On my next trip to Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia I decided that I’m going to try something I’d never done before, I’ll be traveling for 30 days carrying only a daypack. Even though I’ve always been a light packer, I’d never really thought about traveling with only a daypack.
Two recent occurrences made me re-think my current backpack size:
1. On my last flight out of Montana, I was given flak by a flight attendant because my bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. It was a smaller plane so the overhead compartment was super tiny. I was told I had to check in my bag. As I walked back towards the front of the plane, I kept bumping people sitting on both sides of the aisle (this plane is seriously small) I felt like I was carrying an elephant.
2. My favorite nomad couple came to housesit for us this summer and everything they own fit in a 30L and a 40L packs. Everything. Their laptops, cameras, and even at one point, a banjo. That’s when I realised that with some forethought and creative packing, traveling with only a daypack might not only be preferable, it can actually be done.
The things I looked for when I was shopping for the bag was a separate compartment for laptop and lightweight. I always want it to be of bright color so it’s easily spotted. On those accounts, Eagle Creek Mountain Valley fit the bill. After the bag arrived, I realised that another feature I’d have liked that this bag lacks is full front loading.
At $100 the bag isn’t cheap but Eagle Creek has a reputation for making durable bags so I hope this one will last close to forever. Jack has an Eagle Creek travel pack that he’s been using for almost 10 years and it’s still going strong.
Packing for Cold Climate – If I were traveling to warm places, say SE Asia, things would be easier. Shorts and tshirts don’t take up that much space. But Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia get quite chilly in September and October and it will require me to take the ‘dress in layers’ mantra more seriously.
Guidebooks – I like to travel with guidebooks. I hate the idea of ripping off pages. I can’t stand the digital version. I guess if I have to I could photocopy the relevant pages and take those. Ugh.
Gadget Protection – since I won’t be bringing a separate bag for my laptop (and other gadgets) protecting these from bumps and scrapes has become the toughest challenge. The idea of anything happening to my laptop (my work depends on it) is enough to get me searching for the best backup solution I can find. Then a backup solution to that backup. This is probably the most stressful part of the challenge.
How I Used to Travel
My prized posession is a carry-on sized 44L Osprey Talon backpack. I’ve literally carried it around the world with me. It’s the only backpack I’ve owned besides a small laptop bag that I wear in front. It’s an arrangement that has worked well for Jack and me.
We’d throw our main packs on the bus roof or check it in as luggage when flying. Then all we’d have to worry about is our laptop bags (this is where we keep our passports and other documents).
Why Travel With Only a Daypack?
I’m not so sure exactly why I’m doing this other than to see that I can do it. Even though I’m not a minimalist, I don’t like to be weighed down by things I don’t need. At home I continually get rid of things I haven’t used in a long time.
I guess this zeal of getting rid of excess bleeds over to my travel life. This challenge is my quest to figure out if there are further things I can live without when traveling.
I think this would be a fun experiment to try. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen?