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We Bought Our New “Homes”

After much deliberation…particularly on Skott’s part, we have chosen our backpacks which will carry all of our worldly belongings for the next 12-15 months. In selecting our bags we had a wishlist based on some research we did on other RTW blogs. The three main must-haves for our new “homes” were as follows:

1. Must have panel entry.

Everyone laughs when I call this “front entry” but essentially, this is what it is. We wanted to be able to access the stuff inside our bags easily, instead of having to dig from the top as you would have to do with a top loader.

2. Must be comfortable and a good fit with our height.

I found that with many of the unisex bags, the hard, support panel built in to lie against your back was too high and sat right behind your head, almost pushing your head forward. Annoying!

3. Size Matters.

We’ve each done backpacking trips before with hugely over-sized bags. Skott’s Australia bag was the size of a small city. We sold these with absolutely no regrets knowing that the smaller the bag, the better especially when we do our 780km trek across Spain.

So here’s what we chose:

Shawna’s Bag: The Women’s Kelty Lakota 65L

-Neutral colours of grey & charcoal;
-Panel entry zips all the way open (some were just a J zip, this is like a U);
-Narrower straps and shorter back panel fit really well;
-Separated compartment at the bottom that you can also access from the front;
-Great price! $150 + tax

Skott’s Bag: Deuter Quantum 55 L


-Made by Germans (Skott’s very proud of his heritage);
-Neutral colours (Skott’s other favourite was lime green and we decided this was a deal breaker);
-Has a small day pack that clips off. (We didn’t like the ones that zipped to the main bag because when the bag is full, it’s hard to zip it on and off);
-Panel entry;
-Skotty got a deal from Fresh Air Experience so the price came down from $250 to $199.

We are using packing cubes to keep everything organized. This was another recommendation we came across in other traveller’s blogs. I just did a trial run of packing last night and I think these are going to be amazing. All of my shirts are in a full cube; my skirt, dress and shorts and leggings are in a half cube; underwear and bikinis are in a quarter cube; and my toiletries are in the smallest cube. (Watch for our post on what we’ve packed coming in the next couple weeks as we narrow everything down).

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19 Responses to “We Bought Our New “Homes””

  1. Pete | Hecktic Travels May 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Skott, thumbs up to Deuter, I’ve been very happy with mine and I’m certain you won’t be disappointed. And Shawna, definitely have to agree with you on the panel U zip. Can’t imagine using a J-zip…
    Pete | Hecktic Travels recently posted..Vancouver Island in Photos

    • Skott May 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      Pete – that is awesome to hear…I tend to over think these types of purchases (as Shawna so politely alluded to :) ), so knowing there is someone else that carries this pack makes me feel a lot better about the decision. We were both baffled by the lack of panel loading backpacks out there…easily 70-80% seemed to be top loading or at best J-zip for the panel, which just defied logic to us…

  2. Gillian @OneGiantStep May 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Great choices guys! And the packing cubes are indispensable. I liked that I always knew where everything was – that would be my biggest tip; everything has a place and always put everything in it’s place! Cheers!
    Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..A Letter From The Past

    • Skott May 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

      Thanks Gillian – hopefully we will even get pics up of our new packs when WordPress decides to behave properly again!

      But yes, I cannot believe how amazing these packing cubes will be… they will definitely play a part in keeping us sane on this trip, there is no doubt.

  3. Erica May 24, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    I have been so happy with my 40L but if you require any maintenance at all, I definitely suggest the bugger bag. <3
    Erica recently posted..Getting a Bit More Intimate with Puebla- Mexico

    • Skott May 24, 2011 at 4:36 am #

      Maintenance??? Are you calling me a diva, Erica? :)

      Nice work on the 40L bag, I don’t think we could have done that…because…well, I’m a diva….

  4. Megan May 24, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    They sound like the perfect packs – all your criteria was mine as well, and I’ve now been using my Macpac happily for six years. It’s a little too wide (rather than tall) but that’s a minor issue.

    And – packing cubes changed my life. Seriously. I will never go anywhere without them. They even come with me to buy groceries… ;)
    Megan recently posted..Celebrating Diwali in Kathmandu

    • Shawna May 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      I never would have thought living out of a backpack could be so organized. I bet a woman invented packing cubes! haha Thanks for checking out our post!!

  5. Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth May 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Very exciting. Ashley and I are still on the fence, with regards to back packs. I wish we could just make up our mind so we could start packing and getting a feel for what we are going to bring.
    Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth recently posted..Why Ashley Wants to Travel

    • Skott May 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      You know what, I have to credit Shawna on this one (I hope she doesn’t read this)… I am the ultimate over-thinking analytical one, trying to find thee perfect pack. In Shawna’s words…it doesn’t exist. Write down the two or three things you are looking for in a pack and that will help to narrow down your choices substantially….I am interested to see how we do with 55L and 65L packs….if anything the might be a wee bit big (I cannot believe I am saying that, cuz they don’t look big for something that is supposed to house your life for the next year and a half), but they can be cinched in, to make them fairly compact. Good luck!

  6. Brock May 25, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    YES!! You went for the Deuter 55 + 10. Awesome bag. I recall suggesting this one as it is the bag I used. Get ready, it’s easily one of the most trendy, ‘smart’ looking bags you’ll see on the road.
    I am also intrigued that Shawna’s bag is bigger…any reason in particular?

    • Skott May 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      I bet she is trying to compensate for something….

      No, it is actually just the way it worked out…she found her back and was ecstatic…and I actually don’t think the store that she bought hers at had any smaller Kelty bags.
      As for the Deuter (which is way more fun to say when you pronounce it incorrectly as a DOOD-er), if anything, I may go a little smaller still…have to try packing this thing first a few times…but yes, it is a pretty great bag – I am glad to see other people have owned it!

  7. Kim May 27, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    Nice picks! Great price on the womens bag. Can’t wait to buy my own “home” soon!

    • Skott and Shawna May 28, 2011 at 3:05 am #

      It definitely makes it feel one step closer….each item we purchase or step we take is a huge leap towards starting our adventure – woo hoo!!!

  8. Tracy February 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Those look still fairly small in the pictures, but I’m assuming they’re not small enough to use as a carry on right? Have you guys had any issues yet with bags? =] Oh, and is there a reason you decided not to use a travel pack? I keep hearing we should get those instead….but I like the light weight hiking backpacks….even though we won’t be technically camping. Thoughts?
    Tracy recently posted..WTF Wednesday: Tourists to be Banned from Coffee Shops

    • Skott February 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Tracy – sadly these are not small enough to act as carry on…although that was something we were considering, at the time we were packing, we didn’t think we could do it…and to be fair I still am not sure it would have been possible. HOWEVER, we do both think we could have shrunk our bags a little more. I don’t think I will at this point, but Shawna is looking into getting a smaller Deuter or North Face backpack here in Vietnam. If you are doing much walking at all, I think I would stick with a backpack, not the travel pack… I don’t know much about them, but for me, having something with wheels would probably actually be awkward on the busy streets of the cities we are travelling in. Hope that helps, let us know if we can be of any further assistance!

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