Ever since the idea for this journey began, many people have asked me how I am packing for this year-long adventure. For the purpose of simplicity and efficiency, I will be using a backpacking pack, which I purchased just the other day. Choosing the right one for me came down to a few specific details:
Size - A year is obviously a long time, so having a backpack that can fit a fair amount in it was important to me. Most of the ones I was looking at online ranged between 60 - 80 liters and had substantial pockets and accessories, so after landing on two that I felt comfortable with, I went to REI to check them out in person. I ended up getting one that is 75 liters, as opposed to the other choice I liked which was 65 liters. It also was better shaped for my body in that there was not a protruding piece on top that my head kept hitting (like it did on the other one). My pack also comes with the ability to adjust the length of the spine of the pack so that it can fit my torso.
Brand - The backpack I got is a Gregory backpack. Osprey is the brand that most people like for these types of packs and it was between Osprey and Gregory for me as well. It ultimately came down to which served me better in terms of size and other details (see below).
Price - These packs can be super expensive. Luckily, I've been saving an REI gift card for awhile, my Dad found a coupon in the newspaper recently, and we went during a huge sale. This made the ending price significantly cheaper than expected. All about that bargain shopping!
Accessibility - Another hugely important aspect of the backpack for me was how it opened/how it could be packed. Some backpacks can only be unpacked / packed from the top so that you have to reach down to the bottom to retrieve something. The two that I was looking at could be laid down and opened like a suitcase. The one I didn't get could open its zipper in a "J" shape, whereas the one I ended up getting can open in a full and regular "U" shape. My backpack also has a significant external/outside pocket that fully zips shut as opposed to having a mesh covering. It also has a flap at the bottom that creates a small separate pocket from the main section of the pack where I can put things like dirty shoes/clothes.
Daypack - Having the ability to leave my big pack in a hostel/Airbnb/room somewhere during the day while exploring was also very important to me. To do this, I needed to get a very small daypack. I found a great one that can either be attached to my big back or secured across my chest. With this pack I can walk around with my camera, a water bottle, etc., during the day without lugging around all of my belongings.
Choosing a backpack proved to be one of the first important steps on an extensive list of preparation items for this trip. Big thank you to my Dad for his help with research and advice.
Message me if you want more details on the pack or anything I mentioned! - B