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Sean Griffin
Travel-Backpacking on 12/24/2011 17:34:38 MST Print View

I started to kick around a few ideas for some medium length travel trips (~1-6 months).

The first thing that came to mind was to hit some famous hiking trails around the world with travel/sightseeing in between. When I started to think of the logistics they became a little complex.

Some ideas: Inca trail, Torres Del Paine W, Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast, Tour de Mont Blanc, Annapurna Circuit, Milford Track etc.

However, it wasn't as easy to figure out how I would balance two, albeit overlapping, gear lists. Additionally, how would I leave gear secured while I was hiking (essentially, the gear I would use specifically for travel - electronics etc.)?

Has anyone had experience with doing this? Does anyone have any solutions or insight they could offer?

Thanks for your input.

clay stewart
(Reluctantwaterhauler) - F
My solution on 12/24/2011 21:45:04 MST Print View

Over the years I've tried several times to come up with a set up to do what you are talking about, but mostly failed, due to the lack of a suitable pack to do everything. Most were way to heavy and uncomfortable, to be worth the effort. It's funny that you should bring this up now, as I just ordered a ULA Camino, to give it yet another try. I do digital photography and use Macs, so my plan is, one camera and a couple lenses, a 11" Macbook Air, one change of clothes, maybe pick up something else to wear, along the way, if I need to and choose my sleeping and shelter system, depending on the season and or climate. I hope I can keep it under 20 pounds before food and water and I hope the Camino does the trick. Time will tell. Good luck.

P.S. Does anyone have any experience with the ULA Camino, for carrying twenty to thirty pound loads on extended trips?

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Plan for similar trips? on 12/25/2011 03:17:27 MST Print View

My one sort-of experience at this was a trip that my wife and I did last year where we first walked a while in the Austrian Alps and then hiked the Wainwright trail in England. Turns out that there was a very high correlation between the two of gear that we needed, so we just carried everything for both trips. We hiked in the Alps in early September and in England in later September.

For the Wainwright trail, at least, it's common for folks to use a shuttle service so that a person only needs to carry a fairly light day pack. Since we weren't camping, my wife and I opted to just carry everything instead. Not as light, but not all that bad, either.

Anyway, my bottom line suggestion here would be to consider combining trips where the required gear mix is pretty similar. One might think that mailing things back and forth could help here, but the cost and lag time --- and confidence level in receiving items in time --- makes this a bit sketchy. If I were to go this route, I'd schedule the more gear-intensive trip first, then hopefully just mail home things not needed, ideally combining things from multiple people in a single box.

I guess another comment on a multiple-destination overseas trip is thinking about carry-on vs. checked baggage on flights. We opted to have a single checked bag for both of us, and used trekking poles that collapse pretty small --- and could both fit inside the checked bag. That worked pretty well.

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
BPL has an article series on just this topic. on 12/25/2011 03:29:22 MST Print View

Sean, check this out:

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: BPL has an article series on just this topic. on 12/25/2011 05:02:34 MST Print View

Daniel, Thanks for remainding us of this article. I often forget how many great articles BPL has published. As I ponder expanding lightweight techniques into other areas of my life like family travel, business travel, my home, etc this article is filled with a lot of practical ideas. Both Kristin and Danny were able to get globe trotting base weights down under 20 lbs.

From the article....

"Not only were we carrying all the food and gear necessary for the trip, but our backpacks held all that we needed for our two-year, round-the-world adventure."

Two things struck me in rereading this article. How well they selected backpacking gear to work together. The other was the thought put into non backpacking items so that they could handle situations like going to a museum in town. It shows us how little we really need to truly enjoy life.

I need to go back and explore the annals of BPL to see what other articles I need to reread and those that I may have not seen the first time.

Nice way to spend xmas morning as I wait for the kids to awake.

Merry Christmas,


Sean Griffin
Re: Plan for similar trips? on 12/25/2011 11:48:32 MST Print View


Thanks for the reply.

I would not mind carrying some redundant backpacking gear if the logistics did not match up. However, I am more concerned with how I would handle my actual travel gear (electronics, clothing, maps, books, etc.).

Ideally, I would fly into a destination and have access to a locker of some sort where I could secure my possessions. However, I am not sure this will always be the case.

I would like to travel with two packs: 1 larger travel pack, and 1 UL backpacking pack. Once I reached my destination I could fill my UL pack with the gear I needed and lock up the remaining gear until I returned.

Sean Griffin
Re: BPL has an article series on just this topic. on 12/25/2011 11:49:30 MST Print View


Thanks for the link. I just became a member of BPL so this will be my first experience with the article you linked. Thanks again.

stephan q
(khumbukat) - F
Gear storage-Travel-Backpacking on 12/25/2011 12:38:51 MST Print View

Howdy. Storage has never been a problem for us. We travel in the style you're thinking about quite often. 5 months in India/Nepal in 2009 and 3 months in Ecuador/Peru this year. We always leave extra gear at our guesthouse. The owners are happy to store your gear as they know you will be returning,and we usually book lodging for our return. In South America the Explorers Club has storage and mail hold for members, as well. You must use a lockable duffle for security, but most people are very honest.

PS I can refer you to some trustworthy guesthouses in these places. If you need more info, feel free to contact me.

Thamel- for trekking

Leh- for Ladakh/Markha Valley

Old Manali- Kullu and Spiti Valleys

Rishikesh- for Gangotri/Shivling

Quito- for Galapagos/Amazon

Riobamba- climbing Chimborazo/Cotopaxi

Huaraz-trekking Cordillera Blanca

Cusco/Ollantaytambo- Inca Trail/Sacred Valley

Edited by khumbukat on 12/25/2011 14:20:57 MST.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
guesthouses sound good ... on 12/26/2011 10:09:59 MST Print View

The idea of a guesthouse sounds good; I have no experience with this, however, and wonder about any associated costs ?

"However, I am more concerned with how I would handle my actual travel gear (electronics, clothing, maps, books, etc.)."

I really like the idea of multi-use stuff where all of that is carried on the trip, and hopefully this doesn't weigh you down too much. That depends a lot, of course, on the type of trip under contemplation. For my one experience, having a hut or youth hostel or B&B to sleep in every night certainly limited how much "backpacking" gear needed to be carried.

But electronics for me can be just a smartphone, plus optionally a folding bluetooth keyboard. Clothing is much like a long distance backpacking trip --- a couple extra pairs of underwear and liner socks, wash these in the sink at night. Books --- on my smartphone in eBook format. Maps: well, these get lighter as you go at least, and for the type of trip my wife and I did, we were fine with sharing map/guidebook pages. Really, most of what we had with us was used most of the time.

We did buy a new backpack for the trip, one of those somewhat bullet-proof but heavier "travel packs" where the shoulder straps fold under a zip-over flap and you can check the thing like a suitcase with some hope of not having it destroyed by the airline baggage handlers. This was our checked bag and served as my backpack, with a somewhat smaller backpack for my wife to use and act as our shared carry-on bag on flights. Worked out well for us.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Gear storage-Travel-Backpacking on 12/26/2011 11:26:25 MST Print View

Like Stephan sugggested, I've always just stayed at the same hotel/guesthouse before and after a trek and they were always happy to store my extra stuff for me....and it was always there when I got back.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Gear storage-Travel-Backpacking on 12/26/2011 12:54:11 MST Print View

Like Stephen and Chris, We've stayed at a guesthouse or B&B near the trailhead before and after a track (including from the OP's list: Milford Track and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu). They're always happy to store a duffle or pack.

Other times, with shorter treks, we've just left the town stuff in the trunk of a car. I much prefer a sedan for that than a hatchback in which gear is visible.

Here's an idea for a couple: Bring 2.5 packs. By which I mean one standard travel pack with a set of town clothes, eletronics and laundry supplies. One UL pack that the couple swaps back and forth or the faster hiker takes. And possibly an UL daypack for a little more volume if needed. Stuff one or both UL packs in the heavy-duty travel pack and they'll be better protected from baggage handlers, converor belts, etc.

If you're bopping around the world, you can play with climates so you don't need so much rain or cold-weather gear. In NZ, we met two couples who were commuting from their Antarctic summer job (at McMurdo Station) to their Arctic summer job (Denali NP) by spending 3 months in transit twice a year. It struck me that no one, maybe in the history of the world, had had so many daylight hours in a year.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
not too difficult on 12/26/2011 14:04:22 MST Print View

This is easy.

Bring your normal lightweight (maybe not ultralight) pack; plus a large-ish sturdy daypack.

Wherever you happen to be staying - hostel, guesthouse, hotel - tell the management you'll be gone for a few days but would like to come back and stay there again on x date. Then ask if they'll keep your (locked) daypack in a secure place while you're gone. Nobody will ever say "No." Plus, they want your business again and so have an incentive to not let anyone mess with your pack.

The daypack should have a sturdy zipper with holes large enough so that you can lock it with a mini lock.

Leave the electronics at home. Otherwise you will just worry about them. Plus, for a proper vacation they play no good role. You want to get *away* from electronics and enjoy the country you are in. If you need contact with home you can stroll into one of the Internet cafes with a rentable computer, that are now ubiquitous.

- Elizabeth