BACKPACK 1 – How to choose your new backpack
When I speak about my travels, a lot of people ask me what I bring with me in the backpack. Well, when you got experience you learn to bring only the necessary stuff with you, leaving the useless objects at home. It’s been the same for me.
I went in Australia with a 70 L backpack, and another small 20 L backpack. Both of them were very full, and the total weight was about 18 kg! When I came back home, one year later, I had only 12 kg with me.
When I say “leave the useless things” I mean literally to leave them where you are, even if you’re already around in your trip. You can throw them away of course, but it’s better if you can give them to other people or to second-hand shops, especially if you’re leaving clothes.
You can also send at home a package with the useless stuff, if they are clothes or items that you don’t want to throw away.
Anyway, now I’m telling you what I bring in MY backpack.
It’s not a general rule, it’s just my rule for myself, based on my experience in Australia and Asia, but I hope it can be useful for you if you’re going to travel alone for your first time.
At last, of course, the choice is based on your personal comfort. If you’re a tiny girl and you have to carry a heavy and big backpack, you will make it harder than a brawny big man, so you should use a smaller backpack.
The size of the backpack, or better the volume, it depends on your kind of travel. Now I’m using a 60+10 litres backpack by Ferrino.
70 L. are perfect for me but a 60 Litres backpack is good too, and even 50 Litres are enough if you don’t bring too much electronic stuff with you.
I would not recommend to use a backpack bigger than 70 L. It’s too big and probably you will never fill it, and if you do it means that you have too much stuff.
The most important thing. If it’s possible I recommend to buy a backpack with the main compartment openable from the front, so you’ll be able to open it and take off your things without searching from above, avoiding to take off the other stuff.
The heaviest stuff should be put against your back, and in a middle-up position, to distribute the load along your back. More it’s close to the back and better you feel.
The lower compartment must be separate from the main one; in this one you can put your shoes and other dirty stuff or items which you use rarely. Remember that the total weight will load on the lower pocket when you leave the backpack standing on the floor.
Don’t miss the straps to adjust the load on the shoulders and the rigid back panel, because if you don’t have these stuff, even with a small load you will regret your choice to buy the cheaper backpack in the shop.
The sternum strap and the hip belt are also a must, because you can adjust them to keep the load against your back, as I said before.
It’s also important to have the compression straps on the sides of the backpack, to keep it solid and compressed when it’s full.
At last but not least another useful item is the rain cover, usually sold it together with the backpack (check!).
All the best backpacks have a top pocket lid where you can put the stuff you want, but some of them also have this top lid removable, to use it as a second small backpack (usually 10 litres).
It can be useful if you’re traveling only with a single backpack, because sometime you could avoid to bring the entire backpack with you if you just have to do a short walk in the city or whatever.
THE SECOND BACKPACK – DAYPACK
I got another small backpack, 20 litres, that I bring with me together with the big one. It’s useful on the plane, when I leave the main luggage in the plane hold, and also for short hiking or daily trips.
It would have been impossible to visit the Angkor temples in Cambodia using the 70 litres backpack during the day, but with the small one I could bring with me my camera, food, water and the raincoat (useful).
The best way to travel with two backpacks is to consider the small one as a part of the big one. I mean that the small backpack should be put, empty, inside the big one when this is full, so your total load will be still 70 litres.
It’s absolutely not easy, especially if you need to bring a laptop, a camera, a razor and all this kind of stuff, but you can try to get close to this general rule as much as you can.
Anyway it’s important to don’t fill up both of the backpacks, because if you will travel mainly by foot or public transports, you will feel uncomfortable with this loads.
In the next post I will tell you exactly what I put inside the backpack.