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A Pilgrimage to Rome Using One Bag: the Air Boss

ray melcher and wife

She Said He Was Crazy But He’s Just a One Bag Zealot.

Ray Mechler’s wife said he was crazy to travel Europe for 18 days with just one carry-on bag. After the trip was over, she’s now convinced it IS possible. Proof is in the pudding, (er, packing rather). Let’s hear tell how he managed such a feat.
Nice bit of marketing by following up my Red Oxx purchase with an email. Good idea and thanks.

I thought that you would enjoy hearing from another satisfied customer. I bought the Air Boss for a European trip that my wife and I took in March. We were going on an 18 day trip to Rome, Assisi (hometown of Saint Francis), Florence, Lucerne, and eastern Switzerland. I had come across Doug Dyment’s website,, and became a zealot. I told my wife that I was going to make the whole trip using just one bag.

She told me I was crazy. 18 days and gear enough to handle temperate climate of Rome, Mass at the Vatican, the vagaries of March weather in the Alps, and running at all points in between? No way. But that is what Queen Isabella must have said to Christopher Columbus.

As you can see from the attached photo at the Austin airport upon our return, I managed to do it. I carried (in the Air Boss or on my body) the following:

  • 2 pair of blue jeans
  • 1 pair of dress pants
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 4 pair underwear
  • 4 (no iron) dress shirts
  • 3 pair of dress socks
  • 3 pair of running socks
  • 2 pair of running shorts
  • 1 long-sleeve running shirt
  • 1 short-sleeve running shirt
  • 1 all-weather parka with hood
  • 1 Polartec jacket
  • 1 zip-up running vest
  • 1 knit cap
  • 1 pair running tights
  • 1 pair of dress shoes
  • 1 pair of running shoes
  • 1 pair of hiking boots (heavy ones, too)
  • 1 toiletry kit
  • Assorted folders, books, leather gloves, glasses, etc.

The bag weighed about 25 lbs (with hiking boots and parka inside) and, though it was a bit of a load at times, I always had it with me even while my wife worried for an hour and a half waiting for her checked luggage to appear at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. As you can guess I washed some clothes in the hotel rooms along the way but that was never really a bother.

The “clamshell” three sections of the bag worked well, especially when we spent our last four days at a Swiss friend’s house without the benefit of an empty chest of drawers. I hung my shirts on the door hook and just flipped open the Air Boss when I needed anything else.

Thanks, again, for this well made travel bag. I can’t wait to use it on shorter trips when I won’t need as much stuff (and I can leave the parka and boots behind). My 18 days in Europe proved to my wife I can make my one bag, the Air Boss, work on any trip.

Ray Mechler
Austin, Texas

Thanks pilgrim. Convincing one’s wife sometimes takes some doing (as in “just do it”). However, judging by the smile on her face from your return, she’s obviously quite happy with your decision to travel light. Moreover it sounds like she’ll be a carry on convert, too! By the way, this is a pretty good list for anyone who wants to know just exactly what will fit in an Air Boss.
Cheers, Jim Markel