The Travel Gear Diaries: Part 1-Backpacks for an Around the World Trip

We just got back to Korea yesterday and were a little saddened not to have our cats greet us at the door.

We were however looking forward to all of our new travel gear so I thought I’d chronicle what we bought for an around the world trip. In the past, we have often taken more than we needed and had a few extra pieces of clothes that were redundant or repetitious. As we’d gone for a year, we’d need to be very conscientious on what we shlep.

I was reminded of Cheryl Strayed’s experience in the book “Wild“, where the author oversupplies her backpack which she dubs ‘Monster’, and at the start of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, tries to pick it up for the first time and promptly falls over, disheartened. Her lesson: oversupplying can be too much of a good thing. Our backpacks would have to be large, but not beasts. Tough, but no external frame. By all means possible, we also wanted backpacks that had a handle and wheels that we could use to pull through airports, train stations and city sidewalks, but also backpack straps we could carry over small stretches of beach and hike over terrain when needed.

Gary’s Packs

Gary’s backpacks: The Osprey 80 and Swiss Gear Victorinox 16″

Lisa and I both settled on the Osprey 80 liter Sojourn with a pull handle. It was one of the highest customer ratings and after taking it to LAX two days ago, I can see why. It’s roomy, but doesn’t have the huge bulk of the massive packs, and pulls smoothly. There are a number of interior pockets to stash dirty laundry and undergarments and the bright green interior lining makes it easy to find clothes. The backpack straps can be pulled out and zipped up for when not in use. My favorite feature is that it’s front panel loading verses top loading.

It’s not cheap. Each bag retailed for just over $300, but after scanning bag prices on Amazon and Campmore, we found discounted bags on Amazon. I also tucked in a small, cheapo bag that I got for free at a conference that I could use for day trips around the city and trips to the beach that would be roomy enough for hardware and a water bottle.

For electronics gear, I got the Victorinox 16″ by “Swissgear” the summer before at Best Buy. I would be hauling the equivalent of a portable movie studio with tons of electronics (along with my CPAP machine) and needed a roomy bag with strong straps, a wire cable carrying handle and lots of pockets. I love it.

Lisa’s Packs

The Sojourn 80 with the smaller sibling ‘Daylight’ Plus

In addition to Lisa’s Sojourn 80, she’d have a smaller bag that she’d take as a carry on and also for hiking. Researching this, she liked the Osprey “Daylight Plus” that was a good price and had high customer service ratings. She was fortunate enough to try it on at an outdoor education conference at a demo session and she was sold.

Ava’s Packs

The Load Warrior and Homemade Bag from Grandma

Ava could go a little smaller for her ‘big’ bag. As her clothes, shoes, well, everything, was smaller, her bag could be too. We were thinking of the Osprey Sojourn 60 for a while, but the price was a tad much for us. In the end, we found a discounted ‘Eagle Creek Load Warrior’ that was under $200 and could also be brought on the plane as a carry on if needed.

Related Posts

The Travel Gear Diaries Part 2: Footwear for an around the world trip

The Travel Gear Diaries Part 3: Hardware

3 thoughts on “The Travel Gear Diaries: Part 1-Backpacks for an Around the World Trip

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