One Bag Travel to Scotland

By: Frost River Staff Member, Austin C.

My wife and I had decided, even before we were married, that our honeymoon should be somewhere neither of us had been before. I had never been to Europe, my wife, had, but never Scotland. We agreed that Scotland seemed like a very attainable European getaway, they speak English after all, or at least most of it sounds English. We had to change up our wedding plan back in the fall of 2020 due to the pandemic, so having to cut back on that gave our minds an even greater freedom to plan our future honeymoon! We even had a honeymoon fund as a part of our registry, an idea I will be recommending to all future newlyweds. So with new rings planted on our fingers and a quaint little wedding on the north shore of Lake Superior over with, we were ready to start planning a 12 day adventure across the pond.

We settled on the idea of a road trip format from the beginning, it is truly the only way to see most of the highland and coastal country, which was to be our path. There is a very handy rail service in Scotland called Scotrail that can get you to many interesting places, but we wanted to get out to the islands, and you certainly need to ferry a car or bicycle for that. Perhaps we shall think about a bicycle via Scotrail adventure next trip! We chose a route that would take us from Edinburgh in a large circle around the coasts and highlands and all the way to the outer hebrides and back. 

But before we get into the stops we took and the sights we saw, let’s talk about our packing and how we accomplished a concept called one bag travel. Yes, that’s right, one carry-on size bag and personal item for each of us. No I am not cruel, my wife was perfectly happy with the idea, and we are still married. The point of one bag travel is to experience more by taking less. With one bag on your back or shoulder, you will feel more mobile, you will move easier through a crowd, and you will walk around an airport just for exercise when you are bored on a 7 hour layover. No trunk-sized roller bags that just barely qualify for carry-on; I’m talking about something useful that fits under the seat in front of you on a plane or in the overhead compartment. Also, if you are frightening other passengers with the size of your “overhead bin trash compactor size hard luggage”, check it at the gate! But I digress, we chose some Frost River pieces that really shined in the one bag travel game. 

One of the features that I will point out for all our choices is durability. You certainly don’t want the one bag you brought to fall apart when you inevitably take too many layers on a mountain hike, or take that souvenir scotch bottle along on longer excursions. All shoulder straps held out on our main bags, which were: No.840 Nessmuk Pack (my main bag), No.877 Voyageur Backpack Luggage (my wife's main bag), No.105 Skyline RollTop Backpack Large (my wife's personal item), and a No.575 Little Marais Messenger Bag (my personal item). You can definitely fit the most in the Voyageur Backpack (CarryOn Luggage size), and I was a little worried about the backpack straps holding up under the weight, but they never showed a sign of busting. My wife took advantage of the side lash squares for stowing her jackets while moving around train stations and airport terminals; she used some 18 inch leather accessory straps from Frost River for this. She also brought a No.610 Travel Kit for toiletries. I managed to stuff everything in the Nessmuk Pack. I definitely could have chosen a larger bag, but I felt like testing my limits with how little I could get by with. The many extra pockets on the outside of the Nessmuk were great for keeping organized as well. A small accessory bag filled with charging items, a deck of cards, and a cribbage board can fit in the smaller side pockets and a 1 liter Platypus bottle can fit with a 20 oz. insulated mug in the water bottle pocket. And the slip pockets behind these are very good at swallowing up regional maps and brochures! 

We had pretty similar packing lists for both our bags, each included: 2-3 t-shirts, 2-3 long sleeve shirts, a fleece mid-layer, an extra pair of pants, 4 pairs of socks, a warm hat and gloves, a packable insulated jacket, and a rain jacket. My wife brought a few more toasty layers and some sandals in her carry-on bag, so the extra room in the big Voyageur bag was well worth it for her. We each wore a pair of leather boots for most of the trip, and they performed every task we ran across, except some hiking that seemed nearer to rock climbing grade. In the end, we agreed that we could have even left some extra t-shirts behind. To help us in our pack organizing we each used an assortment of Frost River Accessory Bags, and we each had a RollUp Travel Kit. We wound up using these more like accessory bags than travel dopp kits. The RollUp kits with their separated compartments made it easy to keep charging cords from tangling around flashlights, a monocular, and our mini tripod for the smart phones. The Accessory Bags and RollUp Travel Kits made it worlds easier finding important things like passports, vaccine cards, money, and a cribbage board in busy pubs; or separating out your smelliest socks from your nice new wool sweater. 


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