Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cabin Zero Bags and Packing Cubes

I have been living here in rural France for coming up to six years now. I frequently travel back to UK and other European cities by air or train and occasionally by car.

Travelling can be a joy if you have the right luggage. You don't have those moments at the airport wondering if your bag is going to fit within the restrictions imposed by the budget air carriers or that you will not have any spare capacity for a little bit of shopping from where ever you are travelling to. You also want something that is hard wearing and comfortable to carry, those gates at the airport can be some distance from the train station and I've not mastered using a skate board quite yet!

My Cabin Zero bags satisfy all of these requirements and more. I've had the two bags now for some time (the blue one below and a grey one), on some trips I've used both bags, it has been easier to use two of these bags than one larger suitcase. Traversing the Paris Metro can be a nightmare with a wheeled suitcase, there are lots of steps and rough surfaces in places. Also the Cabin Zero bags fit in to the overhead rack of the TGV trains easily. No contest really.

Naturally I only use one of them on airline flights, but the Cabin Zero bag was designed around the size limitations for such flights. I've developed a packing list that lets me have everything I need for a weekend away and as a bonus it all fits neatly in to the Cabin Zero backpack.

Cabin Zero bags come in two different styles and a large range of colours, it's best to see the current range on their website than for me to try and describe it. Here is the description from the website:
The 'Classic' ultra-light cabin and travel bag in features a large 44 litre capacity, side compression straps, top and side handles, a front zipped pocket with inside zipped and mesh pockets.

Additional standard features include:
  • Built in Global Luggage Tracker, powered by Okoban
  • Lockable Zippers on main compartment (lock not included)
  • 10 years warranty (upgradable to 25 years free of charge if you 'like' us on FaceBook)
  • Thick padded shoulder straps
  • Fully Lined
Volume: 44L  
Weight: 760 grams (approx)
Dimensions: Fits 55 x 40 x 20 cm
Composition, Outer: Waterproof polyester, 
Lining: Polyester
Cabin Zero Ultra Light Cabin Bag Cabin Zero Bag reverse side

One issue I had the first time I used my Cabin Zero backpack was trying to keep the contents in order. Making the journey through security easier and without the contents spilling out everywhere. I solved the problem with some cheap packing cubes (small nylon zip bags) these help me organise the contents in to logical order and things stay where they should when you carry the bag and when you have to open it and retrieve things.

The ones I originally bought in London where 'ok', but I wasn't 100% happy with them. I commented on the Cabin Zero Facebook page that I thought the whole experience and utility of using the bag would be improved with the addition of some packing cubes to the range of accessories. They acknowledged my message and thanked me for the idea and they said they were working on exactly what I had suggested.

It is always nice dealing with companies that listen to their customers and then exceed their expectations when they deliver a new product. Cabin Zero offered to send me a set of their new packing cubes as a thank you for being a loyal customer, naturally I said yes and I looked forward to receiving them in the post.

I received a set of three Cabin Zero Classic Packing Cubes promptly in the post and unpacked them and inspected them. Compared to the ones I bought from a store in Oxford Street store in London, they are a huge improvement on the ones I have been using. They are made from top quality materials and the icing on the cake is that they are fitted with YKK zips, this brand of zips are also used on the Cabin Zero backpacks as well and they are extremely tough and well made. They are acknowledged as being the best zips made. Therefore they should last for years of service.

The Cabin Zero packing cubes currently come in two sizes of Medium(25 x 17.5 x 8cm) and Large(25x35x8cm)  They are made with a nylon outer and polyester interior lining. Each bag has a carrying handle so you could use it easily on its own outside of your bag.

Medium Packing Cube

Large Packing Cube

In common with the Cabin Zero cabin size bags the packing cubes are also equipped with a luggage tracking tag, which lets you register your bags and packing cubes with Okoban which operate a notification service should your luggage go missing somewhere on your travels anywhere in the world.

The packing cubes are a very practical size, not too big and their dimensions mean they fit in to the overall dimensions of the Cabin Zero back packs perfectly, a set of three (2 medium and 1 large) also don't take up all of the capacity in your bag, there is still plenty of room for a jacket, laptop and other things like your toiletries, or another set of packing cubes even.

Filled Packing Cubes

Filled bag Large packing cube below the medium size

I'm very pleased with this addition to the Cabin Zero range and I can't wait to use them on my next trip, sadly that isn't until early May... but my wife has been eyeing them up and she has offered to 'test' them out for me in a couple of weeks time. She is a published author and has already tried the packing cubes out for size for her books, it looks like I will have order her a set as well.

Thank you to Cabin Zero for supplying the samples.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Switching Bags Made Easier

If you’re reading this post, you probably love bags as much as I do.  The question is, do you switch bags as often as I do?

For the most part, my bags are seasonal, meaning each season I switch out my bags.  However, within those seasonal rotations, I also have occasion bags, meaning I switch out my bags depending on the occasion.  For each season, I have one bag for work, one bag for out and about (errands and the like), and another bag for events (going out to dinner, etc.).  Yes, I have that many bags, though I am contemplating downsizing my collection.

In any event, with as many as 2-3 switches per week, it can get hairy keeping track of what items I have in what bag.  For the most part, everything moves with each bag switch.  There are two items that always stay in my work bag and don’t leave (unless it’s a seasonal work bag switch).  But everything else moves as one unit.

This “one unit,” however, consists of many smaller items.  So, for example, when switching bags, the following is moved from one bag to the other: wallet, cosmetics bag (full of essentials like chapstick, hand lotion, hair brush and hair tie, etc.), glasses case, small wallet for my store cards, an extra set of keys, earbuds, and a few minor other things.  It’s not difficult to move these things, but it is easy to forget and item or two.

Enter the purse organizer.

You may have seen them.  If you do a Google search, you will come up with many items and styles.  (Looking at all of them now, perhaps I should have done a little more research on which style to choose from.)  I recently bought one from LeSportsac, one of my favorite bag brands.

Initially, I bought this organizer thinking I might be able to keep my planner, book, and iPad a little more snug and secure within my work bag.  Upon arrival, though, I knew it would be too small for this purpose.  So I decided to keep in it the items I move from bag to bag, making it that much easier to switch.

So without further ado, this is how I’m using the purse organizer:

First, here are the specifications of the organizer.  (You can see the actual dimensions on LeSportsac’s website, linked above.)  Both the front and back have several pockets.

What I refer to as the front has two smaller pockets and two pen pockets.

The back has the two smaller pockets, plus one full-length pocket behind the two smaller ones.

At either end of the organizer is a slightly bigger pocket.

The interior has a plethora of pockets for carrying those little items.  Then, of course, there is the large main compartment for larger items.

The main compartment is big enough to hold my planner, with plenty of room to spare.

But it’s not wide enough to hold an iPad 2 in the landscape position, which is how I tote my iPad.  (This ensures that it won’t fall out of the bag or get bumped around.]

So I had to nix the idea of carrying my planner and iPad in the organizer.

Instead, I decided to put all of those items that I move from bag to bag.

Starting at the top, I have my cosmetics bag, my glasses case, my small Vera Bradley wallet that holds all of my store cards, a pen, multiple packs of gum, my extra keys (for my husbands car, my mom’s house, basically keys for other people’s doors and not ones I need on a daily basis but that I might need at any given time, hence why they aren’t left at home), my regular wallet, my earbuds, and an extra phone cord for emergency charging.

All of the pockets that this organizer has allows me to keep all of these items safe and secure and of course organized!

The earbuds and extra phone cord go on one side inside.

My extra keys go on the other.

On the back, in the full length pocket I keep a hand-made coffee cup cozy that my aunt made for me.

In both the front and back small pockets I keep packs of gum.  (It’s helpful so keep so many packs on hand at once so that I don’t have to add new ones too often.)

On the front side, I also keep a pen.

In either end pocket I keep my glasses case…

…and my VB store card wallet.

Inside is where I keep the larger items of my cosmetics case and wallet.

True, I could do away with my cosmetics case and keep all of the items that are in there in the organizer itself.  But I prefer to keep these items in a closed bag—some items aren’t suitable for male eyes and if in the event I need to take these items to the restroom with me, I can just grab the cosmetics case rather than taking the whole kit and caboodle.

Once inside a bag, the organizer keeps everything contained.

It does take up a bit of room, though I still have room for other items.

The organizer probably takes up more room than I might need if these items were separated.  However, the fact that it makes these items easy to switch from one bag to another all but makes up for it, and I find that the only additional space I need is for my planner, which as you can see, is not a problem.

When it comes time to move from one bag to the next, just grab the handles and away you go!

Et voila!

Easy peasy.

The several moves I used to have to make in order to switch bags is now done in one swift motion.  It saves on time too!  But of course, the most important bonus is that nothing is left behind.

There you have it!  Any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

*Please note: I am in no way affiliated with the LeSportsac brand.  I am simply a happy long-time customer.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Filofax Architect Portrait Courier Bag

I had never considered buying a Filofax bag until recently. 

I spotted a Filofax bag on offer in their sale. It was still quite expensive but I had a discount voucher that I could use so it brought the price down a more sensible price.

So this is the Filofax Architect Portrait Courier, it's rather smart don't you think?

It came in it's own dust bag which I keep it in when I'm not using it.

It's bigger than I thought it would be. It has two main pockets which are very generous in size. Turning the bag over there is another slip pocket which will take an iPad or similar full size tablet. There is a grab handle at the top, and also a strap for looping the bag over a wheeled suit case handle.

The woven shoulder strap is very generous in width and it is also quite long too but it has a metal buckle to adjust the length.

Now in terms of what will fit inside.  The smaller front pocket has a variety of slots for pens and cards but still has enough room for other small items too, including a personal size Filofax!

The leather flap has a zip pocket in it as well, plenty big enough for your smart phone or similar. The flap closes with a magnetic fastener in the middle.

The slim pocket on the back can take an iPad easily, it has a velcro tab at the top to hold it closed too.

The main pocket can take an A4 Filofax or an A4 size zipped conference folder easily. I've also tried it for size with my 10" Netbook PC, and it slides in easily with space to spare. In the photo is an A5 Zip Holborn, that goes in sideways with plenty of room too. I think the biggest size of PC you could fit in would be a 11.6" display one, such as a MacBook Air or a similar sized Chromebook.

A large ring size personal Filofax as shown here also fits inside the front pocket easily. 

As you might be able to see on the detail of the front flap it is made of leather and textile lined inside. But the leather is a smooth finish and a pebbled finish in two distinctive panels.

Being a vertical format bag compared to the horizontal format of most messenger bags I find it retains it's rigidity a lot better. It also works better when I'm using my Cabin Zero bag on flights.

I'm very pleased with it, grab one for the man in your life for Christmas....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Calipso Bags

Filofax introduced the Calipso range of organisers a few weeks ago the organisers have featured on Philofaxy. But there are also hand bags  and  and briefcases/laptop bags available in the range too! The colours are rich and vibrant, I really like the blue briefcase.

Spicy Shades!

Bring a taste of the Tropics to your desk with the new Calipso range

Bring a taste of the tropics to your desk this season with the Calipso Collection – a NEW range of  fashionably on-trend organisers and complementary briefcases in vibrant spicy shades.  Made with sumptuously soft leather with a light grain texture, the organisers feature a fashionable and subtly contrasting croc print closure and are available in five must-have colours (Bright Blue, Deep Pink, Burnt Orange, Solar Yellow and Teal).  The matching simply designed briefcases are available in Bright Blue and Burnt Orange.

Calipso Modern Briefcase, £199 and Calipso Handbag, £139
Versatile and classic, these simply designed bags come in vibrant, spicy colours - brought to life in a clash of soft full-grain and contrasting croc print leathers.

Material Exterior: soft leather with a small grain texture
Material Interior: external leather and polyester lightly corded lining - colour matched to leather


·         Calipso Handbag, £139
Height: 440mm
Width: 354mm
Depth: 85mm
Closure Detail: reverse nylon zip with two leather zip pulls

Calipso Modern Briefcase, £199
Height: 435mm
Width: 403mm
Depth: 87mm
Closure Detail: reverse nylon zip with two leather zip pulls

Available now from Filofax UK in blue and orange. 


What do we have here?

More to come soon...
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