> How do you protect your packs when flying, any suggestions????
My standard practice for the last few international trips is as follows.
Find large cardboard box plus 2 large garbags, plus roll of packaging tape. All this can be found/bought at any decent-sized supermarket in most any city around the world.
Cut and shape box to suit pack. Mine has a UL frame which needs protecting against the baggage handlers: this seems adequate. Put one garbag over pack and box, and tape down. Put second garbag over this and wrap in packagig tape. Yes, I use about half a roll of tape doing this. (The other half roll is used on my wife's pack.)
But, before finishing, I make a slit for the pack hauling loop to come out: that is for the baggage handlers. It is the ONLY thing they get to hold onto. And I make a smaller slit near that one to slip a miniature box cutter into. I seal that slit at the last minute, after putting the box cutter inside the slit, with the last bit of tape. The result looks like a silk-worm package! If the airport has Fragile stickers, I grab some of those as well and put them on.
At the destination, I grab my pack off the baggage system by the handle. Then I find the slit for the box knife, extract it, and then remove the rest of the packing. That goes in the usual garbage bin in the airport. The box cutter goes deep into the pack.
This has worked just fine for several Australia-Europe trips now. OK, a bit paranoid, but it WORKS. And it is not very likely to be a target for unfriendly smugglers either.
There is no problem carrying a gas (butane/propane) stove without the fuel canisters. I buy those at the destination.