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Carrying & Protecting Your Gear


You'll be lugging a lot of kit so a large and comfortable pack is essential. A top-loading rucksack distributes weight very evenly while convertible travel bags are easy to pack and unpack.

Daysack/waist pouch If you're trekking with your main pack, a waist pouch is handy for keeping small bits and pieces to hand. A shoulder bag is good for your camera, water bottle, map, compass and so on. A very lightweight daysack used as a stuff sack in your main pack will come in useful when you’re in a different environment.

Security products Security is less of a problem in the middle of nowhere but it's still important to keep your passport/money/tickets safe. A hidden pouch is a simple but effective solution. 

Packing accessories Always keep your night clothes in a watertight bag to ensure they stay dry if there is a sudden downpour or if you are crossing water - you will have a much better night's sleep in dry clothing. 

Separate all your other clothing and equipment as much as possible with stuff sacks - this really helps keep your rucksack organised and prevents the spread of dirt and dampness.


Backpack On and off transport, crossing cities, by the beach, up a mountain, through the desert - backpacks on overland get some serious abuse. A convertible is ideal with its' easy accessibility. Choose one with decent zips, a stream-line finish and a decent back system. 

Remember to pack light - the smaller you can manage, the better. 

Daysack/waist pouch
 If you have a convertible with a detachable daysack consider a waist pouch for extra convenience. If your pack doesn't incorporate a daysack, you'll need a separate one, or possibly a shoulder bag. 

Security products
 Security is a big issue. You are constantly moving into unknown territory and you will be watched most places you go. If you are with a tour vehicle, they may have a built-in safe, although whole vehicles have been known to disappear. Avoid being a victim of opportunist thieves by following all the tips. If you know you are going through a high risk area as an independent, you may need to consider extreme methods such as lining your rucksack with chicken wire or using the more modern Pacsafe. 

Packing accessories
 If you're heading for the jungle or coinciding with a wet season, you will need waterproof stuff sacks. Transparent zip wallets are great for separating insect repellents, cutlery, toiletries and so on. 


Backpack Go for a convertible travel bag large enough to carry everything, or take a smaller carry case with wheels combined with a 35/45 litre weekend sack. Using a combination gives flexibility, useful if you know you can leave part of your luggage behind at a base to go off for short trips. 

Daysack/waist pouch
 A 35 litre pack is small enough to use as a daysack. Alternatives include waist pouches and lightweight packable daysacks. Or, if you are planning to spend a long time in a city, it would be worth taking a robust daybag. 

Security products
 Cities are renowned for pick pockets, bag slashing and stealing from rooms. Follow all the security tips and in addition consider a Doorguard, Personal Safe and Personal Alarm. 


Tropical travel is humid and wet, especially in the rainy season. Since you will only need lightweight summer clothing (unless you visit higher altitudes) a smaller - and therefore more comfortable - backpack should be sufficient. 

If you are going during the wet season, look out for a backpack with an integral rain cover, or take a separate one and pack your clothing in water tight stuff sacks. As rehydration is so important, consider a waist pouch with integrated water bottles or a pack that has a bladder/water container incorporated into its features.


Travel through desert usually has animal or vehicle support to carry your main baggage. You will need warm clothing and a warm sleeping bag for the nights. In addition, if you are not with a tour, you will need to take your own cooking equipment, water containers and food so a large pack will be necessary.

During the day you will need a reasonably large daysack to carry sufficient water, camera, compass and hat as well as a fleece for when the sun goes down. We would recommend a daysack with a good air flow back system for comfort in the heat.


Most trekking is with guides and porters who will take charge of cooking, water and food. This leaves you carrying your clothes, sleeping bag, toiletries and other bits and pieces. In a perfect world this should all fit into a 35-45 litre pack. As you will be carrying this all day it needs to have a very comfortable back system. A waist pouch is useful to keep a few things handy without the hassle of taking off your backpack.



Characteristics of Convertibles

- Designed for multi-functional use
- Hideaway backpack straps
- Two way zips which are easy to lock together
- Opens up to access whole bag
- Holdall strap
- Grab handle
- Hip belt
- External compression straps


- Separates into two compartments
- Detachable daysack
- Adjustable back system
- Integral rain cover
- Wheels


Characteristics of Toploaders Designed for trekking with heavy loads 

- Side pockets for easy access
- Top lid pocket for easy access
- Body contour shape for comfort


- Adjustable back system
- Integral rain cover
- Separates into two compartments
- External straps to carry items such as a roll mat

Daysacks/Shoulder bags/Waist pouches

If you don't have a convertible backpack with a detachable daysack, you will need to combine your backpack with a smaller carrying vessel. Think carefully what you will be using your extra bag for - weekends away from base, shopping, taking your laundry to be washed, carrying around day to day bits and pieces etc.

Think how you will carry it in conjunction with your backpack. Consider taking an extra lightweight daysack or waist pouch that can be packed away for later use or utilised to separate your packing.


This is one of the biggest concerns when travelling. Here are some tips to follow:

- Padlock all your zips together on your packs
- Take a chain and lock system to secure your rucksack to a fixed point on long journeys, bus roof, railway stations etc where you may be distracted or lose sight of it
- In particularly vulnerable areas use either wire mesh inside your pack or use a Pacsafe on the outside
- If you know you will be entering high risk areas carry a personal alarm or whistle with you
- Use a Doorguard to secure your hotel bedroom door
- Leave your expensive jewellery at home and try to keep your camera/video tucked away
- Keep to well lit areas as much as possible - carry a torch with you at all times
- Look confident. Walk with your head up as if you know where you are going
- If you think you are being followed, cross the road. If the person follows you, cross it again.If you are still worried go at once to a place where there are lots of people, such as a busy shop/café
- Split your money up
- Keep high denomination notes very secure such as in a trouser belt
- Don’t let anyone see where you are hiding your money - go somewhere private if you need to get to it
- Carry a purse with you with only small amounts of money in it and a dummy credit card to hand over should you be mugged
- Be extra careful on beaches - take a waterproof money belt or pack your valuables in a waterproof bag to keep on you at all times
- If you must leave valuables in your room, take a portable safe with you