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Luggage recommendations

Original message posted by Laura on 10-21-05.

Does anyone have luggage recommendations for going overseas longterm? I'm leaving for eastern africa this coming summer and have been considering getting one of the backpacks you see hikers using but am not sure if it'll hold everything I need. Thanks, Laura

Reply by Joshua Jones on 10-21-05.

Laura, Packing is one of my favorite subjects when it comes to travel! My all-time great packing achievement was when I once spent a week in Belize with only a fanny-pack. Obviously, I enjoy traveling light. I love the feeling of not having a big load to haul and protect and keep an eye on. Here are some key questions to consider: 1) How long will you be traveling? 2) Will you be stationary or mobile? When I went to language school for two months in Guatemala, I took the full luggage allowance with me. When I work in the Amazon jungle, I take a carry-on pack like you mentioned. One thing you will need to do before purchasing a pack is to become familiar with pack sizes. You should know that there is a big difference between 1800ci and 4500ci. Go to your local outdoor store and familiarize yourself with how many ci (Cubic inches) a big pack has, and how many a small one would have. Then get you a good deal from REI.com or somewhere. When you say you're going long-term, I would probably recommend a mixture of a large bag to get everything where you are staying, then a daypack (~1800ci) to carry on the plane and use for small day trips. You'll be glad you've got it. Some good expedition packs have a top section that converts into a fanny pack or day pack. I know Gregory makes one of these. More thoughts: If you're going to do a lot of transport, and you want wheels, make sure there is pavement to roll them on. If you're doing a LOT of travel, consider a rain cover. Finally, get a "Backpacker" or "Outdoor" gear guide that they publish once a year. If you can't find it at a book store, get the most recent one you can from the local library. I hope something above will be helpful. Have a great trip!

Reply by Laura on 11-02-05.

I will be in Zanzibar doing ministry for 2 years and will be mostly stationary I believe- some trips to the base in Zambia and visiting churches around the island. I'll probably be bringing my guitar with me so having the large backpack and a daypack will be the best. I also have to get a tent so that'll either be shipped over or packed in with the luggage. I appreciate the advice and any more you may have to offer. Thanks, Laura

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