Wednesday, 24 August 2011 13:17

Pack Preparation Three - Other Essentials

Written by  Ken Ku
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Other Essentials Other Essentials Ken Ku

A few days after I brought home my wonderful new backpack the excitement had worn off and I started to think about how I was actually going to fit in even the minimal amount of clothes that I had picked out for myself.  True the pack said it can hold 60 litres by volume but I failed to take into consideration that it also meant the detachable lid which acts as a sling bag, some of the zippered compartments and the hydration sleeve in the inside of the pack itself as well.  Furthermore, how do I protect my clothes from moisture, whether it is rain, or other things like spills?  And my toiletries?  And electronics?  Sleeping in hostels are they always free of bed bugs?  What about protecting my pack from theft?  These were all considerations that had slipped my mind.  Not to mention, I no longer had a day pack!  I didn't even have a way to carry my electronics, computer, or cell phone.

This time I made a list and went back to the MEC to buy everything.  I found a helpful staff member who had backpacked before and she made some very helpful suggestions and I basically picked up everything she said.

1.  Compression sacks - pretty self explanatory.  It compresses everything inside into a smaller tighter volume, similar to the vacuum space saver bags, just without the need for a vacuum.  Most of the time they end up in nice round shapes that fit nicely in your bag.  I picked up three of them.  One for winter clothes, one for summer clothes, and one for well...dirty clothes.

2.  A universal plug adapter - since I'm bringing electronics, I'll need to be able to use their outlets.  Just remember it only adapts your plug into the country's plug that you're in.  If the current is different and the device you're using cannot handle that voltage then it could fry your electronic equipment.  Make sure that it is compatible first.  It usually will say on your charger but if it doesn't, I wouldn't take it on the trip.  Also, the adapter I got does not work for grounded plugs; only two pronged.

3.  Toiletry kit with door hook - I always had toiletry kits before but never with a door hook.  Seemed like it would come in handy.  Plus this was big enough to fit everything I needed and it had handles.  Don't need to go ghetto and use zip lock bags, even though I will still bring some just in case something decides to still explode.

4.  Backpack mesh and lock - a handy device to put around your backpack and lock it to a post if you're taking a train so that no one "accidentally" walks away with your pack.

5.  TSA approved lock - I got one of these since I do have a front facing zipper although I'm still figuring out the logistics of where I'm going to use it so it won't be too noticeable and get cut off.

6.  Travel wallet - something discreet so that when I'm traveling with more cash that I am accustomed, I can have it in a tucked away.  Apparently there a lot of pickpockets on the trains through Italy.  It is always safer to keep cash closer to the body than in a bag where they can slash it.

7.  MEC Alpinelite 30L Day Pack - since I absolutely needed to have a second backpack I consider this an essential.  However one pack might be sufficient for you.  You'll have to make that judgement for yourself.  I will be bringing other equipment such as a laptop, cell phones, cameras, and film so it is important that I had a bag large enough that could carry all that and perhaps once I get to my location, I'll be able to switch some out into my main back and use the day pack as my sightseeing bag.

8.  Bed liner - I'm not sure how I trust the hostels to keep their beds free of bugs so I decided to buy a liner.  It is something you sleep inside.  Basically it is like a sleeping bag but with no insulation.

9.  Quick drying towel - you're not staying at a hotel anymore.  Not all hostels provide you with the nice plushy towels.  You have to rent them.  No thank you.  I'd rather use my own.  These towels are just as large as the bath towels I have at home but dry in a tenth of the time.  Essentially you wring out the water and hang them up for about ten minutes and they're dry.  They're also quite soft as well which is an added bonus.

10.  A travel down pillow - down pillows are just more comfortable.  OK so it was my little bit of luxury.  Sue me.

Last modified on Monday, 29 August 2011 15:52
Ken Ku

Ken Ku

A photographer/printmaker/perpetual wanderer going on a backpacking adventure around the world.  Follow my journey as I discover new places and meet new people!

Website: www.kenkuphotography.ca

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