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Travel Equipment

Backpack, Daypack and Photopack

by Mike Gendreyzig, 2000-2003


The most important item for backpackers is of course the backpack. Long trips makes it necessary to have a comfortable rucksack. I have chosen the Alpamayo 70+20 from Lowe Alpine which weighs 2.5kg. The easy to use APS (Advanced Paralux System) for adjusting the right wearing length, many useful straps, a round cut bottom case, and of course the robust and dirt repelling material are the main features of this made in Ireland work. Also after long hiking - even overloaded with 30kg - there is no backache! Nowadays there is available an enhanced version, which reduces pressure of the contents on the bottom by an ingenious Crossbow system. The prices for Lowe Alpine backpacks are high, but I never regret this investment. Though the material is excellent and can stand a small shower, it is not water proofed.
For the normal rainfall I bought a 50-100l rain cover from Mammut, also useful for packing and hiding all the straps, important for airplane transportation.
Another useful accessory are hand loops: see below at Jack Wolfskin.

The quality of the Alpamayo convinced me to get the Zoom II photobag from Lowepro. As mentioned below I am using a zoom lense which requires more space. This photobag has two soft and adjustable side rests for the camera to take away permanent pressure of the lense. It has also an outer pocket e.g. for additional rolls and a pocket inside the top cover for flat items. I wear it with its strap across the shoulder, but you can also attach it to your waist belt.

Another useful accessory is Tatonka's Transpack. Original it is conceived for the backpacks of the same producer, but it is also suitable to my own Lowe backpack by buying a simple rope (5mm, 1.5m long) and two clips and hanging the Transpack around both side packs. Two diagonal cords can hold light stuff at the top side. So it is easy to use as a supplementary pocket as well as a simple daypack, 150g light. There are also available versions for specific situations: the Mesh Pocket with nylon mesh instead of the holding cords, the Icetool Pocket with a slightly stiggened outer compartment for crampons and side pockets for ice axis, last the Shovit Pokit dedicated to snowboards.

If making a short trip and you don't need all the bulky stuff from your bigpack it is of good use to have a daypack spacious enough just for the necessary items. I have found the daypack from ELLE petite, which is practical for side trips of several days and doesn't need much space folded together. It has two broad straps, a top cover with a helpful inbuilt pocket and a big pocket at the front side. Most useful are the two side pockets equipped which can be tightend by ribbons, handy for stowing away little bottles. Inside there are two additional pockets for flat things like maps.

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