Whilst you are reading this, we will be on the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue on the central coast of Vietnam. You may remember I told you a while back that on this trip we were carrying back-packs rather than wheeling luggage around.
Everything you read on the internet about back-packing always reminds you not to take too much gear with you. We ummed and ahhed about what to pack (with us being back-pack virgins) and, in the end, were seriously impressed that each of our packs weighed just under 10 kilograms at the start of our trip. Actually, I was amazed when I put them on the scales because I always have so much trouble keeping below ten kilos when I fly on a budget airline back to the UK.
Anyway, 10 kilos might not sound very much, but when you have carried it only two hundred metres in 29C with high humidity, not only does it feel much heavier, but your back is also wet through with sweat. Honestly, with all the walking, climbing up and down steps plus we are not eating as much because it’s so hot, I should weigh about six stones by now! HA – fat chance!
Our packs are known as “travel packs” and they are the new generation of rucksack, for various reasons (see photos for a better idea of what I mean):
1. The big plus for us to buy these packs was that they do not load from the top (like the more traditional rucksack), instead they zip around and open like a suitcase. It certainly saves the problem of finding things buried at the bottom of your pack.
2. They have a flap that folds away when you are carrying it on your back, but when travelling on a train or checking-in luggage at the airport, this flap zips all the carrying straps inside, so there are no loops or straps hanging down to get caught on anything.
3. There is a separate matching day-pack which zips onto the main pack (if you want it to), but which is used for keeping valuables and what ever we need on a day-to-day basis.
We have most of our gear compartmentalised so we know where everything is (in theory, at least), and wrapped in plastic to stop things getting wet inside. We are also carrying dry sacks to keep our electrical items, cables and computer in, as well as rain covers for the whole pack.
All-in-all we are pleased with our choice of travel pack – the Osprey Farpoint 70. This is made up of a 55 litre main pack plus a 15 litre day-pack. We were also delighted to discover that once the pack is on your back, the weight is not carried by your shoulders (as we thought) but by the strap around your hips- making it much more comfortable to carry.