I want to do SE Asia over 6 months and was checking out bags at an Aussie shop called Kathmandu yesterday, specifically the menacing sounding;
Interloper X-Pac v3
It's 70L, has some special wire mesh sewn in to prevent 'slash and grabs' and is water "resistent." I checked the 'before you go' advice on backpacks and it said to never buy a bag unless it is water "proof", although the store guy was adamant no bag with zips would be technically water proof.
The bag sells normally for $600au, but is marked down to $300 on sale. This still seemes pretty damn steep to me, so I thought I'd check around here and see what people thought.
I want to take a laptop and clothes and a few other odds and sods but nothing major.
I hear it's good to pack about a week's worth of clothes.
What do you guys think?
You can always buy a bag cover - they should sell one at the store you're looking at.
Personally, I never travel with my laptop - but that's just my preference - the only thing I bring that I absolutely do not want to lose is my passport and my money pouch - both of which stay very close to my person. Otherwise it's clothing, flashlight, towel, some books and toiletries. I guess I'd include my glasses too - but they are generally on my face.
A weeks worth of clothing should be fine - I've found that I can usually fit everything I want into a 50L . . or is mine 55L . . . can't recall presently. That bag is good for 1 week - 4 weeks, because it's all basically the same thing. The only problem is if I want to pick up and carry around things that I buy along the way. I brought a 70L on a 4 week trip to Laos (had to borrow the bag as my old one was off its game) and it was half empty until I decided to load it up with presents at the end.
This goes with saying that I usually bring a shoulder-bag (man purse of some kind) to carry things that I want access to on bus/train/boat/plane rides - maps, books, medicine.
The bag I was looking at came with a detachable little backpack thing which could be used for day trips.
I figure the laptop I bought recently would have depreciated substantially in value after the 6 months I'd be taking it away for anyway, so... Still, it would suck to lose it/have it nicked.
You say the 55L is good for 1-4 weeks, but what about 6 months?
Also, I notice a lot of people talk about bringing flashlights. I never would have thought of doing that. Is there such a big call for this when traveling around Asia? What situations do you wind up using it in?
About the backpack, one knows that the less you take the more confortable you'll be walking around. Eventually, clothes for one week are sufficient as you'll be able to do laundry once a week, and this should fit in a quite small bag. Somtam managed to take just a 40l backpack. In my case I travel with a 70l backpack which has a detachable 20l one for day trips, taking stuff in planes and other trips where the main backpack has to be away from me. Of course that I don't fill it up on departure, taking about half to 3/4 full is max because of weight and because you'll be buying gifts and will need space to take them back home.
I think that a backpack with this capacity is good as it enables you to do what you want: travel light during the trip and eventually take stuff back home.
#4 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133
Rather than bring a flashlight, I would suggest bringing a small headlamp. It's very small, and the fact that you can wear it on your head leaving you hands free can be useful as well.
Power can be very unreliable in some places (especially Indonesia) and some islands (eg Thailand, Indonesia) run their power generators for a limited time. Even places on mainland Cambodia (Otres beach) turned their generators off at 11pm or so. Having a source of light makes those midnight runs to the bathroom much easier! Having a headlamp means you can use the toilet, brush your teeth or whatever without having to juggle everything in your hands. You can also string it up in your room as a source of light.
Carry it in your daypack when you wander the countryside - it will be handy to explore caves, etc.
I bought mine from Kathmandu quite cheaply during one of their big sales. I just got the smallest (lightest) one that they had and it was very adequate.
Regarding the waterproofness of a pack. I tend to think of them as being water repellant rather than waterproof. I always carry a packcover (kept in an easy-to-access pocket on my pack) and put it on before going on any boat rides where there is a risk of my bag getting wet. When my pack was unloaded off the ferry in Koh Phangan they dumped it into a puddle of water. Also, packs are often stacked up in the front of the boat along with 100's of others on the bigger ferries. If the skies open up (as does happen),they will get soaked. Having the cover provided a bit more reassurance!
yes - 1 - 4 weeks, 6 months - it really all rolls down to wearing the same clothing the whole time. the above advice is very solid.
as well - i should add that i mean 'head-lamp' when i say flashlight, i haven't carried a flashlight in years, but my head-lamp is an essential traveling item. it could be for reading on late/early bus rides, or simply to get home when walking between beaches in Thailand without a moon. as well, most cities in laos had shut down electricity after 11pm, so it was useful for in the guesthouse.
Wow, no electricity after 11pm eh? At first I thought you guys were joking about the head lamp thing - didn't picture myself going to the toilet at midnight dressed up like a miner.
Even if I didn't take a torch like that with me, I could buy one on the fly pretty cheap, right? I imagine they're easy to find in Indonesia and places where the electricity supply can be a bit sketchy.
I'm almost sold on that 75L backpack for $300au from Kathmandu - I mean, it looked pretty solid, has metal wiring in it to prevent slash and theft, it's water resistant and has that nifty detachable smaller pack and the metal thingies in it to make it easier on the back.
busylizzy - that story about the bag being dumped in a puddle in Koh Phanagn really makes me think twice about taking my laptop...
There are lots of arguments for and against bringing a laptop. Worrying about it being dumped in a puddle shouldn't be one of them! It was my backpack that was dumped in the puddled. My camera, netbook, money and passports are ALWAYS carried in my dayback, which never leaves my side while in transit. They would only be in danger of rainfall -but I also had a daypack cover if I needed it.
If you are really worried about your electronics, you could buy a small drybag to put them in when travelling on boats, or where there is a risk of a downpour.
Yeah, I've given the laptop issue a lot of thought - especially since it seems like there's a very good chance it'll be stolen/damaged irreparably during such an extensive trip.
I'll do a search around the forums for more on that I s'pose. I'd definitely pick up one of those dry bags if I do decide to take it though.
I definately vote in favor of the headlamp torch. Great advantages in ability to do various things with both hands, after all. About the backpack, though, I couldn't feature hauling around a 70L backpack. Empty or otherwise. That's just me, though. But, I've had great success shipping thing back home, and prefer that to burdening my back with a (as I see it) gigantic pack. My 46L Osprey is about all I wish to carry about, bus to train to whatever.
I was thinking of shipping my notebook back home to Australia after a couple of months in Thailand if it proves to be too much of a pain to cart around.
Can you give me an idea of how much that would cost in baht or whatever? Also, did you ship things back home that were as fragile as a laptop?
CrankyCarrot (great username, btw):
All I've shipped are clothes and souvenirs (and a pair of shoes). I don't think I would be comfortable handing anything electronic over to SE Asian postal services. There's another whole thread somewhere here on TF about taking a laptop on the road.
My rationale for taking one has to do with flexibility in checking e-mail and other on-line activities (partly because I own a business that I need to keep up with), and photography. Downloading photos to my netbook (an 8" Acer with 160gb HD, that weighs just about a kilo) allows me to see what I've shot, decide if I want to reshoot some things, and so forth.
Yeah one of my primary reasons for taking the laptop along with me is so I can use Photoshop to clean up and crop my pics, and Premiere to edit videos. Being able to use Skype video while away for months is a big plus too.
It looks like I can get standard worldwide insurance cover that will cover theft or damage to the laptop too - for about $450. Since I need this in case of medical bills anyway, it seems I might as well bring the lappy along.
It cost me $1100au a few months ago, and by the time I return from OS - around a year or more after purchasing it, it'll probably only be worth 5 or 6 hundred at best anyway.
A friend of mine keeps encouraging me to buy a netbook for $300 or so, but I already have the laptop and it would be a wasted purchase if I just let it gather dust for any period of time.
Also, since I'm planning to stretch my dollars while OS, there will be days when I'm happy to just kick back in a hut somewhere and watch a few vids or read some e-books.