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Advice- pack for both travel and backpacking
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Tyson Marshall
(sheepNgeese) - MLife

Locale: Ventura County (formerly PNW)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advice- pack for both travel and backpacking on 12/15/2013 10:01:14 MST Print View

"Tyson- Which pack of theirs do you use? Think they could handle extended trips abroad, like 3-6 months?"

I currently use the Windrider pack. I've had the pack for about 4 years and there are no signs of physical wear, just cosmetic wear from the bag going through the wringer... the pack has seen multiple countries and probably 20 plane rides... it's been strapped to my kayak on the ocean, it's been on my raft in rivers, and on my back all over the place.

HMG seems like they've only improved the packs since I bought mine 4 years ago. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the packs... I would buy the pack that looks the best for you. For me, if I were to buy a pack right now, I would go with the Porter. But I could convince myself to buy any of their packs...

I do have quite a few of their products and they all are very, very good. Not the cheapest, but high quality. If you have questions, email them. They are very responsive.

robert mckay
(rahstin) - F

Locale: The Great Land
Re: water on 12/15/2013 16:16:00 MST Print View

While backpacking i use a platypus big zip with a mini biner to attach it and keep it from slipping down. When traveling, i thread the compression straps through the loop on my nalgene, and the handles on my coffee mug. There is some fabric that covers the bottle and mug keeping them secure and not flopping around.

Susan D
(susand) - M

Locale: montana
REI Flash on 12/15/2013 17:36:02 MST Print View

I used an REI-65 Flash backpack for a 2.5 month trip in Asia/England this past summer. It was crammed under seats and in overhead "bins" (wire cages), sat on by multiple people (at once), stuffed in trunks, and thrown on the top of buses (often under heaps of other goods, including a couple of car tires and a motorcycle for one 25-hour journey). It held up quite well, with no new holes or rips, just permanent stains. I also used it for a couple of "real" backpacking trips during the summer (a 3-day and a 6-day trip). At 3 lbs, it isn't super light, but it is very durable and adequately handled some pretty severe abuse.

To help protect the straps and hip belt, I'd adjust them so they went backwards over the top and around the front, where I tightened them and tied them together. In the past, I've used a backpack that had 'zip-away' straps, but the bag wasn't really good enough to do a "real backpack" with. (Bags have come a long way since then, however.)

The Flash-65 is too big to contemplate checking it in, but I can't check in bags like I used to anyway, due to the banned lists of goods I carry (fire starters, knives, stoves, and so on). I don't know how it compares to the Flash-65, but the large version of the Flash-45 has a capacity of 50 liters, the size you are aiming for, and weighs 2 lbs, 2 ounces. Both are pretty cheap at the REI outlet right now, if money is a factor ($94 and $64).

One suggestion: before buying, make sure your stuff will fit in a 50-l pack, and if you don't have "full suspension" (or whatever it is called), make sure the weight of your gear will work with it. I have a Jam 50 but didn't use it because (1) all my stuff would not have fit in it, (2) my stuff would have weighed too much for the pack to be comfortable, and (3) I've never actually used the pack... :-)

EDIT" The Flash-65 is too big to contemplate NOT checking in...

Edited by susand on 12/15/2013 17:40:37 MST.

Jacob Linton

Locale: Western NC
Granite Gear on 12/15/2013 18:09:56 MST Print View

I used to use a Granite Gear Alpine Vapor as a travel pack. Basically just the Vapor Trail made out of more burly materials. I like simple roll tops and I never worried about abuse.
Could be difficult to track down.

Edited by gardenhead on 12/15/2013 18:14:49 MST.

Cornelius Jaeger
(sweetenough) - MLife
Travel and UL pack on 12/15/2013 22:06:37 MST Print View

Looks like you'll be mainly in temps above 6C.
I'm still traveling (8 months) Japan, Vietnam, Csmbodia, and I've been traveling with my normal UL setup skin out is 3,7kg minus money and camera( coins are heavy ) with my cuben laufbursche pack. i've been sleeping mainly outside, about 10 nights in guesthouses/ryokan so far.
water, sawyer squeeze with 2 half liter bags and any plastic bottle i need.
i have mld tarp, bivy,, ee custom revelation, montbell down jacket and rsin gear from marmot.
i wore everything sleeping on mt aso i think the temp was around 2C.
you really dont need more traveling thank hiking.
only thing id pack more is wilderness wash.
about fuel, small candle light stuffed with carbonfibre wool as stove, used erhanol and isopropanol as fuel. hard to find cheaply sometimes but largish pharmacies the world over carry ethanol or can order it. just learn the formula c2h5oh to bridge any language barrier.
in japan go to montbell stores, in most major cities and get fuel there.
enjoy your travels

Cornelius Jaeger
(sweetenough) - MLife
Re: Travel and UL pack on 12/15/2013 22:09:00 MST Print View

forget to mention the laufbursche huckepäckchen has 28L extended, its half full when i pack everything except tshirt and shorts and flipflops. enough space for 5 days of food left over.

david delabaere

Locale: Northern VA
pack cover on 12/16/2013 14:19:19 MST Print View

A pack cover that doubles as a duffel bag has been pretty useful in protecting my backpack while traveling.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advice- pack for both travel and backpacking on 12/17/2013 12:07:46 MST Print View

Great suggestions all around. I'm almost more confused than I was before I asked! But basically what it comes down to, it seems, is that they're a lot of different set ups that I could use.

David- what pack cover do you have that can double as a duffel?

Cornelius- Thanks for the tip. Most of my gear right now isn't completely UL and the transition will be made slowly due to finances. I'd like to get to the point where I could use a setup like yours, so I'll definitely keep it in mind. It sounds pretty awesome. Where have you been traveling where you can sleep outside like that? I know in some places they don't allow it.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Advice- pack for both travel and backpacking on 12/17/2013 13:07:01 MST Print View

Hi Rishi,

The ULA CDT is 50L per your stated requirements. As Dale mentioned, I think I'd prefer a frameless pack for what you are describing. You can adjust the contents of the pack to make it work as a carryon. Remove a stuff sack, claim it as a personal item, and then throw it under the seat during the flight if you need to make the pack squishier to conform to the official dimensions. I've found internationally the enforcement of the carryon dimensions to be hit and miss but I wouldn't count on the airline to be merciful. Down side of this is that I wouldn’t want to carry a 50L pack for day to day sightseeing so maybe buy a S2S silnylon day pack or one of the smaller flashes to serve that purpose.

+1 on carrying an extra duffle bag. Not only is it great for checked items, often times you will find that your hotel/hostel is willing to store your extra gear for free or a small fee after you check out to go exploring. If not, just find a locker at the local bus/train stop or airport. Finding cheap duffle bags shouldn’t be a problem as you travel in case one is ruined while you are traveling.

A couple other things I'll note:

Obviously try to only bring clothes which can be washed in a sink and dry in ~ 24hrs. I can get away with two sets of clothes indefinitely but it's easier when I'm in a hotel vs a hostel where I can hang them in shower to dry and not worry about them walking off. Have an option to cover your legs and arms when sightseeing. Some temples will not let you in wearing shorts for example. I used street side laundry services in Cambodia a couple times. They charged by the lb and the price was very affordable.

Mosquitos are no joke. Dengue fever and malaria are of a real concern over there. My boss suffered from Dengue fever while in Cambodia and was a hurting unit. Visit your local travel clinic but you'll find that one species of mosquito will be diurnal and is a vector for disease X while another species is nocturnal and is a vector for disease Y. I'd at the very least treat your clothes with Permethrin. Another option is to send your clothes to Insect Shield and have them professionally treated:

I've never had trouble finding a pharmacy and rubbing alcohol traveling in SE or SW Asia. You may want to consider a stove which is designed to burn rubbing alcohol cleanly

Good luck and safe travels.

Rishi Sugla

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Advice- pack for both travel and backpacking on 12/17/2013 13:25:04 MST Print View

Those are some great tips Ian, thanks. I think I might go with Robert's suggestion of using the using the granite gear vapor flatbed and using it with two dry bags. It seems super versatile and would be really convenient to be able to separate my bag in order to have a smaller pack when walking around.

I don't see much downside to it, assuming I can find a way to attach my water so that they're easily accessible. Then again, I haven't tried it yet so I'm not sure if that set up will work as well for me as Ian. Only way is to try, I suppose.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Get a backpack first on 12/17/2013 14:40:58 MST Print View

I would not compromise on the backpack. Get one that perfectly fits you and carries what you plan to carry. If the pack doesn't carry well you will regret it. After you find the pack you need/want, find something to put it in (duffel bag for example) when you fly. That allows you to not compromise on either the pack or the luggage. :^)

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Carryon size on 12/20/2013 10:10:58 MST Print View

Though on some airlines and some flights in some countries the limit is smaller, in US the carry on limit dimensions comes to 46 liters total *external* volume. So if you have more than about 40 l, and this is conservative, packs above 40 Liters are NOT carry-on. A personal peeve for me - the lady who brings a way over-sized bag for the overhead, and whose "purse" is several feet wide and stuffed to the gills. It makes everything slower and harder for the rest of us.

So if you have much more than 40 liters gear compressed that is a checked situation, IMHO. The OP has more or less stated he has 50+liters.

@Rishi The site is probably not a very good site for general travel. If I were you I would look at and the forums by that name for light travel tips. There were a few good travel-specific suggesting above, but they are mixed in with some less good stuff based more of a backpacking mentality, as is to be expected here. Also keep i n my that this is a gear-head, price-is-generally-no-object crowd here. I tend to be that way too. However, keep this in mind when you sift suggestions here.

From what you have told us, you are in the check-in category unless you want to radically re-think your whole kit at this point.

So START with the gear and backpack you would take on a real backpacking trip independent of travel. Buy a cheap $20 nylon duffel on amazon, or anything up to a "fancy" patagonia black hole duffel of the size you need. When choosing a duffel your FIRST consideration, before anything else, is do you need to pack it, and everything in your carry-on INTO you backpack when you arrive, or can you manage with having an extra bag for periods of time. Since you will be backpacking the latter would imply you could safety leave some stuff behind on these trip. If no then your primary consideration is the *packability* of the duffel. If you want packability of the check-on itself then that totally limits the options, but that is the cheapest too.

Only after you have this pinned down should you worry about the more minor issues. If you get a packable duffel, then you can afford to get one a little over-sized so you will not have to over think the size too much.

Edited by millonas on 12/20/2013 10:35:32 MST.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Just finishing 4 months on the road on 12/21/2013 20:31:31 MST Print View

I'm nearly done with a 4 month tour of SE Asia. Under the schooling of our own Ben2World, I learned that just like with UL backpacking, you can use UL to enhance your experience. Ben recommends a 30L pack. Depending on what you are doing, 50 or 60L sounds massive unless you are carrying a lot of wilderness gear.

Against Ben's advice, I went with a "huge" ULA Ohm because I didn't want a pack exclusively for travel and purchased one I can use for backpacking too. The Ohm is not much larger than a typical campus pack when compressed without the frame. The pack is somewhat fragile, but I use a duffel in the unusual case when I need to check the bag. I say unusual because I carry so little that I don't need to give up my bag often, even on crowded buses. I can carry it on my lap if I want to.

I've seen boiling temps in Vietnam and freezing temps in Nepal, all with 7 kg of gear, including the pack and a rediculous 20 oz REI duffel. And I'm carrying too much! It's possible to get down to 5 or 6 kg in a pack the size most people use for day trips. Trust me, I thought it was crazy too before I left.

P.S.- I splurged on the Eagle Creek sil packing cubes. Expensive but they keep me organized and give the pack some structure.