Brian is the researcher in our house, thank goodness. Whether the purchase is big (car) or small (air filter for said car), Brian scours the internet for reviews and videos and user guides. If we’re in a store, he will ask for advice and opinions from experts and strangers alike. I would rather take my chances with something that has a cool logo or packaging that I like, no matter what it is. Sometimes this ends badly – my car is awful in inclement weather but sometimes I get lucky.

As we have been preparing for our trip to Japan this fall, it occurred to me that copious amounts of train travel might not be ideal for my trusty wheelie bag. (Quick note, if you are in the market for an awesome, lightweight carry-on bag, click the link, it’s on sale from $110 down to $34.99!) [Btw, on carry-on versus checked, once you’ve had your luggage lost, a nail polish explode or waited an hour at a baggage carousel, it’s hard to justify ever checking a bag. Unless it’s full of wine!] Knowing that Brian might also want a new bag, I conducted research on his behalf so I could get something I liked and that he might also go for. Matching anniversary bags!

I did my version of “lots” of consumer research and picked out the Tortuga Travel Backpack. I liked their blog (complete with this post that includes how many leather-bound copies of War & Peace the bag can hold) and reviews from other travelers. I also liked all the pockets – especially the ones on the waist straps – and the ability to zip the main compartment completely open. Finally, the fact that it’s from New Zealand sold me, okay fine, and the cute little turtle logo. I presented my choice to Researcher Brian and, after conducting his own research, he agreed that it was a good pick, I only had to knock out one other alternate selection.
I went through my packing list (I love these pre-printed ones from Knock Knock) and laid out everything I need for my trip to London next week. Luckily, it’s super casual so I didn’t have to worry about packing suits or heels BUT I’ll tell you that not everything in this little photo made the cut.

I scrapped the bathing suit (the hotel doesn’t have a pool), two t-shirts (I still have five), a running skirt (I have two other pairs of running shorts), my raincoat (which I will wear), a sweater (also planning to wear), and a pair of socks (to delete another item – victory!). OH, and a tiny hat on a headband didn’t fit – don’t judge, we’re having a steampunk themed dance party and they said there will be prizes!

The 19 lbs of stuff (well, the bag weighs 3.7 of those) includes my toiletries (oops, forgot to squeeze in a brush), two pairs of shoes, four pairs of pants and I still have some room to spare. I am impressed so far and excited to go out for my first road test. Thanks for letting me share my random review with you!

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