either the appropriate Rough Guide or Lonely Planet to the country in question. In one case, a guide book quoted a hostel’s double room as being 44 euros a night, the hostel’s own website was quoting 44 euros a night for each person in that double room and booking.com came up with a cost of 50 euros a night for a double room in that same hostel…

And finally we come to easyJet. It’s the first time we’ve used that airline and the choice was made on the price of the flights compared to the prices on other airlines we looked at. Neither of us have flown from Liverpool Airport either so it was a case of two firsts on the same day!

The easyJet booking process was easily done with seats chosen for both the outward and return flights. Baggage wasn’t an issue thanks to those Osprey packs and the online check-in was a doddle to sort out once we’d got Caroline’s son to install a new computer printer for us!

We’d stayed at one of the hotels at Liverpool Airport on the night before the flight out and it was easy to walk across the road from the hotel, find the automated ticket check post, get through the paid-for Fast Track Security and then relax airside with a coffee whilst we waited for the flight’s gate to come up on the screen.

The flight was quite reasonable and the approach to Lisbon interesting as Caroline was spotting places on the ground. Service on the plane was good with no overselling taking place and attentiveness happening when needed, even when the father of the youngster sitting in the seat behind Caroline announced to the cabin crew that his son had had a wee on the seat as the plane approached Lisbon Airport…

And the return flight – not too bad either, but we did have a longer wait in Lisbon Airport for the flight home as we got to the airport much quicker than expected thanks to the Lisbon Metro system and the swift bus ride between Lisbon’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Would we fly easyJet again? Oh yes, the flights are already booked, but we will be wary of apparent damp patches on the seats when we board the plane!

On Rohantime…

Thanks to Rohantime for posting this one from the wisepacking files a few minutes ago!

http://rohantime.com/54661/portugal-packing-wisepacking-style/

2015, here we come…

Yes, we’re twelve days into 2015 and if the news/opinion/conjecture is anything to go by, it could be a good year for travelling.

Will the exchange rate (pound v euro for example) stay favourable?

Will air fares come down thanks to the price of oil and changes to APD charges?

Will George bite the bullet on Budget Day and drop APD charges as a sweetener in the run-up to the election in May?

Will more people head off to foreign shores as a result?

Or will they stay at home in the UK and take advantage of the current lower fuel prices?

And lower food prices if self catering thanks to supermarket wars?

Will travellers cut down on tech and talk to real people in hostels and destinations rather than immersing themselves in what’s onscreen on their smartphones, tablets or laptops?

Or realise that you can travel on hand luggage only, even if it’s a three-six month trip?

(I suspect that the lady Caroline and I were talking to in Tavira may have cut down on her bag sizes after seeing our Osprey packs. A few Brits staying in the same hotel were similarly gobsmacked when they saw us checking out on our last day there…)

Or realise that by flying hand luggage only, you can cut out hold luggage and bag in the cab boot charges – more money for nights on the town, a better meal or sightseeing…

Or realise that staying in one, two or three places rather than five, six, seven or more can be a more worthwhile experience as you can see more, pay less, relax and linger over breakfast rather than rushing out for a train to get to the next port of call…

(Best example of this is the American guy I met who had arrived in Bergen that morning, had joined the Norway In A Nutshell tour and was heading to Oslo from Myrdal then onwards to Stockholm and then to HelsinkiScandinavia ticked off in 24 hours! D’oh…)

Our trip list for 2015 has been discussed, but there’s a couple of late suggestions going into the melting pot.

One is a visit to Northern Ireland to visit Bushmills, Giant’s Causeway and the Armoy motor cycle road races.

The other is to visit a place that’s been mentioned a few times, but has come to the fore once more thanks to the book I’ve just finished reading, watching Casablanca last week and news stories over the last few days.

I’ve walked in the Jura and in Provence, but we’ve never been to Paris.

Yet…