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packing questions

Pandabear's minimalist packing topic got me thinking more about packing. I don't want to hi-jack her thread. It's so nice to talk packing again. I've made list after list, first updating my packing list from last year's Italy trip, then updating it again after several shopping trips in-store and online, then tweaking it some more. I will never be a minimalist packer but feel I've gotten carry-on figured out although it can use a few improvements. By comparison with Pandabear's thread, I pack on the heavy-ish side.

So today's question is:
If you have used an Eddie Bauer packable backpack, how durable is it? I'm planning my next trip in early Fall 2021 or late Spring 2022, Covid willing, for 30-35 days. I bought the backpack for last year's trip and alternated between it and the crossbody purse that hurt my neck. It had light use so I don't know about durability. I have since bought an extra small Travelon purse. I'd like to use the EB packable backpack in lieu of my Pacsafe tote to cut the weight and bulk down. Or maybe there is a reason to again take both?

Thanks everyone. I was going to ask a few more questions but it's way too soon. I need to do "recreational trying on and packing" to see what works. May we all be traveling soon.

Posted by
3005 posts

I have 2 sizes. At least one from 2014. They have been my safari day bag and my birdwatching bag through the years. This means they have had bridge cameras, bird books, and binocs in them all at the same time. I don't remember having to do any repairs on them. I am picky and hard to please, but I recommend these.
I have one with a front bungee for snugging up contents. The smaller one only has loops. I bought 2 S shaped carabiners (about 1.5 inches) to use to snug that bag up.

Posted by
990 posts

Thanks MariaF. Your response is very helpful. My carrying weight would be about the same, larger than planned camera that I like, rain poncho, sweater, guidebook, etc.
I have the smaller 20L back pack but it’s roomy. I bought a tote bag organizer from Amazon that fits perfect in the bottom of the backpack so things are easier to find.

Posted by
253 posts

I bought a packable backpack for bicycle commutes to work. It is very unstructured and has no interior pockets. In fact, I dislike it so much that I only used it a few times before it went in the goodwill pile. There's no way to organize anything in the back. If you're only going to carry a sweater and guidebook it might be ok. But, I doubt it would be comfortable. It doesn't have a chest strap, and without structure, anything on the bottom would hit the low back. Stay with the PacSafe and have peace-of-mind.

Posted by
3005 posts

I have the 20 and 25 l. The 20 is the one I use the caribinars with. However, I will admit I am not a fan of backpacks for prolonged day use. I couldn't quite grasp what you wanted to use it for.
I don't own any PackSafe due to the excess weight. I use a lightweight Travelon type cross body bag, but know full it can get heavy. Maybe trading off the new purse nd the day pack will ease the stress points from carrying something.
I find being able to clinch down the pack coupled with the padding, to be a fairly comfortable load despite no waist strap...which you can add if you have minimal sewing skills or a friend with said skills.

Posted by
990 posts

I had lots of excess nylon strapping dangling when I adjusted the straps to a comfortable length. So I added a plastic buckle, the kind that snaps into the other side, so it became a waist band. That supported the weight comfortably. It worked good as a day bag, albeit not pretty. The liner solves the problem of things shifting into the deep recesses of the backpack bottom. If you didn’t look at the link, the liner has inside and outside pockets and one long outside zippered pocket.

The reason I was asking is that the PacSafe tote is large. I love it as a under-the-seat plane/train/bus bag. But it put pressure on my shoulders when walking (think RS tour bus to hotel, then up stairs to room). So I was trying to eliminate an extra bag.

Posted by
1249 posts

Commenting just to follow the post. I bought a small one last winter in anticipation of using it as a secondary carryon but haven't had a chance to use it. I went with Eddie Bauer because of the quality of all the clothing I've bought there.

Posted by
16 posts

I sure wish we could include pictures when having these types of discussions. I just can't picture anything this thread is talking about!

Posted by
7704 posts

We have the EB 20L & 30L, and yesterday we received the new style that is 25L. We haven’t used the 30L yet. Hubby & I have both used the 20L size including for some light hiking and they worked well. The reason I ordered the 25L is the layout of it. It’s similar to the RS Civita bag. I believe I will prefer it to the 20L. It’s currently 50% off.

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/82300327/stowaway-25l-pack?sp=1&color=Camo&size=ONE%20SIZE

Posted by
990 posts

Thank you Andrea for your feedback and info about the 25L pack. I decided to reinforce the straps on the 20L to make it more durable for my next trip (whenever that is), leave my PacSafe tote at home and work towards cutting a little weight (packing and me) You can tell I'm more than ready and anxious to travel. I'm a late bloomer and time is running out (I'm turning 70) so want to take at least two more trips, health and money willing. Thanks everyone for your help.

Posted by
187 posts

My day bag is a Baggallini crossbody medium size. I was experiencing it being too heavy on some days, but I wanted to be able to carry options when out for the day to allow for change of weather light jacket or raincoat, small purchase, snack etc.

I bought the Sea to Summit ultra light packpack that is 2.4 oz and stuffs tiny. https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Summit-Ultra-Sil-Pack-20-Liter/dp/B006CG2TZU

When I start out in the morning, it is in my crossbody bag. If during the day my crossbody starts feeling heavy or bothering me, I then switch a few items to the backpack. Usually that will be a jacket, snack, maybe water bottle as examples. I don’t put anything in the backpack that would attract thieves such as a camera, phone, money. Those remain in the crossbody (or my money belt). I do clip the zipper ends together with a tiny S carabiner.
Alternately, if the weather is expected to get wetter or cooler, I could start the day with the extra jacket in the backpack and when I put the jacket on, stuff the tiny backpack into the day bag.

This has worked well for me on the last two trips. I’m not a fan of backpacks and prefer the easy access of a crossbody bag. This backpack is very basic with no pockets or organizational feature, no structure. But being able to shift the weight as needed as come in very handy on some days. This method is now going to allow me to get a smaller crossbody too.

There are a number of packable backpacks out there. LL Bean, Patagonia (Ultralight Blackhole 20 liter), Eagle Creek, RS Civita flattens down, etc. I say - just take the EB pack you have. If it dies on the trip - you have a good excuse to go pack shopping in another country! Could be fun and make a good souvenir.

I noticed EB has a packable 20 liter Ruck pack. I like the looks and design of it better, except that it has Eddie Bauer bill boarded across the main flap. Only $20.
The North Face has one called the flyweight. About $50.
Osprey has an ultralight stuff pack. About $28 - 35.

Posted by
3311 posts

I have a Sea to Summit daypack like the one Lynn linked. I used it on my travels to Portugal and Spain last summer (2019).

It worked well in combination with a small baggallini cross-body purse. I have a few of those to choose from and keep the purse weight very low, but as I get older, I also find them uncomfortable. And if the strap length is just right, any one of them will flop to the left and right as I walk. Annoying.

I've found that the straps of wider and more horizontal cross-body bags are less likely to hit my neck. This baggallini Everyday style is an example of that: https://www.baggallini.com/everyday-bagg/EVB477-BGR-B0018-NS.html.

I recently bought the exact same Eddie Bauer pack that joe32F linked. I hope to use it next year. It's definitely heavier than the Sea to Summit, but the structure should be more comfortable on my back and my (now) boney shoulders.

I can get a hint of what's going to work by rehearsal packing and carrying, but I never really know until I actually travel. Im not a true minimalist packer, but next trip (🤞10/2021) I'd love to be able to use the EB daypack, a cross-body purse and my Eagle Creek international 2-wheeled roller bag similar to this one: https://www.eaglecreek.com/shop/wheeled-luggage/gear-warrior-wheeled-duffel-international-carry-on-ec0a3xvb?variationId=271#hero=0.

Not a packable bag, but I did find the RS Appenzell Day Pack
(https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/appenzell-day-pack) quite comfortable for 2 domestic trips last summer (2019). That and a cross-body purse was all I took on the plane. But unless you carry a lot of stuff in a daypack, it's really too big for that purpose.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks to those of you who posted links to the pieces you use. I just can't wrap my head around liters when discussing luggage!!!

Lisa,
Maybe this will help. General info.. For Daypacks: 14 - 20 liters. For travel (suitcase) packs: 37 - 45 liters.

Lengths. I am somewhat short (under 5'5"). So, I look for daypacks that are 16 - 17" long, 18 liters max. People who are 5'3" or so should look at smaller 15-16" length packs. My husband is a big tall guy. He can easily carry a pack that is 20" - 22" in length. So, for him - I would get a longer daypack, probably around 22 liters. A 17" pack would just be too small on him.

Lengths for travel packs. Due to my size - I try to find packs that are 18 - 20 inches long and 37 - 40 liter. For my big husband: 20 - 22" pack at 45 liters.
I pack mainly casual clothes that can be rolled and put in packing cubes. I also don't usually carry extra footwear unless it's something like flip flops that are flat.
I hope this helps.

Posted by
2484 posts

I'm with Lisa. I have a hard time visualizing liters. Beer cans don't help me. There is a woman on you tube, tips from Laurie, I believe is the name, who discusses packing on her channel. She uses paper towel rolls as measurements. I can visually relate to that better...beer cans are too small. However, linear measurements of each item is what works best for me. That allows me to figure out the volume for me, and if the actual measurements fit my airline, body, etc. I know that's not going to happen, but it would be nice.

Posted by
3005 posts

It really isn't that complicated. Any article for sale that describes itself in litres - also provides linear measurements.
From the Eddie Bauer website for the Stowable 20L pack
Capacity: 20L | 1,220 cu. in.
Weight: 11 oz
18"H x 10"W x 9"D | 8.5"H x 7"W x 1.5"D (stowed)

Posted by
2484 posts

MariaF. I meant lots of times when advertisers or you tubers just mention liters. I don't want to track down the measurements. LOL. I didn't mean on this forum per se. I'm ornery today, just ask my H... For the first time during C-19, I really just want to be released to go! sigh.

Posted by
3005 posts

Ah Wray, I hear you. I do agree about the YouTubers. When I watch some of the new luggage videos, I try to guess the height of the person doing the demo to figure out if they are remotely close to my size....
I made the mistake of watching House Hunters International over the weekend trying to decompress after a horrendous week in a Covid Lab. I am so done with this....I would just like to head out into the sunset for a few months...forget about being practical and self sufficient. Thank goodness I am generally the optimist...but it is getting harder.

Posted by
3311 posts

I'd be lost without my measuring tape that has inches on one side and cm on the other. Holding it up and making a virtual visual box using the length, width and depth measurements is a help for me.

Beyond that, Googling something like cm to inches will bring up a screen where you can input all kinds of measurements to start from and get results in other kinds of measurements.

Years ago I concentrated only on linear measurements and cubic inches. Now liters are my friend. One way to visualize them is with 1 liter or 2 liter plastic soda bottles. There are certainly plenty of those around.

MariaF,
If you are a medical lab worker - Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! Your job is so important and I appreciate your efforts. If stress is getting to you, try an outdoor physical challenge for 1/2 day to reset. I so understand your desire to be at the end of this virus tunnel.

Lisa,
Make a list of bag criteria to aid in shopping for a bag that's right for you. Lots of good posts here to get you started. Liters were hard for me at first. Only made sense after I bought and used a few bags. Ask questions, this forum can help. (Example: torso length, pockets, organizers, colors, zipper or cinch sack, padded or structureless, how much stuff to haul, fabric, etc..)
For torso length - take a tape measure and measure from the base of your neck (where neck meets your back) to the bottom of your lumbar back area. Doesn't need to be a perfect measurement. In general, it helps if the base of your daypack rests in the lumbar area. (Some people carry longer packs that have hip-support "wings" - belt on them.). For a 14 - 20 liter pack, the hip belt is a nice extra, but not necessary.

Posted by
173 posts

Between my husband and I, we have multiple EB 20L & 30L Stowaway packable backpacks. I use them as a personal item (and am always surprised and pleased how durable they are!) and for day trips (especially the 20L).

If I am using my roller bag as a carry on, sometimes I will pack some of my filled packing cubes in one of the Stowaway backpacks and then pack that in the roller bag, just in case I am forced to gate check my roller bag. I fly standby as an airline retiree, so often I get my seat assignment late in the boarding procedure when the overhead space is too full for any more roller bags, so then I can just open my roller and take out the filled EB Stowaway backpack and check the roller bag, and be sure that I will have clothes with me in case my roller gets lost or delayed. The structure of the Stowaway backpack is such that it can usually be squeezed into even a "full" overhead space.

The price is great (looks like they are on sale right now). After trips, I wash them in a delicate cycle in the washing machine and let them drip dry and they are as good as new. Both of my adult kids have used theirs daily to take to work and the bags have held up really well for them, too.

Can you tell I'm a fan, lol!

Posted by
16 posts

Again, thank you all for your "tutorials" on liters! They were all helpful and I am learning, which is the purpose of this travel forum.

Posted by
461 posts

Herpackinglist.com is a great place to hang out for a few hours. If you just review the luggage items and backpacks in the many lists, I think you will quickly get a feel for what might work for you.

Just me, of course: Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 liter bag and a Patagonia 25 liter backpack. That’s it for international travel. More locally or shorter trips, Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 liter and my man purse, Tom Bihn Cafè small.