Sunday, January 22, 2017

Backpacker Travel

**This is getting ready to head to Mexico in 2013

Awhile back I mentioned that my family would be traveling to London and Paris in 2017.  We are starting to get our travel plans pulled together and logistics booked to get from place to place. Something that we have spent quite a bit of time on is deciding on what we needed to travel.  Over the years I have become a big fan of minimalist travel.  I hate lugging big bags from place to place when I truly only use 25 - 30% of what I have packed.  So as time has gone by, I have pared down my "must haves" and gotten to a place where I believe I can travel to Europe for a week in a carry-on backpack.  My husband and children are going to attempt to do the same.  We may end up come back with an extra bag to account for souvenirs but the experience will be less stressful if we travel light. This has led me to start evaluating what my needs are not only for this trip but the lifestyle that my husband and I have dreamed about over the years.  We travel at least a couple of times a year and hope to increase that as time goes on, eventually making travel our highest priority.  Living out of backpacks for months at a time is where we hope to end up in early retirement.  We'll have to wait and see how that pans out.

This weekend we had two objectives - jackets/coats and the backpacks themselves.  It's a good thing because I have had a nasty flu/cold for a week and really was just capable of online shopping.

Jackets. To be honest, we both needed heavier jackets because we have both lost weight and needed not only something that would fit better but also would keep us warm but allow us to move about freely, especially while wearing a backpack.  I love my wool pea coat but I do not want to worry about feeling hot and itchy while traveling. We both settled on softshell jackets by Columbia.  He chose the Hooded Ascender SoftShell  in black and I chose the Kruser Ridge Softshell in black.  Both are on sale on the Columbia website right now so we grabbed them before they sold out.  I would have loved to get one with a hood but alas they were sold out.  We tried these on at Cabellas to be sure and weight seemed nice, not to hot or cold.  Since we will be in 40-45 degree weather we felt it was a good choice and I'm sure I'll be wearing mine throughout our milder winter days in Kansas.

On to the backpacks.  This is where it gets a little crazy.  There is so much information about deciding on a perfect backpack out there we had a hard time choosing.  And because we are buying backpacks that we will use for years of travel, we wanted to be selective and get something that is not only durable but good to travel for weeks if not months at a time. We quickly leaned towards the brand Osprey which seems to offer a large variety of backpacks in various cubic sizes as well as people build sizes. I like the idea that I am wearing a backpack made for a tall woman and not a short woman because hopefully the waist band will hit in the right place. Osprey also offers a lifetime warranty, awesome!  I ordered the Osprey Farpoint 40L in black.  It holds 40 liters.  That sounds like a lot but is relatively small in the world of backpacks.  It is, however, small enough to pass as a carry-on which I like.  I have a cross-body Fossil Morgan Top Zip Purse that I can wear with it (crossbody) which will pass as my small item so I feel the combination of both will be sufficient.  I debated going larger but then I thought if I did, I'd only fill it up with more things I don't need.  And the weight would become more than I want to deal with. I know we will be doing a lot of walking and even traveling by train and the last thing I want to do is feel like I am lugging bricks around.  I also purchased a set of travel cubes which I think will make my life easier.  Depending on what we think of the Farpoint 40, my husband may go with it.  If not, he may end up with a larger bag, we'll have to wait and see.  




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