Looking for a Backpack Questions

by Scott on December 28, 2009

Looking at backpacks it occurs to me that backpacking in the US is a little different then elsewhere.  Here it’s more wilderness hiking.  Many of the packs are made for weekend or weeklong camping trips in the woods.  These ones are made to haul in a couple weeks worth of food and then some people even pack out their ‘edible downloads’ so to speak.   They all seem full of pockets and straps for holding carabiners, shovels, poles, water filters, etc.   Which are all great when your camping but would probably just get caught on something as your walking though a market or running to and catch a bus or train.  Would those even last a year on the road?  It might just be me but I think I’d like to get one that doesn’t have all that stuff.  Something with a clean smooth exterior.  Maybe a waterbottle spot.  Oh and like a cell phone holder.  But that’s it!

This has probably been covered to death and I’ll be honest, I really haven’t looked into many pack guides or anything.  These are the questions I’ve come up with so far that I plan on answering in the next month or so:

How big? I’m thinking 65l. I have a hiking pack and this seems comfortable to me.

Can you really live out of 65l? Dang I hope so.  We’ll see. Thousands of people have done it, surely I can.

What kind for 6+ months? Not sure on this one.  For this I was thinking what it’s made of.

One with attached daypack? A small backpack would be nice since I really don’t like bum-bags.

What about a camera bag? I would like to bring an SLR, that’s kinda the whole point of going.

Does it matter where your going? I have no idea.  Possibly?

Am I missing anything? Probably.

When looking for a travel backpack I keep thinking that they make stuff where I’m going.  I don’t need to pack everything I need, what I need is just enough to get by.  They’ll have some sort of toothpaste I can get after my travel one runs out.


The International Power Plug Map

by Scott on December 27, 2009

I StumbledUpon this map a while back that is tremendously helpful if you plan on traveling internationally in the next year.

image from

There are a couple different maps on Wikipedia but I think this one is the nicest and the easiest to read.


Small Travel Computer Wishlist

by Scott on December 26, 2009

There are a couple new improvements coming soon to netbooks.   The first is the recently announced Atom N450 processor, dubbed Pinetrail.  The big difference with this processor is that for the first time the cpu and graphics chip is combined onto one chip.  The performance is going to be approximately the same but due to the two previously separate processors being combined, the benefit is better battery life.  Initially it looks like many of the manufactures will be using the same chassis they are currently selling merely upgrading the internals. You can expect more announcements up through CES.

Rumors are also surrounding NVIDIA with reports that they are thinking about releasing a video card that will plug into the PCI slot on most netbooks.  Having a discrete graphics card would be a huge benefit for games, photos and video.  The downside is if it’s a couple hundred dollars and you spend $3-400 on the netbook you should probably just get a laptop.  This will be interesting to watch.

The apple touch pad thingy.  Rumors are escalating rapidly regarding the immanent release of some sort of tablet.  One way I gauge the reputability of the rumors is by checking if the WSJ has any reports on it.  And they are.  This seems to be the worst kept secert in tech right now.  Probably because Apple needed input as to content.  This was probably shown to the newpaper and/or the magazine industry when they announced their new epub initiative.  But that is just seer speculation.  What you can count on is there is going to be an announcement in January with a later release date.

Why this is intriguing to a traveler is even the iPhone and iTouch do graphics well.  A tablet that could do minor graphics along with the expected small size would make it attractive for the weekend traveler or for a RTW backpacker.

The wishlist of things to look for (or at least what i’m looking for) are

  1. a small sub 12 inch size
  2. less then 2lbs (1kg)
  3. good battery life
  4. can do minor photo and video
  5. wifi (this may a no brainer, but some tablets/ereaders have service through cell phone companies)

and although not required – an aluminum body would be a plus also.

UPDATE:  After I wrote this I read Gizmodo’s all inclusive Apple rumor roundup.  Definitely an interesting read.


8 Reasons to not get a Netbook for Travel

by Scott on December 24, 2009

The screens are small. Some people just can’t get used to a screen that small.  It doesn’t feel like they can do any ‘real’ work on it. They get all hunched over and squinty trying to use it.

The keyboard is cramped.  Some people  (mainly guys) think their hands are to big for the keyboard.  If you think so do a comparison with a normal laptop (one that does not have the 10 keys on the side).  It’s more of an ego thing that threatens their manhood.  Get over it, measure the keyboard.

Is it a want or need? Seriously look at why you want to bring one. Do you really Need it? Are you just bringing it to email home because a phone does that now you know.  You need is one that will do WiFi is all.

Will you break it. If you know your rough on equipment and you plan on chucking it in the bottom of your bag only to use it to ask for more money from home.   Again, get a cell phone.

No CD rom. Not having a floppy is one thing but no DVD?  That’s barbaric.  How are you going to get all those cds ripped into the netbook?  How are you going to burn a cd of pictures to send home to your mom?

You have to keep an eye on it. All the time.  If your going to worry all the time whether its going to get stolen or you take it with you to every bar and nightclub and freakout every time someone uses it as a coaster.  Save yourself the aggravation. Again bring a cell phone.

There are better ones coming out soon. There will always be better ones coming out soon.  This time you may actually want to wait however.  If your not going to be traveling this winter or spring it’s going to be worth it.  Some of the new netbooks are reporting 14 hour battery life.  Also Apple is going to release a 7inch touchpad in January. (I’d expect it to run the iPhone OS).  Which with the iPhones ability to do graphics makes it worth a look to see what it’s capable of.

You want to edit video.   Adding the occasional video to youtube once every couple months is about all your going to want to do.  If you want to do more frequent videos or to vlog your going to want a laptop. But you already knew that.

Saturday I’ll address the rumors surrounding the new Atom processor and the impending Apple release and what it means for travelers.


Extra bag fee finder

December 20, 2009

If your planning a trip and are going to be taking extra bags long, make sure you check out  It’s a tremendously helpful website for planning and may help you decide if you really need that extra bag or not (you might want to bookmark it). For example it shows that for a Delta […]

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