30 L Day bag and 55 L Hiking Pack. Too much?

I'm going to Europe for a month and am bringing a North Face bag for all my clothes. It's a 55 L bag. Also, I was planning on bringing a 30 liter backpack (also a North Face) for my day trips while I lock my main bag up at my hotel. Is this too much? Will it be hard to carry both?

Posted by Jon
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
368 posts

My wife had a 40 litre bag and I carried a 60 litre bag with a small day pack. The day pack carried all our tech gear on travel days and our day to day stuff on others. It was nice to have the day pack but there were times when carrying both absolutely drained me.

Posted by Dennis
Redmond, WA
284 posts

Katy, you haven't been watching Rick's programs! My wife and I spent over a month last year in Europe with a single small rolling suitcase (20 pounds) each. You do not need all that stuff you plan on taking! Two outfits are plenty in the summer. You will die trying to take both of those bags.

Posted by JumpinBug
BC, Canada
345 posts

How much do you really need/want to carry around all day?

I'd suggest putting together what you need for the average day, i.e. camera, guide book or maps, water bottle, and see how much space that actually takes up. That large of day bag might restrict your entry into some places, or force you to check the bag.

You can get tiny shopping bags now that fold into nothing for backup as needed.

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1176 posts

Too much? I say yes. But to test the theory, pack everything you intend to bring with you for the month into both the 55L and 30L packs and carry them through the streets of your town for one hour, climb a couple hills, walk over some uneven surfaces (cobblestone?), get on a public bus or train during rush hour, walk up 4 or 5 flights of stairs to mimic that hotel in Paris or Amsterdam with no elevator.

If you feel you can handle the bags ok after an hour, then you're ok. If not, rethink how much you really need to bring with you.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Katy,, it is wise to remember that you do not need to bring a months worth of clothes . You only need a weeks worth,, you wash stuff, most in washroom sinks( t shirts and undies) and you can do a load of the heavier stuff once every week or 10 days.

No one who is backpacking for a month should bring a months worth of stuff.. you will hate lugging it all around after first week. I did 3 months this way.
Remember you are there to see and experience the sites, people and culture of different countries,, not as a fashion plate.. you will never see the same people everyday, so all you have to worry about is being clean and warm or cool enough to enjoy your day.

I did 26 days last summer with a 21 inch suitcase and no day bag,, I just have a messenger bag type purse that fits what I need for day( hey, you don't need that much) , less is more.

I would see if you could find a smaller day bag.

Posted by Steven
Ottawa, Ontario,, Canada
521 posts

The question is not so much how many liters can a bag hold, but how much weight will be associated with it? If it's a big bag but it has room in it and you have packed lightly, it really will not be an issue. Just do a dry-run of the packing and, just as Ceidleh said, try walking around town with it and see if it seems reasonable.

The day bag is the only thing I want to caution you on. Remember that you will be walking around museums and shopping in stores. A large daybag will inhibit your ability to walk around, and you may find it tricky to squeeze between the narrow aisles in stores.

Posted by Adam
Boston
2633 posts

Katy, your day bag (30 L) was my bag bag, more or less, on my first-ever, 3-week trip to Europe years ago. My wife used an identical bag (it was our honeymoon).

We've since bought bags that are a little larger, mostly to accommodate an internal frame, which we like for various reasons.

You are of course the best judge, but do consider that traveling light has many benefits!

Posted by Katy
Bellingham, Washington, United States
6 posts

Okay, thanks for the responses! Can you tell I've never been backpacking before? :) Since I've read some of these posts, I've looked at smaller (much, much smaller) hydration packs as a day bag. This should work, right? I want to have water with me, so thats nice. But the bags are only 4 liters. (Some are only 2.) This is better I assume? Will it be large enough to fit my stuff in?

Posted by Steven
Ottawa, Ontario,, Canada
521 posts

When I went, there were two of us sharing one small daypack... and that daypack would attach to my regular backpack when I was not using it. Yes, it was tiny. For hydration, we carried Platypus hydration packs which fold up very small when you're not using them. Water in Europe is not really a problem, though. With a few exceptions, you can get water anywhere. Sometimes I would just go and refill my platypus pack at a bathroom sink. We only ever really carried two liters of water at a time, with the exception of when we went on the hikes in the Cinque Terre as much more was needed then.

If you're not hiking rurally, there is always a source of clean drinking water available nearby.

Posted by Nancy
Taylor, TX, USA
416 posts

Katy,

If you have never been backpacking before, you need to get some practice in before you go. For one thing, balancing your load in your backpack is critical for preventing back and shoulder pain. For another, you need to get a feel for how long you can realistically walk in a day over varying terrain, at altitude, etc. You also need to be absolutely certain your shoes are comfortable and supportive enough and that your socks don't wrinkle inside the shoe or cause you to itch unmercifully (I cannot wear wool against my skin, for example). If you are planning to wear sturdy hiking boots, they need to be broken in or you will suffer a lot of foot pain an possibly blistering. Another thing to be prepared for is the need to visit facilities more frequently if you are hiking from town to town. I used to go backpacking a lot and learned that it makes my bowels move at quite a clip compared to my everyday life. Sorry if that is TMI, but it is something you need to be prepared for.

Posted by Bea
OH, OH, USA
1157 posts

Kathy,

If it's to hard to carry both that's something you would know, not us.
Howeevr, 55L bag is huge and it will be very heavy when loaded. I got a 55L abg from ebay about 2 years ago and it was so big that I could have fitted in it.
I have a strong back and I took a 45 L bag plus a smaller day backpack and it felt so heavy just when I walking around in the airport. I think I had about 30-35 lbs in both.Now I travel with a 22 in Eagle Creek backpack, less 3 lbs empty and a day backpack.

Posted by Larson
Halifax
110 posts

You need to try some stuff out before you, as most have suggested. take a weeks worth of clothes. Rinse out socks etc in the room. At the week/10day mark, take the morning off..hit the local laundromat (this in itself can be an experience)and do a wash...just like you'd do at home.

Right now you're planning on taking WAY too much.