Pack size for 2 months SEA

Hi. I’m planning a 2 month tour through Southeast Asia this summer. I’m beginning to plan my equipment list now and am wondering what size of pack would be adequate. Would a 85L - 95L pack be too much? Would a 55L pack be too small? I’m a pretty light packer when it comes to clothes, but I would like a little spare room for items I might pick up along the way. Does anyone have experience with this who might make me think about going big for room or small for saving weight?

Are there any other items I should definately pack? I hope to do some treking in North Thailand and Laos so I’m packing sturdy Hiking boots. I’m also going to pack a mosquito net and string for places that don’t supply one. How about a sleeping bag? Is it a good idea even if i plan to stay at guesthouses most of the way?

I would not bother with the sleeping bag, as you will be travelling in SE Asia durning the summer. If there’s a need somwehere on the beaten trekking trail, you can rent for buy one instead.

Pack as light as possible, and get a BIG backpack. You will pick up more trinkets than you think. My big North Face back pack can be compressed in, so you can fit 40liters in it only, or I can release everything, use the snow blocker/extension at the top, and then fill 85kg in it. I have used it partially compressed on 2-3 day hikes in Taiwan, and packed to the gills for the big 6wk tour of China.

I took a BIG frame pack on my SEA tour. About half way through in Thailand I found a Mailbox Ect. It’s just a packing and mailing station, not a shipping company. They helped me pack most of my trinkets and I shipped them back to myself. This took a lot of weight out of my bag and also left me with more space to buy more.

Have fun. I’m a little jealous.

small is beautiful :slight_smile:

Keep it as light as possible. An 85 litre pack, if full, would be so heavy that you could barely carry it. Also keep in mind that the weather is warm so you don’t need to pack a lot of clothes. You can even get by without hiking boots. None of the treks are likely to be that tough that they cannot be done in sandals. I often see people travelling around with huge backpacks and they have big hassles getting on and off buses and things like that.

great info thanks a lot everyone.

Now can anyone recommend the best place in Taipei to scope out a new pack. I know there are a bunch of outdoor shops near Da-an park. Is there one specific shop that has the best service(preferably english) and selection of bags and gear.

There are also several shops selling outdoor gear on Zhongshan North Road just near the corner Zhongxiao Road (i.e. just near Taipei Station).

And the places there tend to be a bit cheaper…

If it wasn’t for the shopping I would say to take the smallest pack possible. A good pair of sandals, a week’s worth of underwear, toiletries, one set of comfortable longs (for flights and those pesky air-conditioned buses), one pair of shorts for the rest of the time, swimwear, sunglasses, hat, and a T-shirt from Mozambique or somewhere similar. You don’t want people to think that this is your first trip anywhere. :slight_smile:

You’ll pick up more clothes along the way, so no need to take more. Ditto the sarongs that will double as sleeing bags and beach towels. Never ever travel with a pair of jeans.

This much all packs up really small, and you can probably go hand-luggage only when you fly.

Then there’s the other stuff. Music, for instance. I remember being so pleased when I dumped all my tapes and bought one of those new-fangled CD walkman things. There are times when you really need to drown out the world around you and listen to your fave tunes, so you end up lugging a big box of music around. Nowadays you can go MP3, which is just marvellous.

I thought of getting an iPod-style thing, but my PDA plays music quite satisfactorily. It uses flash memory sticks, so you’re a bit limited for choice, but a 512Mb stick is good for 5-6 hours. A few of those will give you enough variety to get you through.

The other advantage of the PDA is that you can load it up with eBooks, if that’s your thing. Books are HEAVY. You can even make jpgs of maps and documents out of any info you find online before you go so that you have an electronic guide book.

Cameras. I had (just left it in a taxi) a digital, which meant that I had to carry a charger and make sure that it had enough memory to store all my pics for the whole trip. Actually, I often take my laptop with me so I can move my pics, write my emails, and play my music. Spare set of speakers makes all the difference. It’s amazingly cool to go back to your digs, fire up some loud rock while you shower, view your pics full-size, and write up your day’s adventures. Then you put whatever you need onto your memory stick and pop into the internet cafe to send it all and pick up any incoming.

It starts to sound like a lot of gear, but actually it will all go into a hand-luggage size bag. It sounds silly, but I stoppped using a backpack too. People laugh when you walk down the street with a wheely-case trailing behind you, but I’m not the one with 20 kilos on his sweaty back so fuck 'em. You can throw a soft daybag into your case so you have a lot more versatility. If you’re trekking then why not leave the stuff you don’t need in storage in one bag, and carry the other with your essentials?

You can carry a PDA, camera, money, sunscreen, and water bottle in a bum-bag, if it has enough pouches, and throw your sarong over your shoulder (or wear it) if you’re going to the beach. No need to carry a bag at all. Put the weight on your hips, not your shoulders. When you travel you have your luggage roll along behind you instead of having it weigh you down.

I’m serious, it’s the best way to go, until you find yourself walking down the beach in search of digs. How much actual walking do you do on surfaces where wheels don’t work? It’s only when you go trekking that you really need a backpack, and then you don’t want to take everything anyway. You’re going to leave a bag somewhere, why shouldn’t it have a padlock on it?

In conclusion, your luggage should consist of:

  • a bumbag containing your valuables
  • a wheely case small enough to take on an aeroplane as hand luggage
  • a soft backpack for shopping or trekking, carried inside the wheely case

Have fun.

Right on!
Thanks a lot guys. Great info here.

Loretta: I like your idea of having a case on wheels, it does make sense. I think that I would prefer the backpack route however. I feel comfortable with a pack on my back and prefer it to dragging a case behind me. Good suggestion though.

I know that you can also get packs with detachable day packs for day treks, which would be nice.

What I did was that I bought the north face monster and then a small veyr light day pack, which could be folded like a tote bag, and could also work as an extra side/back posket on the big monster bag pack.

It worked very very well.

I went to the outdoor stores at Zhongshan and Xongxiao as was greeted with a multitude of pack options. I think I’ll go with something around a 50-60 litre range. The prices at these places were very good, one place in particular. The Arc teryx bora 50 and 65 are nice looking contenders with the full waterproofing.

thanks for all the info.

watanabee, do you remember about how much the bora 65 is? I don’t live in taipei, but need to buy a pack, so if you remember a ballparl figure, please let me know thanks :slight_smile:

I believe the Bora 65 was about 13000-15000 NT.

It’s a great pack, very functional and the weatherproofing looks bomb proof.

It has received rave reviews at … 57crx.aspx

It may be a bit out my budget however as the other packs in the store are more like 5000 - 7000 nt for the same size. I know the quality isn’t quite a nice but that’s twice the price. We’ll see.

thanks for telling me :slight_smile:
It’s a bit expensive, but not too overboard. My bf will look for one for me in canada, though there’s 14% tax there, so there might not be a difference between taiwan and canada.
thanks again

just my vietnam dong’s worth,

if the pack is going to be your loyal friend for 2 months or more of travelling, then I’d make sure I got something that is decent quality and also fits perfectly to your body. It’s not worth using price to gauge which pack you should get (to a point). And to that end, I’d recommend that you try one on before your buy, rather that letting someone else choose for you.

Buy a carry-on sized pack. I live in Thailand and when travelling I carry around:

1 pair shoes (for going out at night)
1 pair sport sandals (worn 95% of the time)
2 pair socks (wool – wash in the morning after you’ve used them, or if on a trek just re-use them)
5 pair underwear
2 pairs long light pants (cotton from your local Wal-Mart equivalent is fine)
1 pair shorts (get something with some cargo pockets)
1 belt
3 long sleeved shirts (lightweight cotton – keeps away mosquitoes, keeps off the sun, not any hotter than a T-shrit, and much harder to find good long sleeved shirts on the run than T-shirts, which are everywhere. Also, Thai girls like them)
2 T-shirts (buy as you go, but if you buy a Same Same But Different or Beer Lao shirt you’re automatically an ass)
3 small stuff sacks (try buying childrens backpacks and cutting off the straps – one for pants, one for shirts, one for underwear/socks – keeps everything neat)
1 sarong (which doubles as a towel when the guest house doesn’t provide one, a sheet if you ever actually need one, a beach towel if you’re a beach lying type – available in Thailand for 100B)
1 floppy hat
1 fanny-pack kind of thing to put my valuables in when I’m taking the bus (sometimes a Thai is stowed in with the luggage and he’ll steal your crap while you’re asleep)
1 book (plus a travel guide if you want – but it’s better to just ask people as you go as anything in a Lonely Planet is going to be infested with Khao San Road hippies)

Bathroom stuff. Just buy bar soap when you stop somewhere, shampoo too. Don’t want that exploding in your bag.

Camera. Digital – you can empty your card at any internet shop in Thailand (or Malaysia or Cambodia even Laos these days)

Cell phone. Buy a Thai sim at any mall or 7-11 and you can pick up refill cards at an 7-11.

This all fits, with room to spare, in a carry on bag. If you suddenly need a bigger bag you can get them dirt cheap here. With wheels or without. If you go hiking the shoes will be enough – if they aren’t you can buy some at a shoe shop here (if your feet are bigger than a US 10 / Euro 45 you may have to buy in advance, though), rent them, etc.

A mosquito net isn’t necessary (long sleeve shirt, pants, socks and a bit of repellant will do the trick – or just buy a mosquito coil at any 7-11 and burn that while you sleep naked), a sleeping bag would be a total waste as would a towel or jeans.