Making a Backpack
Katmandu, Nepal Asia
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
I am making a backpack here in Katmandu, Nepal; there are many problems and many solutions. My goal is to have a solution to all the problems encountered when carrying a backpack for travel. I hope in my travels I have encountered the majority of problems, thereby being a person capable of incorporating into the design a solution to 90 percent of the problems.
I say 90 percent of the problems, because there is a 10 percent gap where one solution conflicts with another solution. For example, there is a constant desire to keep this small enough to be a carry-on bag, yet big enough to carry as many possessions as a person wants.
So do I make big and the person needs to check in the bag all the time or do I make small enough to be a check in bag. A bag that is carried on is safer than a bag that is checked, as it does not leave the possession of the person. However, when a person visit’s a country and does the normal tourist behavior of buying, probably the number activity of tourist, then where do they put these new souvenirs and wants.
How do I manage when a zipper breaks?
How do I manage if someone cuts the bag?
How do I manage if one of the harness straps breaks?
How do I manage if one of the clips breaks or is lost?
The list of problems with a bag is in many ways endless, therefore in my desire to make the perfect bag, I have made a list of all the possible problems with a bag. I continually add to this list.
I then try to design into the bag a solution.
I have a desire to sell this bag; I often think the name of the bag should be…
- THE UGLY -
I have a continuous fight with the two men who are the owners of the factory. It is hard to say this is a factory; it is group of about 20 sewing machines inside an apartment building piled high with bags and pieces of materials.
The fight is because, they make bags to sell, what makes a good bag to sell, they do not make a good bag for me. They know what sells and the bag I am designing probably would not sell in the stores in Katmandu, Nepal. The nature of Katmandu is about maybe trekking and price, they often sell only price, then they sell straps. The more clips and adjustments the better, the more widgets, the more gadgets, the more pockets the better.
How do I make a bag easy and quick to open and close, yet difficult for robber to open and close, this is in may ways the goal. I am putting an extreme amount of features that often a person could think is not needed.
Maybe call this the…
- Mosquito Net Option -
People can say, I do not need a Mosquito Net.
However, on the one night when they need a Mosquito Net, they will spend the whole night kicking themselves saying.
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
- Why did I not buy a Mosquito Net?… -
I now always carry a Mosquito Net, the one time I did not carry a Mosquito net while in Europe, I was thinking to Europe was very modern. I lived one week in Brugge, Belgium in total misery as I was bitten every night in a room for one week. I discovered, hmm, Europe is not as modern as the United States. There were no screens on the windows.
I know a good traveler will choose a room, a situation where many of these options are never needed, this is the goal. However, when a person makes a mistake, as I am 100 percent, sure they will, I want them to have a solution.
Teaching the solutions in this bag is the next obstacle, how do I teach a person how to use the bag. I think I must include a DVD Video explaining all the options. Then when the person leaves it at home, destroys it, or just never looks at the DVC, they still have the option of going to the internet and viewing the video.
There are so many possible scenarios to design this bag, this is why I am on number 10 or 11, they are starting to blend together, and the last time I was in Nepal, we made three prototypes. Every time we make a bag, there are more solutions that are incorporated into the bag.
I am going through a very time consuming procedure this time, we are only making one specific component per day. We will assemble the 8 major parts now at the end, each day is one component. Therefore, to make one bag will take about 10 days, including the weekend and days off etc., the prototype requires I take 10 days to supervise and wait for one piece to be made.
Each component part becomes a prototype or an example, each stands alone, and I can change or redesign up to day of final assembly. This is not how they make bags in Nepal, it is not this strict, yet in many ways, they have never made an original, and they only copy.
Making a Backpack
Backpack Components Inspection
Katmandu Nepal Asia
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
I am drawing the various component parts of my backpack design daily. After completion, I than go to the internet café, publish to paper, and then go to the factory to show the master cutter.. I am not sure they understand them, the words are in English and not Nepali, yet there is idea that they now have been told. What the real success is I have slowed them down enough to focus on one component and not trying to think of the whole.
I go to the factory now at 11:00 AM, and then return between 3:00 and 5:00 pm to check. Today it will be at 3:00 because they turn off the electricity in this part of Katmandu from 4:00 to 7:30 pm.
I am trying to learn how to deal with overseas companies who speak a different language. It for sure would be easier if I would make the sample in the USA, and then bring here. Everything about manufacturing backpack has to do with the availability of fabrics, clips, and parts needed to make the bags.
This one component discussion and not the complete bag is windfall advancement in methodology. I am in a constant dilemma on how to control the quality and design.
Daily making and inspection of only one component solves the language problem. When they proceed fast, the number of misunderstanding is tripled.
I guess to plan, I need to think, one component, one day, therefore I need to count the number of parts, and add a few days for backup.
Backpack Components Inspection
80 Liter 80 Pound Backpack
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
I have two 40 liter bags, one for the front and one for my back, I guesstimate they max out at about 80 pounds when loaded properly. Yesterday, I purchased rice, almost salt, and a few cans of vegetables. In India I purchased a new 220 Electric Hot Plate. I found two one pint or 500 milliliter bottle of alcohol for fuel. This stuff weighs a lot.
The weight is not a problem, the moto taxis or a car taxi cost between 40 cents US and 4 dollars on average to get from any hotel to any inter-city collective taxi departure point. It is the volume or space needed in the backpacks that is a problem. I was not able to finish the expandable part of my backpack, because of incompetence on the part of the Nepal backpack makers, therefore I missing a critical part of my back. I need an extra 20-40 liters of storage compartments now and again, not always, yet, I do need it sometimes. The can goods, the heater, the rice, for sure the 2 bottles of alcohol take up too much space for an airplane trip and would be jettisoned before I fly anywhere. I forgot, I also want to carry another 4-8 books, aaagh, there is a real need for volume.
I am trying to muse, dwell, obsess on this issue before I move out of Lome, Togo, I need a solution or I am going to be like ever other dingaling backpackers, and be carrying gear in plastic bags. I do not tie things on the outside of the bag, I do not carry plastic bags along with my backpacks. I can and am capable of tying items to the bags, both bags are made exactly for this, however I am really wanting everything all the gear inside the bags. I think I need to have a special 20 liter bag made that will become a cap or part of my bag, this is annoying, every time I think of this I get angry at the Nepal bag makers, knowing they were just slow in the head, and very under-developed emotionally to handle the project. They could copy anything, yet to create became impossibly long, this is the under-developed aspect of under-developed, right along with the lack of develop manners and caring.
I just realized, I am in Lome, a city, it would be better to go to a smaller village and do this than to stay in Lome and try to get city people to care. Village people are much more culturally able to care for something than a city person who by nature of a city become jaded, money hungry, not nurturing because of the socialization of cities.
I have a bag of sorts, a pillow of sorts, I will fasten it on the outside of the bag, it is extremely safe and compact, just not the ideal way to carry items, however better than 99 percent of the other backpackers idea of a good idea. I do not like to lose items, I do not like when I accidentally set something down and walk away and lose the item. I have both a mosquito net and a rain poncho, the rain poncho pretends it is a rock, the number one worst item in my bag probably for weight. I use this poncho and mosquito net about almost never, but when I need them, I need them.
Telltale signs of how much you need a mosquito net, the Brit guy, riding his motorcycle across West Africa for three years now, came down from Morocco to Senegal, I think went across to Mali and East to Togo. Lived one year in Senegal and one year in Ghana. He says,
- Oh yea, I forgot, I still need to buy a mosquito net. -
I mentioned the mosquito net rule, of things you need to carry, because on the one night per year when you need them, you would do about anything to have them. Ok, he is on a motorcycle, there is a perceived idea that these persons would be camping along side roads and such, GONG, not so true.
I have been thinking, what is unusual about Africa is to take public transportation across Africa, it almost makes me think a motorcycle, van or truck of some sorts would be the easy way. It is more unique to take public transport than to drive in Africa.
Here is a photo of a SUV or 4-wheel drive overland trips.
This vehicles was parked in front of the Galien Hotel in Lome, Togo for a short time, not sure why? However, I would say this is about the most prepared for bear vehicle I have seen. I hope they have a winch on the front or back somewhere? I cannot see one in the photo.
Theft and getting stuck, man this seems like a great truck to rob, it is pretty obvious they probably have money. I think about a van, but I want about a 100-200 foot cable winch so I can get unstuck about anywhere.
I am in a quandary, the vehicle owners here have for sure worked very hard to be prepared. However, if they was extremely prepared in my view, I would never have noticed the truck, thinking, just another Junker on the road. I noticed, therefore from a safety point of view a little over the edge.
The difficult part about going across Africa seems to the Chad, Congo, Angola area of questionable safety.
80 Liter 80 Pound Backpack
Kpalime, Logo West Africa
Thursday, March 22, 2007
My friend Chris wrote me today about a Solar Cooker he purchased, and his dealing with a Chinese Company.
He wanted to know if I wanted to add this to my
--- Armamentarium --- in the future.
Now, that word is 50 dollar word, if I every seen one, being I am never without my dictionary, I went and looked it up, both in the Encarta Encyclopedia Computer dictionary and also the Encyclopedia side.
:medical equipment: the complete range of equipment, medications, and techniques that a medical practitioner has at his or her disposal
[Late 19th century. < Latin, "arsenal, armory" < armare (see arm2)]
Arm2 is: DEFINED:
transitive verb provide somebody with information or tools: to provide somebody with the information or equipment needed to do something
armed myself with statistics before the meeting
resources available for dealing with opponent: a range of equipment and skills available to somebody, used especially in dealing with opponents
Perspectives, life is about the perspectives you use, your point of reference, the benchmark, the starting point, and in the end empathy. Chris empathizes great, and can see the future of Andy HoboTraveler.com very well. Most people have great hindsight and terrible future sight, they cannot prognosticate the future.
However, the word Gear is used normally to talk about what is carried by a traveler when then endeavor to take off traveling for a year or so, or less. However, I think the great travelers, the ones who are really planning to travel for years, get in touch with their fears. They know, they need to find how to protect themselves from problems. The opponent or opponents are unknown, and how does one arm themselves against the unknown.
They need an --- Armamentarium --- for their future.
I feel pride, when a person actually traveling for years, or actually planning on traveling for years, becomes a regular reader, writer, and friend, this means I am somehow earning the respect of a honest critic, and qualified. This person is endowed with the fears needed, the real fears, not the maybe I go on a trip fears.
Most of life is a fantasy, and best place for most people to live in, a fantasy, it is safer and easier to maintain, real life, and real people can be extremely dangerous.
99 percent of my tips, do not apply, unless you want to go PRO, however they do 100 percent apply if want to go Budget. The tips apply 100 percent if you stop the fantasy.
The normal solution for tourist is to PAY their way through a problem, then minimize it, acting like there was no problem, not admitting they really was clueless, and just donated the money, and tried to forget.
I do this, I must forget, there is not reason to sit around and dwell on how to get a Ghana Visa… I just paid 400 Dollars more to fly to Lome, Togo, then to Accra, Ghana because of the difficulty in getting a Ghana Visa. It was not just the difficulty, it was the time needed, I was not going to spend two weeks in Delhi, and you could not pay me 400 dollars to do so, yes 5 years ago, I would have accepted the 400 dollars and been very happy.
Empathy, frustration, it was not 99 percent perspiration Edison applied, it was paying the 99 percent FRUSTRATION price,
- Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. -
Attributed to Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931)
U.S. inventor. (2)
The genius is in believing the frustration will pay off.
My friend Gary said something or quoted somebody, hmm, maybe I can find it, I cannot.
Ok, the idea or the quote was this,
- A person cannot be beaten, that will not quit. -
- You cannot beat a person that never quits. -
I think people wish to accomplish something and not have any frustrations; this is why they look for tips, the want an easy way around the frustrations. The normal way is to pay for tour, buy the guide, and dollar you way through, and then say, that was easy. In reality, safety cannot be purchased, however illusions and fantasies can be bought anywhere and everywhere.
The idea here is this, a person must add many things to their war chest, most are ideas and concepts, then go and face their opponents, the unknown. Keep you eyes and feeling open, do not avoid your feelings, they are what protect you. Fear is real.
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Monday, March 26, 2007
Every change of hotel has small differences, sometimes the differences are advantages and other times disadvantages. I continually try to optimize my enjoyment of life, and how I live, trying to make the best possible Travelers Nest possible.
Of late, I have been working on how to solve a problem, I try to clearly define the problem first, there is something about a well-defined problem that embedded in the problems is the answer. This idea makes no sense to me either, but it is true. The more I define the problem, the more I have an answer.
When one is making a nest, they gather twigs, pieces of scraps, debris, and sometimes the are lucky and find the exact size and shape twig that is ideal to make a nest. There is a bundle of need and wants, sometimes it is perceived needs and sometimes it is safety need, not necessarily rational.
I have a list of needs.
I have a list of wants.
I have a list of things that make me feel safe and secure.
I never have a full nest, with everything on the multiple lists, there is often and always something missing, especially in the want area and this is why the malls are full on the weekends.
I am trying to solve a puzzle, I wish to find the proper words to describe what I need, everyone thinks the can just go out, buy a lot of gear, purchase everything they need, and take off. I do hope nobody thinks they could possible carry everything they need.
I think the word Alternative is maybe the best word, or the word could also be substitute, the substitute teacher is a teacher, but maybe not the proper teacher, does not fulfill the students needs completely, and either does the normal teacher.
having same meaning: meaning the same, or almost the same, as another word in the same language, or being an alternative name for somebody or something
Example: I can go and buy a very fancy travel bottle, pay a lot of money sometimes; however, I will have this super duper made in China, sold in the USA with an American name bottle.
I will fall in love with this bottle, it will be with me, and it will be the replacement for my mothers… Oops, then I will put this in my mouth on the bus, I will have great pride in this bottle, then…
I will forget and leave on the bus.
A will leave in the restaurant.
The thing will freeze (In Tibet a real story) and I will think, I paid this much money for bottle so it would carry water and not leak in my bag. This is the idea.
I discover a Coca Cola one-liter bottle is about the same… oops
I have made a list of words; I do not think many fit:
Identical, the same,
One and the same,
Ok, I am trying to think of what to do; I am thinking again about gear for my travelers nest, and my armor against annoyances, sometime real problems and danger.
I was thinking the other day, I would like to have a club, so I could whack a person on the head sometimes, or the alternative would just be a sock with a few stones inside, both rather dangerous.
I think I could and will talk for day, on pages of my site eventually to the alternatives ways to manage problems. If you do not have this gear, this will work.
What maybe elicited this set of ideas, the prompt was something to do with the rug outside the shower to my room in Lome. It was very white and bright, and quickly showed the dirt. There is this half-sand, half-dirt in the side streets of Lome, Togo, normal tan sand is much better, complete sand is cleaner, and does not make things look black and dirty.
When, I am in Thailand and the sand is being tracked into my room, I place a bucket of water in front of the room and step in and step out of the water, then walk into the room.
I have been asking for a towel in hotels so I have a rug.
Alternative to a rug is towel
Alternative to a rug is a bucket of water.
Alternative to a towel is sheet.
The substitute for a sheet is a blanket.
A substitute for a blanket is towel or hammock.
A great replacement and my first choice for a water bottle is a Coca Cola Bottle.
So, I make a list of all my needs, wants, wishes, dreams for my nest and I try to quickly at hyper speed, doing absolutely no work, try to find the things on the list.
Casual, I try to be calm and cool about this, not getting in frenzy, because the shower does not work.
I am in an extraordinary room, it is large, the water pressure is great, for reasons beyond my understanding the room is cooler than other hotels here in Kpalime, the name of the hotel is the Mandela, I do not know why the room is cooler, but it is, maybe the roof constructions is a little better or the winds.
I think everything in this room is new,
I do not think more than one person in every 15 days ever slept in this room. It looks like they took it out of mothballs and opened it up for me, this is not a busy hotel, and either were the others.
Mawuli the semi-manager-cleaner is a great kid, he is 19, young, full of energy, and not who I would pay to clean rooms, although maybe he does cleans rooms. Hard to say, I have never seen anyone here clean rooms. The Aurore Hotel had this Queen Size cleaning lady, who seem good at watching soap operas, and the Bafana Bafana, well they was the female version of Mawuli, young and lacking in supervision, although cute, and this was an advantage.
Supervision is needed to have a clean room, the management needs to check the rooms and say, do a better job. This small thing is done in about 1 in 75 hotels, I am not sure, and I think the management only goes in room when someone complains, all reactive.
I tell owners, if a person leaves after one day, this is a complaint, spoken with their feet.
All three hotel rooms have been mopped by a person who would never waste water to rinse the rag. Water is semi-precious here, there does not seem to be a shortage, but if you carried a large tub of water weighing about 30-50 pounds two street blocks on your head, you would not want to use it to rinse the mop. The hotel has running water, but I am sure Mawuli was raised or lives in a home where they carry water from a collection point to their home.
I am amiss to understand, yet the rinsing of the mop is right up there with the lack of fitted sheets on the planet. The world takes the same mop, splashes it around the floors, and calls it clean.
I am not sure, are they different, and is there a radical difference, or is one and alternative for the other, a substitute.
Mawuli just does a 19-year-old job of mopping the room, the floor is swept yet I have discovered when I walked from the shower to the bed, my feet were dirty, the sheets in the bed became dirty. They have this throw rug, a good one, not like the Aurore that felt sticky, not a rug you can wash and dry easy.
I have used the rug to mop the floor to my room and make this nest a perfectly clean room, I will leave the room cleaner than when I entered, and this is normal.
I am going to go and try to buy a rug like this, the color is maroon, I will not pretend it is clean.
Wearing a black shirt does not mean you are clean, you are hiding the dirt.
I have used this rug to mop the floor, works great, I am not going to use as a towel, maybe I can buy one of them heavy, Motel, Hotel Holiday Inn rug towels, I doubt it. I asked for a towel in Lome, then used as rug… That towel was dirty, but it was white, I am wondering, would it be clean if it were maroon.
The idea of life is maybe from Crosby, Still, Nash and Young a lyric in my brain.
- If you cannot be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.-
I do with what I do, I live with what I live, the fun is when I find a perfect twig for my nest, and I can find this same twig again and again. I do not buy gear in gear shops, sometimes I buy gear in gear shops, but normally I buy gear in Wal-Mart, I buy what I call off the shelf items, so I am not depressed when I lose them.
I can find towels everywhere on the planet, and if not there is an alternative or substitute teacher. The substitute or alternative idea needs to be on standby.
Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Name: Dan (Edited)
Hi Andy, thanks for the great website.
Can I ask you to NOT list WalMart on your website? It is a wretched, evil company that destroys communities, towns, small businesses, the environment, people and their families. I wish more people were aware of exactly how terrible the situation is with them. It sickens me.
I think, I am not sure, you are referring to my gear page here:
(Site has from 25,000 to 50,000 pages according to your perspective.)
Yes, Dan you can ask me to not list Walmart on the website. I try to understand people and to listen, I try to take into consideration all points of view and I think when a person disagrees with me, I try to listen harder. I suppose by me saying, yes you can disagree with me, I am saying I disagree with you.
It is possible you know many facts, data, reports, explanations and in your excitement just forgot to send, if so please send at least as much information as statements of opinions, I do not know you, I have no reason to feel impelled to trust you. Thanks for reading my site, and liking, however not a reason to believe you.
I would recommend a person read my blog for a couple of months, then decide, do you not like me, and disagree or do you think I tell lies.
Walmat is a company I recommend to people in other countries to go and visit when they visit the USA as a tourist.
Ok to the start, you made a statement, you told me an opinion about Walmart, and gave no specific reasons, validations, explanations or better yet a scientific study about this, and I am almost positive you could find one. Instead, as in a way normal in out new world there is this idea of opinions are of value without some explanation.
(The evil part was over the edge.)
I personally have adopted a new term, or set of words to explain this that somehow I came upon, it may have be from Michael Crichton as he explains a lot about the lack of good study and scientific methods in his book - State of Fear - An excellent book and many footnotes, reference and whatnots at the end of the book, and he is substantiating fiction, not a requirement for fiction.
Junk Science -
QUOTE FROM THE SITE
"Junk science" is faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas. The junk science "mob" includes:
Why do I recommend Walmart on my site, because this is where I a traveler, and it is my opinion recommend and buy a lot of gear for me to use and carry in my backpack? I do not think most people would call it gear, but 99 percent of the stuff in my backpack is not sold in Travel Gear shops, so I would call gear the 99 percent and not the 1 percent.
I see gear shops as needing to sell specialty gear, like the ropes to climb mountain, but this is not for travel, it is more or less sports gear.
I will try to give one very good reason I recommend Walmart, and it is right here in Kpalime, Togo.
Wal-Mart sells very cheap products and drives the small retailer out of business because they sell so cheap. This is free enterprise, competition to sell the cheapest to the public, and a very good system that has proven to be a success.
Now, who wants to be driven out of business, not me? However, it is a fact, I compete for search engine traffic, and this is my competition, other people using the same search words. Stop picking on a hobo…. Duh, that is pretty stupid.
I am in Kpalime, Togo; there are about 20 small food stores from the corner of my street to the Texaco station. I have been in every one of them trying to search for canned vegetables to buy and eat. I actually have gone in maybe 50-70 small mom and pop stores here in Kpalime, they rein as king here.
I have found 1 in about 50 stores that carry corn; I have found about 1 in 70 that has a can of string beans. About 45 out of 50 have Petit Pois or canned peas, and none has the Haricot Rough or Kidney beans I like and can buy easily in Lome.
West Africa and all of Africa may have a problem with Malnutrition, I am not positive, but sure in Niger they do, I suspect the do in Togo, but then again AIDS is the issue-per-jour here, not the true problems.
I am not worried about West Africa first, I am first worried about me, Andy, I think I got very badly malnutrition in India and it became worst in Tibet, took me years to bring my system back up to happy.
I am going to eat my vegetable and fruits, take my vitamins and stop eating so much bread and peanuts. (That translates to peanut butter sandwiches.)
Where is Walmat, I want selection, I want the big super Marche to come here and sell a variety of foods and drive them little business to the moon. All it would take in this city is one larger store with a selection to drive stop many of the smaller stores.
Strangely, the Africa people do not do this, the Lebanon people come from Lebanon, start grocery stores and start to feed West Africa. There is no Lebanese people or few here in Kpalime, therefore we have this 50 small and no variety, all selling the same products, NOBODY, making any real money and thriving.
Thriving, I want people to thrive, Wal-Mart thrives.
Walmart good, bad, or who cares does what a good business does; they sell a product cheap for a good value. Therefore, I go there, and they have this quirk of the world, they refund you money if you are not happy.
I tell the world this, learn the word REFUND, in the USA, you can get a refund. If I buy bad cheese here as I did, from one of these Mom and Pop stores, they will not give me back my money; they do not make enough money to even stand by their products. IF I opened the cheese in the store and checked, they would give me new cheese, or something, but to leave the store and come back, they would say, you bought that somewhere else and lie.
Mom and Pops stores, small shops, small hotels lie, big stores have trouble, they can be sued and the person can get rich, not here in Togo.
Ok, Junk Science, there is not proof to your allegations, but then again it is your opinion, and yes you can say your opinion. I am sure someone can send links, and explain how the big Wal-Mart is bad.
I will continue to buy in Walmart providing the give me a great price, and a good product for my money. That is the deal I make with Walmart, they lose me the instant I can buy anywhere better, and I do not buy all things from Walmart. I go to Walgreen’s and Target and shop around.
Mom and Pop stores here in Kpalime, sell Peas for about 1.50 US dollars in one of the poorest countries on the planet.
How much does a can of Peas cost in Walmart in one of the richest countries on the planet?
Something is wrong here, and there is a reason why people want to go to the USA, and it has nothing do with freedom, and liberty all that crap, they just want to have a good life, thanks to companies like Walmart that sell cheap and drive these high priced small stores out of business. There is a shortage of jobs here in Togo, and the USA has many, there is a different in how the economics works.
ALL that I have said above is opinion; I have only done the 50 to 70--store search for vegetables here in Kpalime, Togo. To do proper research, I would need to list, document and explain, then go back to the USA and find the prices of Peas, Carrots, and all the other foods sold in Walmart.
This is sort of anti-junk Science opinions nothing to do with collaborated evidence. I could be 100 percent wrong, I think I am 99 percent correct, but that is my opinion.
Walmart is one of the eighth wonders of the world, or you can come here and eat the food, buy the clothes, and hurt. I purchased a shirt in the market yesterday, I wore it without washing, my neck broke out in a rash, I had to take a taxi home, and take a shower, and I was very worried. They had ironed or pressed the shirt with some unknown starch or liquid, I could have ended up in the doctor trying to clean my body of some rash because there is no Wal-Mart here.
Cheap and easy to purchase foods would help to solve the malnutrition problems in West Africa, but nope, that is not what the NGO push or shove or promote. The say, lets give them money, food, and make them beggars, the World Bank does more in seconds and much better than any misguided save the world ONG-NGO.
Someone told you about Walmart, and you are gossiping and telling others. Do not trust BBC and CNN, or the big news companies, they have an agenda.
Going to McDonalds overseas is humorous sometimes, why am two dollars for a Hamburger in Thailand when I can buy Chicken Fried Rice for 50 cents, then in France, I went to McDonalds every day.
Please some one come and sell the Haricot Rouge or the Kidney Beans here in Kpalime, Togo, I could care less how, I want to buy, market of one person exist.
My Backpack is a Boat
Tsevie, Togo West Africa
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I can carry 80 liters of gear easy in my two backpacks. I hope to add a few caps and increase the easy capacity to 160 liters of junk, this is about 35 kilos or close to 80 pounds.
Today was a sad day in Lome for me this morning before I left for Tsevie, as I decided to offload about 20 liters of non-essential items. I left a lot of gear or my home furnishings in Lome in the room, and moved on down the road.
I have been carrying about 100 liters of volume, however to do so, I needed to tie a bag on the bottom of my backpack. The backpack worked perfect for this, and when Michael was with me, he tied or used bungee cords and connected his gear on the bottom of one of my bags. If I put on the bottom it makes the ride on the Motorcycle Taxis more comfortable as it allows the bottom of the bag to sit higher and less stress on my shoulders while on the bike.
However, I trimmed the boat, and offloaded some cargo. Not because I wanted too, but because I like convenience. Tying the bag on the bottom took time, and I did not feel lean and mean with the set up.
A photo of Michael way off and the photos is blurred, however you can see that the small grain bag full of his gear on the bottom allows the backpack to ride lighter on the shoulders of the rider. If it hangs, the weight it continually bouncing, I also can loosen the straps and allow to also go lower, but the bottom bag helps a lot.
The grain bag was not easy to tie on, and the truth is, I had a lot of non-essential items, and miscellaneous pack rat items, some experimental gear items, that were not working.
This is my home, these are my possessions, I become enamored with them and do not like to let go. I do have a clothing policy, if I do not wear it often and regular, I throw it away, normally means I leave in the hotel room.
I need an easy to clip on cap or bag, that I can load, then just clip on the bottom, when I get near the combinations of material, tailor, clips and such, I will make one. Annoying to think how the boys of Nepal could not get their act together to make this simple item, or I would have four right now.
The way I pack a bag is like a boat, the heavy in the bottom, the side-to-side weight is balanced, I try to distribute the good properly, and if the boat is overloaded, I go to port and unload some cargo, and leave again. I have a front and back pack, this distributes the weight to the front and back, they are both the same size, and 40 liters in capacity. I do not really care about weight, as I never plan on walking, I plan on taxis, except in Europe and then I buy a 2-wheel cart, because all I do is walk, hard to get fat there.
Right now, I would like to be carrying about 5 more kilos of books in English as I am down to one English book, and Africa is French.
Backpacks, Gear, West Africa Gear, Motorcycles, Togo Transportation, Togo, West Africa Transportation, Taxi,
Difficult Mosquito Nets
Danyi Apeyeme, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 21, 2007
A mosquito net is difficult and annoying to use.
If you have camped in a pup tent, then you many be able to empathize with people who are supposed to be using a mosquito net. There is just no way to get in and out of a one-man tent simply. To protect yourself from mosquitoes you need to unzip, jump inside, and re-zip the net very fast. Then suffocate from the heat.
Malaria or Paludisme
I was in Niger last year, I thought I had Malaria, on hindsight, I may have had Paludisme, I mean food poisoning.
The situation was this, I was very sick, I kept saying to the Niger people, what I thought was the word for Malaria; I said, Malaria, the people would agree or disagree with no problem. I realized later, I was saying Malaria, and nobody knew this word. I need to say, Paludisme the French African way of saying, Malaria.
There are some good sign boards about Puludisme in this area of Togo; the villages along the road to Adeta were promoting the fight against Puludisme. I am not sure; sleeping under a mosquito net is difficult, annoying and fraught with methodical and procedural flaws.
The goal is to not be bitten by mosquitoes.
This is an almost impossible goal to achieve.
I know one thing; I am not going to take Malaria pills for 75 percent of my life. I live in the Tropical Malaria - Puludisme areas of the planet at least 75 percent of the year.
I asked Michael the fixer,
- Do you use a mosquito net? -
- I like to sleep under a fan. -
I will cultural reinterpret this statement.
No, I do not sleep under a mosquito net, I know I am supposed to; I would like to sleep under a fan because the fan blows the mosquitoes off me. However, the truth is, I do not have a fan, and there is not electricity most or about half the time. Therefore, even though I know I am supposed to protect myself from Mosquitoes so I do not get Malaria or Puludisme, I just cannot be bothered. It is too hot, too difficult and I would rather just deal with them, rather than worry about Malaria. Plus, I am too cheap to buy one.
I can about count the number of times I have seen a person in Malaria prone areas sleep under mosquito nets. I see them in Tourist hotels; however, the normal population seems to avoid them. I guess on the Amazon River in places they used them a few times.
In Niger, they have this cool sleep outside bed set-up, which is more or less the Hausa bed, it has a mosquito net.
Still, the goal is to not be bitten by a mosquito, the goal is close to impossible.
- Unless you go into a mosquito net with a bottom, zip is shut, and start to sleep at about 5:00 or an hour before sunset.
A mosquito will bite through the bottom of a hammock.
They can find the small hole; I was looking at a mosquito net in the Turag area of Agadez, Niger one time. The net was over the short stick homes as was supposed to protect a baby. I could see rips in the net everywhere, a mosquito net is delicate, and it rips easy.
Truthfully, DDT is probably the answer. The real solution seems to be to install screens on the windows by professionals.
I was sort of thinking in Kpalime, I was in the L’Aurore hotel for one night; the place had very good screens on the windows. I entered the toilet and shower area and this small window above the toilet was just bars with No screen over the windows. Almost Africa.
I thought to myself, this is not going to work, so I closed to the toilet and hoped they had not already entered.
I was in the Bafana Bafana before that, and there were no screens on any of the windows. It took some work, but I put up my mosquito net and slept under a blanket. Sleeping under a mosquito net is like sleeping under a blanket; it almost successfully stops the breeze or fan, not completely, but close.
Why rooms do not have hooks on the walls for me to install a mosquito net? Ok, I am in this 2000 CFA room in the middle of nowhere, on the planet with Malaria. This funky little room has nails in the wall, I am wondering, was it for pictures or did someone, sometime actually set up a mosquito net? I always carry a mosquito net; I do not use Malaria pills, although setting up a Mosquito net in most rooms in is an Act of God, very difficult and complicated.
You can tell the serious people, they have a bed with four poles, and then you can hook a mosquito net on each of the four poles.
I was cracking up laughing at Mawuli in the Auberge Mandela. The room was sealed tight, a very good room, and the number 4 room I think. Well, I decided to extra kill off the fleas, ants and anything that moved. I closed the doors and windows, before I was going to start living there. I started to gas the place with the insect killer called Killit, the cost is about 1000 CFA.
I did not Almost Africa is, I was doing a German quality job. I was trying to kill everything in the room, I sprayed every crack, crevice and place a flea or mosquito, or my arch enemy ants could sleep.
Mawuli came and sticks his head in the room and sort of signs me to stop. I am thinking to myself, you are slow in the head, please take you vitamins.
I was at the toxic level of breathing and they were outside and he and this girl Essay could smell it, it was annoying them. I thought to myself, and wanted to holler.
- Stop being so lazy, move to the front and leave the courtyard. -
A little annoyance can bring Africa to a stop.
I did not stop, I used the whole can, and thought, I did not Almost Africa that, I did a German style job of killing.
I have this very long pull string on the bottom of my mosquito net. I pick up the four corners of the bed; place the mosquito net under the edges. I then can pull the draw string. As best I can tell, a normal lie on the edges type mosquito net does an almost job, but does not stop them. Then my next problem is to enter the bed, I need to loosen the drawstring, and then climb under it, annoying and difficult, but I do not like to be bitten, I am not so worried about Malaria, I just do not like to have mosquito welts on my body. I like to sleep peacefully.
In addition, it keeps the cockroaches from crawling over my bed and rats from defecating on me as I learned in Pak Bara, Thailand as they crawl in the rafter of my bungalows.
But, it is hot, difficult, and if I had a fan, that was full steam ahead, a good blow, I would maybe think about not using this net and go for the fan, but I know, that would almost work, but not really.
I like to ask people if they carry a mosquito net. The will buy the malaria pills, but are too lazy to carry the mosquito net, but it takes more thinking to set up a mosquito net than to toxic yourself with Malaria pills.
I am sort of musing now, I am thinking, how I can modify this net again so I can have a zipper opening, so I can climb in and out easy. It is possible; I just make a big pull string opening, as a door. I added these carabineer things to the corners the other day in the Bafana Bafana so I can take the long nylon cords off the corners so they are not tangled. I also use them cords for other jobs, like typing my bag on the bottom of my pack.
I have to admit, this mosquito net is getting better all the time, as I keep engineering in other ideas.
The big idea on that sign board is to buy the impregnated mosquito repellant versions of mosquito nets. Seems somewhat silly to me, but for why not, helps the Denmark people to sell mosquito nets to Ghana people who think they cannot make mosquito nets… Another story…
I want to make two modifications to my net. I want the top to be only the size of a single bed, however the bottom to be as big as double or regular bed. I also want to install this pull string type entrance. Buying good lightweight mosquito net is difficult to purchase, I think I need to go somewhere where they do not have a problem with Malaria… Hehehe
There are tons of tailor shops here, I sometime hope I am required to use this mosquito net for a few weeks. I would be more inclined to make the modification and not forget until the next time I am under this blanket.
It is cooler here at 757 meters or something like that, but not enough, it rained and then stopped.
I keep thinking, when I enter an expensive hotel and they have mosquito nets, I am worried. A much better system is to install screens on the windows, mosquito nets are uncomfortable and meant for cheap hotels.
I truthfully think they would do better to install screens on all the windows of the home here, probably would be as effective as trying to put nails in clay adobe walls, and expecting them to hold. The fundamental problem is the rooms, homes, and bed are designed wrong, the root problem is in the design of what is need to hang the mosquito net. Then the mosquito net, there is many adaptations needed before I am happy or through with this baby.
For those who pay a fortune for mosquito nets in a gear shops, they cost about 3 dollars in Thailand.
Mosquito Nets, Mosquito, Annoyances, West Africa Annoyances, Insects, Gear, West Africa Gear,
Difficult Mosquito Nets
The Morals of a Mop
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, April 27, 2007
It is finally hitting me, I am in a Catholic world, I am in West Africa, I am not in a Buddhist world, and I the floors are dirty. Hindus do mop, but with a very dirty rag, the Islamic need to clean their feet a lot for a reason.
I have a bad habit, I do not think I can break it, I like or walk around barefoot in my hotels rooms. I am not going to, and do not want to wear sandals in my room. I feel the most comfortable with no shoes, I have went for a long as one month with never wearing a shoe in Mexico on the beach. I do not like shoes or sandals, I like sandals or flip flops better than any confine my feet shoes.
Options here in Togo:
1. Get into bed with very dirty feet, make the sheet dirty and force the management to change the sheet daily.
2. Ask the management of the hotels to mop the rooms. I will do this sometimes in some countries, whereby I can find the mop, then do or hope to finish the job myself. However, the mop is normally so disgusting and the water so filthy, I do not even consider this option. I do have people mop in Asia, as they will use a rag and do on their hands and knees.
THIS OPTION IS NOT FEASIBLE
3. Ask for a towel, maybe they give me a towel, then I use it to mop the floor.
I THINK FEASIBLE IN ABOUT 50 PERCENT TO 80 PERCENT OF HOTEL - I think they will give me a towel to shower, if I ask, I have never asked in the month or so here in Africa and only one gave me a towel without asking, the Galion in Lome, Togo.
4. Find a rug and use as a mop. This option has worked in two hotels and is possible on a small scale.
5. I buy something to use a mop. This is a good option, however, the problem is this, to clean a mop takes a lot of work, I need to really clean it, and rinse it. Then it must dry, this is the essential problem, to dry a mop or something very wet is difficult, and then the question is, do you or I want to carry around the rag part of a dirty or cleaned rag part of a mop in our backpacks or suitcases.
I just do not know, I think an extremely small maybe nylon, does not absorb, not cotton, but fast drying small, cut up towel could work. I could put it in a one-gallon zip lock bag or a black plastic bag.
Hmm, do I need a mop handle?
There must be more options, but I am tired of thinking.
The Morals of a Mop.
I think this is to me a small moral, ethical and manners issue, and probably does not bother only about one percent of the travelers of the planet.
Option 1, I get in a bed with dirty feet, then force them to clean the sheets daily. This is normal traveler and tourist expectations and they have no moral or ethical problem with telling the staff to change the sheets. I do not allow people to clean my room, I clean my room, I do not want them to enter my room, I do not care how much I pay, I very seldom allow staff to clean my room. I do not want to stash, protect, hide my cameras, computer, cell phone constantly. It takes me a lot of work to prepare to allow a person to enter my room. One good thing, I have went to chaining my bag to the chair, it is becoming faster and quick to have all the essential valuables chained to the TV, bed or something difficult to move, I have began to allow some cleaning in the room, however only when managed by me.
There is this ecological issue that is floating around in rooms of the world, I will see signs, about not cleaning sheets, or only every three to six days to preserve or limit the amount of detergents entering the water table. I tend to agree, I think cleaning sheets after two or three uses is ok. I will often just grab the sheets in a better hotel and change them myself. In a hotel that is cleaner, there are sheets sitting around in many places and easy to find, because they are changing the sheets often.
On a funny, I was in Amlame, and the owner went and got some packaged sheets, he kept hitting the pack of sheets, trying to get the dust off of the package. Then he opened, the sheets had been ironed and cleaned, and they were rock hard creases in the folds of the sheets, the sheets had not been used in months. I do not think they included sheets with a room, the people slept on the mattress.
This is common in India to never change sheets or clean in some hotels, the covers or blankets in any country are suspect and not cleaned, the heavier the blanket the more likely it has been used by many and more than you want to know clients.
Moral - Ethics - Values - Manners
I am in a problem area of living in hotels. The easy option it to use a white or clean rug, or a sheet, or the table cloth in my present room. Grab a sheet, towel or something from the hotel staff and mop the floor. I consider it very bad manner to use a table cloth to mop the floor and I doubt they will ever get it cleaned, I would be ruining a good table cloth.
A white rug or light colored rug is the same, I have no qualms about using a dark rug, as I know it is very dirty already and not going to make a difference.
Requiring a person that is dirty by nature, never has cleaned something good in their lives to clean my room good is maybe bad manners. Like expecting a person from India to be clean, not really fair, or to expect a person from Thailand to not squat or try to squat on a western style toilet.
I am in West Africa, I must accept the standards of their country, it is a little onerous to expect special treatment.
3 to ask for a towel is an easy option, but that towel will never be the same again, it will always be damaged or dirty. This makes the towel bad for the next client, and also ruins a towel, or cost the hotel money.
If I ask the hotel for a mop, I am saying to the hotel.
- Your hotel is dirty, I want to clean, because I do not trust you. -
I can clean my room all day, they do not care, they do not get annoyed by me cleaning my own room. There is not a sense of guilt on the planet by me cleaning my own room, like it is their job. 1 in 50 yes though and those hotels are precious and difficult to find. However, just because the manager thinks this, does not mean the cleaning people agree.
I think I have only one option, I need to buy a towel, cut it up into three pieces and use my foot for a handle, or my hand. Then comes the question, do I use the dip shower bucket for a bucket or my own? I hope I can find a bucket here that is not for showering.
Cultural manners to me, requires I do not expect my values of clean, work, justice, etc to apply in the country I am visiting, I consider is extremely bad manners to expect western style quality in a 6 dollar hotel. On the other hand, if I paid the 50-100 US of the silly Americans, I would be so frustrated trying to get the room cleaned, the maintenance done, in the end, I do it myself.
In Mexico, I lived on a beach for up to six months, I hired cleaning girls to come to my room and work the day cleaning my room. This is a great option however difficult to find a cleaning lady that fast. On a very strange side note, I can find a girl that will sleep with me for a 5000 CFA cadeau or gift and be my girlfriend. She will clean the room, and will continue to clean until I am happy, because that is what the do best, try to take care of a man. Another ethical question and taxing to my soul.
Ok, today I try to buy a towel, to use as a mop, I will store in a plastic bag to carry from place to place.
I prefer to stay 10 days in every hotel. The first 3 days, I find the best room, if I did not choose the best on the first try. I choose the best room in the hotel about 75 percent of the time now, when I first started I just accepted and room and made some very bad choices.
The 10 day rule of rooms means.
10 plus 10 plus 10 equal 30 days.
30 Days in a month.
9 days for preparing the rooms.
I have about 5 days of life or living in a room whereby I feel uncomfortable. If I move quickly from a hotel, it means I do not like the city or the hotel. Normally a manners or trust issue.
25 days of high quality living 5 days of nonchalant arranging and working on the room. If a person thought for one second about how much time they spend cleaning their own home, they would and could evaluate and see, I spend about they spend 10 times the amount of time working on their homes than me living in a hotel room.
Yet, when they get in a hotel room, they turn into hotel dictators or fat slobs that want to demand services from hotels. Or on an even worst thought, many just ignore that the hotel is dirty. I do not like India because it is impossible for me to be the same as the other travelers and ignore the grime and dirt, I would need to live in a hotel for 30 days and hire two cleaning person to work daily to be comfortable. Goa has some exceptions to this idea.
I laugh when I see a person ask for a towel in a hotel. Then they think I am dirty, I wash my own towels and know who clean it, normally me, I do not have to share a towel with every person who has ever entered the hotel. This same person that will share a towel with everyone will then hoover over the toilet seat. Seems like they would buy some alcohol and clean it, and do a good job, but because they paid for a room, they feel they cannot clean or work on the room, all take and no give. When I manage homes and owned homes, a good tenant would make the home better and when the left, the place was improved, this happens in about 5 percent of homes, and my friend Walt interviews and gets about 95 percent of tenants that leave the place better than when it started. I would say, I fix on average one to two maintenance problems per hotel and would do more if I had the tools and supplies, I consider a dirty room normal, I consider a broken faucet lazy.
Mops, Gear, West Africa Gear, Hotel Room Choosing, Room Cleaning, Togo,
The Morals of a Mop
Buying Mosquito Nets
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
I would say Ash has tried to use a Mosquito net. I went and found a photo from in Natitingou, Benin whereby I was using a Mosquito net every day in the Auberge USA.
This link of photos has this photo.
This is a page link from my prior trip to West Africa while in Natitingou, Benin.
Ok, from my experience, the big problems with mosquito nets.
1. There is no way to attach it to wall. I cannot drive nails into walls, I do not carry a hammer, and the walls, which need mosquito nets, can fall down… hehehe. I have no idea how to drive hole in wall, sometimes I do put eyelet screws into crack in the joints of concrete blocks.
I think I need a hand-powered screwdriver that had a very small cement drill bit on the end. When you push it, it spins and could slowly drill a hole in concrete, carry some nails and push them in, or use a rock.
Normally as Ash said the roofs are too high or there is no way, I use the door hinge to hang my clothesline on about half the time and the louvered windows of Africa are great. Pictures really help, so do electrical wires on walls.
2. Second problem is size or bulk. I have a full size, rectangular soft mosquito net. The question is this, do you sleep with girls sometimes, and I do not want a mosquito net touching me. When it is hot, it is hot, and mosquito nets are very hot.
Compression Bag, I use a compression bag I found to compress my soft mesh, not the hard mesh mosquito net. A big enough mosquito net for two people has about one meter of mesh and 1.2 meter would be perfect sidewalls. I really want the top the size of rectangular single bed and the bottom larger than a double or queen mattress.
This would reduce the size of net, but keep the stupid thing off me when I sleep.
3. The rope need to be very long to reach the nails. Then it needs to be very light, but very long, to connect to any room in anywhere, you are going to need 1.5 meters or small rope, nylon woven is best, and very small, you have to be able to untie the knots when you make a mistake, or have room to cut. It will be dark when you take this down or put it up often.
4. Staying tucked in, I have a pull string around the bottom, this pulls up the bottom tight and keeps it tucked in like a good elastic fitted sheet, but allow me to get out. I do not like the idea that repellant is going to keep the insect out. I am not going to carry this type of liquid in my bag. I have trouble enough with the fear of what insect repellant can so to my bag and items in my bag. You need to bag, have special bottle, and trip bag things like this, you need to know how to carry liquids like mosquito repellant and mosquito net treatment. I like the idea of treating mosquito net, but after I leave the USA, that will be the last treatment it receives, unless the world starts to have gear shops.
5. Cost, they want too much money for one in a gear store, the good parts about gear store ones are they are light mesh. A mosquito net in most of the world cost less than 5 dollars US. India has terrible mosquito net material, you need to buy one before you go there, and most other places are ok.
6. Sex, you need to think about girls, companions and the stupid jerk who you decided you was going to travel with and you need to baby-sit and is getting eaten alive by mosquitoes until you say, ok, get under the net. I want one big enough to move.
7. BEING Awake - I do not sleep only in my room. I also am awake and need to either use a mosquito net or want to sit up. The more room the better, the one photo is a way to have half the bed for mosquito net and half open for when it is safe.
When a mosquito net is not being used during the day, you need to pull it out if you can, and through it over the top, this will keep bugs and other insects from entering the compartment. At this time, take some killer, something that kills them, and spray the net to kill them small whachamacallits that are so small you cannot seem them.
8 HUGE problem and difficult, the repellent would help. In places like the Amazon, on corners of river, and places like I was on near Iquitos, there are so many insects you need a bottom. There is also an extremely dense, small and very hot and heavy mosquito net material you can buy in places like Iquito Peru on the Amazon River.
9. Hammocks, mine is adapted to be used with a hammock, I did use this in Rurrenbaque, Bolivia this way and slept outside, if you are going to the real jungle, the ground is wet, you need a hammock, I then pull the pull string tight and I am enclosed.
I am getting tired of this, I could easily write days on this subject.
I am going to modify this net again, if I can find some soft mesh or net here in Africa. I would think about some changes, and buying extra mesh or net.
Hooks - A good number 11 fishhook, will bite into a wall, I have them on my backpack organizer, the weight of the clothes in my long organizer pulls down and a real large number 11 hook will bite or cut into the wall, and hook good. I can pound the hook into a wood wall, and then use a way to connect the net.
Self- Propping Net, I think an excellent idea, Chris sent me one, too small and needed a bottom sown in it, I tend to think a bottom is better, because then you would not have to tuck in, and risk tearing the net, but then you need to have a sheet to sleep on.
I opted not to bring the self-propping net because of the weight of the poles, they way a lot. A mosquito net is only used about one time every six months, and by more adventurous sorts, the normal traveler does not even have a net and throws it away because it is too big and heavy.
I hate to sleep in a hammock they are very hard and I do not like my feet up in the air and my head.
10. Do not under-rate or value a fan, a good fan will keep the mosquitoes off you.
11. If you are living long enough in a room to find a hammer, drench your net in liquids, have all this stuff. Why not consider putting net on your windows and forget the mosquito nets.
I continue to stay in room that are 2 and 3 dollars per night, I went and stayed in peoples homes.
The time I was eaten the most was in a hotel in Brugge Belgium, big windows, not net, an expensive room and mosquitoes everywhere.
Next time, I think I will talk about dorm beds and mosquito nets…hehehe
I should make a list of all the creative way I have found to connect to the wall a mosquito net or more often my clothe lines. Oh, yea, take along a clothes line if you want to use a mosquito net. Amazing how a line diagonally across a room will hold a net.
I use plastic clothe pins to hold the net open during the day, for sure you need the clothes line and the pins. A mosquito net makes a good clothes line also.
Women, do not forget, men like women, are you the only one sleeping in the bed?
I need one of them screw ratchet screwdrivers with a good very small cement drill bit, then some number 6 argoz, or what do you call them, the twisted nails used for plywood and such.
I tend to think some one in the UN has a sweetheart deal to supply 50 dollar Mosquito nets to the poor people free, that cost them 3 dollars to make. Because they have convinced them to say they need to be treated. The bottom line is sustainability can you buy this liquid here in Atakpame, Togo? Or doe the ONG, make a big pile of money by way of promotion of this net to people, then acting like all the competitors selling good cheap nets are bad.
One is just better, but not a huge amount. One dollar is one days pay here.
I am in favor of treatment of nets, I am also in favor of telling people to do what the can afford to do.
Mosquito, Mosquito Nets, Annoyances, Insects, Gear, West Africa Gear,
Buying Mosquito Nets
One Use Gear Problem
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Size matters, the normal backpacker I would estimate carries about 50 liters of items, I carry 80 and want to go to 100, or double the normal. The travelers are just too weak to carry 80 pounds or 40 Kilos a long distance, wheels that can be pulled over the ruts and gravel are the solution, but always made too heavy and big.
I see lots of cool gear; most is to me a joke and a great marketing of stupid items. Some are very good for certain uses, for example that camel pack water holder, may work very good for bike riders, and long day trekkers. I see it as just a waste of time for me, and they do not tell me how to clean, it is not designed for cleaning and sanitary, plus the taste of plastic is a problem. Humans need water, the world has water, and to walk into the desert for long periods is not a normal thing for people. I find that a Coca Cola bottle frozen is my best choice, but to carry three or four is a problem, then maybe a frozen water bag would be good, or better yet, a bag designed to carry four bottle in balance, balance is the problem.
What can I use the bag for, except for water? This bag and the small bag it has with it is too large. I am not going to use it for a shower. A bucket and a dipper is a much better use of water, a shower used three to five times the water than a dip shower. I have many uses for a bucket, clothe, shower, drinking water, and it very bad situations a toilet.
One-use-gear, I want ever piece of gear to be used for three and more uses.
Mosquito net, a popular subject.
3. Clothesline in room.
4. The lines that hold the mosquito net I use for both a clothesline and to tie extra bags to my larger bag.
5. I hope to adapt my mosquito net to hang over doorways. I need a mosquito net for a door, so I can open the door and allow air in the room. My windows have screens, but there is no screen door.
- Hammock for sleeping
- Towel sometimes
Dutch oven Cooker
- Container to protect very valuable and breakable items inside while traveling.
- Hold water for drinking
- Shield to protect candles from wind
- Rope for tieing
- Hold Mosquito net
- Used as a dresser, I put a clothesline in my room, so I can one dry my towel faster and not have it mildew in the bag. If I put the line outside, I forget or it is stolen. However, I use it to hang all my clothes up in the room on the line, I never have more than 2-3 real clothes hangers in a room, and the normal is zero. I can hang all the clothes up and keep the ants out of my clothes.
- Hang lantern on line
Note: Anything you take outside the room to store, an umbrella, and a shirt on the line, a clothesline, loan your guidebook to a friend, any gear that leaves the room will be forgotten or lost. I do not take my gear outside the room and dry or store, I do not leave my shoes outside, and I keep everything in one box, called my room. When I want to leave, I pack everything in my bag and leave. If I loan my guidebook to a friend, I hand it to them, and sit around with them until they are done. If they want the guidebook, go to a copy machine and get them to pay to copy the pages, loaning a guidebook is a very dangerous misuse of information. It is irreplaceable here in Togo; I have no idea how to buy another Rough guide here in Togo.
I forgot and purchased online the Lonely Planet East Africa on Amazon.com, because I have always used the Lonely Planet. I have decided for Africa to change to the Roughguide, I want the Roughguide East Africa, how can I buy. Maybe, the only option is to find all the airports, Lome, Cotonou, Lagos,, Cameroon and visit all of them for a guidebook or the hope of buying a Roughguide. I can also visit all the Peace Corps office and try to get them to be friendly, some are, most are not. Actually two guidebooks would be great, Lonely and Rough and French one also, to find French girls. The weigh a ton, a book is heavy.
The most value commodity in the world is information.
One use gear, I look at all my gear and think, can I buy it in Togo, and how many uses do I have for the one item.
Then you have the multiple use items that are better purchased as many parts, the multiple uses cause problem. I guarantee you will lose small items, and if valuable, other travels will forget to return.
Multiple Use Items that need to be purchased as one use.:
- Number one problem, people steal them.
- Number two problem, the cost of the Knife should be under 10 US.
- But the big problem is you cannot clean it easy from peanut butter and the knife blades are not long enough to cut a pineapple, the number one use for a knife by me.
I have a knife now, with a long cutting blade, 300 CFA, I lost my other one….
I lost my other one, if this was a Swiss knife, I would have lost my knife, fork, screwdriver, hammer maybe, toothpick and whatever other toys are on the knife.
I have a fork
Screwdriver - both phillips and slotted for my computer back.
I have them all as separate items, when I forget one or lose one, I do not lost everything, only one.
Hennessey Hammock Tent - Note, I have never seen one up close.
- I have a Hammock
- I have a mosquito net
- I have a rain poncho that is a tent
Combined as one unit these items are almost worthless, separated they are very valuable.
Poncho has many uses.
- Protect my bag on top of bus in rain.
- Walking in rain after bus ride
- Blanket in room
This is all my thinking because I am dwelling on my cooking of foods. I need a stove, which is a multi use stove.
- Cook with alcohol
- Cook with 220 or 110 - 12 Volt Electric
- Cook with wood and a small fan for super cooking in base
Then the thing needs to be the size of a very large mug, but maybe wider.
I can see the design in my head, but I would have trouble making. I am not sure how to do the 220 - 110 - 12 Volt cooking. Adapters are often bigger than the cookers.
Note, I type out this list to think, people read blogs to think or plan out gear, I need to adapt and change always. I dump a lot of gear, then buy again, most gear is not gear, it something they sell anywhere, special gear is difficult, it causes problems.
Nylon Poles for tent - I want or a wish, I need is strong.
- To use to hit people and defense
- To use for mosquito net
- To add reinforcement in my bag
- To prop up cooking things
- To use as walking stick
- To use to make my poncho into a tent
I do not have nylon poles, because the are difficult to buy in Togo, and they must be less than 22 inches long to fit in my bag, and weigh in total about three quarters pound and have a removable. - I said removable elastic rope inside, that keep them organized. I set up tents and mosquito nets in the dark.
Swiss Knife, Gear, West Africa Gear, Hammock, Tent, Mosquito Nets, Knives, Clotheline, Rope, Tie or Binding Items, Room Dresser, Clothes
One Use Gear Problem
Goodbye to Electric Hotplate
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I am saying goodbye to my save money product, I am saying goodbye to my electric hotplate and going to use the alcohol cooker.
I am using just the base that holds the alcohol of the Alcohol Cooker. Yikes, I just learned this gift I received cost about 15 to 40 times more than my can of Tuna cooker.
I guess they call this the Trangia Burner.
I think it cost 15.95 for just the base, I do not think the average person need the rest unless they go jungle for months, and I stay in rooms. A windscreen can be made out of trees. A nice gadget, however I think I would use the tuna can, my friend Chris sent it to me.
Alcohol is very heavy!
I have been using an electric hotplate for years, and it is cheaper to use than the alcohol cooker. The problem is I cannot use 100 percent of the time, however when have no alcohol, I cannot use that cooker…
Note: Arabic countries make alcohol almost impossible to buy, because people would drink it and they are Islamic.
I think I need to try gas, normal gas, I can always buy it. I am not going to carry gas in my bag. But I could buy quick and easy.
There are many problems with a hot plate.
- It will burn up the wires in your room, and you will have no electricity in a badly wired room.
- Blows a fuse about 10 percent of time
- Blogs a breaker about 10 percent of time
- Burns up wires about 1 percent of time.
- Breaks about 1 in 50 uses, so I have to rewire it.
Cheap to buy, an electric hot plate in the world is normally under 5 US dollars, and you can buy them most places. Africa is difficult, because they use wood about 99 percent for cooking fuel, and electricity is considered very expensive. I do not know, about 100 Fran per kilowatt.
I have tried to make a few of these; I just cannot find the asbestos material to make a small 220 electric cooker that works also in 110 but cooler. This one I purchase in India broke about 20 uses, it is too big and has many sharp edges, and the sharp edges it not normal. I can fix this, but I do not have the will.
I like the alcohol cooker, not because it works better.
Because I do not have to hide it, owners of hotels get Hotel Hostile when the see an electric cooker. About 60 percent do not care because they steal the electricity and do not pay. However, I do not show them my electric hot plate.
Africa has a problem with electricity here and I am opting for the alcohol stove. It is smaller and easier to carry, maybe this is not true, and the carrying of alcohol is a serious problem. I have found a special bottle.
I would not be changing, if I had not found that Togo sells this special bottle, and I think I can continue to buy it, so if I lose the bottle, I can buy or replace. Replacing the container is more difficult than the stove; a can of tuna will replace the stove.
Alcohol here cost about 4 US dollars per liter, this is not cheap, but it says, 95 percent alcohol.
My alcohol cooker unit is on the left, I have the other half of what I think they call a Dutch Oven or something, you can buy on
I cannot find it, but I purchased three there, maybe discontinued, there is a top and a bottom, the pair together and make the safest place in my pack for delicate items to be stored. To kill the alcohol, I sit the pan of vegetable on top and kill the oxygen.
They have a funky; I would never buy Hobo Knife and Fork.
Oh, rectangular items are easier to pack than round or oval, and a ball is ridiculous. I like this cooker because it optimized the space in bag.
One of the worlds most difficult to buy bottles. I have two shampoo bottles I have been protecting with my life for years. This could work for shampoo but is one liter in size, very big, but it rectangular and not round.
I found this in the market, here in Atakpame, they sell used bottle of all type in West Africa, and this one is special.
That little insert in the top, has a hole, it meets the inside of the lid, what happens this extra stopper helps to minimize leaks. This type of bottle takes a lot more beating than you water bottle ever imagined. This is why a Coca Cola bottle is so good. The world abuses the soap, coke, and other drinks. This extra stopper almost guarantees the bottle will not leak. Then if there is enough length of threads, I am good to go. I will trust this bottle farther, the problem, any bottle in a motorcycle accident can take a good squeeze, but this bottle. I should be able to fill it with alcohol and throw it from the top of the door height and not break, I will test later for fun.
This would make a great drinking bottle if I could wash the soap taste away, a liter in size, and would not leak. Hard to fill because you have to pry the top out. Water is an item you refill a lot.
I may need to buy a Hotplate again for a room heater.
Gear, West Africa Gear, Cooking, Stoves, Alcohol, Electricity, Food, West Africa Food, Hotplate
Goodbye to Electric Hotplate
Electricity I want for Travel
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
If I put a solar panel outside my room, someone will steal it.
I am not going to wear solar clothes, I already stink enough without wearing the same clothes every day.
I need a continual source of electricity.
I do not have a river running through every hotel room to tap into.
The ONLY thing I know I do every day is walk, if I could harness the pressure of my every step and convert to electricity, then I stored on batteries, I could continually charge batteries to use for my camera, cell phone and computer. I really do not like the fact that my computer does not use AA batteries, what a headache. I live eat and drink on AA rechargable batteries.
If it is not run by an AA battery, I just say no to the gear.
Gear, West Africa Gear, Electricity, Togo,
Electricity I want for Travel
Door Installed on Mosquito Net
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, May 11, 2007
Today I went to sewing shop and supervised the girls while they used their machines to sew a door onto my mosquito net. I have lost most of my desire to work with foreign cultures on projects However; I wanted this so I did so… First, I cut all the pieces, and then cut the hole in the side of my mosquito net. I should have pinned it all together or maybe lightly sew together so all they needed to do was use the pedal powered machines to sow up and no thinking.
I have the basic entrance now sown into my net, now I need to somehow set the net up and test. The room I am in where I presently live is lacking one nail need for a fourth corner test, I am having problems doing a good test or taking photos. The room has no need for a mosquito net, because it has screens on the windows, however this it not important, the rooms that need mosquito nets do not have nails either. Chris is sending me some small concrete drill bits and I am going to make a tool to drill holes into the wall by hand, I hope.
This is a funny, I needed net material for a mosquito net, so I purchased a new one for 2000 CFA, and then I had to pay 2000 CFA to have the door sown on.
I can buy a new one for 2000 CFA.
I make a small alteration and it costs 2000 CFA.
The cost was 1500 more than what was fair or just, but that is ok, I am tired of boxing with them. This is a unique item, the cost is not so important, it the items of big expense like the cost of a room which really eats money. My room is 3500 CFA per night.
I am going to go and purchase a needle and thread and super sow up the mosquito net now, I am sure the stitching quality is bad, and will not hold. My patience in supervising the girls was at end of the rope, I was ready to leave, and was tired of slow work and bad quality. I think maybe I can find some shoe repair string that will really wrap this up, and I can also sow shut a couple of small holes.
I think the holes were caused because I needed to enter the net under my pull string and I pulled the net while still tucked under the mattress. These mosquito nets are very delicate and great care must be taken so I do no rip them.
I am happy and will see how this design works; the next effort in this design will be to make the rectangular square top smaller, while keeping the rectangular bottom the same. I am trying to decrease the amount of mosquito net I need to carry. Then there is the four-corner rope problem, it is easier to increase the length of string than to find a wide room for the top.
The present design semi requires I use clothespins to close the door after I enter, but I will see, there is a long bundle entrance.
Mosquito, Mosquito Nets, Gear, West Africa Gear, Togo,
Door Installed on Mosquito Net
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I think I should be, or maybe I am out of the Beta testing phase of my travel rug. I am somewhat saying, I recommend this; however, there are still some problems to work out.
RUG - This is my news hotel room RUG.
I am thinking, if a person sent me gear to test, what would I do? First, I would never want to admit I knew them…. Hehehe
Sending me gear, or travel writers, or any person who could say, write this piece of gear is good or bad is full of landmines, for both the company sending and the person they want to endorse their product.
Example the products I would like to have for free are the big money items, send me a BGAN Satellite System so I can access the internet from anywhere on the planet. PLEASE.. However, what if I really do not like this very expensive piece of equipment, what do I say?
BGAN - I promise I will only say good things and never tell the truth!
(Fingers are crossed.)
Endorsing Gear, my guess is 99 percent of people endorsing gear is liars and the other 1 percent are naïve.
I had a person write me two days ago and want me to endorse their travel newsletter, or worse yet, they wanted me to promo-up, I send an endorsement for them in my newsletter and they will send an endorsement of me in theirs. (Saying some company is an implied recommendation.) I was polite, I tried to be patient, please send me the archives, how to subscribe, who, what, where etc and I will subscribe and who knows, maybe in about six months, I may fall in love with your newsletter. Then I will do free and you do not even have to put mine in yours. I have received a person reply again, however, I still am not clear what I am doing… or supposed to do.
I feel they assume I would be happy for a no-money type of promotion of my site. There are these blanket letters sent to me, they start out, I am a reader, or I was on your site…hehehe
I am out of BETA, testing of real gear.
I will recommend a person use this gear, I am not sure how many type of services, I will say are good, and there are some problems. Yet, for sure, this is a good idea; I have stumbled onto a solution to many problems I did not know annoyed me.
The people who send gear to be tested assume the person will say good comments. I regret recommending about 10-20 percent of my ideas and close to impossible to take back or remove, so I am recommending today about 10 percent something I do not want to recommend, what a problem to solve. I will recommend this rug, I do not expect ever to have a problem.
I never knew I needed a rug, until I had a rug. Note - COTTON is bad, Nylon towel here is good, a cotton one will never dry and a nylon one dries very fast.
- I can double up and use a broom
- I can put in front of shower and keep the water down; this slows the bugs, insects and ants.
- I can put in front of bed, wipe my feet and keep dirt or sand out of bed.
- In the door to room it stops me from spreading sand in my room.
- I can use as rag to clean the shower, toilet, wipe down the furniture, or clean all the stuff they never clean.
- Padding in my backpack, I can use to pad my computer.
- Curtain for room, this can serve as curtain.
- If they give a towel, you can use the hotels.
- I do not have to walk on that smelly throw rug now in the room, I can throw it out.
- I can use to line my bag, so a person cutting the bag has one more level of problem to reach me.
- I can wash dishes with the towel.
- It become to rancid, too dirty, you do not like, walk to any cheap store and buy another.
- WATER - too much water and bugs, too little and no bugs.
- Takes up space
- Needs to be dry or will mildew in bag, and it is usually wet.
- Need to clean.
- You have to admit, the rooms of the planet are dirty and need cleaned, and you must do it yourself. The illusion of yours that hotel are clean is removed,
This list of uses, I did not know I had, it growing so fast, I needed to remove this from my Beta testing, I recommend a person carry a small towel, nylon, terrible for drying you body, does not absorb well, but cleans good. Those quick dry travel towels would be perfect, except ridiculously high priced, this cost about one U.S. dollars and I can replace anywhere they sell bad towels.
Gear Hobo OK, Togo, Gear
Moonshine Travel Cooking
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I need cooking fuel, I need alcohol.
The pharmacies here in Togo are selling 95 percent alcohol for 4 US Dollars per liter or about 2000 CFA. I am annoyed, and in a way, it is difficult to buy, then I came up with the idea, this local Moonshine called Sodabi could work, and it does not good, but it works. I can cook with Moonshine with my alcohol cooking setup, and Sodabi is easy to buy. There are problems with this drink, I think the alcohol burns off the top and I need to discard the remaining, and my room smells like moonshine.
Quatre Heure is the name of this drink, a reference to a man.
That brown bottle full cost 150 CFA or about 25 Cent US.
Belindas Place Convenience Store
Foods, Drinks, Water, Biscuit, Sodabi
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
06 degrees 07.098 North
001 degrees 12.552 East
21 Meters of altitude above sea level
(Note this is not the true name, I just call it Belinda’s place because she does all the work in this store.)
Lint to Photos I took of a distilling process of Alcohol here in Koti, Togo, West Africa and related links about alcohol.
This is a bottle of Sodabi in a French restaurant, the cost is 500 CFA for a shot, I think smaller than the Togo size shot.
Explanation of what is Moonshine or Home Made liquor, there is also a lot of information about Nigeria Moonshine.
In Nigeria, home based brewing is illegal. Moonshine is variously called 'ogogoro', 'kainkain', 'abua first eleven', 'agbagba', 'akpeteshi', 'aka mere', 'push me, I push you', 'crazy man in the bottle', or 'Sapele water' depending on locality.
Drinks, Togo Food, Alcohol Still, Alcohol, Togo, Gear
Moonshine Travel Cooking
Togo Photo of Travel Gear Shop
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, July 5, 2007
What is a travel gear shop?
It is a place I buy products to carry in my backpack. Which travel gear shop do I buy the most travel gear from in the USA?
Which Travel Gear Shop in do I buy the most gear from in Togo or West Africa?
What have I purchased from these West African portable hardware store or gear shops?
1. Need nose pliers
2. One-Cup coffee cooker
3. Alarm Clock
4. Electrical plug male and female
5. I saw coat hangers, however did not purchase, when I am in a location where I would want to stop for longer than normal, I will purchase them.
6. I saw some small speakers I could attach to my computer.
7. Rope to use on my travel bucket.
8. Rope to use as a clothesline.
Funny how the words Travel Gear can make people go and buy things they do not need, and the things they need and want, they do not buy.
Togo Photo of Travel Gear Shop
Video of Mosquito Net of HoboTraveler.com
Bobo Dioulasso or Bobo, Burkina Faso, West Africa
Monday, September 17, 2007
Click here to see a movie of real problems in West Africa with Mosquito nets and a customized mosquito net designed and made by me, Andy of HoboTraveler.com.
HoboTraveler.com Mosquito Net
If you are receiving by email the video is not here, you go to the blog and see it.
A girls working in Atakpame, Togo West Africa to sew onto my existing net an entrance door, simple and cheap, but effective.
Ok, I have made a video of a mosquitoes nets, I hope to be the first of many versions. As I find good example of problems and solutions, I will add to this video and edit, creating better versions.
Note the number one reason people do not use a mosquito net is because they are hot and uncomfortable to use. If you do not have electricity this becomes unbearably hot under a mosquito net. The better solution is to have mosquito screens installed to cover all the windows and to somehow install a screen door. If you enter an expensive room and it has a mosquito net, think to yourself, is this room a good room? A mosquito is a lazy solutions and sadly more expensive solution than the long-term solution of installing screens.
Malaria is a killer, and affects the white people more than the black people, so do not follow their lead, it is endemic in Africa, the people assume they will have malaria in their lifetime.
It is sad to think I need mosquito nets in hotel rooms, when you enter a hotel room and it has mosquito nets, think to yourself, why? Normally this is the first sign of negligence and lack of caring for their clients not of caring for you, if they cared for you they would install screens on the window and a screen door.
This is movie and information is just small fraction of information about mosquito nets and all the related problems and solutions. I guess I can continue to collect information and make small videos clips until I have comprehensively covered the issue. This present video is about 7 minutes long, my guesstimate to show real examples of problems and create a comprehensive video I will need to create about 1-2 hours of video.
I made a mistake of not taking a mosquito net to Europe, and proceeded to have some of the most uncomfortable nights of my life in Brugge, Belgium in what was suppose to be a good hotel. I always carry a mosquito net in any country on the planet.
I do not want to encourage the world to use mosquito nets, a mosquito net is not needed for homes and hotels, what is needed is for the world to install screens on windows and screen doors.
The proper solution to malaria and the problem with mosquitoes is not a mosquito net, the solution is to design homes that allow good ventilation first and are cool for the person sleeping, then secondly to incorporate into the design screens and screen doors.
Mosquito nets cost more in Africa to buy than the installation of screens on windows that would effectively minimize the mosquitoes entering a home.
It is not possible to convince a people in tropical malaria infested areas of the planet to use a mosquito net in an extremely hot home. They have no electricity, no fan, hot, humid, and now you want them to live inside a mosquito net that makes it impossible to breath.
HoboTraveler.com Mosquito Net
Video of Mosquito Net of HoboTraveler.com
Reading Glasses and Fan Glasses
Bangkok, Thailand Southeast Asia
Friday, October 5, 2007
I purchased one pair of glasses for reading, and another pair to protect my eyes from fans in the hotel room.
Today, I a made my way to my savior, a funky computer machine that somehow analyses my eyes and out pops a Thailand person with great reading glasses. I can read!
These are two sets of glasses, one is prescription type, she even gave me a copy of the correct measurements or whatever they call it, and then….
I purchase them BIG ugly type black glasses, there were sunglasses, and however she replaced the lens with glass, no power as she says. I wanted goggles that look like glasses. The fans of the world in my Hotel rooms dry my eyes, therefore now, I can wear these glasses while watching TV and the fan is trying to toast my eyeballs or at least make into a desert.
The prescription ones on the left were 500 Baht or 15 USA, and the clear ones were 300 Baht or about 9 US. If you are on Khao San Road I go to this cheap shop above the first grocery store, department store, you go to the second floor and wonder around. Somehow, wonder around above grocery stores on the second floors. I suppose you would say it the small one closest to Khao San Road. Alternatively, I suppose you could go to the police station and walk away from Khao San Road.
Reading Glasses and Fan Glasses
Changes Made to New Backpacks
I wrecked my two backpacks in Togo when the Motorcycle Taxi guy hit a pig, and I have scars. My body is healed, the backpack were using rope to closes as I redundant designed. However, I decided, time for a change. I do not volunteer to be a victim of temptation robbery so I needed cut these new bags up.
Bangkok, Thailand Southeast Asia
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Andy of HoboTraveler.com --- Promote Hotel
This is my new trolley tramp roller coaster Backpacks. I am going for the wheels, not yet up to what I want, but I am tired of carrying 80 pounds or 40 kilos, I think I am getting nerve damage from the straps. The wheel need to be wider apart and bigger for mud puddles.
Both bags cost 1400 Baht or about hmm 3 x 14 = 42 US dollars. Not bad for two bags, and will last about as long when I reinforce them and add some fixes. I was going to make backpack with three rows of stitching and not the standard row of one on my design.
This is the smaller carry on size, not really, but I think I can try, the wheels will help pretend to be carry on size. Carry on is an ok idea, but getting it under the seat, in the rack above, this is the problem. This is 24 inches high, about 2 above what they say they will take, and it is too fat. This is 12, and I think 8 inches is desired and 10 are acceptable and never trust airlines….
Most carry on bag I see are about 14-16 inches fat, and I know will not fit in that steel cage they show, but rarely use. 60 percent of the passengers would have too big of bags, impossible to use, and the pilot for sure has too many bags.
This has four to five pockets on the outside. There is zero way to lock these pockets, as is standard on the too nuts to sell backpacks. Backpacks are made 90 percent for trekking and used 90 percent on buses and planes. This one has admitted it, it has wheels, but this is a knock off, I purchased something called check-point brand, and I wanted red and blue so they bring out Lowe Alpine that was the same bag, just different color, this is NOT a Lowe Alpine bag, probably made by little Asian people in Vietnam, I hope Thailand.
Tall or height is not a big problem, too fat is, this backpack will need to go under bus seats, above train seats, and in baggage compartments of cheap and expensive airlines. It cannot not be plump, the front pockets had to go, and I left one pocket on the right so I could wear this on the front of my body and pack a guidebook. This one is fat.
They look naked, but this is good, I lost too much color, hard to recognize my bag from a distance with black. Notice the ONE outside pouch for a guidebook.
NOW! I have only one zipper to lock, and I am safe, secure and I can lock this to my bed, keep girls out of my bag when they stop over to say hello. The house cleaner cannot do some temptation theft, as all is snug as a bug in rug inside the bag, with no pockets in free open range.
This is called a padlock slider, THE NEW BAG HAS THIS. I am always searching for the ideal one, I have only seen one, the best one on the planet so far. This photo is far from ideal, the tab pulls will break off, and this is just to stop the people without a knife. I will replace the small lock with a round steel loop so I can use a bigger lock or put two locks on this and use a bigger lock.
Ideal Padlock Slider or Best I have seen
Every bag is ok, they just need modified, and really a big army duffle bag would work good, if I was only using one bag, and not two, no computer and nothing breakable.
I wished Thailand wore shoes, and not sandals, hard to get repari made in non-shoe countries.
or maybe Contact Andy
Changes Made to New Backpacks