For years I had a lucky travel bag. A blue and orange New Balance cricket bag. It had a dodgy zip, but a knack for being found, no matter where in the world.

It had multiple near misses, but the one that comes to mind was finding it in a cleaners arms, in a closet room in Egypt. Said cleaner looking rather sheepish as the Tile tracker, now triggered, sang at the top of its lungs. Another less sinister one was a trip to the wrong terminal in LAX on the way to Christmas Island, where another traveler had marked it as found after I had set it to “missing” on the Tile app. Both incidents would have left me tackle-less in places with a flight frequency equivalent to my trip length.

My trusty NB bag in its younger years
Many years later in Libreville

The tackle I can deal with, the flies I cant. Time becomes so precious as you’re older and the hours invested in patterns means they’re probably the most valuable thing I own.

Those finds were as much tech as luck (more on that later), but still, I became attached to my gross blue bag. Five years on and Mr luck is badly worn. The plastic slide rails underneath broken and the already dodgy zip now too bad and too much of a risk to ignore

I needed a new bag, but I had some tricky boxes to tick;

-Big big wheels (I knew I’d be facing snow and sand)
-Ability to stand upright (trust me, your back will thank you)
-Ability to take an 11ft 4pc rod (not as easy as youd think)
-Splash proof (pangas are not the driest of decks)

The Osprey I eventually settled on (Transporter 120) had big shoes to fill, and big miles to cover. In the few months ive had it now, its done USA, Canada, Mexico and Eastern Europe (twice). It has endured rain, salt, snow and baggage handlers.

The bag markings? More on that to come as well.

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