UL gear and planes

Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) UL gear and planes

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • Author
  • #1216290


    Comming fall I (hopefully) will finaly be using my new UL gear in Scotland. I live overseas in Holland and to get to Scotland there are 3 options:

    1/ Drive via the eurotunnel which is about 1300km say 13 hrs of driving (not an option),
    2/ Boat then train, which is expensive and will also take forever (also not an option),
    3/ Train, Fly, Train, which is cheapest and fastest.

    The problem with option 3 is that airport staff wil not handle my Gossamergear G4 pack with the amount of care an UL pach needs. Now I can put my G4 in a standard flight cover to protect it during flight but than i will have to carry 375 grams (13 oz) of flight cover during my hike.

    How do you protect your packs when flying, any suggestions????

    Thanx Eins

    Richard Nelridge
    BPL Member


    Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania

    I can not comment on how others are carrying their packs on a plane at this point. But could you lock the flight cover in a locker until you are going to return so you need not carry the cover on your hike?

    Einstein X
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Netherlands

    Yeah I could, but for a couple of pounds a day and for three weeks it will be quite expensive to shed those 13 oz.

    BPL Member


    How aboout putting your pack inside a heavy-duty trashbag (the kind use to haul garden trash)? Those things are extremely hard to tear, and they probably weigh less than half of your 13 oz. cover.

    Once on the trail, the trashbag can do double duty as a liner inside your pack. For Scotland, you will need some protection from the rain, right?

    jacob thompson


    Perhaps a strong tyvek bag would suffice. You can just throw it away when you get there.

    David Bonn


    Locale: North Cascades

    This last year I’ve flown to the east coast of the U.S. and to SoCal (from here in the north Cascades) with my gear in a duffel bag. What I did was box the duffel and my town clothes and mailed it (well, on the east coast it was UPS) to myself in a town near the terminus of my trip(s). This cost all of five dollars in each case.

    I’ve found that hotels and hostels can be enormously helpful about holding packages for guests, usually at no charge. Finding empty boxes to put your stuff in is almost never a problem either.

    I’d get a farily stout duffle and put all of your fragile gear inside your sleeping bag or quilt and wrap that with the your sleeping pad inside the duffle. That makes it less likely any other your stuff will be very mangled.

    Bigger problems these paranoid days are the baggage screeners. You can’t bring stove fuel or lighters or matches or liquid-fueld stoves in the states, period (I know the regulations on liquid-fueled stoves are a little more ambiguous, but you aren’t going to be in a position to argue with them if you ever want to get on a flight). A bigger problem is that the baggage screeners are often in a little bit of a hurry, and sometimes items won’t make it back into your bag… That can happen the other way, too. After I got back from SoCal there was a set of false teeth in my duffel. I don’t wear false teeth and they certainly weren’t in my gear when I packed it before I got onto the flights. Persistent calls to the airport and TSA led me on a wild-goose chase, and I realized that some poor toothless person was probably doing the same. I eventually tossed the teeth in the trash.

    BPL Member


    Wow, a set of false teeth! A bit off topic but…

    Last two weeks or so, an Australian women was sentenced for loooong jail time in Indonesia because she was caught traveling there with something like 10 pounds of drugs in her luggage. She claimed that the drugs weren’t hers and that her luggage had been tempered with by airport baggage handlers (there was supposedly a sting in Australia that revealed just that kind of operation in some Aussie airport).

    Very scary. No drug smuggler ever admits to knowing about the cargo. It’s always “somebody else must have planted it”. So when it happens, how do you defend yourself???

    Einstein X
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Netherlands

    The last time I was in Scotland I met a guy. We occasionally send email and the last couple of days I will hike with him. So I will probably send my flight cover together with some clean clothes to his place and sleep there the night before my flight back.

    But when I go to say Norway i still have the same problem since I do not know any Norwegians.

    The trash bag seems like a good idea though.


    Al Shaver
    BPL Member


    Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast

    Mailing the bag to your self care of “General Delivery” to be held for a few weeks works well in the states. As was suggested, hotels I’ve stayed in in South America have held large duffels full of gear for months. Another strategy: On the way out of the U.K. to cycle Europe before returning to pick hops in Kent I stashed in a youth hostel boiler room the board that I strapped to my bicycle to protect my derailleur in-flight. My U.K. maps and some tools and clothes were tossed in a plastic bag and stashed under a rock in an urban park. After 2 rainy months on the continent everything was waiting for me when I returned.

    Cheers Al

    Einstein X
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Netherlands

    Last October I had my Scotland trip and it was great. I realy liked hiking ultra light. You’re realy more focussed on the surroundings than on a heavy pack.

    I did bring and carry the 13 oz protection bag, though, since I realy had no other option. I did find and extra use for it however. I worked great as pillow stuffing. Thanx for the tips.


    J R


    “How do you protect your packs when flying, any suggestions????”

    “Very scary. No drug smuggler ever admits to knowing about the cargo. It’s always “somebody else must have planted it”. So when it happens, how do you defend yourself???”

    Carry on.

    Nothing I carry on the trail, save for a knife and fuel alcohol, is banned by the TSA or any other flight security agency.

    I wouldnt carry trail food or water in my pack on a flight… so I have neither the weight nor the space being taken up in the pack by these items.

    And last I checked, polyester clothing, sleeping bags, and non metallic hygeine items were still A-OK for carry on items.

    Upon landing, buy yourself a plastic bottle or two of the local favorite carbonated beverage and enjoy. Now you have a water bottle and a fuel bottle.
    Then find a small knife in a gift, outdoor, or garden store and use that for your trip. Then mail it home as a souvenier before you board for your return flight. Make sure you throw away or recycle your bottles before heading home too.

    By wearing at least some of your trail clothes on the flight, and not carrying anything you can buy or make quickly upon arrival, your carry on bag should VERY easily meet any size requirements your likely to encounter. It also NEVER leaves your eyesight, and so its NEVER a worry that someone might tamper with your luggage.

    Mike Storesund



    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > How do you protect your packs when flying, any suggestions????

    My standard practice for the last few international trips is as follows.

    Find large cardboard box plus 2 large garbags, plus roll of packaging tape. All this can be found/bought at any decent-sized supermarket in most any city around the world.

    Cut and shape box to suit pack. Mine has a UL frame which needs protecting against the baggage handlers: this seems adequate. Put one garbag over pack and box, and tape down. Put second garbag over this and wrap in packagig tape. Yes, I use about half a roll of tape doing this. (The other half roll is used on my wife’s pack.)

    But, before finishing, I make a slit for the pack hauling loop to come out: that is for the baggage handlers. It is the ONLY thing they get to hold onto. And I make a smaller slit near that one to slip a miniature box cutter into. I seal that slit at the last minute, after putting the box cutter inside the slit, with the last bit of tape. The result looks like a silk-worm package! If the airport has Fragile stickers, I grab some of those as well and put them on.

    At the destination, I grab my pack off the baggage system by the handle. Then I find the slit for the box knife, extract it, and then remove the rest of the packing. That goes in the usual garbage bin in the airport. The box cutter goes deep into the pack.

    This has worked just fine for several Australia-Europe trips now. OK, a bit paranoid, but it WORKS. And it is not very likely to be a target for unfriendly smugglers either.

    There is no problem carrying a gas (butane/propane) stove without the fuel canisters. I buy those at the destination.


    Tom Clark
    BPL Member


    Locale: East Coast

    I went to Yosemite this summer with a brand new Gossamer Gear Mariposa pack. I planned to take it carry on (with my essential, but airline approved stuff). However, there was some confusion and it end up as checked baggage. The automated handling equipment put a small hole it it and some other abrasion. Not a big deal, but not what I had planned.

    If you are worried about something like this or know that some of the planes have very small overhead storage, pack your camping stuff in a large duffle bag (or two medium sized plastic bags) and just pack your backpack as you would a shirt after you have taken out any stays.

    David Wiesenfeld


    I haven’t traveled on an airplane with an ultralight pack, but when I traveled with a traditional pack I always just ask at the baggage check counter for a big, heavy-duty plastic bag and put my pack in that. I’m not sure if every place has them, but it seems that most do and while it won’t protect your pack from impacts, it’s heavy enough to help with abrasion resistance and will keep straps and such from snagging on all the sharp points in the conveyor belt system. Plus you can just throw it out at your destination and get a new one when you head back.

    Miguel Arboleda
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan

    Not completely relevant to backpacking, but helpful nonetheless:

    I’m with Joe on the carry-on option. If you are going ultralight most likely your pack won’t be much larger than 50L (3000ci). If your pack is frameless than you can even divide the contents in two, roll up the main pack and stow overhead, and perhaps keep something like a G6 as an inner liner and second carry-on bag that you stow under the chair in front of you. When it’s time to disembark, just stuff the G6 back into the main pack and carry the main pack off. That way you have a liner that can double as a day pack when not hiking. If the G6 is too much just make something like this:

    which, if fitted with two strings can be made into a simple daypack, too.

    Sebastian Ventris


    Locale: SW UK


    Re what to do with your protective travel over bag:

    I have a habit of hiding stuff I don’t need as long as I am coming back the same way. You could take GPS coordinates if you wanted. Choose somewhere not too far away or off route that no one is ever likely to go or think of.

    I used to burry stuff under leaves in a bush etc.

    : -)

    Bob Gabbart


    On my last trip I put the bag in a heavy duffle bag, I carried on the bear canister, and wore my trail clothes. When I arrived at the destination airport, I put the duffle in a tyvek envelope I brought with the postage already on it and dropped the duffle in a mailbox and mailed it to a friend in the area. After finishing the trail, I just picked up at my friends house. If I didn’t know someone in the area, I would just mail it to the hotel that I planned on staying at after finishing up the trail and before getting back on the plane.

    Einstein X
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Netherlands

    I did concider the carry on option. I am however very keen on my swiss arm knive, which cannot be taken into the passenger compartment and I also think that my trekking poles will not be allowed as carry on items, since they kinda have sharp points.

    Does anyone have experience in taking trekking poles into the plane???

    I am sort of planning a trip to do the GR 20 on Corse and I will probably hide two resupply parcels somewhere along the GR so I can leave my protection bag in one of those parcels.

    That’s another problem with the carry on option: I usually hike for a fortnight and so I don’t have to plan sending parcels of food everywhere. What I do is take the food wit me on the plane and then either send the parcels on in the country I am visiting (this is a cheaper option than sendig parcels internationally) or stash the parcels along the trek. So since I am taking all my food with me on the plane I have too much luggage to carry into the passenger compartment.


    Jeroen Wesselman


    Locale: Europe

    Hi, I live in holland as well and do a lot of UL trips as well. I use planes quite often because they are often the cheapest and the quickest way to travel.

    What I do with my UL gear (Pack, poles, the lot) is, before I go I buy a big cheap but durable sport bag (10 euro), put all my gear in that and go on the plane. At my destination I throw away the bag (if I do not have a place to stay and I start hiking right away).
    When the trip is over I go to a supermarket or similar shop and buy a new cheap bag and put all my gear in there. Works perfectly and you don’t have to worry about carrying something you don’t need.
    Sofar I have had no problems with taking stoves on the plane in Europe but to Canada and the US it is problematic. In Canada they did not allow me to board the plane with cannister stoves in my main luggage.

    David Lewis
    BPL Member


    Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada

    I like the box option. Pack everything in a box (or boxes) and then just recycle the cardboard at the destination airport. Simple. You can just use your keys or a pen to break the packing tape if you don’t want to buy a knife or stash a knife in / near a slit in the box. Problem there would be getting a new box for the return flight.

    I also like the hide option… use an overbag and stash it somewhere at the trailhead (assuming you’ll be back at the trail head to retreive it).

    What about a combination of carry on and checked? If you can fit just your food and your disallowed items (knife, etc.) in a small box… the type of box you might get from the backroom of an airport bookstore (with the help of a kind employee)… you could do that and then carry your pack and other gear on the plane. That way you don’t need a big and/or custom made box to fit your pack. You’d have to buy / borrow some packing tape tho’.

    David Bonn


    Locale: North Cascades

    The big problem with a box is that when TSA decides to search it they won’t have a good way to repackage it, unless you thoughtfully provide them with packing tape and they have the time.

    I pack carefully everything into a small dufflebag and check it. Then I can either mail the duffle to myself (along with town clothes and anything else I don’t want to carry) in a drift box (easy to find a cardboard box the right size) or stash it someplace for the return trip.

    Since you can’t check fuel or matches (!) you need to either buy them at the start of your trip or get them there some other way. Some trips I’ve just mailed myself a box full of supplies that I picked up before I started the trip. Fuel is the most problematic. You can parcel post canister fuel, though.

    Things tend to disappear from searched bags. I don’t know if this is because TSA employees are particularly larcenous, or (more likely) because everyone is in a tearing hurry and things don’t always get into the right bag. So make sure you do a full inventory before you start hiking. You are just as likely to have this problem with carry-on bags as with checked baggage.

    Bill Cooper
    BPL Member


    Though I always try to take everything carry on, I check my pack when carrying tent stakes. My sweet little titanium skewers would make fine weapons and I expect they’d be confiscated.

    Does anyone have a solution besides checking the pack? Mailing items ahead doesn’t always work. You need a friend at the destination or be able to get to an open post office – not always practical. Perhaps I could just carry 30 or 40 pounds of rocks for hold downs…

    On another issue, I prefer an alcohol stove but you can’t legally carry the fuel on board. And the logistics of finding a hardware store, buying a pint of fuel, pulling out a few ounces then disposing of the rest doesn’t suit my environmental ethic.

    On the other hand there are Esbit tables. I suspect they’re contraband, too, since they are a type of cooking fuel. But they’re safer than a liquid; if the container broke a spark isn’t going to ignite the vapors.

    The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has a fact sheet on restricted items:

    I called the TSA and asked about Esbit tablets but the person on the other end couldn’t give me an answer. Does anyone have any other experience aside from just carrying them and playing dumb if found?

    paul johnson


    Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest

    Are those really tent stakes you’re carrying on, or are they Ti Knitting needles?

    David Bonn


    Locale: North Cascades

    When I check my pack (which is 99 percent of the time, I put it into a clear plastic bag with a twist-tie on it to protect the pack from abrasion. I’ve also found that if you can, turning the pack inside-out is a good idea, since the shoulder straps and hipbelt and mesh pockets aren’t where they can snag or tear through the plastic bag.

    UPS is a good thing. If you stay at a hotel or motel at the start of your trip, said hotel will gladly hold a UPS or snail mail package for you. A little poking around on-line and a few phone calls has usually yielded a place that will hold a package for visitors, especially if you explain that you are a hiker and TSA is making it hard for you to take your vacation — always go for the sympathy play.

    You can run alcohol stoves on HEET, which is widely available in mini-marts.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!