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Old 04-10-2008, 10:44 AM   #1
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Default How to pack?

I'm going to Europe next month for 3 weeks. It's a short trip, I never pack much, and I hear 1000 times to pack light. The problem is I don't know what size bag they mean by "light".

There is a backpack sale today for 45-50L bags. They seem pretty reasonable. Do you generally bring a large backpack and then a small daypack? I have worried leaving a large bag in hostels, and I wouldn't want to carry a big one around.

So pretty much my options are;

A.) Get one reasonably small bag and keep it at all times
B.) A big bag and day pack, risk leaving the big pack in a hostel which may not have lockers.


What should I do?

Last edited by joe7f; 04-10-2008 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:47 AM   #2
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fixed -joe7f

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Old 04-10-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
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People staying in hostels tend to be fairly trustworthy. If you pick reasonably reputable places, you can leave your stuff around. In Lagos, I know people who would leave money on the table in the common room and pick it up the next day. That's a bit extreme but if you have your pack without valuables in your room, no one wants your old sweaty clothes

I have never had a problem in the roughly 30 hostels I have stayed in.

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Old 04-10-2008, 10:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for fixing my post

It's good that I can trust hostels then. The valuables I would need to take with me are; Money belt items, small digital camera, and my nintendo DS. I don't know if that requires a daypack or not.

The other problem is the airline i'm flying with. They will charge me over 100 euros if I pack too much. I only have 20 kilo's of check-in baggage, and I don't know if I can wing it having only carry on. I assume i'd need a really small bag.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:06 AM   #5
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You will have a much better time the less you take. The lighter and smaller the bag the easier it is. You can always pick things up there that you need too. Most hostels will have lockers too so lock up your valuables and leave all your clothes and cap in your bag. I would recommend taking a small daypack to run around with, while leaving your big pack at the hostel.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:14 AM   #6
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I certainly hope you don't have more than 20 kilos! I normally have a daypack and a bigger bag. My check in normally hovers around the 12-kg mark, and that would be for a trip of indefinite length. Hostels have generally been safe for me to leave stuff at, although I have been a little more lax than I should be. Just keep your valuables with you and maybe bring something to lock your backpack to the bedposts with (or at least lock the zippers together) if there aren't any lockers...if it's not entirely burglar-proof at least it doesn't make you the easiest target...which is often what it's all about!

Pack all the clothes you think you want, and then unpack and throw half of them out, and that's probably more than you need.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:27 PM   #7
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Picked this up for 45 bones about 10 minutes ago. A bit of an impulse buy, it was on sale and they were going fast. Other bags in my area are about 200-300 so it was hard to say no. It's a 60L which should be plenty for me.

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Old 04-10-2008, 12:40 PM   #8
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60L will definitely be fine for 3 weeks. I agree that you should pack twice, the second time eliminating lots of things
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:29 PM   #9
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Go with your option B: big bag and a small bag.

When you think about it, you'll only need to lug around the big bag every couple of days, so its a small price to pay for the extra clothes, pills, books, etc, that you can fit in.

Here's what you'll experience with option A (ie. just packing a daypack and nothing else): The thing with packing light is that its much simplier and easier to move around, but DAMN is it dirtier! Light packing is for people who can wear a pair of pants and t-shirt for a week at a time. Otherwise prepare to do constant laundry... which is also a pain.

So I prefer to pack a little heavier, just for the convenience of it all - ie. having a big bag and small bag. Pros and cons weighed, it makes life easier.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathma View Post
B.) A big bag and day pack, risk leaving the big pack in a hostel which may not have lockers.
Hmm i just saw you bought a bag.

But just to respond to your inital comment... no one in the hostel is gonna want to steal a smelly-ass bag. :D
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Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

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Old 04-10-2008, 04:43 PM   #11
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har! this is where being a hippy comes in handy! no sanitary items, not much clothes...loL!

but yeah 60l is waaaay enough in europe for 3 weeks...dont pack it to the brim. just remember that empty space is nice space for your back.

do what hwey says, i do a similar thing where i pack a week or so before then repack the night before, after trying the pack on. youll chuck out loads of stuff you dont need, trust.

write a list of the NECESSITIES e.g. 5 pairs of knickers a few bras and socks, 1 tshirt, 2 vests, jeans, shorts swimming costume and bare essential other shit like toiletires.

ive been away for 4 weeks before with a normal 'daypack' but i have no shame in wearing the same shit day in day out. i also walk around barefoot so dont lug shoes with me, i take sandals and sock shoes if its cold. take 1 of everything you need and if its something you think you really need take 2 or 3 if its essential. remember in europe there will be lots of laudry places or you can always handwash if its warm.

dont take loads of toiletries you dont need them. buy em when you get there in small amounts and give away when you leave.

the emphasis is on making sure you can carry all the 'good stuff' e.g. valuables in a daypack comfortably. from what it sounds like youll have no problem, remember to use a good daypack though e.g. dont use open pockets

distirubte your moniez around (dont put it all in one place) and youll be fine
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:08 PM   #12
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I just bought a pack for 6 weeks in Europe. 17 litres! I have to go stuff everything in there and see but I'm pretty sure I will even have room to spare. I need to take a walk and see how comfortable it is as well. if not, I will upgrade for other ones I saw that I liked that were around 22 litres. I'm pretty proud of myself for going so light and at the same time I can't see what else I could need =)



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Am I crazy?

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Old 04-12-2008, 09:57 PM   #13
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meh, I walked around my house with it on & fully packed & even that made my shoulders sore. maybe it's too heavy or not fitted right, I don't know, but I'm going to take it back, with the load in it, and pack it into others to see if there's something better for me. and maybe try to eliminate more stuff, although I'm not sure that's possible.

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Old 04-13-2008, 09:40 AM   #14
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^^^did you weigh your loaded pack ? The best is to keep it under 35 lbs. 25-30 is the ideal weight, and also in that way there's room for souvenirs.

Another tip, the heaviest things should not be kept on the top of the backpack.
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atchoum View Post
Another tip, the heaviest things should not be kept on the top of the backpack.
YES, the first time I packed it the heavy stuff was on top and it was super uncomfortable. Much better when I re-packed, good tip =)

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Old 04-13-2008, 08:54 PM   #16
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With packing, it's key to go light as possible - even 20 - 25 lbs starts to weigh on you over time. Having a big pack doesn't always help - just because you can fit a grand piano in the pack doesn't mean you need to carry one!

You also want to think about just how much walking with your pack you'll be doing - is it just through the airport to a cab and from the cab to the hostel? You could pack all you darn well please then. You will be able to find laundry facilities nearly everywhere, so having a whole lot of outerwear isn't really necessary, but underwear and socks are important...

The daypack/backpack idea is really good - you don't need everything with you in order to go touring, but generally you will carry more than you would normally at home - souvenirs, cell phone, passport, camera, spare batteries, changing weather gear (if you're out from morning to evening, the temperature will likely change enough for you to want to bring a jacket, for example) - these things can't simply be left in the car nearby, so you wind up carrying them. I really like having a small daypack to cover all these necessities.

Or you can simply go with my grandfather's philosophy "Pack light and carry plenty of cash"
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:59 PM   #17
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haha nice light packing there! im hpoing to get down to 40l this summer, for a 3-4 month trip in asia. about a third of that is taken up by electrical goods that are well necisaary for my trip (massive slr camera for starters!) another third or so is clothes/medications/running shoes the other third is kept spare for things like something to drink/food/souveniers etc. a few years back i moved a load of my stepmums stuff back to the uk from asia, i was carring a 100l rucksack FULL TO THE BRIM on my back, a massive suitcase and a weekend pack. i made it home ok and i regularly take the 100l out to festivals (full of blankets!) then again, im a very strong girl and 100l TBH doesnt bother me too much if its packed ok and secure - but for some it is daunting

the most important thing is to make sure your comfortable when travelling, try going out with it packed late at night or when you are tired and groggy - dont try it when your full of energy as this wont always be the case!
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:51 PM   #18
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oh, and yes - if you plan on actually doing some walking with the pack on, getting one that fits correctly is really important - too long and it will make you suffer, too short and when the pack is full, it won't be supported correctly on your hips with the belt on.

Most of my backpack travel has been where I've been camping with it, so we're talking miles of walking over crap terrain, and once you've forgotten something, you'll have to live without it...

Frankly, you can use a good backpack for all kinds of traveling, so you might as well invest in a good one.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:55 AM   #19
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^Not only can you, you SHOULD. I know some people may think they can skimp on buying a pack to save the 200 bucks and instead use a rolling suitcase or duffelbag but it is a false economy.

Make sure your shoes and your bag are of exceptional quality....everything else doesn't matter that much.

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Old 05-04-2008, 01:00 PM   #20
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Also remember that the art of packing is very important, here are a few of my tips:
- Like others said, pack several times to get a feel for what you need and can carry. Taking a weekend trip to a friends before you go? Load your ruck and not your suitcase. Test it out.

- Pack in the same order everytime - have a standardized layout for your pack. Obviously heavy things no higher than halfway up the pack. Frequently used items near the top or near access holes. Think about the order of the things you will need. AKA top access carry first aid, lights, lighter, etc, maps, cameras, etc, documents. Things of lesser priority (clothes, etc) at the bottom of the pack. Although, keep a coat and a pair of socks near the top for easy access. AKA have one change of clothes fairly accessible. Rummaging through your pack in the middle of the night looking for a flashlight when you really need it can suck. You can memorize where everything in your ruck is if you keep a standardized layout. Also if you have a travel partner and you know how they pack, and they have a standard layout, you can easily grab stuff from their pack in a pinch (first aid, cigarettes, whatever).

- Organize your pack: compression or mesh bags and keep things seperate. AKA dirty laundry, underwear bag, etc.

- Roll everything up. Anything large or long, like jeans or a travel towel, roll that sucker tight. Maybe even bring elastics to keep it nice and tight. You'd be surprised how many pairs of pants you can carry when they are in tube form. When you are not going to be in your pack for a long time, having everything tightly packed can be a bonus (but don't go extremely tight on the ruck straps, you do need some flex).

- Lose straps are your enemy. Once you fit the pack to your back, you know there will be lengths of strap you don't need. You can cut them shorter (be careful, ask your parents if you need help ) and then re-sew the stopper at the end. Also you can 'snail' the lose straps. Its hard to explain, but you thread the end of the strap back through the clasp and roll the end inside of itself. It makes a nice roll that won't get stuck in doors, etc.

- Fasten your pack and make sure its properly adjusted to your back (have a professional do this). Hope you spent some time on the pack selection. Once it is firmed up and you are on the move, jump up and down, sway side to side, up and down. This will do a number of things: any straps ready to break will do so and its better to know about it before you go on the move and have it break at an inopportune time. Also it will losen it up and let you know if you still have to make any adjustments to the straps, fitting.

- Bungee cords are your friend. Always lash these to the outside of your pack. Great for carrying extra things, or say if you need to dry out some clothes (have on the outside of your ruck). Also useful to hold a garbage bag or mini tarp over your pack in rain.

- Security: I like to carry a cable with a loop on each end. I think it was a bike lock, but since you will be carrying a padlock with you, you can use it and a cable to lock your pack to something (a pole, etc). That way you can use your padlock for lockers and then the cable + lock for times when there is no locker access. You can lash this cable to the outside of your pack.

Those are just a few tips I have accrued!
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