What's in My Bag for Outdoor Retailer?

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There is an art form, or at least a distinct beauty, to single bag travel. The advantages of living for a period out of a single piece of luggage are that you feel streamlined, efficient even, and that getting from point A to point B, whether that's using a car, a plane, a bus, or something else, is made far less cumbersome than when you have to shuffle around multiple carrying solutions. For me personally (this is KAMP Counselor Jason), when I bring too much, I often feel like I have to find a use for everything that has come with me. As a photographer, this is a bit of a struggle because you want to be prepared for anything, and bringing everything is heavy. On that note, the most common way that travelers over pack is because of the misconception of redundancy; ie. who has this internal conversation while packing?: "If I only bring this sweater, what happens if I spill coffee on it- I definitely need a back up sweater." You probably can guess what I am about to type, no, you probably don't need that extra, emergency sweater.
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Once you've embraced the philosophy of one bag travel, it gets easier to leave what you don't absolutely need at home (where it belongs). The next hardest part is choosing which bag to bring. Conventional thinking is to choose a backpack like all of those European gap-year travelers that came before you. Certainly, there are advantages to using a backpack, including hands-free mobility, but no matter where you are headed, you always sort of look like all of those European gap-year travelers that have come before you. What to do?
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I'd suggest that you not overlook the venerable duffel bag. It is a simple design that has withstood the test of time because it offers among the best uses of internal volume available in any travel bag design. You literally get every square inch of the bag's footprint to stuff something in, without extra straps, padding, internal frames, wheels, or anything else eating away at that. Its simplicity is also why it is incomparably elegant. 
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Topo Designs Classic Duffel in Navy packed with everything I'll need for five days in Colorado for Outdoor Retailer (keep this image in mind when you find out what is stuffed in there below) 
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The Topo Designs Classic Duffel is voluminous at 42 liters, and offers plenty of room for me to pack clothing, camera gear, and more for a 5-day trip. It does take a little bit of strategy, however. Though it would be easiest to just zip open the bag and stuff everything in, you actually gain a bit of space by being more methodical and organized about it. Using packing cubes, dopp kits, and/or accessory bags, for instance, is an excellent way to fit the most items in, while also keeping everything fully accessible to you. I'll show you my solution further below, but first, I want to call attention to some items from the shop that could accomplish this for you, and give you the opportunity to customize your travel flow.
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Scrubba Wash Bag (a great alternative to that extra sweater, and you can pack stuff in it)
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Remember that image of the packed Duffel earlier in the article? Here is everything that was in it (top left to bottom right):
  1. Topo Designs Dopp Kit : The triangular design of this Dopp Kit means that it won't tumble over when you perch it on that narrow bathroom ledge in the hotel room. It also has a nice long, webbing loop that makes it a cinch to hang on a coat hook or door knob. I have mine stuffed with electronic and camera accessories, including my BioLite Charge 20.
  2. Rain jacket and hoodie for a planned hike above the treeline.
  3. Tumi laptop insert w/ my 13" MacBook Pro.
  4. Fingerless gloves for the hike.
  5. Reading material. 
  6. Topo Design Pack Bag : I have two pairs of pants, two dress shirts, and three t-shirts in there (obviously, I will be wearing another outfit on my journey to Colorado).
  7. f-stop Gear Harney Pouch : Contains five days of underwear/socks (figured you don't want to see that), and KAMP business cards and stickers. This will be my day bag and camera carrier while in Denver. An excellent alternative to this, and for sale at KAMP, is the Topo Quick Pack, which adds quite a bit of flexibility over the Harney.
  8. f-stop Small Shallow ICU : This camera insert contains my Nikon D300, Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, GoPro Hero 4 Session and Underwater LED, batteries, camera rain sleeve, lens cloth, and a camera strap (I don't usually use one but plan to for the hike).
  9. Deso Hats (Cotton Cap in Mallard and Carbon- both sold out currently) : These hats are my go to, and have lived on my head for most of 2018. They wear-in SO well, like ridiculously amazingly well, and they are manufactured, from the materials to the construction, in Los Angeles. Though we don't currently have these designs in stock, we do have some other rad Deso hats available.
  10. Items left out include my small, Tumi dopp kit that is not packed yet, and my VSSL Supplies that we are currently deciding whether or not to carry at KAMP (it's pretty awesome!). 
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Open view
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The comfortable leather handle will absorb oils from your skin over time to give it a beautiful, darkened patina. In addition, the more you use it, the more the leather will conform to your hand.
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Inside the bag is an organizer panel that gives you quick access to sensitive items like a passport or wallet, or just those earbuds that you need to tune out the dude mansplaining from the center seat.
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Option 2:
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If you feel like there is no way that you can get by on 42L, check out the 55L Fjallraven Splitpack that we also stock! This monster duffel splits in the middle to open like a suitcase, and the handles do double-duty as shoulder straps to convert the duffel into a backpack when needed. Super cool!
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If you are at OR and see us, be sure to say "hello"!