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Dilemma: 65L pack or 50L pack?

Travel Forums Travel Gear Dilemma: 65L pack or 50L pack?

1. Posted by BS0D (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I'm planning on backpacking thru South America for probably about 6 months. After that, I'll head back home for a month, and head back out to North Africa, Eastern Europe and then Asia, with a little break at home between each trip.
I'm still in the preparation phase, and I'm starting to collect items and making a list of to-pack items.

To get straight to the point, I bought a few months ago a North Face Terra 65, which I thought was awesome. I've been concerned about its size though, as the bigger the pack, the more stuff we tend to shove into it. I know anyone traveling for a few months with a big pack WILL find a way to fill it up and carry unnecessary items, carrying heavier weight than they should.
Yesterday, I got a 60% off deal on a North Face Alteo 50, so I purchased it. I obviously haven't had a chance to test in real conditions yet, but it has the latest back support aeration and support technology. It's not too big, and it's very light (1530 g).

I am planning on traveling "light" this time, as opposed to my previous backpacking experiences where I consistently broke my back with an unsuitable pack and quite a bunch of unnecessary things. I am not sure how heavy I will pack, but ideally I would like to keep a little room on top of my pack for some food at least.

The problem is I tend to be a little "high maintenance" (for a guy), especially with beauty/shower products etc. I also do enjoy dressing nice (I'm french after all ^^), so I'll try to learn to be content with only 2 different outfits that won't look all that great on my trip. I'm quite aware that I can buy some extra stuff abroad if needed, but I tend to always put in things that I won't use much :/

What do you think? Should I stick with the 65L or go with the newly-purchased 50L for a 6-month trip?

Thanks for any advice folks :)

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2. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 931 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Sounds like you know the answer already - you need to man up and ditch your security blanket of stuff.

Yep a little space for food and consumables is good. Your 50L is ample for that. I use 35L and it gets a little tight.

You've mentioned the outfits so the other areas to make savings are gadgets and toiletries. Are you taking more than one device and one usb charger? And are you carrying various lotions and potions? My liquids are a deodorant stick, toothpaste and 5ml of shave oil.

What are the things you carry but seldom use? They can all go, right? :-)

3. Posted by dcblz (Budding Member 10 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi mate!

As said above - a 50L is ample for that. You'll realize while on the road that you don't need a lot of items, and traveling light will avoid you checked-in luggage costs for plane tickets, and easier storage in buses and overland transportation (especially in SA).

There's a great French blog called, with lots of advices for choosing the best backpack and lots of tips on how to pack!

Enjoy South America! Yay!

4. Posted by BS0D (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I think you guys are right, I'll need to just drop all the things I'm not sure to use constantly, and keep the 50L bag.
I may be one of those people that are afraid to step out of their comfort zone for long periods of time without needing their stuff. Darn consumerism got me too!

Point being, I'll stick with the 50L bag. My back will probably thank me later. And now, I thank you for your kind replies, friends :)

5. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Great thread.

Have fun.


PS And yes, for "real" travel (haha) even the 50 litres is waaay too big... ;-)

Post 6 was removed by a moderator
7. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3891 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I agree with the previous replies that 50L should be ample. I've managed with 40L before, but that was for shorter trips.