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what backpack, sleeping bag, travel advice

Travel Forums Travel Gear what backpack, sleeping bag, travel advice

1. Posted by s_ramsay (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

hi,
we are going to peru(sep),la,(oct)germany(oct),egypt(oct),japan,(nov)vienam laos(nov-dec) for 3.5 months total.
we are first time travellers so after some advice on:
sorry if these are dumb questions but planning first trip so have no experience at all.

backpack
I am 180cm,80kg so been told 80 but after reading forums been thinking this is too big.
was thinking of the osprey waypoint 60.
my wife is 155cm, 52 kg so what would be size bag that she can carry as been suggested 60 from shops but thinking this might be too large.
the osprey has been recommended_are these a good quality bag_any other suggestions

sleeping bag
we are doing the inka walk but will mainly be staying in hostels for rest of holiday. read on forum that sleeping bags might not be allowed? do you travel with sleeping bags?
is it worth spending the money on down or to even take a sleeping bag at all?

shoes
will we need hiking shoes for the inka trail walk(3-4 days) and what shoes would be best for trip as dont want to carry an extra pair if not needed.

security
is it worth getting a pacsafe wire mesh or just the cables. also some tips on what precautions to take etc.

what is the best way to manage money, travellers cheques?visa?

any suggestions, tips , advice or help will be greatly appreciated.
thankyou

2. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

Even in my limited experience, I think the bags you've suggested, or had suggested for you, are too big. The short (clever) answer is - how much you taking? That will answer the bag question. Personally, I'd look at some 'lightweight' trekking sites for some ideas. For example, can you split/share stuff between you?

I am a big fan of traveling light - bad back, asthma, cheap flight requirements where I just take carry-on luggage to keep the cost down - and I split my packing list into three sections which are must take, should take and could take - and I'm really strict about it.

I source lightweight stuff as best I can for the things I feel I need like base/mid layers, wind-jacket, etc. It could be expensive, but I personally wait for the bargains and then keep those items just for travelling.

Obviously, one travellers must take will be anothers could take and so on - normally laptops for some. For me, I like to take a water filter, even to Europe, as I basically live off the streets.

Just my thoughts - and good luck! ;)

edit - just a thought on 'Pacsafe' meshes. Would you need any if you take smaller packs that won't need to be locked up somewhere because they are too big to manage? And, as there are two of you, there is always the option that one of you could mind both bags while the other is free to do whatever needs doing - buying tickets, getting food, etc.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jun-2009, at 17:00 by fabyomama ]

Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

You really are best just going to your nearest good quality camping shop and trying every rucksack they stock. What's good for one person's back and shoulders, could be a nightmare for someone elses. Same goes for footwear. My choice is different to others by a long way.
Bear in mind, that so many people travel with far too much clothing and equipment. It all comes with experience, but just ask around as to who has done an epic - and they'll more than likely tell you they started out with more stuff they didn't use, than actually did.
As a personal opinion, a rucksack no more than 55Ltrs does it for me, no matter where I'm going - or how long for.

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

backpack
I am 180cm,80kg so been told 80 but after reading forums been thinking this is too big.
was thinking of the osprey waypoint 60.
my wife is 155cm, 52 kg so what would be size bag that she can carry as been suggested 60 from shops but thinking this might be too large.

A 60 liter backpack for your wife? No way this will work. She should have something really lightweight in the 30-40 liter range.

As a rule you should never carry more than 20% of your body weight, with 10-15 % being ideal. So your wife should not carry more than 10 kgs and that includes the weight of the pack. She will need extremely lightweight stuff: have her take a look at the GoLite JamPack.

Similar is true for you: The ideal weight of your pack fully loaded should be something in the neighborhood of 15-20 kgs. You'll probably end up carrying stuff for your wife, so a bigger bag is ok. Still, look at something in the 50-60 liter range.

I have not done the Inka Trail, but I think you should be able to manage with trail shoes. Not trekking or hiking boots, but trainers/sneakers-style shoes that were made for hiking. (Those shoes will also be perfect in October in Germany.) I would combine this with some sturdy flat sandals (maybe hiking sandals) since you'll be hitting warm areas later on. (Egypt in October is hot, too hot for closed shoes.)

6. Posted by s_ramsay (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

hi all,
thanks for your tips and advice,
shops have'nt been that helpful and dont know if their opinions are biased so appreciate the time taken for posts.
this has been helpful and what we needed to hear.

grateful for any more tips even if they seem obvious to you.
cheers shaun

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

You are right, shop's assistants are biased.

First, bigger bags are usually more expensive and sell not as well. Thus shop assistants will usually try to outfit you with bags that are too large. (They get a commission after all.)

Second, when you are in the shop you keep thinking about your big trip and all the plans you have and what you might need on your trip. With this in mind you start reaching for larger and larger backpacks.

What you should really shop for is a backpack that is large enough for 3 changes of clothing, a wind- and waterproof jacket and a towel. Because this is all that you'll really need. Plan on washing your stuff once a week in a washing mashine and do socks and undies in a sink.

I would forget about the sleeping bag - unless you are absolutely sure that you are going to need it don't bother with it.

If you will be staying in really cheap places in Egypt or in mountain huts in Germany you could consider a silk sleeping bag liner or travel sheet. They don't weigh much and pack really light. If you can get them cheap (try ebay) for less than 20 USD for a single or 25 USD for a double sheet consider bringing one. Rei carries them, see http://www.rei.com/product/695428 for an example - but the prices REI has for these babies are outrageous.

(I just sewed such a travel sheet myself out of a cheap fleece blanket and an old microfibre bedlinen, it cost me less than 3 EUR. The most expensive was the new needle for the sewing machine that I needed.)

8. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Yep - gotta be considered, who's shoulders will the pack be on - the shop assistant's or yours. Just tell em - or forget 'em.

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

BTW, Osprey packs are some of the best on the market. Since you are from North America I recommend using an Osprey pack, it will be easy to find shops that carry them.

The Waypoint 60 is a good choice, but please consider the Aether 60 too. The Aether is lighter and has a better carrying system that is meant for heavier loads. Ok, so it doesn't have a daypack - but that is easily solved. You can pick up cheap daypacks for less than 15 USD in many stores, all you have to do is make sure that you can easily fold them up and fit them into your main backpack.

And if your wife doesn't like the GoLite Jam, have her take a look at the Osprey Aura 50, the Exos 46 or the Talon 44.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jul-2009, at 11:50 by t_maia ]