Somewhere during the planning of this trip I stumbled across a website that changed everything: Travel Independent Info. One article in particular caught my attention. It was about how to travel lightly, and convinced me that this how I need to travel. The gist of the article is that the smaller and lighter my bag, the happier traveler I will be. After many trips with heavy, bulky bags, I truly believe this.
With the information gained from this site, I embarked on a backpack search. Initially, I thought I would “need” a 70-80 liter backpack to carry everything. After many hours of comparison shopping and trips to several stores from Providence to New York, I finally settled on a non-descript REI-brand 40-liter backpack. It is actually listed as a daypack on the REI website, and I’m bringing it on month-long trip. I can’t believe how small it is, but I also can’t wait to put it to use and move effortlessly from rickshaw to train to plane. That’s the idea anyway.
I continued to research the world of lightweight travel and learned that in order to fit what I needed into my new pack, I would have to purchase special lightweight, quick-dry clothing. I have been perusing the clearance racks at REI and shopping online for brands previously unknown to me (ExOfficio, SmartWool, Toad&Co) as well as some familiar brands such as Columbia.
One obstacle to my lightweight travel has been fitting in room for my camera and its equipment. I have spent many hours researching how other backpackers handle this and, not surprisingly, there are almost as many methods as there are websites about traveling light. Since I do not think I can keep my new camera and lenses safe in my backpack, I have opted to carry a smaller (though still somewhat bulky) second bag designed for the camera. This will also serve as my daypack so that I can leave the larger backpack in my room as needed.
All of this intrigues me, and I really am devoted to traveling light, but it is still an experiment. Look for updates on how this works in the real world.