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Is a full pack better?

Travel Forums Travel Gear Is a full pack better?

1. Posted by Danielsw25 (Budding Member, 50 posts) 30 Dec '08 14:13

I currently only have a 33L pack. It worked great for a 2 week trip, and I would feel fine going with it for even a month.

Fortunately for me, but not for my pack, my trip will be four months and I am going to need a bigger pack. I am thinking that I could probably get by with 50 or 55 L. The Osprey Waypoint 60 looks good, but I have yet to start looking.

My question is, would it be smarter to fill a 55L pack or use a smaller portion of a larger pack, as in use 55L of a 70L pack? Or would I really notice much of a difference? The reason I ask is just in case I can find a great deal on a larger pack, I would be inclined to go with that. I managed to score my 33L pack for $50 brand new, when it was normally priced $120. Only other advantage was to have extra room on the actual trip.

Thanks for the input.

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru, 2457 posts) 1 Jan '09 05:27

A few comments:

- Why do you need a bigger pack? I have long used a trusty North Face 26l bag, and that included a trip of 18months. I have upgraded for my current trip (12months+), but only because i needed to carry a sleeping bag and I now use an Osprey 32l. Perversely, and opposite to you, for a 2week trip I would be MORE inclined to take a bigger bag, simply because for a 2week holiday, i would then take extra clothes to be able to avoid laundry. Any longer, and there is no point, and laundry is built into the daily/weekly routine (eg washing stuff before you go to bed, taking quick drying clothes etc). I suppose i'm asking if you are thinking of a bigger bag because that's what most people do, or because you have worked out that there are specific extra things that you need to carry.

- I have almost never seen anybody with a bag (of any size) which is not crammed full. I know that if i upgraded to, say, a 60l, i would still somehow fill it unless I really tried not to, even though my 26l always had a bit of free space.

- If you are going to go down the route of a bigger bag with space, I would STRONGLY suggest, that at the bottom you pack some old jumpers/duvet/pillow or something. Then fill it up as normal. Then, when you get to the airport/first destination/whatever, throw away or donate the extra stuff. That way you will actually travel with space in your bag and not get tempted to fill it with stuff from home!

- I would say a 50/55l will be ample, though anything up to about 65l will be fine. If you intend to have a bigger one with a gap in the top, be aware that some bags don't balance that well if they aren't full (bulk, if not weight) and so it may be more uncomfortable to carry. Just make sure you check it out/test it properly, and be aware that the straps etc will be needed at different places depending on how full it is, to avoid comfort problems, and potentially, back issues.

gd luck

3. Posted by elliottk (Inactive, 40 posts) 29 Dec '09 20:23

I agree with Gelli. A bigger pack lets you bring more stuff but the question is, do you really need it?

I have a particular friend who is a packing inspiration to me. She takes two sets of clothes and washes one in the sink daily on her trips. She's been able to go a few days to several weeks around out of a daypack that way! And that includes hotel style trips as well as backpacking in places as diverse as Greece, India and the U.S.

4. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member, 560 posts) 30 Dec '09 08:57

"I currently only have a 33L pack. It worked great for a 2 week trip, and I would feel fine going with it for even a month." - Danielsw25

Unless you need to take special stuff, what's going to happen after a month?

5. Posted by Danielsw25 (Budding Member, 50 posts) 31 Dec '09 11:25

Oh man, resurrecting the dead! I wanted to respond to you fabyomama. I took a four month trip to Central and South America this year. I went from beach towns to high elevation towns and had to pack for both those environments. I still managed to pull it off with that 33 L backpack. In the end, there were plenty of things I think I could have left home.

I think when it comes to traveling, asking questions like these aren't really going to tell you the whole story as you don't know what type of traveler you are. Of course as a new traveler, I had no idea. So live and learn.

I know for sure that when I was tramping around with other travelers, my 33 L bag brought quite a few comments when people heard how long the trip was and was a dream to lug around late at night or on long walks. Even took it on some five day treks!

Daniel

6. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member, 560 posts) 1 Jan '10 05:34

I did a similar thing - took a small pack (a daybag on a short trip) and surprised myself by taking too much. I actually thought I was being careful too, but the instinct to hoard kicked in and I paid the price by having to carry it.

Having said that, I bought a different bag recently as I wanted something expandable to carry temporary items like food. It's a GoLite Jam if you're interested - a bit 'specialist' by what I've read, but it 'ticked the boxes' as they say and I got it really cheap.

All down to attitudes of convenience and independence I suppose. As you know, it doesn't need much to stay happy. ;)

7. Posted by MerB (Full Member, 147 posts) 10 Jan '10 08:44

But what if you are of the inclinations to buy souvernirs and curios on your travels??

8. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5453 posts) 10 Jan '10 16:29

I do note that the original question in this thread is already over a year old, so thank you for checking in and letting us know how it went Daniel!

My philosophy tends to be that I pack the same way for a week as I would for 4 months. Some minor things might change, like a few extra items of clothing to handle temperature changes, but really it's not much different. If anything, I find the short trips are the ones where I pack more, because I just don't feel like doing any washing in that time :)

We do also usually carry a duffel bag along of sorts that packs down to a really small size. If we have extra items then we can always put them in there. Mostly though, when it starts to get too much, we just send a parcel home. Postage isn't cheap, but lugging that stuff around is no fun either. We do like to buy souvenirs along the way and I would not give that up, since these items provide memories for years to come. We have a really nice print we picked up in Kyoto for instance that is now hanging on a wall decorating our house. And likewise a photo we bought in Budapest. Well worth it in my opinion.

9. Posted by Adri204 (Budding Member, 82 posts) 10 Jan '10 17:57

Quoting Peter

I do note that the original question in this thread is already over a year old, so thank you for checking in and letting us know how it went Daniel!

My philosophy tends to be that I pack the same way for a week as I would for 4 months. Some minor things might change, like a few extra items of clothing to handle temperature changes, but really it's not much different. If anything, I find the short trips are the ones where I pack more, because I just don't feel like doing any washing in that time :)

We do also usually carry a duffel bag along of sorts that packs down to a really small size. If we have extra items then we can always put them in there. Mostly though, when it starts to get too much, we just send a parcel home. Postage isn't cheap, but lugging that stuff around is no fun either. We do like to buy souvenirs along the way and I would not give that up, since these items provide memories for years to come. We have a really nice print we picked up in Kyoto for instance that is now hanging on a wall decorating our house. And likewise a photo we bought in Budapest. Well worth it in my opinion.

I love all my momento's that I have at my house and when I see them I smile and remember why I got what it was and where I got it and even when lol. I collect postcards and one day want to scrap book them lol. I like to collect little snow globes from differnt places and thier little so I can pack them in and then send them back when im ready. I also discard clothes and buy more as needed. I also love to collect brocures so have lots of those as well. I have some great memories along with a few things ive picked up :)

Adri :)

10. Posted by bsnodgrass (Budding Member, 36 posts) 24 Jan '10 14:53

Don't get a bigger bag. The bigger the bag the more tempted you will be to fill it. Bring a collapsable lightweight duffel just incase or purchase a bag along the way. You shouldn't need more stuff just b/c the trip is longer, remember you can wash and reuse things and of course pick things that can be used for more than one thing.