Five or six years ago, New York-based designer and artist Ernest Sabine used to be that guy at the airport — the one bogged down by way more physical baggage than he actually needed to be carrying.
“I used to be a notorious over packer. You should have seen me,” he told Gear Patrol on a recent afternoon. “I literally would have two huge duffle bags, trying to think of every scenario that I could possibly be in. From [needing a] blazer to, what if we do something fancy or formal or whatever?”
He’s come a long way since then, partially out of necessity. His new role as the creative director of the Minnesota-based leather goods brand J.W. Hulme sees him spending one week out of every month in St. Paul — and he now manages to pack everything he needs for the trip into one duffle and a backpack.
“I think high level, my theory is that less is more,” he said. “Maybe I only need one pair of really nice denim that’s versatile, and one pair of shoes. I can just have a few T-shirts and get this down to one reasonable sized carry-on.”
But the things inside the carry-on and backpack he now relies on are just as streamlined as the bags themselves. Below, a look at the things that are always with Sabine on his travels.
JW Hulme Backpack, Duffle Bag and Travel Kit
“One of the first things I did when I started the position was to select a few of their core pieces to really get a feel for how the product functions, how it feels, the weight of it, the functionality of it,” Sabine said. He travels most frequently with the Continental Duffle and the Crosstown Backpack (the smaller of the two men’s backpacks J.W. Hulme offers) because they’re streamlined — and the backpack, which slides under plane seats easily, regularly gets compliments at the airport. “[When] you’re going through airport security or whatever, you don’t want to be bogged down with a million big bags,” he said.
One element that helps Sabine in this effort is his iPad Pro, a device whose myriad purposes reduces the number of items he has to pack. “I think guys especially are just looking to streamline and carry less,” Sabine said. “I try to fit as much as I can onto the iPad, whether it’s notes, sketches, ideas, saved images. It’s so nice to feel free and less bogged down by carrying huge binders or giant notebooks or magazines. It’s all about slimness.”
Muji and Mish Mash Notebooks
Still, Sabine likes to have a notebook or two nearby whenever he can. “As a designer, there’s something about paper and pen — like a nice brush pen — that you can’t beat. I still like having that on hand, whether it’s in a meeting to jot down notes or to sketch something out.” He also likes the notebooks from Mish Mash, a Portuguese stationer whose wares are sold at Goods for the Study in New York. “I have this hybrid approach where I have the modern, slick thing, but then a good, old-fashioned Muji notebook where I can take down notes.”
Pentel Plastic Fountain Pen
Comme des Garcons x Monocle Hinoki Fragrance
Comme des Garcons’s collaboration with Monocle has produced more than one great fragrance, but Sabine likes and wears their first effort, Hinoki. “It’s an amazing fragrance,” he said. “I not only wear it, but I like to spray a bit in the room where I stay. It’s a very masculine smell. If I ever have to check a bag, I get paranoid about it getting lost and not having it on me. I always make sure that’s in my backpack or carryon.”
Dom Vetro Sunglasses
For his sunglasses, Sabine turns to California-based eyewear designer Ashley Bézamat and his brand Dom Vetro, which offers custom shades. “It’s really nice to have a personal, customized pair of eyewear,” Sabine said. “I just throw those on and block out everything, whether it’s the busy airport or the crowded flight or whatever that is, just to have a bit of armor.”
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