How big a pack?

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How big a pack?

Postby rpaskowitz » Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:57 pm

I'm taking off for the 16 day Costa Rica Adventure in a few weeks, and am hoping to manage with just a backpack and 'courier'-style day pack., but still need to pickup the backpack. I'll be trying to pack light, and stick to the recommended list, cutting a few items I don't need, and bringing a few extras of some 'essentials'.

I'm trying to figure out how big a pack I'll need. I imagine something around 40L is about the smallest I could manage, but would I be better off with 60L? More, Less?

Ideally, I'd also like to take it on as a carry-on for my flights, so long as I can get all my liquids in small containers, and skip the pocketknife.
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Re: How big a pack?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:42 am

Get your pack list of items you're taking and lay them out on the floor. That should tell you how large a pack you're going to need. Personally, I would recommend at least 55 liters for a two week trip even if you are only taking 4 sets of clothes. You could cut that down to 45-60 liters with the right daypack. My first aid kit is over a liter by itself -- I had about 60-65 liters of stuff for a month in Africa PLUS my carryon duffel bag but I had a lot of camera equipment and electronics in the duffel bag. It all adds up when you add in the clothing, sleeping bag, hygiene products, spare batteries, etc. Lay out your goods as if you were packing them in the backpack and then measure it all -- take the measurements (and maybe even a photograph of them goods) with you when you shop for the backpack.

As an aside, I travel a lot and find it pretty annoying when I see people trying to bring fullsize backpacks into the cabin as "carryon" bags. Storage is usually at a premium on those flights and it's fairly inconsiderate to suck up so much space with something that bulky (not to mention the time and extra effort it takes to even find a suitable compartment). In all fairness, some of that may be a reaction to the attitudes I've seen where some people acted like they were entitled to bring a 60 liter monstrousity on board because "it's just a backpack" or seemed to think they should board first so they could find space for their backpack.
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Re: How big a pack?

Postby rpaskowitz » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:58 am

I wound up getting just about all my stuff ready and laying it out. I picked up a 42L pack yesterday, and was able to fit everything in with some spare space. I don't have quite everything I need yet, but I think it should all fit.

I don't have much extra beyond the essentials, very little (or no) camera/electronics gear, only a pair of vibram shoes beyond the hiking shoes I'll be wearing on the flight.

Once I saw the pack in the store fully loaded, it was easy to admit that it would be fairly ridiculous taking it on as a carry-on, and know now that I'll be checking it. This also gives me a bit more flexibility in terms of what I can bring.
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