Gear Review: Vibram Five Fingers KSO

I had been reading about these amazing new shoes that make you feel like you are walking barefoot, but still somewhat protect you from the elements. I am referring to the Vibram Five Fingers line of shoes. They are designed to be like gloves for your feet, fitting a sleeve around each of your toes, and having a very thin sole, so you can really feel the ground as you walk. I love to go barefoot and I had read that running in them is incredible. I was apprehensive, as they are not inexpensive, however, last Spring, I decided I would try a pair and I went to the local REI to pick out one that I liked. After talking with the salesperson and trying on several styles, I decided on the KSO (Keep Stuff Out). Each style varies in features and benefits, but I chose the KSO because it has a protective mesh covering to keep sand and debris out of the shoe, but a thin sole, so I still felt barefoot. Once I settled on the exact style, I needed to choose the size. I read that you really need to size it correctly, because if it is too large, you will develop blisters, but too small, you will be uncomfortable. They did not have my exact size in the KSO, but through trying on other styles, I felt that I had a good fit and could order a pair. Two months went by and I finally received them. Not to spoil the review, but the wait was well worth it. Read More

Gear Review: SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 Jacket

Let me start by saying that I love travel gear and am always on the lookout for the next perfect thing to add to my collection. I also travel light, so most things that I buy need to either be multi-functional, or be really good at what they do. I purchased the SCOTTEVEST Fleece 5.0 Jacket and can say that it is almost the perfect travel jacket. It is a welcome addition to my gear list and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Description The Fleece 5.0 Jacket is available in any color that you want, as long as that color is black.  It has 24 pockets, zip-off sleeves, inside wiring guides for your iPod, and an internal pocket big enough to carry a magazine (or the iPad). It has a special strap inside one pocket that will hold a water bottle upright, a key chain, several pockets to hold small memory sticks/cards, a see-through pocket so you can control your iPod/iPhone without removing it, and several hidden pockets. I was walking somewhere with Sara the other day and she was a bit annoyed as I was not paying attention to what she was saying. Finally, she asked me what was on my mind. I smiled and said, "I think I just found another pocket!" Read More

How We Evaluate Gear

Minimalist travel requires some thought when it comes to gear. In order to travel light, it is necessary to evaluate everything that one carries for true need and functionality. Most items should fill several roles or be compact and lightweight, or both. One of the things that I love about travel is the idea that I will carry very few things and everything that I have is something that I need. Consequently, I spend a great deal of time thinking about 'stuff'. I am the type of person that does not like to own many things, and if I do buy something, I want to use it until it wears out. What this means is that I generally do a good bit of research before I buy something, because once I buy it, I'm stuck with it. One of our themes here at FlyingCoach.org is how to travel light. Through our gear reviews, we are going to share our experiences with gear in real world trials. Most of the items that we review will be things that we have purchased for our own use, with our own money. If, however, we happen to be asked to review something by a manufacturer, or any third-party, we will fully disclose that in the review itself. We will also disclose if that party is an advertiser or contributor to the website. Our goal is to provide true unbiased reviews of items that you, the light traveler, can use and rely upon as you do your research, so that when you buy something, you, too, can use it until it wears out. We welcome any and all comments to the reviews and are anxious to hear other travelers' experiences with the same gear that we use. Read More