Good enough is probably good enough

Stumbled upon this video on YouTube. I must say it is indeed true and resonates well with what I believe in. There’s no need to own the best, one just need to evaluate on your requirement, needs and budget and make your purchase decision accordingly. Of course everyone’s need and budget is different, some really need to own the latest and greatest plus have unlimited budget… so… yeah.

For me as example, I use my phone a lot, hence I’m willing to spend on the higher end iPhone 11 Pro, both for work related matters and for it’s camera. For earphones, I’m willing to spend on something with good sound quality and noise cancellation, as these are again, have higher prioirities in my needs.

When it comes to other stuffs, I’m willing to skim. I don’t own the latest and the best camera, I’m still wearing Apple Watch Series 3 (and loving it), I don’t wear luxury branded clothing… and the list goes on. Sadly, I have limited budget, so I have to make do with my priorities and work around it. Sometimes may even need to hunt for bargains or look for alternative products from China.

Do I envy those who owns the best? Do I feel incomplete without the best of the best? Well, not really. At the end of the day, you will realize that there will always be something better out there, and it is impossible for you to own them all. Spend within your means and buy what you need.

This reminds me of another scenario. Often people asked me when I’m buying my own house the next time, am I looking for a 3 or 4 bedroom units and so on. And my answer will always surprise them, as I’m good with even studio, maximum I would go for is just 2 bedroom and nothing larger than that. Why? There’s no need for a huge house, and I rather spend the money renovating to have a comfortable and lovely home. Smaller house, less maintenance… it’s a win to me for sure.

Anyway, different folks different strokes. There’s no one size fits all solution here. This is just my thought. Till then.

The world of over engineering

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Take a look over on kickstarter (or indiegogo), you will soon find the platform is filled with over engineered stuff, like super complex lunch box, items that doubled or tripled with additional features and functions that may or may not be necessary and so on.

Just do a quick search on “bag”, you will find that almost every bags packed in every single features gathered from every other existing bags out there, all cramped into one. All these features generate enough hypes to make each of these bags labelled themselves as “the best bag every designed and built”, throw in a collaboration with some “famous” YouTubers, or get it review by some of them and there, you have a winning formula in selling tons of it.

For example, there are over engineered carry-on backpack that can expand in capacity, carry up to 30L, filled with compartments, extra padding and weights in over 2kg for just the bag alone. Typically, carry-on luggage is limited at 7kg in weight, that means you can only fill up another 5kg of stuff with such a huge capacity… all of a sudden it doesn’t sound like a lot right? Let’s say you carry a laptop that weights around 2kg, you are only left with 3kg to carry all your remaining stuff (clothings, toiletries, other daily essentials etc.), how is that even practical?

Camera bag is another culprit of over engineering. Velcro are replaced with countless of magnets, lots and lots of compartments that can’t even be filled, bags that are designed as “the ultimate bag” which cater for every possible environment (such as urban, hiking, trekking, extreme sport and so on), the list can go on and on. Other than bags, there are various camera accessories or “tech” items flooding the platform everyday. There’s nothing wrong for them to sell you something you don’t need, but it’s our call to perform our due diligence, to be rational and honest, and ultimately not to be deceived by the marketing hype.

For me, I had tried to stay away from “reviewers” online, be it YouTube or any other platforms. If I was interested with something, I took the time to really study, understand and think through whether it is really as useful as it advertised. “But it’s on kickstarter! Limited quantity and special price for early backers! Promotion ends in 30 minutes!” It’s okay, for me, I’m willing to spend more on something I really want and need than paying less on something I don’t really need and regret buying in the end. I had my fair share of wrong decisions in the past, and hopefully I will be a little wiser in the future.

Shimoda Action X30 Camera Bag: Initial Impression

Credits: Photo from Shimoda website

I’ve backed the kickstarter project from Shimoda for this Action X series backpack. When the project was successfully funded, founder of Shimoda, Ian Miller gave an update that due to overwhelming response, there could be delays in shipping the bags. Since then, there were quite a bit of hoo haa surrounding the delay and a whole lot of mess generated by some backers. I didn’t receive my pack in December 2019 as promised in the project timeline, but I was lucky enough to get one from the second batch which are delivered in January. Well, it is a kickstarter campaign anyway, therefore I have no issue or whatsoever.

There are already plenty of reviews and features rundown on this bag, so I’m not going to repeat those again. I’ll just be sharing what I like and dislike about this bag, and leave it to you to be the judge whether this is the right bag for you.

What I like:

  • Nice balance of size and volume for X30 (30-37 litres)
  • Nice durable materials are used, has a good balance of rigidity and softness
  • Camera access is on the right side (pun intended), I’m probably the few minorities who wants to access camera from the side panel on the right
  • Easily removable core unit and divider allowing bag to double as camera or travel bag
  • Just the right amount of pockets and compartments
  • Beefy and comfortable top and side handle
  • Tripod can be strapped on the side or rear
  • Core unit comes with cover, allowing me to use it separately as camera storage box
  • Not overly engineered with unnecessary features
  • Comfortable shoulder strap (need some times to break-in though)

What I don’t like:

  • Bag is a little heavy when empty
  • Don’t really like the look of the shoulder strap harness (but they are comfortable to wear)
  • There are a lot of zippers, and I wish some of the zipper pulls can be lock down in place for a tidier look on the bag
  • Not a big fan of the look of how the top loader is secured (but it is very functional, nevertheless)

I was contemplating between X30 and X50 during the campaign, worrying that X30 will be too small for my torso length. But X50 is much larger and would be risky to use as carry-on luggage during flight. Furthermore, I do not have that much of gears to pack anyway, so I decided to go with X30 in the end. With maximum torso fit, I’m glad that it fits okay.

This bag is designed for your adventure, for you to go out and explore, and to that extent it does seem to deliver. Of course this is just my initial impression of the bag after using it for my short trips, I still need to use it more often in order to give a full review. If you are interested, you can visit their website to find out more. Till then.