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Journeys : Oct Nov 2011
It’s a no-brainer – travelling is par t of a travel w riter’s job. But one of my pet hates is standing around the luggage carousel after a flight, wasting time and ner vous energy wonder ing whether my backpack will ever appear from the black hole beyond the sinister hanging f laps that shield ever yone’s view from whatever happens on the Dark Side. For some reason, my stuff regularly used to disappear into a parallel luggage universe, leaving me alone with the squeaks and creaks of the conveyor belt. (Coming home to Hobart, by way of consolation, Robert Pennicott’s life-sized model seal was always there to keep me company, looking a bit down-in-the-mouth as it made its weary way around the loop, until the empty carousel ground to a halt.) So you can imagine my delight when Cheryl and Nigel Pearson at Passion8 offered me a Patagonia MLC bag to test-dr ive. (That’s it below, in the centre of the ad.) MLC has no political connotations – it stands for Maximum Legal Carry-on, and over the past year, this wonderful piece of equipment has saved hours of dead time, w ithout compromising (much) the amount of gear I can take away. Fair enough, if it’s a camping tr ip with sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent and stove, it’s back to the rucksack – but for just about anything else, the Patagonia MLC can swallow the lot. The bag has lots of clever and functional features. With side and top handles, it’s easy to carry like a suitcase. Two external z ippered compartments are ideal for an iPad, notebooks, wallet and travel documents. There’s a well-padded single shoulder strap and a zip-away backpack harness that is the most comfortable I’ve ever used, although as with any soft bag, you need to pack carefully so it rests well on your back. Inside, the bag opens like a book for easy packing – and more zippered compartments pop up here, there and everywhere. But the feature I love is the floating mesh divider with compression straps. This nifty item has the dual role of keeping things separate (clean from dirty, shirts from shoes) and also flattening and securing the load, so it stays snug and doesn’t all slide in a heap on the dow nhill side. Patagonia also makes a wheeled version, but I prefer the lightweight option – my Patagonia MLC weighs just 1318g. Passion8 has an extensive range of soft and hard carr y-on bags, along with every other kind of luggage and travel gear you can think of. The friendly people in the shop are all ... dare I say ... passionate travellers, so the advice you get will be backed by experience. Chris Viney How to avoid the Dark Side Sharing our knowledge, knowledge gained from experience We equip you best to take on your next adventure 119 Elizabeth St, Hobart Ph: 03 6231 0882 www.passion8.net.au In Tasmania today October / November 2011 53
MNJ Aug Sep 2011