Stephen H. sent us this humorous commentary about life in the modern world. He’s got a few things to say about Big Brother and not all of them are bad. So what’s his take on this shiny situation anyway?
You all know what I mean when I say “Big Brother”?
In the morning you use your smart phone to search online for an item, and that evening on your desk top an ad pops up for a similar item from a different company. Doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy about the computer age, to think that someone is so closely watching me, but there it is.
As the comedian said, ‘What Orwell could not have predicted is that WE would pay for the video screens, and that our biggest fear would be that NO ONE was watching.’ Yeah.
However, Big Brother helped me out recently when I was looking for a particular style of luggage.
And let me say up front that I’ve learned that quality, while more expensive in the short run, is usually worth it in the long run, in luggage, and in a lot of other items.
Three Compartments Trump One
Long ago I bought a duffel bag from a “quality company” in a design that I have found to be VERY functional. Unlike a classic duffel, which has just one big compartment, it has 3 compartments, with about 60% of its volume in the center compartment and 20% in each of the two end compartments.
The entire bag has a uniform shape, with equal height and width using a square cross-section design throughout its length.
I find this functional for two reasons.
First, the design helps with organization. Like packing bigger items of clothing in the center, smaller items like socks and shoes and toiletries in the end compartments.
A Better Way To Stowing
And second, the design helps with stowing the bag. A bag with a more cuboid shape – i.e. equal height, width, and length, makes more efficient use of the material it’s made out of – least surface area for greatest internal volume.
However, it gives you only one option for stowing– you have to have a cube space in which to stow a cube suitcase – as in a car trunk, in the hold of a ship, in the overhead bin of an airplane, whatever.
Whereas a rectangular shape (see schematic above) gives you three options for stowing. If you know what a pilot means by “pitch, roll, and yaw”, then you understand my point.
Too Big, Too Small, Not Quite Right
The old cuboid duffel bag that I bought long ago is WAY too big for one person for an overnight or weekend trip. My wife and I found it useful as a big checked bag when we were traveling with our often times six kids.
The only duffels I could find recently, in the style I’ve described, were either too big (30 liters volume, which was a rare size), or WAY too big (40 liters or more, a more common size), or too small (20 liters), or WAY too small (15 liters or less).
And the small ones were ONLY found in a niche style called a “range bag“. This is for someone to use for handgun competition, so it will carry the gun, ammo, magazines, eye protection, ear protection, etc. But range bags have very robust construction– rigid floors, or heavily-padded sides, or both. This is necessary since they have to carry a lot of weight. But that robust construction cuts down on storage capacity if all you’re carrying is clothes, shoes, etc.
So. Way too small – 20 liters or less, or way too big – 30 liters or more.
I was stuck.
Shiny Object Sets the Stage
Then Big Brother dangled a shiny object in front of me: “Here, kid, check this out. Red Oxx Manufacturing. Safari-Beanos PR4 Small Duffel.”
Roughly 25 liters internal volume? Check. My preferred design (see above)? Check. I was sold.
“BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!” Cackles Big Brother.
Actually honest-to-God made in America? Check. Bullet-proof construction? Check. Ironclad warranty? Check. Veteran-owned? Veteran-run? Friendly customer service? Check, check, and check.
What’s not to like? I can’t believe I never ran across Red Oxx before this. Where have they BEEN all my life?
Happiness Is The Right Size Duffel
I am so delighted to have found Red Oxx that I’m looking to replace some of my other luggage items with Red Oxx gear. And I’ve been telling my friends about Red Oxx.
So maybe the next shiny object Big Brother shows me will be a gulag with my name on a bunk. But, hey, I can pack for the trip there with a REALLY nice duffel!
Ha ha, yes indeed I can hear the train cars coming. Oh never mind, I live in a railroad hub town. For submitting his observant gear review Stephen was sent a Red Oxx Rigger Wallet. Got a story about your bags, thoughts and observations? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org subject line “Adventure Journal” or “Gear Review”.
Cheers, Jim Markel CEO