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Brian is the researcher in our house. Whether the purchase is big or small, he 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. 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 train travel might not be ideal for my trusty wheelie bag. Knowing that Brian might also want a new bag, I conducted research on his behalf. That way I could get something I liked and that he might also go for. Matching anniversary bags!

I conducted my version of “lots” of consumer research and picked out the Tortuga Travel Backpack. They have a nice blog and reviews from other travelers. I liked 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. The cute little turtle logo didn’t hurt. I presented my choice to Brian and, after conducting his own research, he agreed that it was a good pick.

I went through my packing list and laid out everything I need for my trip to London next week. Luckily, it’s super casual 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!

The 19 lbs of stuff (well, the bag weighs 3.7 of those) includes my toiletries, 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.

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