I’ve always been a worrier. And subsequently, a heavy packer. When I went to Philadelphia for two weeks last year, I literally stuff my enormous suitcase to the brim and on top of that filled my backpack up with crap. Clothes, a computer, paper, pencils, batteries, gadgets and chargers, sunblock, etc etc. Lugging all that stuff from the airport to my room at U Penn was ridiculous. When I was a kid, my family went from St. Louis to St. Joseph often to visit my grandparents and I remember one time in particular when I’d packed silverware, scissors, coloring books, stencils, and part of my chemistry set (among many other things like construction paper and glue… maybe I was planning on doing crafts) all inside my school backpack because I thought I might need them. What if there was paper that needed cutting? What about a kid in need of a Barney stencil? My chemicals were a must; they might have saved me from some monster with a weakness to borax.
But this time, I can’t pack heavily. Traveling around several countries with a million pounds of luggage just isn’t feasible or smart. Not to mention that RyanAir, the budget airline I’m flying around on while I’m over there, imposes a weight and size limit on your carry-ons of 10kg and some dimension measured in centimeters I don’t remember. So the problem was there: fit enough stuff into one backpack that I could survive for ten weeks.
No one has really written a good guide for how to choose a backpack. At least, not that I’ve seen. And being American I have no real concept of how much stuff can fit into 20, 30, 40 liters. I had to look up pictures of people with various sized backpacks to get some idea of what to get.
|I could probably fit 10 weeks into this.|
After like twenty hours of banging my head against my keyboard I finally found this satisfactory thing:
Some CouchSurfers recommended Osprey bags and the size is 34L or so. I figured like that sounded big enough (but really I was just guessing and it was on sale… don’t fault me). Plus, look at all those zippers and straps! AND it comes with a lifetime warranty– they will fix any part of this backpack for any reason for the rest of my life if something gets torn or broken or for whatever reason bursts into flame. So that’s cool. It’s called the Osprey Quantum. Pretty neat.
The next thing was to get a tent that would fit inside this pack, weigh next to nothing, and be waterproof. So I got this funny looking cocoon thing:
So those are the two important things for my survival. Here’s what I’ve fit into my backpack now:
1 tent; 1 tarp; 1 pair jeans; 6 pairs socks; 7 pairs underwear; 1 microfiber towel; 1 blanket; 2 tank-tops; 1 t-shirt; 1 jacket; a camera; an external charging battery; my iPad; chargers; toiletries; wall outlet converters… oh yeah, and a Sherpa.
And then I’ll be wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts when I leave, obviously. It all fit into my pack and weighs only 6 kilos. This is gonna be one hell of a trip.
Today is my last day in Kirksville and I still have no host to stay with in Dublin. Not too worried about it though; there’s a CS event going on right downtown just a couple hours after I land, so I guess I’ll head out that way, have coffee with some local CSers and see if they know what I should do.
ADVENTURE and RAINBOWS about describes how I’m feeling right now.