Apr 10

Backpacks on Packs on Packs

by Nikki

YC might have Racks…but I’ve got Backpacks!

Backpacks and Packing Materials


The little engine that could, my Osprey Kestrel 48 liter pack

Thinking like a minimalist, I started out with the Osprey Kestrel and was way in over my head. It was great in South America, but I didn’t have room for ANY extra stuff. Determined to pack light, I brought it to South Africa and quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work out. I moved on to the Vaude Cimone 55 + 8 and its a match made in heaven. It fits wonderfully and is specifically made for women. The entire top lid is a toiletry bag complete with a mirror!  Another great detail is that the Cimone is both front opening and top loading, making packing and organizing a breeze! Its also got lots of pockets and comes with all the other standard backpack amenities like a rain cover, gear loops, side compression straps, a padded, removable hip belt, a sternum strap with a whistle, and an opening for hydration system.

My new pack, the Vaude Cimone 55 +8 Liter for women

In order to pack this bad boy I picked up a Sea to Summit waterproof compression sack for my clothes. Believe it or not, ALL of my clothes fit into that one sack, which compresses small enough to fit at the very bottom of my pack, only taking up about 1/4th of the total room in the bag. After stuffing my clothes in the very bottom of the bag I then use my shoes as a middle layer between my large compression sack of clothes and smaller ditty sacks of underwear, socks, and electronics. My underwear and socks fit perfectly into a smaller REI ditty sacks and I use the spare ditty sacks for emergencies and to cushion electronics like the external harddrive in my big bag. My first-aid kit is the top layer of the bag for easy access in case of an emergency. And if you peep the zipper lining the top of the vaude pack, thats the opening of the detachable toiletry bag! So I don’t even have to unpack it. I can just unzip, and hang it on the wall.

With all of my things loaded, there’s easily an entire foot of space left. An advantage of starting out with a bag with 15liters less storage and at least a few minimalist ideals.

For my day pack I got the Lowepro Vertex AW 100 so that I could get rid of my bulky camera case and compartmentalize all my other electronics and books. The bag itself acts as a camera case with 360 degree cushioning when closed. The removable velcro pads make it possible to compartmentalize all the little stuff and find things easily. It also comes with a  hip belt, waterproof zippers, a rain cover, lots of cool pockets, and, most importantly, a pencil case!

I highly recommend this backpack to anyone toting a DSLR camera around while traveling, and even to those who aren’t, but just have organizational issues. I have both a big ass camera AND organizational issues and feel so much more collected with this bag.

In addition to all of the things inside my bags and the bags themselves, I’ve invested in a pacsafe mesh security system. It may not stop a determined thief, but it may hold him off long enough to lose interest, or decide it isn’t worth the trouble. Other travelers and even the people at the outdoors store where I bought it weren’t convinced of its necessity on this trip. It gave me peace of mind on long bus rides in South America, where there’s a history of bag slashing and theft. I think it will do the same in other places around the world as well.

And there you have it, the last of a thorough explanation of everything I’ll be taking with me and why. Have any questions, comments, ideas? I’d love to hear them!  Are you doing a trip around the world? What’s in your pack? Remember, sharing is caring!

Now get your jam on…..Racks on Racks on Racks


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