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Galaxy 25-08-2006 23:12

walkin' and packin'
Hi Folks,
Soon we will be throwing the dock lines and begin the life of a cruiser. So often I read about walking into town to buy provisions and spare parts. Backpacks play a big role in getting the stuff back to the boat.

What features have you found important? I fell in love with a $70 pack back at REI, but I'm reluctant to shell out that much $$$. We'll be buying two. One for me and the other for Rick.

I'd get one for the cat, but he refuses to walk on a leash, so I think he'd be useless as a pack animal.

Thanks in advance.

GordMay 26-08-2006 02:00

Maggie bought me an old canvas boy scout pack, which lasted me through 10 years of very hard use (tools, etc).
I buy cheap (<$15) nylon (frameless) packs, two at a time, and they last a couple of years, then become book storage for a few. Never had a high-tech pack.
Many hikers cite good footwear as very important, but Iíve always worn flip-flops or boat shoes.

Sunspot Baby 26-08-2006 05:18

We use small packs. Big fancy ones have too much opportunity to fill up. If your backpacking with clothes etc. that’s one thing. Filling it with provisions like canned goods, frozen meat, and rum, it gets too heavy to tote comfortable.

Consider a folding cart. West has some nautical blue ones that open to the size of a crate and stow easily. We found the same thing at Staples in drab gray and black for a lot less $$.


ssullivan 26-08-2006 05:49

George is right. A cart would be a tremendous benefit to backpacks, which is how we do everything. Also, pannier (sp?) bags for any bicycles would be a good idea. We have yet to buy them, but would like to.

Oddly, I have found that when my backpack is full, and I still have more to carry, I often tie things around my neck when bicycling. :)

(they hang downward, toward the ground, not over my back choking me... ha ha ha

Pura Vida 26-08-2006 06:14

I have a plethora of specialized backpacks but today use an "Outdoor Products Essential Carry On" avaliable from Campmor for $30. I have carried it all over Central America and wished I had it on the boat back in the Bahamas. If I need to move more stuff than I can carry in that pack I will hire a taxi.

Vasco 26-08-2006 06:41

We just have a couple of backpacks, under $20 each and a small backpack that's good for carrying "refreshments" when we go on long beach walks. I have two Dahon folding bikes (the original small wheeled ones) but stopped carying those on the boat since we no longer have the long trip south from Toronto. They used to be very handy in the States. It's amazing how we used to load them up. I could get 3 or 4 cases (24's) of beer on the carrier over the rear wheel and quite a few bags of groceries on the handlebars. The hardest part then was trying to stop without falling over. Also it was pretty wobbly until you got speed up. Now we have a good luggage carrier and can lug a fair amount with that when necessary. It beats pushing a shopping cart through the streets like a homeless person. We also have a couple of good quality waterproof duffles (Walmart sporting goods) and these are unbeatable when it comes to ensuring that your fresh laundry and groceries don't get soaked on the dink trip back to the boat.

Galaxy 26-08-2006 08:33

Phew! I'm so glad I sought your advice before I plunked out $140 for a couple of backpacks.

Great solutions. I appreciate every penny I can save.

We are up to our eyeballs in outfitting for cruising and I think La Vita is Sunspot Baby's sister.


George __________________
She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger"

Pblais 26-08-2006 08:56

Waterproof duffles are a great solution for a lot of things. White water outfitters would have the good ones.

A soft sided cooler isn't a bad idea either. Walmart has them cheap. When we go to the "good grocery store" it takes about an hour to get home and they keep frozen stuff a long time.

sv_makai 26-08-2006 09:39

ALong with backpacks we found canvas bags with long handles to be excellent. The handles should be long enough to carry over the shoulder. We found many very cheap and more durable than back pack. Since the capacity was greater we found ourselves using these more often than the backpack and definately in conjunction with the backpack.

Our Credit Union gave us one we have been using for years and it has outlasted 2 backpacks.

Galaxy 27-08-2006 09:44

Hi Folks,

Captain Bil, Paul Blais, Rick I: I put you ideas to action. While clearing out our storage unit, we discovered two canvas bags with long handles. They are both waterproof. We have a soft sided cooler and have used it to hold refrigerated and frozen food when we go shopping while living on land. They'e going with us!

Rick I, Gord May: thanks for assuring me a low cost (aka cheap) back packs are OK. We had considered a couple of folding bikes. We'll see. We haven't lived on La Vita to know if we have room for them. Thanks giving me an idea how exciting it is to ride them. Our cars look like homeless carts. The have boxes, canvas, & other stuff in the front/back seat. Of course, they need a bath and the seagulls use it for target practice.

Pura Vida: I went to the Campmor Web site. This site has great promise and reasonable prices. If we don't find our backpack locally, I'll see check out Campmor more closely. I've been trying to figure out a decent way to make toast. They may have a solution there. That's for the link.

George, Sean Sullivan: We do have a folding cart and use all the time to drag stuff from the car to the boat. It is a necessity. You're right beer and beans do get heavy!

Gord May: Both Rick and I bought good footwear at REI (yikes, the price). We expect them to hold up forever and give us the support we need when shoving the dingy up the bank or back into the water.

Thanks, all. I appreicate the information, ideas, and best of all reassuring me I can go cheap!

roverhi 27-08-2006 12:39

If you anticipate going places where you may have to lug water or fuel to the boat in Gerry Jugs, a pack frame that can accomodate the jugs is a god send. It is no fun to lug a full five gallon Jug more than a few hundred feet, let alone a 1/2 mile. A pack frame would make the job at least reasonable.

Peter O.

Gallivanters 27-08-2006 13:17

I prefer JANSPORT backpacks.

They cost a little more but they come with a LIFETIME warranty.

I bought my first JANSPORT backpack, like, 30 years ago... and they replace or repair them - free of charge with no questions asked - every three or four years... depending on how much abuse I give them. They usually just replace my old, worn-out rucksack with a brand new one of the same colour and similar style. They replaced the leather bottom on one once and (most recently) replaced ALL zippers on a bag which I'd sewn flag patches onto. Broken zippers seems to be what fails first. Seams are next to go.

Soft coolers are good for re-provisioning and those folding two wheelers mentioned above will handle jugs of fuel, cases of beer and other heavy nicessities.

By-the-way - TAYLOR FENDERS offer a lifetime warranty, too. They once sent me a new pair when I was in Papua New Guinea!


Pblais 27-08-2006 14:17

I've backpacked for 40 years and a really good pack is worth it. I can understand the cost issue but you need to think through some of the items to be carrired. A good pack should carry 100 lbs.. You really want a frame for weights over 60 lbs. and a waist belt is a requirement to shift the load to your hips. A chest harness is a good idea too.

5 gallons of anything needs a more substantial pack (2 lbs / quart memorize this number) and water might have to be lugged far. We all take water for granted and they don't in most parts of the world. You may even have to pay for it too. Just think about getting stuff a long ways that is very heavy. How about a new group 4 battery<g>. The light stuff you already know about. Think about moving serious tonage. Also compute the capcity of the dinghy - it matters.

You need to start thinking like they do in the thrid world. You won't have a car or a forklift handy. The good news is being lucky still counts and being nice costs you nothing.

hellosailor 27-08-2006 14:56

Galaxy, there are all kinds of fancy backpacks these days, mainly with internal frames so in theory theyhug the load closer to your body and your center of gravity. Well...Once-upon-a-time external frame packs were all there were, and somehow people still used them.<G>

Campmor is a great source, but you may find you can get simple external frame backpacks from any thrift store or other used source. Often WAY CHEAP because they are out of style. Often put out in the trash by folks cleaning out attics and garages and finding their kids' old scouting equipment.

The nice thing about an external frame pack, is that with a few feet of rope you can lash almost anything to it, so it is still more versatile. Need to carry something heavy off the boat? Need to carry another fuel/water jug? Just lash it on.

The straps attach with fastpins, so they can be replaced. As does the pack, the pads, the waist belt. I'd be surprised if you had to pay more than $20 to pick one up secondhand.

As Paul mentions, quality matters.<G> But many frames use interchangeable parts, so you can add or change as you please.

Galaxy 27-08-2006 20:15

Hi hellosailor
Thanks for the frame information and reminding me about second hand stores.

I sincerely hope our folding dock cart will be carrying our heavier items, such as water and fuel

Thanks again for the ideas.

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