Jun 6, 2010 at 12:13 am #1259829
So I'm headed across the pond between July 9-19th. I know this isnt a 'travel' forum, but the folks here are some of the most knowledgeable online regarding gear/backpacking. After a few days doing some business in Paris, I'd like to see the country and would like to minimize my packing.
I have MHW Koa 55L pack (M), and would like to take that on the plane with me, as well as my clothes and 13" MBP.
Should I get a smaller bag to take with me on this trip? Has anyone had any success flying with a 50l+ pack?
Much thanks in advanceJun 6, 2010 at 4:59 am #1617223
@opishingLocale: Northern Ontario
I have traveled in France/Spain twice now and North Africa once, each trip for 3 weeks, with a 65 l pack as my checked luggage. I had a duffel for it the first time, and then packed the duffel in the pack. The second time to France I had it wrapped at the airport on the way over. Didn't bother with that for the return flight, and didn't bother with wrapping or duffel when I went to Africa, and had no problems.Jun 6, 2010 at 5:09 am #1617225
Sieto van der HeideMember
@sietoLocale: The Netherlands
I recently used my 70l GoLite Pinnacle as carry-on, though not entirely full. If you keep the total volume in your pack below 35/40l and within acceptable dimenstions, you should be fine. Make sure it's easy to get your MBP out of the pack (you can't leave it in the pack when you go through airport security).Jun 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm #1617375
Thanks for the advice guys, but I would certainly rather not have to check in my bag. Any suggestions?Jun 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm #1617387
I have gone on a number of month-long travel trips carrying just one 30L size pack. Last year, I traveled around the world for seven months using the same 30L pack. It was barely more than half full.
For trips where you aren't carrying equipment intensive or severe winter gear, there is no earthly reason why you can't manage with a 30L pack. Not a competition or anything, but I know people who travel with 25L packs.Jun 6, 2010 at 6:17 pm #1617393
@biointegraLocale: Puget Sound
Agreed. You should need no more than 25-30 liters. I just did an urban SUL business trip with a Zpacks.com Zero pack, which is 1400 cubic inches and had room to spare. I had my 13" MBP inside the pack, but inside a sleeve with handles and packed a 2 oz. sling in order to carry it through the airport or for use when I needed to access the computer more frequently (i.e. in between appointments).
Pack for warm weather!
Yes, if at all possible, never check a bag. I have heard plenty of nightmare stories and have had one of my own bags eviscerated (An 60l Arc'teryx bag made out of mostly Dyneema grid). It looked like someone had driven a sword through the side of the pack and unfortunately straight into the double bagged toiletries…shampoo and toothpaste everywhere.
In france, stick to the small towns and you should find reasonably priced lodging in quaint inns. Go south!Jun 7, 2010 at 2:41 am #1617483Jun 7, 2010 at 8:22 am #1617534
I've been fortunate enough to have travelled to 52 countries in my life. Yes I'm old at 47 years. I've carried the same Kelty Redwing 3100 (50 Liter) pack. I love this pack for traveling, because it's NOT top loading. Sure the pack has been modified by Kelty over the years, but it's still the same pack. There's nothing worse than emptying out everything from a top loaded pack to get to that one item at the bottom. I've carried this bag on planes and stuffed it in the overheads. In 1997 I spent 9 months travelling overland from South Africa to Egypt. I had my tent, sleeping back and pad…along with clothes. In France you won't need your camping gear, so you'll have plenty of extra room. I will admit that I travel very light…when it comes to clothes. 3 years ago I spent 6 weeks in Madacascar and at day 9 I realized I was still wearing the same clothes I had when I left home. I changed into my only other pair of pants and other shirt.
You can always wash clothes. Whether you're travelling for 10 days or 9 months you'll bring the exact same stuff. At least that's my experience.Jun 8, 2010 at 8:30 am #1617867
If you're thinking of buying a smaller bag, I love the Osprey Porter 46. It's the right size for carry-on luggage on any airliner and it converts to a backpack easily. It's an Osprey, so super strong, and has compression straps, which are ideal when the bag is half full.
Donna has a link to a pack list including the Osprey Porter 46.Jun 8, 2010 at 11:18 am #1617914
The Porter 46 is an excellent choice. It's carry-on size. However, because of its rectangular design — you get full use of the 46 liters — no weird angles, etc. to compromise usable space. This thing can pack more than a lot of 50 or 50+ liter packs. Great for folks who don't want to check their bags but haven't (or couldn't) size down to just a day pack.
One final note: while a great travel pack (most travelers "hike" just a mile or two between the train station and their hostel) — the frame and suspension aren't the same caliber as "real" hiking packs. So not ideal if you will be hauling a heavy load and hiking for hours on end.Jun 8, 2010 at 11:46 am #1617927
There are tons of generic and brand name carry-on wheeled bags out there that have a sleeve to hide the shoulder straps in when using it as a bag. They have telescoping handles. When we traveled in China mostly by train and bus those wheels were a tremendous relief in the huge train stations, airports, sky-bridges, streets , etc. The weight penalty is very small and best of all you only have to wear the pack up stairwells or over muddy sections.The top rated Jansport in this review is available on ebay for about $70 and weighs very little.http://www.consumersearch.com/backpacks/rolling-backpacksJun 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm #1617932
I like the looks of the Osphrey 46 the others are commenting on. The Osphrey or Kelty would work great in place of your MHW pack. As mentioned above your walking will be minimal when going from train to hostel. I don't beleive you'll need to bring your 13" Mac Book. I had to look it up to see what it was…..again…old. You can find internet services on every block. You'll have to carry your computer every time you leave your room. You don't want to risk it being stolen. Is it worth the effort to carry it along with your camera at all times? I'm just throwing it out there.Jun 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm #1617933
If you plan to actually carry the backpack often, I wouldn't recommend the Porter 46. It has no frame, a hipbelt basically just webbing, and some half-hearted shoulder straps. It's an awesome pack for business travel, etc! But if you plan to keep it on your back for more than thru the airport to the taxi, etc, I'd look elsewhere.
The Jam or Pinnacle could be good. Also consider the Osprey Kestrel series, great value for a pack… maybe the 38L? Other considerations: new Osprey Stratos 36 has a panel load; Gregory Z65 has a massive panel load, and will compress down pretty tiny; Deuter Spectro AC 38 is another panel loader. Any of these would be better if you plan to keep the pack on for many hours a day.
I prefer a "one big tube"-style backpack for backcountry travel, but front country stuff is a lot easier if you can just reach in and grab a pair of pants w/o digging everything out of the pack… which is why I recommended several panel loaders.Jun 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm #1617940
@tallblokeLocale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
I sold an osprey transporter recently, and I'm regretting it. It was a lot better than the new model in terms of protecting your kit I reckon.
When Kath and I went to Spain and Sardinia last year handbaggage only, we had shelter and cook gear too. I had 7kg including some food when we left, she had 5kg. I was using a prototype GG pack weighing 135g, she had a golite ion.Jun 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm #1618055
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
I haven't read the whole thread, so sorry if this is mentioned already, but look into the MEI convertible carry on packs. These have very comfy padded suspension – hip belt and shoulder straps with aluminum stays – which hide away neatly – and are very comfortable as backpacks when you need them to be a backpack. Don't weigh much (certain sub 4 lbs) yet super durable cordura. My wife and I love ours and use them for most trips. Can't remember the name of the model, can look it up for you later. Ours are black, so that they can look like regular luggage when we need them to.Jun 9, 2010 at 2:59 am #1618196
LL Bean has the Quickloader which I use on occasion but not in backpack mode. Being small torso, the straps aren't short enough, but I can work with it. Overall, it's a great bag for carry on or sending thru baggage. Lifetime warrenty, too.Jun 9, 2010 at 4:19 am #1618197
For those who travel with techno-gear, here's a lightweight solution, at just an ounce.Jun 9, 2010 at 8:37 am #1618250
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I use an Eagle Creek convertible that works well and has a full suspension. It is *not* ultralight, but is bombproof. Rick Steves offers a similar bag that is 2500ci and about 3lbs (http://www.ebags.com/product/rick-steves-travel-gear/convertible-carry-on/122309?productid=1316964). I've done 3 week trips with a similar bag— in the Winter too. Supplement with a light shoulder bag or daypack. The Patagonia UL travel bags are good. I like a shoulder bag better for navigating large cities. Wearing a backpack in a crowded Parisian subway car will not make you popular!
I think the GoLite Peak would make a great carry-on. It is made to cinch down to reduce capacity, so you can use it as a day pack too.
Having a convertible or pack like the Peak avoids the baggage claim process and lost luggage, as well as making life easy getting on and off trains, subways, taxis, etc. I can't say enough about "one bag" travel.Jun 9, 2010 at 11:14 am #1618297
Thanks for the great repsonses guys, this forum is really a great resource (as is all of your folk's immense knowledge).
I think I am going to forgo the MBP and just bring my iPhone, should be enough.
My MHW Koa has panel and bottom access to getting stuff doesn't seem to be the problem.
If I were to shell out $$ for another pack, I would want something I could use for hikes and backpacking, so I would be wary to get the Porter. What about the Exos?Jun 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm #1618331
The majority of the packs listed above are made more specifically for travelers and not backpackers. They can all be used for backpacking but not as comfortable as one made just for it. The ones above are more for train/bus to hostel/hotel.
The Osprey EXOS series are great packs. They have an 'external' frame to them. They are very comfortable and light weight. It's top loading which is, to me, not great when I'm traveling. I don't mind it when I'm backpacking. What's the difference???…there is. The two external rods may make it difficult to shove it into a storage locker at a train station or……. You'll need to go and look at the dimensions of the size of Exos you are looking at….maybe the 46?Jun 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm #1618361
"If I were to shell out $$ for another pack, I would want something I could use for hikes and backpacking, so I would be wary to get the Porter. "
I totally agree — except the holy grail — the "do it all and do it the best" backpack is oh-so-elusive!! It's why so many of us have multiple packs!
Travel Pack — A travel pack — esp. one that may be checked in from time to time — needs to be built tough. Ideally, it also needs to afford protection for its straps and belt. And because few of us need to completely pack and unpack every time while on the road — it should be designed with easy opening and well thought out compartments for organization. Most travelers "hike" relatively short distances (e.g. train station to hostel) — so a beefier pack with different compartments (preferably lockable) and other features at a cost of an extra pound or two in weight is a sensible compromise.
Hiking Pack — When hoofing it for hours on end day after day — I care much more about comfort and light weight — and much less about "travel friendly" features!! When hiking, I bring only the essentials, and I don't add "souvenirs" along the way. And thus, I tend to unpack everything each night anyway — so a "one big hole" design is just fine — I really don't need a myriad of different zippable/lockable compartments! I also don't need beefy protection for straps and belt against airport conveyor belts.
As you can see, the needs for these two types of travels are very different — and some almost contradictory. But what if I plan to hike as part of my travel??
(1) If hiking is the greater part of the journey, then I'll bring my hiking pack. Comfort trumps convenience. I'll have to be very careful about protecting my hiking pack though.
(2) If just a day hike here or there — then I'd use my travel pack. I can always lighten the load by leaving unnecessary stuff in the hotel. Or I may bring along a supplementary UL backpack or day pack.
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