Author and “vagabonder” Rolf Potts, however, has me beat. He’s traveling the world for six weeks without a single piece of luggage: no suitcase, no day bag, not even a fanny pack!
The only items he’s taking are those that fit in the pockets of his Scott eVest: a handful of toiletries, a few electronic devices, and a couple of miscellaneous items like earplugs, sunglasses, safety pins, and a notebook. He’s also managed to fit some spare socks, t-shirts, and underwear in there. You can see his complete packing list here.
The funny thing is, my husband, brother, and I (all extremely light travelers) have been joking about doing this for years. Of course, our “no luggage” plans are usually hatched late at night in a bar, after one too many beers – and quickly dismissed the following morning.
Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure I could do this. The Scott eVest has 18 generous pockets that could easily accommodate my toiletries, cell phone, iPod touch, and an extra pair of socks and underwear. The large, zippered pocket across the back of the jacket looks roomy enough for one or two articles of clothing, as well as a few maps.
I think it would be fun to do once, just for the sake of doing it. However, I probably wouldn’t travel this way on a regular basis, for the following reasons:
1. Comfort. It’s too hot to wear a jacket or vest in the summer, or in overheated museums, stores, restaurants, planes, and trains in the winter. I’d end up carrying it, which would be more awkward than carrying a bag.
2. Security. When/if I do take it off, I’m almost certain to leave it on the back of a chair or a bus. In contrast, my cross-body bag is attached to me at all times (even when sitting).
3. Vanity. At the risk of sounding too vain, I’d rather not add excessive lumps or bulges to my figure. To be fair, the Scott eVest website says that the pockets are specially constructed so as not to bulge – but I’d have to see this to believe it!
4. Convenience. I like to carry some emergency items (like Advil, Imodium, etc) to avoid hunting down their equivalents in a foreign country (been there, done that). It’s easy to buy toothpaste in Tokyo or Thailand, but securing medications can be more of a hassle. Also, while I don’t mind doing laundry a few times during a trip, I’m not sure I want to do it everyday.
5. Hydration. When I’m traveling, I usually carry a water bottle with me. By filling it up in the hotel room each morning, I avoid buying drinks (or using dodgy water fountains) while out and about. While this slips easily into my bag, I’m not sure if it would fit comfortably into the eVest. It does have a bottle holder (an elastic band) in one of the pockets, but I’d have to see about the weight/bulge factor.
That said, while the jacket may not replace my travel bag, I think it might be well-suited to my everyday needs (at least in cooler weather, as I’m not really a vest person). It holds much more than my current coat, and would certainly eliminate the need for a purse.
I applaud Rolf for pushing the boundaries of light travel, and look forward to following his journey. I can’t wait to pick up some new tips (and inspiration) for lightening my load even more!