Twirling Tilley Underwear at Dunning Weight Charges

author Stephen Weir in his Tilley hat aboard the Wind Dancer


By Stephen Weir

The new realities of international travel have made carrying scuba gear difficult and sometimes expensive. Luckily travel clothing manufacturers have helped take the weight off flying with scuba equipment.

Not only are airport authorities now red flagging dive equipment (dive regulators look “funny” on the X-ray screens) airlines are, seemingly in tandem, strictly enforcing weight restrictions.

Flying to Barbados I was restricted to two pieces of checked luggage. Transferring to a small regional airplane to reach Grenada I met more onerous rules - the two bags couldn’t have a combined weight of more than 23 kilos. Trouble is – my scuba and camera gear weighs in at 22 kilos. If I take clothes, shaving kit, books and IPod my bags set the airline cash register cha- chinging. Regional carriers tend to charge $5 a kilo for excessive weight, and they round up not down!

This trip Tilley came to the rescue. The famed maker of Give ‘em Hell travel clothing understands the meaning of traveling small and light. Their Men’s Zip Off Pants (unzip at the knees and Viola shorts), Outback Vest (so many pockets I lost stuff in ‘em for a week) and magic socks and underwear are lightweight and wrinkle proof.

I was able to roll up a week’s worth of clothing (4 shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, hat, socks, underwear, pants and vest) and pack them in a bag smaller than Jack Bauer’s man purse on 24. I was able to hand-carry my complete Wind Dancer wardrobe, sparing myself dunning overweight charges.

And, like most specialty travel clothes, when you unroll and hang-up your clothes they suddenly pop back into shape. I am a card-carrying slob so I was suspicious that first night on the compliments my clothing received. By week’s end I was giving fashion shows.

My underwear and socks were a source of endless entertainment for the crew. It is amazing, one simply washes them in the cabin sink and then takes them up on deck where you twirl them around your head. In three turns they are all but dry. The crew took much delight in watching me spin wet underwear over my head while standing at the bow of the boat yelling “I’m King of the World!

Downside? Everybody knows where Tilley’s are made. Put on a Tilley Hat and walk the Main Street of any town in the world. You won’t get five steps before strangers approach you with two questions -- Canadian Eh? The second query? “Can I see the passport that’s hidden in the secret passport pocket in your hat?” Fooled them, it was lost in the secret, inside velcro’d pocket of my vest!



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