First Time Pack Buyer

4:25 p.m. on March 5, 2007 (EST)
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I am preparing for a 10 day trip through Europe (June-July). I spoke to a salesman at EMS, who indicated that the packs I was looking at (4000 cu in +) were much too big for what I needed. He suggested something in the 3100 cu in range. I have looked at bags in this range, and while I believe I could fit a few pairs of pants and many t-shirts plus some hoodies and whatnot in it, many reviews of bags in this size say they are perfect for 3 day trips.

Can anyone provide some more info. If I am really just bringing pants/t-shirts and some other wears, do I need anything bigger than 3100? If not, any recommendations?

7:50 p.m. on March 5, 2007 (EST)
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I think that size is much too big. I don't think you would need more than 2400.

There is another thread about this exact subject in the Backcountry forum. You should pop over there and try to find it. Those guys might have hashed out the very heart of your question. It looks, though, like it should be easy-going for you.

I'd go for a good looking pack with tons of comfort!

9:15 p.m. on March 5, 2007 (EST)
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If you are just going to Europe for 10 days, why would you need more than "a few pairs of pants and many t-shirts plus some hoodies and whatnot", or even that much? Do you really need more than one change of clothes for 10 days (there are laundromats and dry cleaners in Europe, after all - they are a very civilized part of the world). And you can always buy clothes, if you need them. If you need a suit or tux (or evening gown, if that's appropriate - since I just realized that pants + T-shirts does not indicate a male these days), you can rent them on very short notice (been there, done that, and my rental attire was much higher quality than I own of the same type). Listing pants and T-shirt as your standard attire, with hoodies says you will be informal, "student" attire. So a single change of outer plus maybe 2 changes of socks and underwear should be more than enough. You can buy soap at the laundromats.

I have spent a month rock climbing in Europe and gotten along fine with a 2400 cu in pack (carry-on size). I did hook up with other climbers for the rope and hardwear. And a 3500 cu in pack for the month of alpine climbing - got the ice ax and crampons there and sold them to another climber before heading home. In both cases, I spent time visiting museums in my "city" clothes.

As Dan says, look over on the Backpacking forum, where this topic has been thoroughly hashed out.

11:58 p.m. on March 5, 2007 (EST)
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Remember, backpack traveling isn't camping. When you see "good for 3 days" that means 3 days of mainstream camping gear and isn't even necessarily accurate because some lightweight backpackers can stay out for weeks with a small pack (with food drops perhaps), which is very different from what you will be doing. I spent 6 months in New Zealand (no tux)with a pack about that size, but I had a sleeping bag, tent, stove, extra boots, and other camping paraphernalia.

I suggest doing some online research for backpack traveling to get an idea what to take. I can easily fit ten days worth of stuff in a luggage carryon except for winter travel.

Like Bill says, Europe is not the wilderness; wear one set of clothes, pack another set, extra socks, underwear,a jacket and sweater, personal toiletries kit and your camera and you're pretty much set. Anything else you can rent or buy.

December 22, 2014
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