Photo: All you need is a backpack.

Gear and equipment forum

Backpack stress!

Posted by jonny85 on 29/2/2012 at 13:20

Hey all,im getting stressed out deciding on a backpack,i currently have a normall 65l pack but its not lockable and has no daypack,isit essential to have a lock as il be in se asia hostels for 4months and will it be a hassle carrying a daypack with my backpack?! Anyone with experience/advise please help me out!
Thanks.

#1 jonny85 has been a member since 18/4/2011. Posts: 13

Posted by busylizzy on 29/2/2012 at 16:25

Why are you stressing?! Deep breath.. then work through it.

First question: can you afford to lose what you will be carrying in your pack? If lots of electornics and gadgets, then probably not. If you've got nothing but smelly underwear and Tshirts, then maybe it's not such a concern.

Personally, I always lock my backpack when I leave it in my room with all my gadgets hidden away inside. Doesn't matter if I'm in a cheap $5/night place in outback of Laos, or in 4-star hotel in Bangkok. I have stuff I don't want to lose, so I avoid tempting others to help themselves.

When travelling on a place/ferry/public transport, I carry my gadgets but leave chargers, etc in the pack. But I still always lock it. It's not 100% foolproof, but it's reducing the risk.

If your pack doesn't lock, and you feel that you can't affort to lose stuff, you could consider a Pacsafe wiremesh net to put over it. But personally, I think they're a bit naff, and basically cry out for others to say 'Look at me, I'm protecting valuable stuff'. So it's not something I'd recommend.

Is it a hassle carrying a daypack as well? Yes, it's not the end of the world. It's only an issue when moving between destinations. Don't' pack your main pack with too much weight and it's more manageable. Carry your daypack on the front, and your big back on the back.

So.. what would I recommend? Stick the pack on eBay or whatever your local equivalent is and try to get as much money back on it as you can. Then buy a new one (or second hand one on eBay!) that gives you the protection that you need. Make it a smaller one - like 40-50l. 65l is too big... something that I have learned on my previous trips. If you have a smaller backpack, carrying a daypack isn't as big a deal. Or get one where the daypack zips on to the backpack.

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by Danwowski on 1/3/2012 at 03:26

I can second what Lizzy has said about backpacks and locks, especially about the benefits of downsizing.

I'd also say that you could downsize your daypack too. Think about what you will actually carry with you day to day - personally I use a small satchel that holds everything I need and is still either comfortably worn with my main pack or easily pushed into a pocket on my backpack.

Of course if you're doing any serious treking, then a backpack may be preferable but day to day I prefer not having a backpack keeping my back warm in the tropics!

#3 Danwowski has been a member since 18/11/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by 9preciousGems on 1/3/2012 at 08:14

how do you guys lock your packs in your room? esp if you dont use pacsafe etc?

On my next trip im planning on just taking a small daypack -32L as my main luggage/laptop bag (has a separate compartment for laptop)

and then a separate messenger style/shoulder bag for my DSLR and lenses

#4 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by Danwowski on 1/3/2012 at 10:49

Even a Pacsafe won't stop a determined thief, they're more about preventing opportunists. I'd say most people I know (myself included) think that a Pacsafe has limited benefits.

Generally when my pack is unattended I'll lock it (mainly to dissuade opportunists snooping) but most of my valuables will be on my person. Anything that isn't (eg a laptop, in your case) would be tucked away at the bottom of my pack.

Some places will have a central safe/locked cabinet that you can leave things in. I probably wouldn't leave my credit card but a laptop should be fine. Upmarket places may even have room safes.

I think a lot of security is just awareness, if you're advertising the fact you have something of value then people may take note. I'd say the bulk of theft from travellers is opportunism, so if a thief doesn't know you have something worth stealing then they're unlikely to dig through a week's worth of laundry to find it!

#5 Danwowski has been a member since 18/11/2009. Posts: 14

Posted by jonny85 on 1/3/2012 at 12:50

Thankyou all for your input/advise,im not planning on doing serious treking so i think il have to folk out for a lockable bag with daypack,didnt want to buy another bag but in this case i think its a must!
Cheers all!

#6 jonny85 has been a member since 18/4/2011. Posts: 13


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