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Budget Travel Gear Yo Nellie, which backpack should I git? Questions and answers on gear related topics (i.e. backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, hiking boots, stoves, etc.).

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Old 10-29-2005, 11:38 AM   #1
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Howdy all,

I'm looking to go backpacking for 1-2 months in Europe come February. I am currently looking at rucksacks and other equipment that I will need to bring with me. It will mostly be city travel, so no camping gear needed.

Currently I've fallen in love with the FSN 95 GTX by Asolo, found here:

Asolo FSN 95 GTX

As far as rucksacks I'm still clueless as to how much space I will need. I read the posts on what to bring (many things I hadn't thought of) and it doesn't seem that it would take up *that* much space. I would rather avoid a massive pack since I won't be camping, but again I'm not sure how much room I need.

I'm looking at something like this Planet 60+20S as it doesn't seem too massive, has the zip off daypack and internal frame.

My largest concern at the moment is footwear. I would like something that I can hike and travel in. I will probably need some spiffy shoes for going out or something, but I plan to use the boots almost exclusively while traveling. Is this a reasonable expectation?

Your opinions are much apreciated.
Thanks,

Volpe
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Old 10-29-2005, 11:42 AM   #2
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Also: I read earlier the evils of cotton clothing for travel. Could someone explain to me what other materials are better for clothes and why? I've grown up with cotton and my folks taught me polyester is evil. Help!

-Volpe
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Old 10-29-2005, 11:47 AM   #3
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One more thing.

Would you suggest ordering shoes from online, or going in to a shop? I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to find outdoors/hiking shops in London. Has anyone had experience with buying shoes online? I'm a little weary, though most seem to have a size exchange policy and such, so it seems plausable.

Okay okay, I'll give someone else time to respond this time... really. ^_^

-Volpe
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Old 10-29-2005, 12:13 PM   #4
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Quite the loaded set of questions my new friend!
First off welcome to TPUNK!

Ok first question - Are you a light packer? Cause if not then you won't be if you don't have something close to 4500cu in. (i think that translates to 70liters) Personally the bag I travel with is 3500cu in (55-60litres) and a 1700 cu in daypack. I love it and it's the perfect size for me, but I travel very very light.

Secondly - Don't buy hiking boots man. Get yourself some comfortable trainers and wear those, bring along a nice pair of shoes for clubs and a pair of flipflops but for just backpacking the euro trip hiking boots are way overkill. However if your heart is set then Asolo are great shoes. As far as where to purchase, I would suggest trying to find a store that has that brand and trying them on to make sure of your size and then finding the best deal online. Like I said I travel in my sneakers and a pair of Chaco flipflop sandalsmost clubs I went to were fine with letting me in like that.

Cotton can be bad for traveling if you don't plan on washing your clothes frequently, it also doesnt breathe as well as some materials like polypropolene and other "outdoorsy" fabrics. I would need to know more about what your planning on doing, but I would say if you are just stickin to the city loops then whatever you wear at home will treat you just fine. It's when you start doing week-long jungle hikes that you need to think about something other than cotton.



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Old 10-30-2005, 03:56 AM   #5
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TheJake,

Thanks for the welcome, and the info!

I would like to be a light packer, but i have like no experience with it, so I don't know if I can make that claim or not.

Trainers? I'm willing to take suggestions. Do certain brands hold up better than others? I've been wearing my work shoes from home and my feet are not loving the strain. Public transport rocks here, but you still walk alot, so I've been overdo for some good shoes for a while.

So cotton should be okay with the city dweller in me then? I plan to take some long distance hiking/camping type adventures in the future, but not while I'm here. (I've always wanted to hike the distance of the Pacific Crest Trail!)

Thanks again for the info,

-Volpe

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Old 10-30-2005, 05:06 AM   #6
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The problem with cotton is that it doesn't wick moisture away from the skin. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect and traps moisture against the skin, causing possible chafing, itching, and other discomfort. In the case of socks, this means blisters after a lot of walking. For shirts, it translates to extra sweat and dirtiness, and less efficient temperature management.

However, not all the answers are synthetic. Some of the best socks for long-distance/period wear are wool. You wouldn't think that, but wool can be cooler in the long run by keeping your feet dry and better ventilated than cotton socks.

Base-layer shirts are often synthetic, but if you want to avoid fake materials in that department, there are silk-based shirts/underwear/sock-liners that do a great job of keeping moisture away from the skin, while circulating air.

It's alright to wear cotton over these layers, though, so long as the items aren't in heavy contact with the skin.
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Old 10-30-2005, 01:54 PM   #7
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The pack that you posted looks pretty good. Vango is a good brand with high quality gear (I use their sleeping bags). Yea, don't use hiking boots for city walking. Hiking boots are for hiking outdoors.
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Old 10-30-2005, 09:48 PM   #8
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I'm with the other guys. I hike with real hikers: Merrell Chameleon II's. They are waterproof, etc etc etc. I travel with other footwear.

Cost me $120, and are phenomenal around town while I'm breaking them in.

Link goodness: http://merrellfootwear.com/Shop/Detail.asp...-O-CHM&PID=9774


I also carry Teva's in the pack and flips for the shower.


As for buying stuff online, I've posted here about my pack buying adventures on Ebay, but i checked them out at the local REI before I bid. I don't ever buy shoes online unless I've owned them before and am replacing them. Never know if they are cut differently, etc etc etc.
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Old 11-04-2005, 10:52 AM   #9
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Well, 5th day in Scotland, lots and lots of walking this trip, and my feet want new shoes! I went for a jog in the bog (snicker) and my shoes took two days to dry out, yick.

On a side note, Scotland is BEAUTIFUL!

I have been doing a lot of trail hiking, as well as muddy slippery slopes. Have to admit I love it, and I suspect having appropriate foot wear would be helpful. Are there half-breed hiking/walking shoes? I've gotten another urge for boots, though I suspect anything else would have been better than my ancient work shoes.

Thanks again.

-Volpe
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Old 11-04-2005, 04:00 PM   #10
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some merrell trail shoes would do the job mate. Or some cross-country running shoes. They are my shoe of choice for everything.
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Old 11-19-2005, 04:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Volpe@Oct 29 2005, 09:42 AM
Also: I read earlier the evils of cotton clothing for travel. Could someone explain to me what other materials are better for clothes and why? I've grown up with cotton and my folks taught me polyester is evil. Help!

-Volpe
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The main task of the inner layer is to keep you warm and move vapor away from the body. There are two alternatives, synthetic fibre underwear, which absorbs very little vapour and transports it away from the body. Or wool, which may absorb moisture up to 18% of its own weight without giving the feeling of being wet while still keeping its insulation characteristics. What you prefer, is for you to decide. But note that wool has a unique characteristic in that it absorbs less unwanted “odour” and so it may feel (and smell) more comfortable when you use the same garment for several days.


The middle layer must be warm and insulating - suitable for low level activities as well as for rest stops. Again, there are two alternatives; wool or fleece of synthetic fibre. As for underwear, wool absorbs moisture and becomes heavier, while fleece in synthetic fibre has both insulating and vapor transportation characteristics. Another advantage of fleece is that it dries faster, but it is really up to you to decide what you prefer.


The outer layer should be windproof and moisture permeable and it is a great advantage if it is waterproof.


cotton underwear is often frowned upon in cold weather because Cotton absorbs and accumulates moisture next to the skin during strenous activity. Heat from the skin will cause the moisture to evaporate and drop the body’s core temperature. Cotton also reduces moisture penetration through layers and to the outside.

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Old 12-08-2005, 10:42 PM   #12
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I don't know if you have ever heard of New Balance. they are an american footwear company that sells very, very comfortable and durable shoes for an amazing price. they are much cheaper then other brands of the same level, but anyways, i'm straying from my point. I have a pair of OFF ROAD 905 running shoes/cross trainers and they are amazing. they offer great support for when your going to be in your shoes for hours and hours and they have a very unique sole on them. I have run with them in mud, ice, rain and dry road and they would definetly be substantial for what you would be using them for. they are my pair of go-anywhere-do-anything shoes. they are very comfortable and i don't feel like my feet are still when i'm in them. check them out.

good luck!
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:36 PM   #13
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I have those boots. They're great, but I only wear them when...

1) I'm going somewhere where I know it'll be wet or snow-covered or cold
2) I'm backpack camping, on trails, with a heavy load.

For anything else I think they're overkill, even though they are one of the lightest "real" hiking boots out there. If you bring that enormous pack you may want them anyway, but you can get by with a much smaller pack and much smaller shoes.

If you want to pack light, you need something you can wash in the sink or shower at night and have it dry and nearly wrinkle-free in the morning. Cotton will accomplish neither of those things, so that is why it should be avoided. Don't even bring cotton underwear. Get something like Ex Officio synthetic underwear, or equivelent (I have the REI branded stuff). Same goes for socks- light and quick drying (cotton is neither- bulky and slow drying).
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