pack recommendation for world travel
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Francis DeRoos
(fderoos@comcast.net) - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 13:19:26 MST Print View

I'm going to be going on a series of 1-2 week trips in various parts of the world and wanted to get a pack that would be versatile enough for a 2-3 day walk between b and b's in ireland and also getting on and off trains/buses in south america without falling apart. I'd like it to be able to be a carry on item. Thanks,

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 13:30:07 MST Print View

Francis:

2 to 3 days' walk between B&B's -- are you planning on bringing your own tent, sleeping bag, cook set, etc.?

If yes, then for something light weight but yet reasonably durable, I would recommend that you look into packs made with Dyneema fabric. ULA, Mountain Laurel Designs, Six Moon Designs are some such. I would highly recommend that you keep your load light (s/b easy for 3-season hikes) -- and avoid using internal stays. This way, you can scrunch down your pack somewhat to fit into bus cargo holds, etc.

If no, meaning you will be hosteling all the way, then taking out the camping stuff, all you really need is a book bag that will serve as both main pack and day pack. There are literally thousands of models to choose from. Below is what I use for my travels ranging from one day to seven months:

a

Edited by ben2world on 02/26/2011 15:44:32 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 13:59:24 MST Print View

"This way, you can scrunch down your pack somewhat to fit into bus cargo holds, etc."

The difficulty there is that your pack can get lost into a void in some cargo hold. You have to be very diligent about reclaiming your pack after the ride.

--B.G.--

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:12:04 MST Print View

Very true, Bob. Which is why I just travel with a book bag. It stays with me the whole time -- plus, it really is big enough for all my trips -- to indefinite duration -- wild camping trips excepted.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:16:01 MST Print View

Don't deny it, Benjamin. I've seen you on those buses. You are the one clutching your book bag like it has all of your worldly possessions. Maybe it does.

I try to figure out what a local would be carrying and use something like that so that I can blend into the population.

I saw a fellow traveler in Kathmandu. He had covered his fancy backpack with an ordinary brown paper bag so that it would be less conspicuous.

--B.G.--

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:18:39 MST Print View

osprey packs. talon 33, stratos 34, new hornet pack or the kestrel 32 pack. tough and the talon and hornet are pretty light. you can find them to at local retailers if your Leary about buying before you try.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:23:45 MST Print View

Haha... actually, I've been WARNED by locals in Bangladesh not to place my book bag on the luggage rack (the rack inside the bus, not out on the roof). Call me foolish, but I refuse to live a life of paranoia. So on the rack it went. No problema.

The brown paper bag idea sounds good, but carrying an ordinary book bag (versus a fancy and technical THE NORTH FACE backpack) obviates the need for one. But regardless, either way is fine... just about the most idiotic method that draws EVERYBODY'S ATTENTION is this:



But I digress...

Edited by ben2world on 02/26/2011 14:28:01 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:28:03 MST Print View

Benjamin, I purchased one of those idiotic methods for a very large camera pack. I found that it takes too long to manipulate. Besides, it is within third-world technology to have bolt cutters.

--B.G.--

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:37:02 MST Print View

Yeah, many ideas sound good on paper -- until we try them out...

Edited by ben2world on 02/26/2011 14:54:49 MST.

Francis DeRoos
(fderoos@comcast.net) - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 14:57:47 MST Print View

@ Ben
I won’t be taking any camping/cooking gear along so I’m very interested in the idea of a simple daypack to carry my needs.
I’ve read some of your references to your travels. How did you approach your packing strategy to allow for significant physical exertion mixed with real restaurants/pubs say like in Ireland or in Dordogne, France.

@ Bob
Make sense that you can lose a smaller bag in small nooks under a bus/plane. I often find myself clutching my camera equipment on my lap while on a bus. Maybe I’ll have to get used to a larger bag on my lap

@Robert
I’ll look at some of those packs at the local EMS, REI’s here in the Philadelphia region. from looking at some of the models on line, they seem to have a bit too much "stuff" like pockets/straps.

Have any of you thought about using a smaller backpack w/ few extraneous pockets/mesh that you could also use for an overnight backpacking trip (multiuse for a pack) or is that making too many compromises?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 16:03:44 MST Print View

Francis:

How big of a pack you need depends entirely on what you want to carry. So it makes more sense to focus on gear first -- then pick a pack that will carry it all comfortably. There are countless options, of course, but here's mine (pick apart and use what makes sense for you):

Clothing

I wear one set of clothes (shirt or tee shirt, pants, undies and socks) -- and pack a second set in my pack. I add a UL wind jacket (Patagonia Houdini) and an insulation jacket (Montbell UL Down). I can be relatively comfy in all temps 30F and up. I pick quick-drying, no ironing synthetics or synthetic/cotton blend, simply styled, and in neutral colors. Mix and match mean four different outfits good for hiking and for dining at nice restaurants -- plenty enough. I wear one pair of comfy shoes good for both sidewalks and well-maintained trails and need no maintenance other than a quick wipe with a wet towel every now and then (Ecco Cross). If expecting colder temps, I pack a heavier down jacket (still very light and very compressible), plus gloves and a warmer cap.

Every other night or so, I spend 5-10 minutes hand washing my clothes and they dry by next morning. I never lug dirty laundry around the world -- so all I need is a small and light book bag.

Finally, I use a folder to somewhat compress my clothes for easy packing and to prevent them from sagging to the bottom of my pack.

Other

Toiletry kit. (reasonable amounts only - replenish as needed in longer trips)
Misc kit - 3-4 days' supply of OTC medication (more if prescription), small LED flashlight, small notepad, a pen, etc.).
Umbrella
Flip flops for hotel and beach wear (Old Navy)
Small cable and lock -- seldom used, except securing my pack onto the luggage rack on long train rides so I can go to the bathroom or dining car, etc. without worry.
Guidebooks and docs, money, cards, etc.

Usually, total pack weight (including the pack itself) comes to 9-10 pounds. I can carry that all day without feeling it. This means when I arrive at a new town, I don't have to search out a hostel just to get the pack off. Oftentimes, I will explore a town and decide in the afternoon whether to stay the night or move on. I like the flexibility and spontaneity that traveling light provides -- more so than the dubious flexibility of "having everything available" when stores are all around.

Hope this helps.

Edited by ben2world on 02/26/2011 19:15:02 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 16:31:30 MST Print View

"Make sense that you can lose a smaller bag in small nooks under a bus/plane. I often find myself clutching my camera equipment on my lap while on a bus. Maybe I’ll have to get used to a larger bag on my lap"

My camera lens bag is 27 inches long, and that is not the sort of thing that gets lost anyplace. I almost have to purchase a seat for it on an airliner.

--B.G.--

Scott Truong
(elf773)

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Small travel Pack. on 02/26/2011 17:39:47 MST Print View

An MLD Burn. It makes a good day pack too. If you're carrying a laptop, just make sure it's narrow enough for the Burn. I think it 9.75" wide X 5" deep. Narrow but very tall to accommodate more clothes etc. With careful packing, you can get a lot of stuff in there.

When carried, it's not too obtrusive and thus easy to maneuver through crowded areas (buses etc...anywhere in Asia). The outside mesh pockets, the bag in general, is very well designed and it's attractive.

-150 g or lighter Merino Wool base layers (one LS and one SS)

- Mountain Hardwear Canyon or Mesa Pants

or

-REI Adventure Pants (these look very nice worn, collects lint and is a bit thick, but nifty leg pocket design)

May not need to, but for my next international trip, I'm bringing an extra pair of pants or shorts. Consideration for your fellow passengers on a cramped bus.

Patagonia makes some pretty nice shoes that look to be a little dressy and very light (can't remeber the model) or the New Balance MT 101s (which come in black) are pretty stylish looking low profile shoes (minimalist trail runner but very comfortable for city walking).

MB Ex-light in dark blue, if it's warm enough for you or a warmer feathered friends daybreak jacket (7.5 oz)

.... maybe a driducks rain suit just in case.

And a trash compactor bag liner to waterproof bag contents or could be used with some duct tape as a bag cover in case you need to send the bag through air cargo (scuff/damage protection). That worked for me and the Burn surpisingly well.

- A kindle or ipad?

I've been thinking about the same question as you too.

I met a German guy on a bus in SA who was travelling for six months in Asia and South America. He had a book bag not much bigger than my Burn. Maybe he just did laundry, but he was probably the cleanest seatmate I had on the whole trip.

Fold your t-shirts like they do at the GAP, Abercrombie or whatever.. and then roll as tight as you can and pack. Hang in shower while taking shower if you really need to get out wrinkles. Merino wool doesn't really wrinkle too bad.

Edited by elf773 on 02/26/2011 18:06:53 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 18:38:37 MST Print View

GoLite Peak. The "compacktor" hooks and loops and the compression straps will keep it to carry on size and allow you to open it up for water, food, and the stuff in your second carry-on. Make that second bag a lightweight nylon shopping tote, or something like the Sea to Summit UltraSil day pack. The pack will make a good "cheater" second carry on and can actually double as a day pack when you can secure your big pack.

The are no long made, but the Osprey Aether 30 makes a great travel pack. I'm sure there are variants available and lots of bike messenger packs of similar design.


Osprey Aether 30 backpack



I prefer a messenger style bag on mass transit and crowds. The Patagonia "lightweight travel courier" bag is a good SUL version, but more expensive than the Sea to Summit or grocery tote options.

I did three weeks in Europe with a carry on and a small messenger. I wore all the clothes I could stand to get on the plane. Winter travel is just like winter hiking-- all the volume and weight of cold weather clothing.

Edited by dwambaugh on 02/26/2011 18:43:14 MST.

Mat Tallman
(wehtaM) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 19:09:50 MST Print View

"Have any of you thought about using a smaller backpack w/ few extraneous pockets/mesh that you could also use for an overnight backpacking trip (multiuse for a pack) or is that making too many compromises?"

This was my first thought...MLD Newt. I own one, and love it for weekend travels. It's big enough to hold all of my crap for a weekend on the road (non-backcountry), large enough for an overnight in summer (only just barely for my current kit), no extraneous pockets, zippers, etc to catch on stuff or complicate things. Provided you don't mind fiddling with a roll-top every time you want in the pack, this might fit the bill. I use mine for everything, skiing, hiking (day and short weekenders), and just general bumming around town. Very multi-use for me.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 19:19:00 MST Print View

Another point... though also subjective...

For me when hiking, I prefer a "one big hole" top-loading pack -- with two side pockets. At night, I pretty much empty it of everything anyway.

But for traveling, I much prefer a backpack with multiple zippered compartments -- and would hate the "one big hole" format. Why? Because most nights in hotels/hostels, I simply don't need most of the stuff mentioned. Having different compartments make access a lot easier -- without need to disturb (and repack) everything else.

Not a show stopper, of course (one can sort of mitigate the inconvenience of a top loader by using different stuff sacks, for example) -- but something to think about when choosing a travel pack.

Francis DeRoos
(fderoos@comcast.net) - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: pack recommendation for world travel on 02/26/2011 19:20:05 MST Print View

Thanks for all the dialog. This is really interesting.

@ Ben
Your list is really helpful to me. Do you find insulating layers are harder to take care of traveling than if backpacking?
I typically travel like you do with 1 extra set of clothes but I bring a rain jacket (marmot essence), base layer (capilene 2 LS), and a fleece.
I've always used sneakers and that's been an area I'm uncomfortable with in nicer restaurants so the shoe rec of the ecco is a great idea.
I have always rolled my clothes and then stacked them like wood on the bottom of my bag. Have you done this and how does this compare to a folder.
The sensibility of being able to just explore and not worry about where to "settle down" because of your stuff would be quite liberating and, I suspect, totally change the way you can travel.

@ Bob
My camera bag grew and grew into a heavy shoulder bag but in the past 2 years, I’ve stripped down my kit to my trusty 18-200 lens with a roadwired Podzilla bag that holds my extra memory/batteries/etc easily. Even when I'd like a 2nd lens, I have a hard time not just grabbing the podzilla and going.

@Scott,
I'm glad others are also contemplating this idea but a MLD Burn has been on my short list of a smaller pack to help me pair down my kit further for summer weekend trips. An opportunity to use the bag for 2 things. Intriguing.... You didn’t have any problem with the side pockets or the mesh getting caught or damaged? I like the idea of a garbage bag to wrap the bag in if checking it in. I’d suspect it fits easily as carry on on most larger flights?
I have a longsleeved older cap 2 that I live in when travelling and then layer that with a fleece.
I have a pair of Patagonia fishing pants (no idea the name) that I use for all my travels because of their durability, ease of cleaning, and reasonable look. Previously I used convertibles but they’re too touristy for me now and I just wear them backpacking even though I never zip them off anymore.
The Patagonia shoes are a great idea.

@ Dale
I like the sleek design of the Golite peak and I'll need to figure out all my "stuff" to see if that size would work for me.
Funny you say you wear all you can tolerate on the trip. My wife and kids travelled to China and Cambodia last winter and wore tons of stuff on the plane. We took all sorts of clothes we were either outgrowing (in the kids cases, 10 and 12) or wearing out and we wore every scrap of them while in Beijing because it was maybe in the 20's and windy! At the end of our stay in Beijing we donated all our clothes, an entire duffel bag full, to a local charity. Then headed to the warmer climes of Cambodia with our smaller bags.

James Sogi
(zephyr) - F
pack recommendation for world travel" on 02/26/2011 19:23:16 MST Print View

Hands down, the best pack is made by cilogear.com. Check them out. they're for climbing but they are incredibly versatile, sturdy and well designed.

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
kelty redwing 2650 or 3100 on 02/26/2011 19:39:12 MST Print View

Francis,

Congratulations on having the time to travel. Like Ben I've been all over this world of ours. Over 20 years I've traveled thru 52 countries.....from Uganda, Saudi Arabia, China, Morroco, you name it. I'm always jumping on buses, boats, trains, camels, planes, etc. I've always used my Kelty Redwing 2650 when not planning to camp. It's not a top load which is important. It has a zipper that opena up to all your gear and plenty of outer pockets.

Francis DeRoos
(fderoos@comcast.net) - M

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: kelty redwing 2650 or 3100 on 02/26/2011 20:18:57 MST Print View

I'm envious about all your travels particularly the middle east and northern africa. We try to carve a few weeks every year to go on an international trip but this year, I have much more flexibility than usual so I'm trying to mix in some more travel as well as some good backpacking and fishing trips as well.