Backpack Debacle

I am sure every person who has every travelled anywhere at all has ummd and aaahd over what they will take with them and what they will carry it all in. As soon as the idea of RTW was tossed around I began googling backpacks etc.  Holy mackerel! A whole new world opened up. All our travel to date had been with suitcases.

In my first overseas journey to the USA as a 17 year old exchange student I took two cheap suitcases (without wheels) bought by my Mum at the local luggage shop. These served me pretty well at the time and then accompanied me to university and survived many house moves until being retired to a thrift shop only two years ago.

Since having a family, for our overseas journeys we have used suitcases and then onto suitcases with wheels and handles!  Steve and I never did the backpack around Europe thing in our twenties like many young Australians. Backpacks are foreign to us; apart from the backpacks in which we add school lunch boxes and homework folders most days of the week.

With our limited backpack knowledge we started backpack shopping.  Going from shop to shop, picking one out, loading it, trying it on, adjusting it, walking around and trying to avoid the sales people as much as possible.  In the end, my sister and I went shopping one day and I walked away with two backpacks. This is where the debacle begins.  Now all your seasoned travellers just gasped in horror didn’t you! I made the cardinal error of backpack shopping – my husband didn’t try his on. Well to cut a long story short, he wasn’t happy but decided he would try to like it.  I knew his heart wasn’t in it and the more I thought about it, the only thing to do was email the shop and take my chances on explaining the situation in the hope it could be rectified.

Lucky for me the shop that did such a good job of selling the packs to me was also equally as wonderful in allowing us to return them with an open dated store credit for the full amount nearly 5 months after the event!  The packs had been sitting untouched and unloved in my walk-in robe that entire time as a reminder to choose wisely!

Well … now we are back where we started … backpack-less. Steve now has a better idea of what he wants in a pack and ironically the brand that first caught my attention is the one that he has a strong preference for. As for me … I’m a Libran through and through and still totally undecided on what to do.  To be honest, I no longer care either.  Once I assemble piles of stuff in our spare room I’ll have a better idea of just how much we are going to be carrying with us and what sort of bag might best suit it.

Harris and Patrick both have great kid size packs bought during my recent trip to the USA.  Harris has an Osprey Jib 35 Litre which is fully adjustable to keep up with his rapid growth. He will be able to carry all his own gear and is fully aware that anything he buys will be carried by him.  Also the sooner he finishes a school workbook, the sooner we can mail it home (or turf it!) and lighten his load.

Patrick has a Deuter Junior.  It is good size pack which fits him nicely and will enable him to carry the essentials – hat, water bottle, Hot Wheels cars, colouring supplies and food.

The old suitcase that is on its last legs might well join us on this trip at this stage and be replaced along the way by a purchase in Vietnam.



  • Mick and Laan November 21, 2010

    I would have bought 4 red ones!

  • Baigrie Family November 21, 2010

    You may laugh …. just remember we are invading your house in January!

  • Simone Dullaway November 28, 2010

    How come I have to read your website to know the orange backpacks went back to the shop
    So what will you get now?

  • Baigrie Family November 29, 2010

    Steve has his sights on a One Planet pack. Me … got myself a Caribee Short Hop 55. At 55 litres it isn’t tiny but it will take some careful packing and culling to fit everything in. Lucky Harris will be carrying his stuff and Steve will have a lot on his list!

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