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Great Pack for Traveling?
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BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Great pack for traveling on 02/28/2013 21:02:28 MST Print View


I would really like to see your packing list for extended travel. That's pretty amazing that you live for months out of such a small bag. The last couple years when traveling with my two almost teen age sons, the rule has been that if they couldn't fit it in a GL Peak (now Jam35--small enough to carry on most flights), they couldn't take it. I thought I was doing pretty well teaching them to travel with less, but guess I have a lot more to learn. These have only been week long travels, not months.


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

What I'd bring with me. on 02/28/2013 21:28:53 MST Print View

My base weight is 12lbs and I have no stove, which I worked out in another thread. That's full camping gear. Shelter, clothing, etc. I guess it's actually 10lbs because I counted my other pack's weight. It would be 15lbs in a Baltoro.

Add to that items I would wish I had if I were backpacking around another country. So 12 pounds PLUS the following. When I traveled for a month and had a night at a bar, I was definitely missing this kind of "casual" stuff:

1 pair Regular pants (something canvas-y, or jeans (god forbid!)
A comfortable, casual sweatshirt
Some T-shirts (2? Zero and buy them there?)
Two pairs of shoes (serious walkers and non-serious shoes, like Vibrams, for beaches and casual strolls)
A book or two (plus maps and a guidebook)
Big headphones
A laptop (Macbook Air) and a charger, and maybe a solar setup
A pillow (Nah, nevermind, I'm just too tough for that.)
A spare battery for the electronics
Better toiletries (an electric shaver [no, I won't use a razor. Aichnophobic], hair conditioner, deodorant)

The "plan" would be to to live out of a techwick shirt and running shorts, like a backpacker, but I'll also have stuff available for social engagements and restaurants and museums.

Essentially, the extra luxuries I'd bring weigh as much as my camping stuff. When I toured the northeast, we lived like hobos, and it was tons of fun until we were at someone's aunt's house, or when we were at a bar with UVM girls and their friends and I'm wearing running shorts and bike shoes. Suddenly, I wish I had brought a T-shirt. That kind of stuff.

So we're looking at 25lbs, 30-40 when we grab a bunch of beers for a hike, or if we grab tons of energy bars on sale somewhere, or whatever. 40 would be upper eschelon, maybe hit it once if that.


Yeah, I'm still thinking the Baltoro 75. The added bonus is, if I get the 75 over the comparable and logical 65, I have a great pack for winter camping and trips where I go with one of my brothers or a girlfriend where I have to carry their stuff too.

I'm still thinking my choice is ok.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: What I'd bring with me. on 02/28/2013 21:33:52 MST Print View

Max, I apologize for posting on your thread with nothing constructive to say, except that every time I look at your avatar, I hear, "I'm INVINCIBLE!!"


Edited by T.L. on 02/28/2013 21:34:56 MST.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Looking Like a Target on 02/28/2013 21:34:30 MST Print View

You are sort of caught in a cross loop which is typical in trip planning. Plan for the max. Reject the psychological.If you were more decisive you'd get better outcomes. You wanted weight. Ben and I both travel Asia and agree on many things. But you started from a high weight premise. Ebay is a time machine. It has delivered many lost things tome and mine.But perhaps you know better.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Alan Cumming Agrees on 02/28/2013 21:36:43 MST Print View

Goldeneye High Five!

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: Re: Looking Like a Target on 02/28/2013 21:42:52 MST Print View

"You are sort of caught in a cross loop which is typical in trip planning. Plan for the max. Reject the psychological.If you were more decisive you'd get better outcomes. You wanted weight. Ben and I both travel Asia and agree on many things. But you started from a high weight premise."

I kind of see what you're saying, but not completely. My premise is a trip where I lived around society for 30 days. Let me explain that a little better:

My two friends and I, all of us 22-23, got on bikes with panniers and rode 1,500 miles across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. We spent 21 days riding and 9 days just hanging out in interesting places. We met tons of people, saw all of our families, and we had one magical evening in Burlington that was probably the most fun I've ever had in my life.

However, I went ultralight. I had 12lbs of stuff. I wore one outfit basically the whole time, and my friends packed a little bit more stuff (not much more). For Jim and I, we had fun wearing bike shorts and windbreakers around town in the beginning but by the end, we really wished we had just one set of everyday clothes. It's not like backpacking when you travel amongst society. You're the only ones that instantly accept technical garments. To everyone else, you stick out like a sore thumb.

From a safety standpoint, I bet riding a bus or walking at night is much safer with streetclothes and a backpack, since it doesn't scream "I don't live here" quite as loud.

I'm ready to be convinced, but I'm not speaking out of ignorance. I know the kind of ignorance you're anticipating and in most cases I'd agree with you, but in this one I feel like my luxuries are worth their weight given exactly what I'm anticipating out of traveling in a place like New Zealand or Australia, or rather, the type of experience I want to foster for myself.

Again, I'd love more insight.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 21:44:26 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

One more aside... on 02/28/2013 21:45:54 MST Print View

I should add that the reason I'm bringing full camping gear is because, from what I can tell, the hiking and camping in New Zealand is phenomenal. I refuse to go there and NOT get out there.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: What I'd bring with me. on 02/28/2013 22:29:29 MST Print View

"Max, I apologize for posting on your thread with nothing constructive to say, except that every time I look at your avatar, I hear, "I'm INVINCIBLE!!"


And great advice from Ben.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
A Packing List Sample on 02/28/2013 22:32:54 MST Print View

@ BER and Max:

OK, here's my packing list -- and I say "sample" because there is no single list that fits everyone. Take a look, pick it apart, and see what might work for you...

On My Person

1 poly/cotton (85/15) tee or shirt
1 poly pant (Patagonia Nomader)
1 synthetic brief/boxer
1 pair nylon socks
1 pair no maintenance, sturdy, comfy shoes
1 digital watch with alarm (I don't carry cell phone when traveling abroad)
Cash, cards and passport

Clothing in backpack

1 tee or shirt
1 pant
1 brief/boxer
1 pair nylon socks
1 wind breaker (Patogonia Houdini)
1 insulation jacket (MontBell UL down inner)
1 pair liner gloves (if cold weather)
1 nylon cap or hat
1 Eagle Creek Folder to pack clothes -- helps flatten clothing somewhat to save space and serve as pack 'frame'

Toiletry kit

2oz toothpaste
2oz hair gel
1 BIC shaver
1 toothbrush
1 comb
nail clipper
couple of Q tips

First Aid kit

tiny ziploc bag of Advil or Tylenol
tiny ziploc bag of Immodium
tiny ziploc bag of cough / sore throat lozenges
small tube of anti-itch cream
small supply of band aids in assorted sizes
teeny tiny scissors


1 packable day pack
1 small digital camera with spare battery and charger
1 android tablet with charger (guidebook(s) in PDF or Kindle format) and stereo earphones with mic
1 small notepad
1 pen
1 small umbrella
1 small LED flashlight
1 Nalgene 20oz. wide-mouth hard plastic water bottle
1 Steripen Adventurer UV purifier plus spare batteries
1 pair[a href=""> lightweight flipflops for hotel and beach use
1 additional credit card and some spare cash
2oz sunblock / 3M Ultrathon DEET mix - if expecting lots of sun and/or bugs

That's pretty much it -- around 12 pounds or so (including the backpack) -- and this setup allows me to travel 'indefinitely' in temps 30F and up.

Choose clothing and shoes in simple style and neutral colors -- mix and match and you've got four different outfits. Every night or every other night, simply spend 5 minutes washing and your clothes will be ready to wear early next morning. I NEVER lug dirty laundry around when I travel. My shoes are nubuck material in dark brown -- great for in town and maintained trails.

2oz. of toothpaste and hair gel will last me about a month and a half. And when you get close to running out -- simply buy more. Stores are everywhere and there is absolutely no need to haul extra supplies for hundreds of miles.

Edited by ben2world on 02/28/2013 22:42:27 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Comparison on 02/28/2013 22:41:44 MST Print View


Your extras look similar to my extras (and by extras I mean stuff I wouldn't take camping), so when I add my camping gear I'm actually not doing too bad. I am not planning to stay in hotels the entire way; I want to spend half my trip sleeping in my hammock underneath the stars. Also, I'll be carrying a sleeping bag which isn't in your list.

I also forgot to mention; I'm definitely bringing my tripod and DLSR on a trip like this, and that's another 6lbs.

We're on different trips, I think!

Your list is insightful, I really appreciate it. I will be following your clothing setup to save a little weight in my pack, with some lightweight pants and maybe forgoing the sweatshirt (maybe). Our toiletries are very similar, minus the shaver. I learned long ago not to carry extra toothpaste.

Thank you again for your help!

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 22:49:21 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Comparison on 02/28/2013 22:45:43 MST Print View


You are welcome, for what it's worth. When I combine camping with hosteling -- this is what I do:

1. I pack for camping -- my camping clothes are my travel clothes -- meaning I wear only synthetics or synthetic blends -- but I avoid clothing with the exaggerated outdoorsy look (i.e. 17 pockets bellowing every which way).

2. I pack a second set of clothes (as explained above), tablet, extra cash, backup credit cards, passport and airline ticket.

In other words, adding long-term travel to a weekend type hike should increase your pack weight by just a few pounds. But the only way to tell is to complete your Excel spreadsheet -- listing out everything along with the weights. Have fun. :)

Edited by ben2world on 02/28/2013 22:54:43 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Other Differences on 02/28/2013 22:57:46 MST Print View

I think, then, the main differences are:

-Books. I could theoretically replace a book with the kindle application on my iPhone, but I like to reserve battery so I can be "off the grid" as much as I can. I like a good paperback.

-Camera + Tripod. Photography is a MAJOR hobby of mine, I take it very seriously. I do not knock the small digital camera at all, but I'm looking to capture images on this trip that will sit framed above my future mantel, three feet in width.

-Headphones. I could sacrifice here but they'd be worth their weight in gold for catching some sleep on the plane or on buses, since they block out noise and I can sleep with some light music on. I could cut them because, if I need sleep, I can pretty much sleep anywhere.

-Camping. We're handling food slightly differently. If I do a 2-3 day hike of a mountain outside of town, like one of NZ's nine great walks or any of the incredibly vast national parks, I will need to carry a lot more than you. Besides a water filter and 3 days worth of food, there's the shelter and sleeping bag. And the computer is still in there (sealed in a dry-sack, don't worry.)

I don't mind the extra weight if I have a backpack that handles it. With just 25lbs, I could make a pack that weighs half as much work, but it would probably be less comfortable than with the cantering hipbelt from the Gregory. I had a weight of 32lbs on a winter camping trip in my old Kelty, and I was glad to have the thicker padding, and I STILL wasn't that comfortable. It was fine, but it could have been better.

Hope this makes sense. I didn't want you to think I was saying "Look at this fool! You need more than 12lbs to have a good trip!"

Much respect, my friend. You're doing it right.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 23:14:43 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Other Differences on 02/28/2013 23:16:47 MST Print View

""Look at this fool! You need more than 12lbs to have a good trip!""

Haha... and when I was writing, I kept hoping you wouldn't think I was saying that anything more than 12lbs will ruin a trip... :)

The trick, of course, is to pack "enough" for you to enjoy YOUR trip -- and not one pound more.

One last thing though -- make out your spreadsheet first. Play around with it. And buy your pack last.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: on 02/28/2013 23:38:34 MST Print View

My Kelty Red Cloud 90, for all it's flaws, gets a lot of use, even at full capacity. When I'm guiding other trips, carrying larger shelters, and traveling on trains, I like the capacity. I would say, between winter use and the amount of guiding I've been doing, it gets more use than my lightweight 40L minimalist pack. I have a little bit of a precursor to tell me what size pack "fits" for my life. I kind of knew that part going into this; I knew what size I wanted and what kind of materials. All that I was looking for was the best suspension system, which I think I found.

Luckily, I get other opinions too that help me make decisions. Always a plus. :)

Ben, your travel experience sounds like it could teach me volumes. I wish I could have a beer with ya and pick your brain. I wouldn't wish the 5,000-word e-mails on anyone, so I'll hope the travel literature is as knowledgeable as your experience has made you. Thanks for the help.

Edited by mdilthey on 02/28/2013 23:41:04 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: simple light travel on 03/01/2013 01:24:40 MST Print View

+1 Ben's travel methods. Check out Rick Steves' books on travel too; he has bit down. I used his methods and spent three weeks in Europe with a carry-on convertible and a small shoulder bag.

For what you are doing, I would max out with a sturdy 65 liter pack (or smaller) and something like a small Timbuk2 messenger bag or a 22 liter day pack. I would do everything possible to keep it to a convertible carry on plus small shoulder bag or day pack. It is the same process as UL gear: take only what you will use and seek out multiple use and high performance items.

Buy new clothes as they wear out or the climate changes. You'll get sick of your clothes and want different ones anyway. Wearing local stuff will help you blend in. Cash is always lighter! If you are in cities, you don't need to worry about running out of anything--- it's not the wilderness.

+1 on the travel schemes with a few changes of easily cleaned clothes. The rest is just a small hygiene kit, small electronics, a book, a journal, and a tight camera kit. You can borrow heavily from your backpacking knowledge for good layering and rain gear.

The smaller, simpler bag will be much easier to travel with, never checking it, never losing it, being able to toss it in the upper rack on a train or squeezing into a third world bus--- or the Rome subway at rush hour. Trust me, a 90 liter pack will be an albatross as well as a billboard that screams "STEAL ME". My advice is to keep it simple.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

75 or 65... on 03/01/2013 09:19:34 MST Print View

I have a nice little EMS Daypack that folds up to the size of a paperback and weighs a few scant ounces. I can use that.

I am now a little bit tied between the 75L and the 65L...

I can easily fit my spring, summer, or fall camping gear into a 35L pack. However, I also have filled my 90L pack to capacity before. The difference between the 65L and the 75L is 4 ounces, so giving myself the same function of having a superlarge pack available when I need it seems to be a plus. I can cinch down my 75 to a smaller size when it isn't full. Reviewers say it gets nice and compact when you don't fill it to capacity.

Edited by mdilthey on 03/01/2013 09:25:22 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: 75 or 65... on 03/01/2013 10:11:05 MST Print View

Yes, I am repeating myself, but...

Finish up your Excel spreadsheet after going through everything judiciously. Buy the stuff you need to buy. After that, you will have a much better idea just how much pack you need. Better yet, pick a slow day and drag your stuff to the nearest store and try out some new packs by packing them with your own gear! Nothing like a realistic dress rehearsal to shake things down.

65L vs 75L -- why not just go for the larger size? Because there is a very, very, very good chance that you will fill it out. You know, hey, you've got the space for it, why not pack the item? Might really come in handy... You know what I mean...

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Larger VS Smaller. on 03/01/2013 10:56:24 MST Print View

Yeah, possibly. It is an addictive possibility. I like to think I've got the force of will to commit to a packing list regardless of liters...

I can get the 75L for cheaper than the 65L off of If it turns out that it doesn't cinch down or really just looks too big for my stuff (I already have all my stuff), I'll return it for free and get a 65L.

Too bad they don't have the bright yellow... but I GUESS I want to avoid theft... :(

Edit: Zappos has the 65L too, for cheap. I'll actually start there.

Edited by mdilthey on 03/01/2013 10:57:28 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Larger VS Smaller. on 03/01/2013 10:59:03 MST Print View

"Zappos has the 65L too, for cheap. I'll actually start there."

That sounds good to me.

The Gear Enabler.