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Idea's for Backpacks and Luggage?


Aug 14th, 2013, 09:36 PM
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Idea's for Backpacks and Luggage?

I have been trying to think of different options of how i can travel with my belongings and cant really think of anything that stands out. Im try to travel Europe for give or take 3 months and traveling all throughout. My concern is my luggage/belongings.

I plan to travel as light as possible, but i am traveling during Sept - Dec so it makes it a little more difficult because things are obviously going to be bulkier. I'm basically wanting to travel around solely with a backpack, but a normal backpack not the gigantic ones that scream out i'm a traveler and not from here. But i am sadly coming to a conclusion that this may not be plausible without looking and smelling like a homeless person. I mean i know i'm going to be doing laundry but not trying to do it every other day and not trying to buy clothes as i go.

Any suggestions ?? What about Lockers in Train Stations??
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Aug 14th, 2013, 09:53 PM
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The trick is to do laundry every day, at night, it becomes a habit like your dental hygiene. For that to work you need to spend the money on clothing items that are easy-wash with a dab of shampoo in the hotel sink, and quick-dry on a nylon rope with clamps that you cary and that weigh nothing. Then you only need two of each. Smalls, t-shirts, shirts, even pants that lend themselves to this strategy are available from any number of sources, in the US frlom Travel Smith, Ex Officio, Magellans, Duluth, and many more.

Now and then you might want to stop at a laundromat and do a "real" wash - it's a good way to get to talk to locals, but having to do it every few days is a waste of time and money.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 10:04 PM
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You can also have your laundry done by a hotel. Or wash it in the sink. Bring a gallon size ziplock bag with you. Add some clothes and a small amount of soap- shake it up (seal it 1st but I don't need to tell you that) and drain, add more water, shake, drain and repeat.

Easy. For your heavier clothes you'll have to find a washer or get them washed.

Get a suitcase on wheels. Back packs are not only obnoxious because you end up smacking other travelers but it's easy for people to steal from them.

Buy a nice suitcase and search this forum or google "packing lists"
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Aug 14th, 2013, 10:21 PM
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"... things are obviously going to be bulkier." Not necessarily if you plan this right. You should start in the north in September and end in the south (Sicily, southern Spain, etc.) in December.

If you go to a sporting goods store (like REI) that carries ski clothes you'll find lots of clothing that works for sightseeing, is warm but wicks moisture, is versatile, fairly lightweight, water resistant and washable. Think layers. The colder the temps, the more layers. Look for lightweight thermal underwear that wouldn't take up much space but might be greatly appreciated if you did get some very cold temps late in the trip.

If you plan to travel light, then you need to be resigned to doing laundry fairly frequently. Look for clothing fabrics that will wash in a hotel sink and dry overnight so you can wash as you go. And/or pick a day maybe once a week when you go to a laundromat to do it all at once.

For me, three months of carrying a backpack would be about 2 months and three weeks too long. But I've never been on the road for 90 days, so I don't know what the best solution is.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:15 AM
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If you're young and strong then a backpack is OK but think about having that on your back for 3 months. I would favor a 19" roller bag. You can clip on a small duffel and have some extra space.

I do laundry in the sink about every 3 days using Purex laundry sheets. I cut a bunch of them them in quarters and 1/4 of a sheet is perfect for undies or a shirt washed in the sink. Use a whole sheet for a washing machine.

Get a warm but thin jacket and wear a shirt and sweater underneath. You can always layer with a second tee shirt for more warmth. You will need more/heavier clothing in the winter but won't sweat like in the summer so perhaps you won't need to wash clothing as often, especially if you wear a tee shirt as your first layer. That could be washed every day or every other day but the outer clothing would need to be washed less often.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:44 AM
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LOATHE large suitcases - a giant pain in every sense of the word. I'd take either a proper backpack OR a small wheelie suitcase and a largish daypack. Having two small bags makes it much easier, especially if one is on your back. The weight is easier to manage, you can fling your bag up on the luggage rack or under your seat. You can also leave one bag in storage along the way if you decide to take off for a short time with only one bag. Clothes that layer are best with a few scarves to dress up and for warmth.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 04:43 AM
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If you can do it, consider just One bag (pretend you're going to take a flight on RyanAir).

I offer the idea because when traveling with a purse in addition to travel bag, small though my purse is, keeping track of two items while on the go is a real PITA!

Wear one set of clothes, pack one or two more and pj's in the bag, wash as you go along and buy a new top or two as first ones wear out or you get heartily sick of them
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Aug 15th, 2013, 05:07 AM
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Laundry every night? I've got better things to do with my evenings. Instead, I go to a laundromat, or whatever the local jargon calls it, once a week or every 10 days. In less than two hours I've washed and dried while getting a glimpse of everyday life in a neighbourhood. Some will have staff to run the machines, raising the fee but to nowhere near as much as a hotel service.
You can Google to find locations in big cities. Villages may not have the service but you're not likely to stay there more than a day or two, so plan ahead.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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"Laundry every night? I've got better things to do with my evenings." It takes me less than 5 minutes to wash a shirt, socks and undies. I probably spend more time brushing my teeth and washing my face.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 07:43 AM
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well, not me, there isn't any way I could wash a shirt, socks and undies in 5 minutes. First, you have to let them soak a while, obviously, if you are washing them. I let things soak about 10 minutes, swishing a few times in-between. And you can't use the same water for those things, so that is 3 different sinkfuls (I would never stick stinky socks in with my underwear, and shirts would take up the whole sink). And you have to thoroughly rinse them, which is another rinse sinkful 3 times.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 07:45 AM
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I put things in the sink to soak while I shower. I swish them around a bit, rinse, then hang in the shower to drip. It takes no time.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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wash your clothes in the shower. Chuck them in, and trample them down when you're showering.

Use your socks like gloves and wash your body while wearing them.

Rinse thoroughly - job done easy peasy!
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Aug 15th, 2013, 08:00 AM
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Get a wheeled duffle. They don't weigh as much as other luggage.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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This post belongs on the 'travel tips' sub-forum. People who post there may not read the Europe forum. Your question is not about the geographic area (Europe). So you may want to post on that sub-forum as well as here.

First, I would suggest you discount any poster who suggests a suitcase and any who suggests washing clothes less often than every 1-3 nights. I doubt any of them have travelled for 3 months at a stretch.

Second, you need to know that your biggest enemy is weight. While someone spending 2 weeks somewhere, staying in hotels and taking a taxi from the airport does not need to be as concerned about weight, for what you plan macktec, weight is the primary criteria to consider.

Lightweight means different things to different people. Someone for example who says, 'I go to a laundromat, or whatever the local jargon calls it, once a week or every 10 days', has no idea of what lightweight really is.

Lightweight travel is when everything you carry including your pack itself weighs in the 7-8kg. range. That is the target you should be aiming for. Few of those responding to you here will travel with a pack/suitcase in that range.

As for washing, the Rule of 3s for packing tells you, 'one to wear, one to wash, one to spare.' That is all you need whether travelling for 3 days or 3 years. You wash things in the sink every 1 or 2 days obviously. And yes, it takes 5-10 minutes and is no different than brushing your teeth. You treat it as just part of your before bed routine.

You have been given some good suggestions as well as some that haven't a clue. The short answer to your actual questions are, yes, you can travel with a small backpack in the 30-35L range. I use one that is 29L. No, you can't do it and not wash frequently. No, you don't have to smell like a homeless person.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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Here is my 'three season' packing list macktec. I don't know if you are male or female so I have left in comments that refer to my wife. The list should work for you if you stay away from extreme cold weather but obviously you can add/subtract some items as you feel you need to.

Over time, my wife and I have refined our packing list to reach a balance between comfort/safety and weight.

So here is my packing list:

*Pack Vaude Triset 25+4. I’ve had this pack for a few years now and the fit for me is excellent. I like the Aeroflex back and find that with a wicking t-shirt my back stays dry (sweat free) all day. Since I won’t be carrying a tent, stove, sleeping bag, etc. it’s more than big enough.

*3 wicking T-shirts* Columbia Omni-Wick. 2 short sleeve and one long sleeve. I may try one of Columbia’s new Omni-Freeze instead of the standard Omni-Wick I’m used to.
*2 long sleeve shirts* Royal Robbins Expedition Light. Light weight, wicking, UV protection, low wrinkle and smart enough looking for anywhere.
*3 pair pants* North Face Paramount Peak. These are convertible to shorts (zip-off legs) and easy to wash and dry overnight.
*1 rain jacket* North Face Venture. Packable into one of it’s own pockets.
*1 down vest* Ralph Lauren. A lightweight down vest that can pack into it’s own pocket. Don’t ask, it was a gift but I have to say at least it doesn’t have a big RL logo on it anywhere.
*3 pr. Underwear* Icebreaker 150 merino wool. Keep you cool, don’t smell, feel great and dry quite quickly.
*3 pr. Socks* Rohner original merino wool medium weight. I’ve worn this brand for many years. Arguably the best hiking sock made.
*1 pr. Hiking boots* New Balance H710 Very light, breathable and fit like my skin. These were the first light weight hiking boots made. In 1984, Lou Whittaker wore one of the first pair to the top of the North Col of Mt. Everest. They’ll take you anywhere you are likely to go.

Other items:
*1 first aid kit* My own assembly of items.
*1 toiletry kit* The usual but only smaller quantities ie. Toothpaste. A 4 oz. bottle of Couglan’s concentrated camp soap will wash anything you can wash in water. You, your clothes, your hair, dishes, etc. You use a very small amount so it will usually last around 3 months.
*Miscellaneous* A swiss army knife (never leave home without it), compass, map, baseball hat, 2 – 1 litre plastic water bottles, bandana, small LED flashlight, space blanket, sunglasses, matches, a couple of energy bars. The ‘ten essentials of backpacking’ are covered. Also passport,tickets, money, bank cards, etc. (no wallet, I use my pockets).

Here is my weight chart. Pounds rounded up to 2 decimal places.

Pack: 1200 grams/2.64 lbs.
T-shirts: (4.8oz. x 2, 6.2oz. x 1= 15.8 oz.) 448 grams/0.99 lbs.
Shirts: (5.0 oz. x 2 = 10.0 oz.) 284 grams/0.63 lbs.
Pants: (17.6 oz. x 3 = 52.8 oz.) 1500 grams/3.30 lbs.
Rain Jacket: 400 grams/0.88 lbs.
Down Vest: 284 grams/0.63 lbs.
Underwear: (3.0oz. x 3 = 9.0 oz.) 85 grams/0.56 lbs.
Socks: (2.82 oz. x 3 = 8.46 oz.) 80 grams/0.53 lbs.
Hiking boots: 454 grams/1.00 lbs.
First aid kit: 354 grams/0.78 lbs.
Toiletry kit: 340 grams/0.75 lbs.
Miscellaneous: (approximate) 454 grams/1.00 lbs.

Total all items: 6.21 kg./13.69 lbs.

Off course you have to add the weight of water carried, 1 or 2 litres at 1kg/2.2lbs. per litre as well as a ‘picnic lunch’ when hiking usually. Say another .5kg/1.1 lbs. But then you have to subtract what I am wearing and therefore not carrying in the pack. That can be as low as 1.15 kg./2.54 lbs. (shorts, t-shirt, socks, underwear, boots).

Total carried (dry weight): 5.06kg./11.16 lbs.

Maximum load carried (wet weight): 7 .56 kg./16.67 lbs.
I’d love to break that 7 kg. maximum but just can’t see how to get there without sacrificing comfort or safety. Of course I am well under it when in a town or on the plane.

My wife’s weights are slightly less primarily due to smaller clothes sizes and therefore slight weight reductions on each item. She carries a small make-up kit instead of a first aid kit and her miscellaneous items differ as well. On our next trip she will carry her Ipad 3 for taking photos, making calls (Skype) and internet access. It’s relatively heavy at 652 grams/1.44 lbs. but she feels it’s worth it. Overall her list is basically the same for clothing. Her total dry weight is just under 5 kg./11 lbs. Her wet weight is almost right on the 7 kg. mark.

I call this the 3 for 3 pack. Good for three seasons and any number of days from 3 to infinity. Whether on a city break or in the country; whether travelling for 7 days or 7 months, on streets or hiking trails, it makes no difference.

The only other item sometimes added is a pair of Teva sandals. They are only added if it will be really hot weather or we plan on visiting beaches. They weigh 680 grams/1.50 lbs. but generally when we need them we don’t need a rain jacket or down vest and so the overall weight remains the same. If travelling alone, some items that are shared would have to be carried by the individual and would increase overall weight by perhaps 7-8%.

The key to successful packing is to always take the lowest weight item you can find that will do the job. Look for multiple use items (like camp soap) that can replace several individual items. My wife adds, colour co-ordinate everything to look good. Pack smart, not heavy.

This may provide a specific list for those new to backpacking to compare their own lists to and see where they could save some weight and add to their comfort. Feel free to question or comment.

One thing I can guarantee you. Anyone who does not know the weight of every item they pack, is carrying too much weight. Again, ALWAYS, ALWAYS look for the lowest weight example of any item you need to take. That is the ONLY way to travel truly lightweight.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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Improviser, you must have known my dad... He would chop the handles off toothbrushes to save weight. If he were still around, he'd probably use those 'finger' toothbrushes meant for dogs.

Your commentary was spot on. I'm just not sure the OP has thought through what traveling light for 90 days really means.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 02:49 PM
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These posts on luggage always show people's different preferences and prejudices. The key things to remember, as indicated above, are weight (including the weight of your empty bag) and size. Personally, I take the same amount for 1 week as 12 when I travel. Luggage is a necessary evil where definitely less is better.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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The difference in this situation is that the OP's trip will run from early fall to early winter and, presumably, from one end of Europe to another. That requires a different approach to packing.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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Jean, as a long time wilderness backpacker I have known quite a few people who cut off toothbrush handles to save weight. Your Father would wasn't really a fanatic unless he also drilled holes in the remaining half handle to further reduce the weight. ;-)

Many weight saving ideas come from wilderness backpacking experience. Some have made the transfer to more mainstream travel while others have not.

It always surprises me that more travellers who profess to want to 'travel light', don't look to wilderness backpackers for ideas on how to do so. The saying in wilderness backpacking circles goes like this.

'The ultimate backpacker is s/he who travels with the least weight and the most safety and comfort.'

Here is a good article on the subject. http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advi...ckpacking.html

When looking at weights they show etc. remember they include shelter, cooking gear, bed (sleeping bag+pad) and food so are heavier than a traveller as normally meant on this forum should need. Instead, what you find is the the average traveller you encounter here will be carrying MORE weight. Makes absolutely no sense to me.
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Aug 15th, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Hello Travelinstyle46.
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