Tag Archives: backpacking

Nine Things NOT to Pack for Your RTW

26 Oct

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]1: Luggage Locks
Worried about valuables being nicked while you sleep? Why not stick a small metal sign on your pack saying: “Expensive stuff in here”? It’s not like these thieves have knives, right?

Alternatively, put the stuff you can’t afford to lose (passports, cash, card, electronics) in a daypack and use it as a head-rest. Let’s face it. It’s unlikely anyone’s going to want your clothes.

2: Mosquito Net
Newsflash! It’s not just you who knows there’s mosquitoes where you’re going. The guesthouse owners do too. Continue reading

Fifteen and a Half Steps to (Back)Packing Mastery

5 Aug Hiking boot with yellow and green moths sipping moisture from it.

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]1: Heavy Stuff High, Light Stuff Low
Thanks to the high-school physics principle of moment, things at the bottom of your pack feel heavier than the stuff at the top. Pack the heavy stuff higher up your body to reduce the strain.

2: Centre the Really Heavy Stuff
If you have more weight on the left-hand side of your pack than on the right, your shoulders will feel it. Soon followed by your back, your hips and your legs. Place the heavy stuff equidistant from left and right sides, and secure it with internal straps.

3: Distribute Less Heavy Stuff Evenly Across Two Sides
If you’re carrying water, put equal quantities on either side. In fact, even quite light stuff can unbalance a pack. Put the washbag on one side, medical kit on the other. Continue reading

On Books

15 Jun

Back in Udomxay, the construction town in northern Laos where our two-day odyssey from Vietnam reached a natural close, we met a crazy Canadian chap with an Irish accent and a Beer Lao can seemingly stapled twixt thumb and forefinger. Not so much met as, perhaps, attracted.

Charming chap. Pushing 70. Thoroughly pickled 24-7. And found in me, yikes, a kindred spirit.

Having travelled extensively with his own nipper, when the boy (now my age) was eight (roughly junior’s age), he had uncharitable things to say about my backpack. Particularly, the size thereof.

Now, to a degree, I second that emotion. Although, in our defense, I will say that I have only one pack, which goes on my back, rather than the “pregnant” two-pack look (one front, one back) so popular among our Nordic friends. Continue reading

In Praise of Crap Towns

9 Mar

Here we are, in Savannakhet, Laos, the third-largest city in the People’s Republic, as all 120,000 inhabitants would, I’m sure, be pleased to tell you, if they gave a shit, and loving every minute of it (although I am slightly mystified by my son’s ineffable instinct to seek out the single most expensive restaurant in any one-horse dorp he hits).

The bus was a bit crap, as buses should be, and late, c’est-la-vie, but full of local people, also present and correct. When we got off, there was ONE (count him!) tuk-tuk driver.

“You want tuk-tuk?” he says, after a decent pause. Continue reading

Mains Electricity: a Good Thing, Clearly…

25 Jan

So the theoretical immediacy of this medium has been slightly kiboshed by the near-total absence of electricity and mobile reception in our first tropical idyll, Long Beach, Koh Chang, which is, on balance, a beautiful thing, and surprisingly rare.

It will be a shame when the change comes, although I guess, as with so much stuff, we will wonder how we ever did without it rather than mourning the loss of a perhaps already artificial solitude. Continue reading

On Binbags and Plastic Crap

18 Jan

Just under 48 hours to go to takeoff, and I am ploughing through the leisurely accumulations of two lives.

Endless bits of plastic to be sorted into cherished, to-be-inherited, and junk. It’s a form of fine archaeology sifting the Bionicles from the Lego Technics, the cracker crap from the Kinder goodies, the Beano bits from the Playmobil pieces. Six big binbags to the rubbish; six more to Oxfam; and still they come. Continue reading