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I think I got the wrong pack... South East Asia trip

Travel Forums Travel Gear I think I got the wrong pack... South East Asia trip

1. Posted by Calvin117 (Budding Member 13 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

So I went ahead and order online and got my pack a while ago. I am a fairly avid outdoorsman, and I may have gotten overly excited and purchased a pack more for long wilderness treks than backpacking through southeast asia for 3 1/2 months.

Thats the pack I bought, its the 83 litre one. Am I insane to bring this pack? I know carry weight will not be a problem I am used to carrying large loads up mountains, but im just worried im gonna be the idiot with the huge pack everyone laughs at (NO travel experience, heh), and maybe its size will get in the way.

Someone I know took an 80 or so litre with them to Thailand and they didnt seem to have a complaint about it.

As an alternative I have a 60(ish)L pack that has served me pretty well on wilderness trecks so far. Help! Also I dont have a day pack, is this a good idea to get a little one? I feel like it will take up a ton of room squished into my bag. Maybe a fanny pack?? KIDDING!

Any help would be greatly appreciated, I need someone to help me make up my mind!

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I would personally say you were mad to carry such a big bag to SEA, but i also think your 60l is far too big. But everybody has their own preferences, and if you want to carry a big bag and are happy with it, that's fine.

One obvious thing that often gets overlooked is that you DON'T have to fill your bag. It is extremely rare that you meet people travelling anywhere who's bags are not stuffed full. But what i would suggest is if you take the 80l one, put in some old clothes or a couple of old pillows at the bottom of the bag. Then pack the rest of your stuff. Then, when you get to the airport, take the pillows/clothes out and chuck or donate them. that way you have plenty of free space in your bag so aren't carrying so much. It also gives you lots of space for souvenirs.

Regarding daysacks, there is no hard and fast rule. A small one that folds up and fits in your main bag (or can be tied to the outside) is useful however, for when you are doing day trips, or just on buses etc when your main bag is on the roof/underneath. It doesn't need to be fancy: I have a have a basic canvas sports bag like this one which folds down to almost nothing, but is good enough for my camera/book/water/snack/loo roll etc which is about all you really need for a day trip. When not used, it goes in my main bag.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I managed very well with a 30L North Face pack. Remember those hostels do not have elevators!

4. Posted by Calvin117 (Budding Member 13 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

It makes me depressed I got SUCH a nice pack - so comfy and fits perfect, and I wont be able to use it! ARG! I think I will stick with the smaller one, unless someone can convince me otherwise. My girlfriend seems to think I should bring the big one so I can carry her stuff. Dream on. Haha :) Thanks for your input guys. Sigh.

5. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Yup, my love of my North Face 26l is well known on here and did me for 15months+ including about 4 in SEA with no problems .

However, if it is such a nice and comfy pack and you are an avid outdoorsman, it does seem a shame not to use it. So perhaps you should also start planning a camping trip or similar somewhere, where you will be able to show off/use your new bag happily...

6. Posted by nics26 (Budding Member 55 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

If you do decide on a smaller pack why dont you contact the supplier and ask if you can exchange your pack, tell them it was a gift for someone's birthday or something of the sort.... worth a try!

Im going backpacking for a year and I cant even stand up with an empty 65L on my back lol ... Im going for a 45L max, but I'll get my pack once ive decided what i'll need to take!

Hope you make the right decision


7. Posted by Calvin117 (Budding Member 13 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Ah, good idea Nics, but my trip is impending!!! I leave in a month and shipping back and fourth will run me right out of time! My dad offered to buy it, however! So maybe I will sell it to him and get another one. Or just take my smaller pack (smaller for me!). Anyway, good luck on your search for "THE" perfect pack, haha :)

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I leave in a month and shipping back and fourth will run me right out of time!

I don't get why you need to ship back and fourth at all. Send it back (with a likely explanation) and ask for your money and be done with it. If they do not want to give you the money, have them issue you a voucher. If you are really an avid outdoor freak you are bound to use it sooner or later.

Out of curiosity, what made you think you would need a 80 l pack for your trip? Why wasn't it obvious to you that without tent, sleeping bag, water filter and food supplies for more than a week you'd need a bag that is smaller than your current 60 l pack?

BTW, in the heat of SEA you'll be grateful for a ventilated mesh backpanel. Look at some of the smaller Osprey packs, like the Stratos 40 or the Atmos series. Best go for a pack that you might use for a dayhike or weekend backpacking trip after your return to the States.

And since you are into outdoors, you might be interested in reading about ultralight backpacking. I can strongly recommend "Beyond Backpacking" by Ray Jardine, available used on amazon. Learning about ultralight backpacking has really helped me cut down on weight and unnecessary clutter when bicycle touring, since then I have gone from carrying 21 kgs to 14 kgs and it is noticeable. It is this reduction that will allow me to go cycling in the desert in the Middle East soon, as I can now carry enough water with me for this task.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 29, 2008, at 6:29 AM by t_maia ]

9. Posted by Schof26 (Budding Member 20 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I don't have any advice on the pack, but one thing got my attention:

(NO travel experience, heh)

AND you’re going to South East Asia. To go hiking.

At the risk of coming across alarmist, there are a few things you need to know to make sure you have a good time and come back safe and sound.

- Get all your shots. You may not actually need shots to go to SE Asia, but, at the very least, look into medication to avoid Malaria. When I was there I was on Doxycycline (I think) but be sure to ask your doctor what to take.

- DO NOT WALK OFF THE PATH! Why? Land mines, that’s why. It may seem unlikely, but land mines laid during the Vietnam War are just as lethal today as they were then. So stay on the path! And if you see something odd or out of place, it is best to just leave it alone. Stick with paved or well-worn streets or a good guide and you should be fine.

- snip -

One short story to close this post. When I was in Thailand, I had a week to kill while waiting for my girlfriend to come over from SouthEast Asia. I was watching “Frantic” on TV one night, where Harrison Ford’s wife gets kidnapped in Paris.

Mr. Ford has no information about his spouse to show police, other than an old family photograph, in which her picture is about the size of a pink nail. For anyone, this is not a lot of information to help in a search.

What if this happened to my girlfriend or me? What would I show the police? When she showed up, we took one of our passport-sized photographs, wrote on the back of it and traded with one another. At least now we have current, correct information and a decent sized picture to show authorities should we need it.

We didn’t need it.


Oh, as far as your pack is concerned; if you’re really stuck, hit the weekend in market in Bangkok. You should be able to find plenty of backpacks there.

Have fun and be safe!

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]