Packing Begins With the Pack

25 Feb

We managed to fit everything into that suitcase! Just kidding, that’s Jeannie’s childhood suitcase. She promised (more like begged) her mom that if she bought it for her, she would use it forever and ever and ever.

Anyhoo. One of the first things that goes through one’s mind when embarking on a crazy 5-month trip around the world is, “how the heck are you going to bring everything you need for a trip everywhere around the world in all conditions?” Not only do you need to bring all your clothes for a variety of climates ranging from blistering hot deserts in China/Jordan to icy cold glaciers in Chile to the continuous Thailand rain in May, you have to bring toiletries (including toilet paper for undeveloped countries), shoes, camera, and various electronics to allow blogging and uploading pictures.

We narrowed down our search rather quickly to the large hiking pack category. A hiking pack in the 70L range would allow us to pack enough volume yet walk long distances and maneuver through busy trains and subways. I looked at virtually all of the lightweight hiking packs and didn’t like the way they were essentially top-loading stuff sacks – it’s a pain to keep unpacking and repacking all the time when on the move.

Then I stumbled on the REI touring line of packs. The Grand Tour is a hybrid of sorts — hiking style, yet cleaner on the outside and built more rugged to withstand the rigors of being thrown around in the cargo hold of a bus or airplane. The pack is designed to open like a suitcase which is much more convenient, and all zippers are lockable. There’s also a detachable daypack which seems to be pretty useful, and a rain/dust cover is included for the pack. All in all, it has everything we need, so we bought it (on sale at the time too!)

The army green large version can be found here. Link to the blue version. I wouldn’t say they are very gender specific. It’s okay for guys to use the blue one if they prefer a smaller pack and vice versa for ladies as well.

2 Responses to “Packing Begins With the Pack”

  1. Tyrone February 26, 2012 at 6:20 AM #

    For those who are reading this and are interested in purchasing one:

    I purchased the blue one and while they are not gender specific, the only slight difference is in the lengths of the straps. The blue pack has a smaller torso and hip adjustment range since those straps are adjustable. So if you’re a bigger person, the green version may fit you better.

    I get to field test the blue pack these next two weeks. I have a feeling that this travel pack will perform flawlessly.

  2. Rosalyn February 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM #

    Regarding packing…I sewed 1.5″ velcro strips into his pants pockets to help deter pickpockets. He said we will have to take them out when he returns home because it is too hard to get into his pockets. Obviously works great because that’s the whole idea.

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