Once upon a time I traveled for work as a content consultant. I took a trip about every three weeks and visited different cities in the US and abroad. The points I racked up during my road warrior days are long gone but my fabulous, durable travel gear remains. I’ve road-tested my gear on countless business and personal trips, and it breezes through airline security every time. This is how I roll.
Finding a stylish bag for my laptop and a few personal items was no easy feat. I wanted a simple, chic bag that would hold all my stuff and withstand the abuse of air travel. My bag would ramble over TSA inspection belts, hang on airport bathroom doors, be placed under the seat in front of me, and who knows what else. I needed something fabulous with a tomboy spirit.
I think I first heard about Clare V from a fashion mag article about must-have clutches or bags. While on a weekend trip to NYC I visited her store on Elizabeth Street and after much guilt, self-torture, and justification math bought her Messenger bag in black nubuck. Its maiden voyage on a cross-country trip to Los Angeles was a roaring success. The bag was my tough, chic companion on each train, plane, and automobile ride, and looked fabulous in leisure and work settings. It held all my stuff and best of all, was easy to clean after I accidentally christened it with some chocolate that fell from my RuPaul candy bar during the plane ride home. I have used this bag non-stop for at least five years now, and it gets more gorgeous the more I use it.
Enter the Fannypack
That bag was so well made that I knew I’d be shopping at Clare V again. The next visit took place on a retail therapy trip in the ashes of a horrific breakup. Clare V sent me a 10% off card for my birthday, and I figured I needed a smaller bag that would hold my wallet, phone, keys, and a few extras. During my professional travels I’d developed a bit of paranoia about accidentally forgetting those things in a lousy suburban conference room while on a work trip. I hated all these items swimming around in my larger bag, and I knew Clare V would have a solution.
She did. The Jaguar Fannypack.
It is not an exaggeration to say this little damn bag has improved my life. It securely holds my essentials with ease, fits inside the Messenger bag, and looks incredible with everything I own. But what makes this a genius travel piece is that the fannypack occupies a grey area that no TSA or airline agent I’ve encountered has bothered to challenge.
More than a belt but less than a bag, fannypacks can easily hide under clothes when worn around your waist, as God intended. When I wore my fannypack on a flight it always went unnoticed as I presented my boarding pass and took my seat. This made me feel sneaky and victorious in the miserable experience that is today’s flying experience. It also gave me peace of mind knowing my essentials were at my side during a flight. I still use it all the time, either in a bag or around my waist for carefree jaunts around town. Like the Messenger the Jaguar Fannypack has only improved with age and is the centerpiece of my fabulous, durable travel gear. I really can’t imagine life without it.
Staying hydrated with Vapur
The third element of my travel gear holy trinity is the Vapur anti-bottle. I bought this the same week I bought the fannypack, and both are still going strong. The Vapur is a collapsible water bottle that holds about a half a liter of water, and folds up to just about nothing when empty. This makes it an ingenious addition to any trip. I have filled it up at countless airports after clearing security, which has saved me a lot of money. I like to think I’ve also saved thousands of dollars and a tiny square inch (hopefully more) of the environment with this one.
Each piece of my fabulous, durable travel gear is going strong and in near-daily use even though I don’t travel as much for work these days. The Messenger bag continues to be the Platonic ideal of work bags. The fannypack is still going strong (but needs a touch up at Art Bag), and the water bottle keeps me hydrated in coworking spaces as well as the gym. To see where these items have been, check out my post on shopping in Stockholm, Sweden and my ode to one of my favorite places in Siena, Italy.