Our Backpacks – Keeping the load light

Many backpackers stress about what backpack should accompany them on their journey. For us, the decision was already made. Back in 2011, Harry and I ventured off to the South Island of New Zealand. As part of our 17 day trip to the country, we hiked the Milford Track with Ultimate Hikes. (Click here to learn more.)

The Milford Track is a 5 day, 33.5-mile trek through mountains and temperate rain forest in Fiordland National Park. The journey ends in Milford Sound, a fjord that some have named the “eighth wonder of the world.” It was at this time that we purchased our hiking backpacks. After a lot of research and some consultation at REI, we purchased the following bags which were rated best all-around backpacks from Backpacker Magazine in 2010.

For Her: Gregory Jade 50 liter

For Him: Gregory Z55 55 Liter

We use these backpacks when we travel as our sole luggage.   Therefore, I’d like to think that we’ve had lots of “practice runs” packing and traveling with them. They’re great since we always carry them on flights and never have to check luggage.

My only worry…they have been used for two-week holidays, not multi-year trips. Despite that, we are determined to make them work. We are going to continue living by our motto, “The bigger the backpack, the more fear you carry.” So for now, these bags will be holding our sole possessions as we make our way around the globe.

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7 thoughts on “Our Backpacks – Keeping the load light
  1. Are these the packs you are still using? Do you carry any other bags or does everything you have still completely fit into these two bags?

    1. Hi guys! Yes, these still are our two main backpacks we carry. We find them the perfect size. Any bigger, than it gets to be crazy/heavy. Then Harry has his PacSafe backpack for electronics (which I think you said you ordered) and I carry my PacSafe Purse. Those are the only bags we carry. Here is the link to my daypack.


      *I actually have a slightly larger size purse now because I broke my zipper. (PacSafe has a 5 year warranty and they sent me a new purse.) They discontinued the one I had and sent me the latest version.

      Any other questions, let me know. We’re here to help! 🙂

        1. No, sadly he has to do the “pregnant backpacker” look while in transit. He has to wear it on his front as his backpack sits on his back. Like many of us these days, the electronics take up one entire backpack with PC, cameras, cords, adapters, selfie stick, batteries, binoculars, GPS, etc. We’d love to cut it down to just two backpacks, but that extra PacSafe backpack (full of electronics) always makes it impossible.

  2. How do you get away with carrying the backpacks on the plane? They look bigger than the dimensions in the carry on check point at the airport?? I think the hand luggage is only supposed to be 8 kilos as well?
    I’m starting a year long trip from Perth, Australia to South and North America and Canada so interested in the best way to take my stuff. I was thinking one suitcase….

    1. Hi Jo,
      We do check in our backpacks when we fly, which for us, isn’t too often as we try to overland as much as possible. To keep our backpacks safe and portable, we do use black rucksack cover bags, such as an Airporter Cover Bags. We simply roll them up and stuff them in the front pocket of our backpack when not in use. Our small backpack, in which we carry electronics and important documents/money, we carry on the plane. We see so many people traveling with a rolling luggages, but continue to think that our traditional backpacks are the fastest, easiest way for us to get from Point A to Point B. Any other questions, feel free to reach out! Thanks for stopping by. Safe travels and good luck!

  3. Thanks for the great advice on backpacks! Looks like you’ll really get a lot of use on yours. Keep us posted on how they last 🙂

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