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August 2010

July 2010

Antler 'Size Zero' luggage shaves pounds from packing

INSET BELOW: Two views of Antler's Size Zero Cabin Suitcase, an ultralightweight 22" wheeled upright.

Antler-size-zero-22-extNot long ago, we received a press release from Antler Ltd, a long-established British luggage manufacturer that has been expanding into international markets. The release featured Antler's "Size Zero" collection of wheeled upright bags, which use high-tech construction techniques to to minimize luggage weight so travelers won't get whacked by the airlines' increasingly Draconian excess-baggage fees. 

Such fees shouldn't be taken lightly, if you'll excuse the play on words: Condé Nast Traveler's "Ombudsman" column recently described the plight of a family on an international flight who were charged a staggering US $6,000 for 152 pounds or 69 kg of excess luggage.

Antler-size-zero-22-int Antler's Size Zero 22" upright weighs only 5.3 pounds or 2.4 kg, which is about 60 per cent of a comparable 22" upright's weight. Even the monster 30" size, which is best used for cruising or car travel, weighs only 7.3 pounds or 3.3 kg empty. That's remarkable for a well-made bag.

(Note: We recommend avoiding cheap suitcases that are light only because of their shoddy construction--e.g., easily-squashed cases that consist mostly of fabric with a metal hoop and a bit of plastic at the corners to give the illusion of structure.) 

Antler Ltd. has promised to send us a 22" upright for examination, field testing, and a detailed review at In the meantime, you can learn more about the company's Size Zero and other collections at or

August, 2011 update: Since publishing this item a year ago, we've used the 22" Size Zero ourselves on several trips. The bag's light weight has been a blessing, but the locking mechanism inside the telescoping handle broke on the third trip, and the handle now telescopes only halfway.

Photos: Antler Ltd.

Put a "Paper Wallet" in your pocket

ABOVE: A colorful edition of The Paper Wallet by a Russian artist, Alexander Typochkin.

by Durant Imboden

Paper Media Design, a small New York-based fashion firm, has introduced The Paper Wallet, which is billed as "a small, slim, durable, and light wallet made from a tear-resistant, paper-thin, and elastic fabric called Tyvek." (You may recognize Tyvek as the material that's often used in lightweight courier pouches and shipping envelopes.) 

The inexpensive bi-fold wallet was designed by Elad Burko and comes in more than a dozen styles, which range from solid colors to works of art like the example in the photo above.

When we learned about The Paper Wallet, we were intrigued by its possibilities as a travel wallet:

  • Because it's slim and lightweight, The Paper Wallet fits in places where a bulkier wallet would be more obvious to pickpockets (such as the zippered security pocket of an Ex Officio or REI travel shirt, or the front pocket of jeans). 
  • Because The Paper Wallet isn't designed to be overstuffed, travelers can fill it with a few basics--e.g., a driver's license, a credit card, an ATM card, a transit pass, and a modest stash of banknotes--while keeping the rest of their cash and credit cards in a hidden "neck wallet" or other safe place.
  • Unlike leather, Tyek is perfect for beaches, because it isn't damaged by sand.

Paper Media Design recently sent us a sample of The Paper Wallet, and I'll be field-testing it in Italy and Germany during the next several months. (Watch for a review at In the meantime, you can learn more about the wallet or order as many styles as you need at

Note: If you're headed for Paris--where The Paper Wallet was featured at Fashion Week this spring--look for The Paper Wallet in a number of a number of high-profile locations, including the Louvre and the Palais de Tokyo.

Berlin organist meets his match during the World Cup final

Football in net In Berlin, God moves in mysterious ways--or maybe he just has a better marketing team than he does in Hannover or Holyhead. 

On July 11, the Emmaus-Kirche in Berlin's Kreuzberg district will present the ultimate installment of its Organ and Football series as organist Stephan von Bothmer supplies an improvised, silent movie-style accompaniment to the televised final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This won't be the organist's first flirtation with soccer in the shadow of the sacristy: The Emmaus-Kirche's Orgel und Fussball series dates back to the European Championships of 2008, and the Netherlands-Spain final will be the fourth match to be accompanied by Stephan von Bothner's musical commentary during the current Weltmeisterschaft tournament.

(We should note that the Orgel und Fussball idea was hatched by Ingo Schultz, cantor of the Emmaus-Church Community, who also organized the event.)

The show begins at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free, and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be available in the church cafĂ©. For more information in German, visit

Photo rendering: Zinobio.