How to pack to travel the world with less than 5kg! – Part 2

 Part 2 – what to pack it in!!!

Obvs,  as a kiwi backpacker, I am not toting a suitcase (although I do when I am travelling for work – the samsonite b-light non spinner version, in case you wondered – it has the highest volume to weight ratio)!, so what pack to choose???

my perfect travel pack!
Finding the right husband was easier than finding the right pack! I am looking for something black or grey, with a sexy streamlined design.  It should be extremely easy to pack, and open up like a suitcase (clamshell opening).  It must be comfortable with decent straps and a hip belt.  And it should weigh less than 800 grams and be about 30 litres of capacity.   I haven’t found this pack!!!!….. so my dating exploits for your entertainment…..
Packs close to my heart, but not for travel
I am a pack obsessive, and at any given time will have 8-10 packs in rotation in our hallway cupboard.  (hubby totally doesn’t get this! although I will forgive him as being a frenchman he is fine with me having too many pairs of shoes and handbags) .  Each pack has a different niche – from my  Salomon Slab 12 set  for day running, the  Ultimate Direction Fastback 30  for overnight running, the Gossamer Gear Pilgrim for ultralight multiday backpacking.  I love all of these packs and wouldn’t trade them for anything!  However, I still haven’t found the perfect travel pack, in spite of dating several……
packs that came close, but didn’t cut the mustard
  • So I broke up with the Northface Angstrom 30 as even though it was the perfect size, and I love the stretchy side and pack pockets, it was hard to get it open easily and get stuff out of the bottom (they no longer make these, but the closest is probably the new Northface Aleia
  • The Minaal 1.0 got a lot of hype and was massively oversubscribed on kick starter.  But she got relisted on eBay after one use as while she was pretty, she was really tough to pack and couldn’t take much volume – the ‘scoop side packing’ made it unwieldy and cumbersome.  It is also a really heavy pack, and without a hip belt.  I really really wanted to love this pack as the design was lovely and the founders are fellow kiwis, but I just couldn’t get over how tough it was to get gear into the pack relative to my tortuga air!  Shame – maybe they will come up with a design at some point that works for me…

    Minaal 2.0
    Minaal 2.0
  • I flirted with the idea of buying a Tom Bihn Aeronaut  but couldn’t get my head round the fact that it is really a duffel bag not a backpack (but it does look nice)
  • The Eagle Creek 35L Systems Go Duffel Pack looked promising – it opened all the way down, was designed to take Eagle Creek pack cells, and had a nice form.   She also got relisted on eBay after one use, as the back straps were crazy uncomfortable
  • I did manage to stick with the  Lowe Alpine eclipse 35L for six months (until something better came along).  It is comfortable, super light weight, useful for hiking and travelling, opened all the way down one side, but it looked too much like a hiking pack, and I prefer something a little more unobtrusive when travelling.pp-giroblue
the pack that i am in a semi MONOGAMOUS relationship with!
  • So, I am currently in a semi monogamous relationship with my Tortuga Air  She fits most of my requirements!  She is easy to pack with a great clamshell opening, has the handy side opening laptop pocket, and more space than I actually need.  However, she isn’t particularly pretty (aesthetically it is a bit like carrying one of those old IBM laptop backpacks around), nor lightweight.  She weighs 1.1kg – I would like them to figure out how to make it weigh 700grams, which my gossamer gear pack weighs, and can carry a heavier load.   I would like this pack more if she was a bit sexier and had a hip belt.   But she is the best pack I have ever had, though fingers crossed someone will make one that meets all my requirements….. (black, sexy, clamshell opening, less pockets, a hip belt, lightweight fabric).
    The outside of the tortuga – looks just like an ugly HP/IBM backpack from the 90s

    Interior Tortuga
    Interior Tortuga
THE PACKs THAT I AM flirting with
Alchemy soft shell 40 litres
Alchemy soft shell 40 litres
I am contemplating checking out this sexy beast, but it is at least 30% bigger than I actually need!!!!  But it looks lovely!!!!  Alchemy Soft shell 40L
Good websites to check out when pack shopping are carryology, and snarky nomad

Update August 2018

So, i have left my semi-monogamous relationship with the tortuga!  And while i did buy the Alchemy soft shell, it wasn’t a great pack at all – too heavy and not well designed for me.  And I am proud to announce I am now in the early stages of a relationship (almost engaged to be honest) to the Cotopaxi Allpa 35.   I bought the sexy blue one and i love it (though it is heavier than I would like, it carries and packs beautifully).
check out the youtube video on their site 🙂

Update April 2023

Amazingly, in spite of cheating with a few other packs (including the 28L Allpa), I am still 100% dedicated to the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L – it just works, its hardwearing and its comfy.  If anyone has a better option, do let me know
Total weight of clothes and tortuga air pack 2.7 kg.

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