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I just noticed that the latest OS update to Amazon Fire TV Stick enables something called “Captive Portal Wi-Fi”. In actual human-being language, this means the device will now let you use your hotel’s wireless network – even if it has one of those pop-ups which make you type in your name and room number to gain access.

This is great news as it addresses what has been my main obstacle to enjoying the Fire TV Stick on the road. I’ve had to jump through a number of extra steps to make it work at every hotel I’ve stayed at which, as you might imagine, dulled the joys of having a small, cheap, easy-to-use media streaming device that plugs into an open HDMI port. Combine that with another new addition to Amazon Fire TV – HBO GO – and you’ve got the perfect alternative to bad hotel cable and overpriced Video-on-Demand.

If you don’t already have a Fire TV Stick, you can actually get one for free until early June! New streaming service Sling TV is offering a promotion code for a free Fire TV Stick (or USD$50 off of the more full-featured Fire TV) with a new three month subscription.

I’m certainly not the only one thinking about the psychology of packing a bag these days and, to that end, Medium has an interesting look at the mental effects of what we bring with us on a trip–and how we bring it.

Jan Chipchase, the article’s author, is a frequent traveler and the founder of design studio Studio D Radiodurans. He is also the maker of a USD $1,000 duffel bag called the D3 Traveller (really… my Tom Bihn Aeronaut sighed out of class envy when it saw me looking at it). While there are moments in piece where the tone is a bit too prescriptive for my tastes (plenty of “hardened travelers” use wheeled bags), his personal packing philosophy is very much akin to my own and he ends with a few things which work for him:

  1. Steer clear of wheels. They are the loan-sharks of weight and space. For a little up-front joy, you’ll be paying back for the rest of your journey.
  2. Limit luggage to one piece that fits into a business class footwell or under an economy class seat (about 42 litres). The impact is two-fold: if it’s weighed at check-in (and with that size it rarely is), the overhead weight limits don’t apply; and if the overheads are full it doesn’t leave your side.
  3. Leave 10% of your luggage space for what the journey has to offer.

That last one is actually something we’ll be exploring in the next installment of ‘Unpacked’, Traveler Tech’s own look at the how packing a bag can have deeper effects on your travels.

This is a link post – You can visit the site mentioned by clicking the main link above (or just click here).

Thoughts about our travels and the items which we carry with us

‘UNPACKED’ is Traveler Tech’s new, open-ended series of thoughts about our travels and the items which we carry with us. Hopefully, these features will blend the practical with the philosophical–while also fitting completely under the seat in front of you. Welcome aboard!

My first instinct was that I didn’t want to assemble another collection of packing tips: I have already read an interminable number of “You can stuff items into the empty spaces of your shoes!” articles and, I expect, so have you.

Instead, I thought we’d all be better served by diving a little deeper. I want to explore concepts which might help you discover your own better ways of filling up a bag. Frankly, I hate when people proclaim that there’s a “right way” to travel. Let’s try to be more honest and humble than that. We should acknowledge that no two people travel in exactly the same way and, in fact, no two trips are the same.

Or, to paraphrase the Ancient Greeks – “No person ever packs the same bag twice”.


Let’s start things off with a look at “baggage”, both literal and emotional.
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We recently took a tour of Tom Bihn’s new Seattle factory and talked with him about making a product (and a business) that reflects your values.

This article originally appeared at

Tom Bihn Tour

Tom and Lauren Discuss The Art Of Bag Construction

Lauren and I were traveling in the Pacific Northwest last week and decided to drop by Tom Bihn’s new factory / showroom to thank them in person for supporting the “Help In Your Own Way Giveaway”. We expected a quick visit but, instead, we received a full tour of the new place — personally led by Tom and by Darcy Gray, the Vice President of Tom Bihn.

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Around The World With One Bag (Part Two)

The Aeronaut and The Sky Train -- Chilling Out At The Sofitel Papeete

In Part One, Lauren and I were trying to find luggage that met both of our requirements for the round-the-world trip. Somewhere along the way, we also had developed our own concept of “one bag travel” — one that was a little different from the way we saw other people doing it.

Unlike some One Bag Only purists, we decided that everything we brought along should be able to fit into one bag — but we didn’t necessarily need to be dogmatic about it. If it made things more convenient for each of us to supplement our main suitcase with a couple of small bags as well, that was fine by us… so long as we could fit everything back into our main bags should that become necessary. We also both wanted something that we could carry onboard airplanes, fit into the overhead racks of trains and ferry boats, and also be sturdy enough to check if we wanted to.

But Lauren wanted a backpack and I wanted something a little less…. granola.


By unpacking my travel attitudes a bit before planning our trip, I had to face up to the fact that I had a kind of aesthetic allergy to backpacks. For me, I felt like I’d look more like an invading soldier than a respectful guest if I hoisted around some enormous, oversized pack that fellow pedestrians would have to dodge.

Was there a way to split the difference so that we could keep a low profile while moving around easily and quietly? Was there such a thing as a “carry on / backpack hybrid” that was also sturdy enough to survive as checked luggage, but didn’t make me look like I was about to climb K2?  Perhaps a bag elegant and simple enough to not be out-of-place in either a nice hotel or in a hostel?

After some research, I discovered two bags that I thought fit the description and were enthusiastically recommended by other world travelers: The Red Oxx Sky Train and the Tom Bihn Aeronaut.

Would either of these bags be able to meet all of our needs? I bought one of each to find out.
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