New Posting Rule

I’m going to ask from now on that you put your email address down where it is asked for. No one will see it but me. There are times I want to get in touch with posters privately and I have no way of doing that. I promise no one gets that email but me and it will never be sold or shared.  Postings without these may be removed. Thanks.



OBOW Semi-Annual Clearance Sale

As you can imagine, I get quite a few products to review. Many of which I don’t actually use on a regular basis. I feel it’s best to try to find them new homes and make room for more items. Additionally, any money received from the sale of these goods helps to cover the cost of this website. Some items have already been sold but I still have the following items available:

Jaktogo ($40)
Travelpro Metrosafe 250  (Never used)—Black—$50

All prices include shipping within the continental U.S.

I’m going to do a big clear out and reorganization of the “travel goods” area here at OBOW World Headquarters so more items may be added in the future—especially smaller ones.

If interested in anything, send me an email. You can find the link above.


(This posting was editied on October 29, 2012. Some of the responses were written prior to this update and refer to the non-editied version)


Upcoming Reviews on One Bag, One World

I know my postings have been minimial these past few months so I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at a few of the products that have made their way to the OBOW World Headquarters and are awaiting review:

Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender Bag

Eagle Creek Specter Packing System

Google Nexus 7

and more to follow!!!!


Spirit Airlines Raises All Carry-On Fees

Spirit Airlines, one of only two U.S. carriers to charge for carry-on bags, is raising its fees for carry-on with the highest one going up to $100.

Starting next month, if you don’t make arrangements to pay the fee in advance, you will be charged $100 at the boarding gate for each bag. It’s currently $45.

Spirit claims this policy saves them money and fuel and speeds up the boarding process.


Lufthansa Design Contest

I got an email from Lufthansa management the other day alerting me to a contest they are holding. The airline is looking for new ideas when it comes to:

1) Improving the hand luggage process

2) Designing the next cabin suitcase

If chosen one of the winners, you’ll get a free 2 day trip to Frankfurt, get a go on their Airbus A380 simulator, and given an opportunity to present your ideas to the Lufthansa management.

For more information, go to the following website:



Airline To Offer Kid Free Quiet Zone

If it only flew where I needed to go.

Air Asia, the Malaysian based discount carrier, says it will start offering a child-free quiet zone in economy class.

This section will be separated from the rest of coach not just by a curtain but by a row of lavatories and a galley. The airline realizes that at times some travelers just want quiet to make their journey more pleasant.

The seats will cost extra but no more than any other specially requested seat.

How many here would be willing to pay a little extra if this was offered on flights you took? I would.


Gear Review: REI Overnighter Pack

Earlier this year, REI introduced a new, smaller than maximum carry on size bag they called the Overnighter Pack. It was available in my local REI store so I thought I’d pick one up and check it out.

The Overnighter Pack measures 18” x 12.5” x 7”, has 2075 cu in/34 liters of packing space and weighs 2 lbs, 3 ounces. It’s made of Codura nylon fabric and has smaller YKK zippers. 


The front of the bag has three pockets: one small fleece lined for valuables; a second curved zipper pocket for tickets, a small book, etc; and a third, larger organizer pocket.

The Overnighter Pack has a clamshell like opening. Inside the lid is an open end mesh pocket. The main compartment has two tie down straps. The inside of the pack, as well as all pockets, are lime green in color.


In the rear of the bag are two padded backpack straps that can be hidden in their own pocket. This pocket is open, there is no zipper closure. The backpack straps have a sternum strap connected. The back panel is padded for comfort while being worn.

The Overnighter Pack comes with a detachable shoulder strap. There are two grab handles: one on the long side and one on the end. The bag is only available in black.

As you can see, the tags are still attached to mine. I haven’t actually taken it on the road and I don’t plan to. Not because there is anything wrong with the bag, it’s just that I don’t really need it.

I like the bag. If you’re looking for a smaller than maximum carry-on bag, and don’t want to spend a lot of money, then I suggest you consider this bag. It’s well made of good material, seems sturdy and holds its shape. It should fit as carry-on for even the strictest of airlines when it comes to size.

I recently received a set of the new Eagle Creek Specter line of ultralight packing cubes and folders. I tried the 18” folder in the Overnight Pack but it doesn’t fit very well. The folder is rectangle while the top of the bag, when held vertically, has roundish edges. (A review of the Specter line will be coming soon.)

The Overnighter Pack costs $89.50 and is available exclusively from REI. It can be purchased online from their website or in their stores. In the past few months, they’ve run out of stock twice but it seems to be back as of this writing. Available only in black. Made in China.


A new phone

In my never ending quest to travel lighter, a couple of weeks ago I purchased the Google Nexus 7 tablet. It’s a 7 inch tablet, weighs only 12 ounces and is surprisingly good. It was my first venture into Android.

I had been using an Ipod Touch but as I get older its screen appears to get smaller. Thus, the tablet. (By the way, I’ll do a review of it shortly.)

But now I also need a new phone. I’m embarrassed to say I still have a Blackberry that is over two years old. I had thought about the new Iphone 5 and watched the coverage of the announcement today. It sounded good. But something happened recently that just got my dander up.

One of the changes on the Iphone 5 is the connector. Instead of the old 30 pin connector anyone using an Apple device is well aware of, a new, smaller one would be used instead. But, the company would be nice and make an adaptor available so we could use our old cords.

So, I went to the Apple store, found the adapter, and couldn’t believe my eyes. The little adapter is selling for $29. Each.

Are they serious? I know Apple likes to only use proprietary products so they get a piece of everything sold, but that is ridiculous.

It also got me thinking. Do I really need to get an Iphone 5 or are there Android phones that work just as well.

I need a phone that runs on Verizon, is 4g capable, wifi, bluetooth, quadband (can be used in the U.S. and overseas), runs Adnroid apps and is reliable.

Any suggestions?


Reduce Airport Patdowns says U.S. House Members

Yesterday was the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It was interesting that it would be the day a group of House Republicans, all members of the Homeland Security subcommittee, issued a reports suggesting TSA reduce the number of patdowns on passengers, reduce its size, and turn over much of its work to private companies.

Sadly, we’ve heard all of this before and in my personal opinion, nothing will get done.

We are one of the few countries left where shoes must be taken off while going through security. Most countries don’t have a problem with us leaving them on. Here, the equipment that’s supposed to make this practice obsolete, failed testing. Yet, overseas, it works fine.

Other countries don’t find it necessary to do so invasive a patdown that I feel as if I need a cigarette afterwards and should ask “was it good for you.”

Security is important and we can’t get rid of it altogether. But we must stop this show, this outright disrespect towards passengers, and the complete invasion of our privacy and rights just to make the skies safer. If I’m being questioned by an airport security officer, it  is none of their business where I’m staying or who I’m seeing.  Yet if I don’t answer their questions,or give names (McCarthyism?),  and politely explain why, they probably won’t let me fly and may even have me arrested.

There has to be a better way.

Reduce Patdowns says House GOP


Gear Review: The Scrubba

Awhile ago I became aware of a new product out of Australia that is supposed to make travel laundry easier. It’s called The Scrubba and the company sent me one for review.

The Scrubba is made of polyurethene and weighs practically nothing. To use, simply put water in the bag, add detergent, your clothes, push out the air, roll down a few times, seal via the clips,and lay flat. There is an additional air release valve should any air remain. (The photo above shows a foot long ruler to give you an idea of size.)

Next, roll the bag against a hard surface. What’s unique about this bag is the built in flexible urethene “washboard.” Rubbing the clothes against the washboard should help to get them clean.

This is a photo of the “washhboard” from the outside.

Take the clothes out, rinse them out, hang them to dry and you are done.

Mine was delivered without any packaging or instructions. I’m not sure if this is how they all come or just mine because it was for review. Either way, the Scrubba website gives good directions.

I put the Scrubba to the test and it does what it says; it cleaned my clothes.

That being said I’m going to leave this one without a verdict. If I was camping, or doing some serious adventure travel, or traveling to equatorial countries, as is shown in the demonstration video on the product website, I would definitely consider taking this along as it will help to clean clothes better than simply sink washing or a large ziploc. (The demonstration video was funny as it showed them cleaning clothes with the bag on a sidewalk and a train corridor.)

However, if my trip is taking me to New York, Paris or some major city where I’m probably not going to getting that dirty, I don’t know if this would really be an asset.

The Scrubba can be rolled up or folded into almost any space for storage or traveling.

The Scrubba goes for $50 (U.S. or Australian) and includes worldwide delivery.


Addendum: I have been told by the people at Scrubba that it does come packaged with instructions if you should buy one. They also say they are working on new packaging that is more aesthetically and environmentally pleasing.


Lufthansa Cabin Crew to Strike

Lufthansa cabin crew will begin a series of strikes tomorrow, Friday, August 31. Unlike a general strike, this one will be roving and will affect different airports at different times. The union says it will only give six hours notice at each location.

If you’re flying Lufthansa over the next few days, or even weeks, you probably want to keep an eye on your flights. This strike could last a long time. And considering the size of Lufthansa, it could hinder the plans of a lot of people.

Lufthansa Cabin Crew To Strike


Airlines cut legroom in coach

If you’ve flown lately and it seems your legs are more cramped than normal, you’re not imagining it. Most major airlines have installed thinner seats and added more rows. Just how bad is it? You be the judge:

 Legroom Crunch


World's Shortest Scheduled Flight

There are always arguments about what is the longest scheduled airline flight in the world. But how about the shortest? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s between Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands. How short? Well, here’s a video of the entire flight from takeoff to landing:



New Pickpocketing Scam

I wanted to alert you to a new pickpocketing scam. It works like this: three adorable little ones attract your attention. They are hard to resist. At the same time, an adult working with them, comes up from behind and cleans you out. Here’s a link to a photo of them in action. I think it’s being called the AFLAC scam.



Airline Starts Bag Delivery

American Airlines will begin testing a new service that allows passengers to bypass baggage claim and have their luggage delivered for a fee.

It will run you anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on the amount of luggage. If the delivery address is 40 miles or less, the bags should be delivered somewhere between one and four hours. For addresses further away, it will cost $1 per extra mile and take longer.

American says its perfect for business people who need to get to a meeting, want to save time by not having to stop at baggage claim, don’t want to take their luggage with them, and don’t have time to go to their hotel. Or for families who don’t want the hassle of worrying about bags with little kids in tow.

While it’s not stated, I believe the delivery fees do not include the checked baggage fees.

I hope there are lots of people who take advantage of this service—especially business people who usually have wheeled carry-ons. Why? That would leave more overhead space for those of us who onebag it.


USAir Offering Premium Meals For A Price

Anyone flying domestically in the U.S. knows that if they want to eat something at 30,000 feet they either have to bring it on board themselves or buy whatever is offered. And the pickings are usually slim.

However, on international flights, we still get served complimentary food considering the length of the trip and how much we paid. But don’t expect that meal to get any better. Especially now.

USAir has just introduced their new Dine Fresh option. For $19.95, you can get a “premium” meal. Supposedly of better quality, the meal must be ordered in advance. No “on a whim” purchases.

USAir is the first U.S. airline to offer this but I have a feeling it’s going to be adopted by others.

I can just picture it. You have a choice of two meals: the premium option or a bowl of gruel. And, of course, reminiscent of “Oliver,” some passenger will take his bowl, go up to a flight attendant, and say: “Please, miss, I’d like some more.”

Not only will that passenger not get any more, but he’ll probably be met upon landing by the police and charged with interfering with the flight crew.

After reading what they consider to be a premium meal, I think I’ll stick with what’s served for free, and supplement with my own goodies.


Gear Review: Tom Bihn Travel Stuff Sacks

About a week or so ago, Tom Bihn introduced their Travel Stuff Sacks.

While I’m not usually a user or fan of stuff sacks—I much prefer packing cubes—I agreed to give them a try. I’m becoming a convert. Not only are they well made but I’m finding uses for them that help to fill the nooks and crannies of my bag. (I like the fact they can be molded to fit almost any space. Not so with a packing cube.)

Let’s get the details out of the way. The Travel Stuff Sacks are available in four sizes:

Size 1: 5.2” tall x 3.8” x 2.6” / 130 x 100 x 70mm
Size 2: 6.3” tall x 5.2” x 3.5” / 160 x 130 x 90mm
Size 3: 7.9” tall x 6.6” x 4.3” / 200 x 170 x 110mm
Size 4: 9.2” tall x 7.9” x 5.2” / 230 x 200 x 130mm

Size 1: .7 litres (40 cu.in.)
Size 2: 1.6 liters (100 cu.in)
Size 3: 3 liters (185 cu.in)
Size 4: 5 liters (300 cu.in.)

Size 1: .7 oz (20 grams)
Size 2: 1.0 oz (28 grams)
Size 3: 1.4 oz (40 grams)
Size 4: 1.7 oz (48 grams)

And four colors: (from L. to R.) Steel, Wasabi, Iberian and Ultraviolet.

(To give you an idea of size, that’s a foot long wooden ruler in the center alongside an Ipod Touch which is about the same size as an iphone.)

Made of 200 denier Japanese Dyneema ristop nylon, each bag comes with a cinch drawstring and a cord lock to prevent it from opening.

As I said earlier, I’m beginning to like these bags. I used the #3 for underwear, socks and gym shorts.

I found a unique use for the #2 size. It’s my security bag at the airport. This size easily fits my wallet, keys, change, cell phone, moneybelt and watch. Once all the items are put in, I cinch it tight and then use a carabiner to clip the drawstring of the bag to an “o” ring in one of the end pockets of my Aeronaut. No loose items in trays and no way anyone can just grab the bag and run.

The largest size is probably too small for a laundry bag unless you are very petite and do laundry often. I’m hoping Tom Bihn comes out with some larger sizes and there have been hints as such. Perhaps a size 6 which would be 1 1/2 times the size of a size 4.

I’m still playing around with the sizes and may try to use one as my onboard “goodies” bag for flights rather than my current daybag.

Priced from $14-20, these light weight stuff sacks  will last a long timeand feel much sturdier than the other ultralightweight materials on the market. And like all Tom Bihn products, they’re made in the USA.

Tom Bihn supplied the stuff sacks for review.





Regional Carrier Comair to Shut Down

Delta Airlines owned regional carrier Comair will cease operations on Sept. 29.

Delta says it will replace many of the current 50 seat aircraft with more mainline equipment but that regional aircraft are still important. Many of those flights are contracted out to other carriers flying under the Delta Connection banner.

Delta insists passengers should not have a problem but it will be a major economic blow to the Cincinnati area where Comair is based. About 1600 people are expected to lose their jobs.

The dissolution of ownership between major carriers and their regional affiliates is not precedented at Delta. American Airlines, currently operating under bankruptcy, is looking for ways to part with its regional carrier, American Eagle.

Comair operates Canadair regional jets with the majority being the 50 seat CRJ100. It also has one of the oldest regional jet fleets in the industry.

On a side note, when Delta merged wtih Northwest, it also acquired two other regional airline companies, Compass and Mesaba. Both continue to operate.



Can You Park A Plane?

Have you ever noticed the people on the ground waving their arms or orange colored lights somehow directing planes to where they should go. Does it look like a crazy dance or could you figure out what they were signaling?

Take this quiz to see how you would do.

I’ll admit that even being a former private pilot, I missed a couple. I think those were more aimed at airliners than small planes. At least that’s my excuse. :)


Request for help in choosing a bag.

Lately I’ve gotten many requests by readers asking me to help them choose a bag. While happy to help, and I’m flattered you think I know about the subject, I’m going to suggest here what I suggest in emails: post your request in our Reader’s Forum.

We’re lucky to have some very knowledgeable people who regularly post to this site. In the past, there have been suggestions of bags I wasn’t even aware existed. And, they might even own those bags and can give you first hand reviews.

On a side note, convertible bags seems to be a growing category. More and more of these type bags are being introduced every year and by companies new to the category. Some survive, some disappear. When I hear of any, I’ll let you know. If you hear of any, let us now.