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Thread: How much weight do you typically carry on 1-2 week trips?

  1. #1
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    How much weight do you typically carry on 1-2 week trips?

    Hey, fellow travelers, what are typical weights for your carry-on bags?

    On every trip I've ever taken, I ended up with heavy bags that weighed me down. Today, I made a concerted effort to sit down and plan what I would take for a 1-2 week trip to the Middle East, inspired by a recent post on the OBOW blog, but even in my most conservative mode, I would have a main bag that would weigh about 20 pounds, and a personal bag that weighs 10. I'm 5'2" and this is probably too much. I wonder if I will have to resort to a roller bag. It's not so much the clothes, but toiletries and electronics that contribute to the total weight.

    I'm already making changes like using electronic rather than printed guidebooks, leaving my nicer camera with the extra lenses at home, and abandoning my jeans for the trip.

    One of the things I'm wrestling with now is the ridiculous amount of gadgets I end up taking. I love photos, so the camera (which is a fairly compact Canon G15, but heavier than a true pocket cam) comes along, and of course my iPhone. And the Kindle, which is pretty light. So far so good. But half the time I end up also throwing in my iPad or a computer, which is significantly heavy, particularly when you add in the chargers for these things. The problem is that I LOVE to look at the photos I've taken each day on a big screen, and also want to back them up, post them online, etc., during the trip. How do you deal with that?

  2. #2
    ceb
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    Simple. Take your Canon (will you need a charger for that?), the iPhone and iPad. Take the iPad charger and a dual charging cable. Leave the Kindle at home and use the Kindle iPad app. If you want to take the laptop then leave the iPad and Kindle and read books on the laptop - not ideal but it works.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

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    The cardinal rule, for backpacks at least, is to carry no more than about 10% of your weight on your back.

    Now, let's talk about electronics. Can you pare down the individual chargers into one universal type charger? All of your USB charged items can run off one multi-usb charger (this one comes with international adapters):

    Amazon.com: Lenmar ACUSB4 AC Travel Adapter for up to 4 USB Powered Devices-Black: Computers & Accessories

    Then get some good quality retractable cords with multiple plugs. This one has one mini, one micro, and one apple 30 prong plug:

    Amazon.com: Qmadix 3-in-1 USB Retractable Charging/Sync Cable - Black: Cell Phones & Accessories

    The above combination will charge your iphone and kindle.

    For the camera battery, get a PPUclip that connects to your battery and plugs into one of the USB ports on the above charger:

    Amazon.com: LENMAR PPUCLIP Universal Clip Charger with Adjustable Contacts and USB: Camera & Photo

    That only leaves the Ipad. The above charger will work but will charge slowly. My advice is to get a smaller tablet--either an Ipad mini or an Android. You'll be able to view your photos, back them up to the device or the cloud, and post them online. You will save weight and can charge them with the USB charger above.

    Definitely leave the laptop at home.

    Besides weight, think of all the space you'll save.

    One last thing and I know some people here will disagree with me....but.....you can find cheap knockoff plugs for all devices. My luck with them has been about 50-50; half the time they work and half the time they don't. I'd rather spend a little extra for one that I know will work. Especially when traveling overseas to places where a replacement can't be found around the corner.

    I guess I should answer the original question: How much weight do I carry on a 1-2 week trip? While each trip is different, I aim for about 18 lbs total.
    Last edited by Frank II; 05-05-2013 at 08:33 AM.
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    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the replies so far. I'll look into those chargers!
    I've thought of getting a smaller tablet but I really like the large one for the things I do with it (when I'm not traveling), and can't really afford two. I think I'll just take it as-is or leave it. Maybe just leave it.

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    Your choice is simple, you pare down your electronic and toiletries or you will lug a bag monster or two.


    First your electronic:

    Ditch the Kindle.


    Take your iPhone

    Take either your iPad or your laptop (not both),

    The iPad has a fairly small charger and so does the iPhone so they are not the problem.

    With the iPad you can view and save your pictures in the cloud, on any online photo saving page like Flicker or Photobucket.


    If you really want to see you pictures on a big screen, when you are on vacation, go to the business center of the hotel and watch you pictures on Flicker.
    I suggest making a separate account containing only the most recent vacations pictures


    How big is the Canon G15 charger?



    I used to travel with 45 pounds/20.5 kg, even for a few days.
    European airlines weight restrictions forced me to pare down to 14 kg/30.8 lbs and I lightened each main carry on to 6/7 kg or 13.2/15.4 lbs in order to not go over the baggage weight limit. (we had to take a must have heavy laptop)


    I disagree with the universal charger approach, if it fails, you are stranded with no power.


    I find the lighting up of the load that much freeing. My shoulders are not as tired, I can run, or move away faster, which is important for safety.



    The next things to tackle will be toiletries.

  6. #6
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks! I appreciate the advice.
    Just to be clear, I would take either an iPad or computer; I never travel with both.
    The Kindle always goes with me. I can't read comfortably on an LCD screen.

    The Canon charger is a little bulky but light. It usually fits into my 3D organizer along with any other cords, etc. I need to take. It has retractable prongs to plug directly into the wall outlet. Charger size was actually a huge consideration when I was deciding what to get; the Panasonic micro-four-thirds series has chargers that are almost as large as the cameras, which is ridiculous if compactness is the selling point. (I have a micro-four-thirds cam which I love but don't travel with it for that reason.)
    Last edited by bchaplin; 05-05-2013 at 11:02 AM. Reason: forgot a point

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    I disagree with the universal charger approach, if it fails, you are stranded with no power.

    I have a backup for that:

    Amazon.com: Lenmar International AC Power Adapter with Dual USB Ports for Cell Phone, MP3 Player or Other USB Powered Devices (ACUSB2K): MP3 Players & Accessories

    (It weighs 2 oz, folds flat, and fits in the palm of my hand.)

    There are newer ones with more power that can charge an Ipad:

    Amazon.com: Lenmar ACUSB31 Dual USB Wall Adapter with High Output, 5VDC, for iPad 2,3 and iPad with Retina Display, iPhone 5, iPhone4/4s, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Galaxy S II, Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD, Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus 7, Barnes and No

    (It weighs 4 oz.)


    I like these over multiple individual charges because in many international hotel rooms, especially older hotels, there aren't a lot of wall outlets to plugs things into. Sometimes there's only one or two and may already have a lamp.

    Even though I take a tablet and an iphone, I still take my Kindle because I don't like reading on devices with backlights. After a short while, it hurts my eyes.
    Last edited by Frank II; 05-05-2013 at 11:07 AM.
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    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    I use my ipad charger with the international adapters for everything since I can usually shuffle devices. Sometimes i even share an adapter with a friend. I use the PPUclip charger that FrankII recommends - amazing how much space it saves.

    I find the iPad great for viewing(and deleting!!) pictures. I use the apple camera connector/sd card reader attachment. Is there a reason why you couln't use the iPad charger for the iPhone?

    All of my tech charger etc. bits fit easily in a 3d organizer cubewith room to spare. I am actually looking for a smaller container for them.

    I usually take 11-15 lb total, depending on whether or not i get carried away with shoes.

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    I carry my iPad charger with the appropriate adapter (usually mainland Europe) that charges my iPad, iPod, iPhone and Kindle. I carry either the iPad or my 13" MacBook Pro plus what I think I'll really need. It's true, the kindle is much nicer to read than the iPad, but I think it's worth thinking about priorities. For example, I've just returned from a car trip that involved a drive down to Sunderland with a visit in the afternoon followed by an evening in a restaurant, an early breakfast, a christening followed by a reception and a drive home. So a Kindle was unlikely to get much reading, my iPhone can be plugged in in the car so can be used for music without worrying about the battery, and I was unlikely to be doing any work so the laptop wasn't needed. I took my iPad for its navigation as I prefer it to my phone, but, to be honest it was a luxury. On the other hand, had I been on a three or four hour flight my Kindle and iPod might be useful with my laptop and iPhone for use at the other end with the iPad left at home. I.e. it's horses for courses, but only a minimum of kit can ever be tolerated.

    In terms of cameras I usually travel with either a Canon G10 or a Panasonic Lumix (much smaller). The G10 has an amazing battery so a short trip means neither spare nor charger with just the iPhone/iPod/iPad as back up. A longer trip might get a spare battery or the charger which weighs very little, but is a wee bit chunky. The Panasonic is tiny and a spare battery is nothing. Tech is the killer to travelling light and you do have to be very hard on yourself when deciding what to carry.
    Last edited by Fat Crip; 05-05-2013 at 12:07 PM.

  10. #10
    ceb
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    Ask yourself if you'll need to charge all your items at the same time. If not, then your sole iPad charger should charge all of your items and the y cable should charge both the iPad and the iPhone at the same time - albeit slower.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  11. #11
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Thanks. Yes, I usually just take the iPad charger, because it works for the iPhone as well.

  12. #12
    Registered User cucciasv's Avatar
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    My Electronics Kit for Trip to Italy

    I am about to leave for Italy.

    I used to carry a laptop, I used to carry a DSLR and accouterments.

    I now find that I can do 99% of what I need to work on ... on my iPad mini and this is a wonderful thing! It's very liberating!!

    Yes, the Apple 12W USB Power Adapter (iPad charger) or the older 10W model, will work quite fine for other all iOS devices and iPods. I carry one, plus another one as a backup.

    I use the wonderful Kindle app on both the iPad mini and iPhone. Eye strain is no longer an issue. Brightness goes way down in dark environments (it's all adjustable, and automatic if desired). Additionally, I set the page color to sepia or to black (with white text) when necessary. (That last one works quite nicely to mitigate eye-strain). Finally... I up the font size if need be.

    Here's what what works for me on a trip to Italy ... your mileage may vary:

    1. An unlocked iPhone 4 (AT&T GSM model). Used for telephony when abroad. I am fluent in Italian, but I don't want to be bothered going to retail stores while in Italy to purchase the SIM card [Actually, the closest I'll get to a store is waiting impatiently outside while my wife shops]. So, I order the proper pre-loaded sim (voice and data) before the trip from Prepaid SIM Cards With Data For Travelers from PrepaidSIMcard.org. I have no problem paying extra for the convenience.

    If necessary, the iPhone 4 will also provide navigation when driving

    2. My current (locked) iPhone 5. I use this abroad with roaming and cellular turned off. I will use it in WiFi hotspots. I also have my various data and travel apps installed plus games, music, video, etc. And... it's needed for telephony when I return to the states.

    3. Camera? What camera? This will be the first time I leave the camera bag full of DSLR and lenses behind. The iPhone 5 will be my only "camera" for the trip. For my kind of photography, this is more than adequate. I know the "pixel-peepers" will disagree. Don't care because I am enormously pleased with the results from the various post-processing photo apps available. (I teach two iPhoneography courses, so I am very comfortable with this format).

    4. My iPad mini. My workhorse. For work, entertainment, navigation, research, running various travel apps, trip journaling, communications via email, SMS, MMS, FaceTime, Skype. Watching video. Reading books and magazines. Killing zombies and tossing birds around. Post-processing photos from the iPhone 5 and 4. Backup storage of photos from the iPhones (via the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit and an Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter -- careful not to use cheap third-party knockoffs for any Lightning connection accessories).

    In retrospect, I should have purchased the 64 GB model rather than this 32 GB one. Oh well...

    Thanks to my iCloud and Dropbox accounts, my data and image backups are also accounted for from all my iOS devices. In particular, via Apple Photo Stream, my images are synchronized/backed up to my computer at home.

    This iPad mini (WiFi plus Cellular) also has an pre-paid unlimited data-only SIM card from PrePaidSimCard.org that I ordered ahead of time.

    My iPad mini is a true workhorse that is with me all the time... either in my beloved Tom Bihn Co-Pilot (Navy/Iberian) or tucked away in my ScottEvest Travel Vest. Yes, I just bought my third Co-Pilot because I had to have an Iberian Dyneema interior to make me happy!

    By the way, my other bag on this trip will be my wonderful Tom Bihn Aeronaut (Steel/Ultraviolet).

    5. Battery backups:
    A Mophie Juice Pack Air External Battery Case for iPhone 5. This is a fantastic, high-quality product. Also available for other models. Incredibly thin and light, considering the power.

    6. My Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Mini. When attached to the iPad mini, both together fit perfectly in my Tom Bihn Cache for iPad mini.

    7. Electrical:
    Two aforementioned iPad chargers, with necessary plug adapters (see below).
    A Travel Power Strip that supports 240v ... also has a couple of 5W USB ports for charging devices. Will probably use these to charge my Mophie Juice Pack and my Logitech Keyboard which come with their USB to Mini USB and USB to Micro USB cables.
    The Apple iPad (and laptop) chargers have a removable component (called a "duck") for interchanging international plugs or an extension. I will be trying the Apple extension Power (wall) Cord for Europe (Italy). [Alternatively, you can purchase just the single "duck" for Europe without the extension.. called the Apple US to Europe Plug Converter Travel Charger Adapter.
    I also take a OREI Grounded Universal 2 in 1 Schuko Plug Adapter Type E/F for Italy.
    And a few of the Italy Travel Power Adapter Converter Plug B.
    Because sometimes the distance to wall outlets is inconvenient, I always have a 1 Meter USB Extension Cable.
    Finally, one each Apple Lightning to USB Cable (1m) for the iPad mini and the iPhone 5. An Apple 30-pin to USB Cable for the iPhone 4s.

    Hope this helps some fellow travelers!



    Someone please help me!
    I have BAS (Bihn Acquisition Syndrome)!!


  13. #13
    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Have you used cards from prepaid sim card before? It looks like a great solution, especially for France where i hear it is difficult to get a prepaid sim if you are visiting.

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    Hi BChaplin,
    re: Just to be clear, I would take either an iPad or computer; I never travel with both.
    The Kindle always goes with me. I can't read comfortably on an LCD screen. The Canon charger is a little bulky but light.

    Lugging around that much electronic stuff is too much for a woman, IMO.
    IMO, you should bring just the kindle and your camera (and a phone, if you have one).

    OR

    Just the iPad and your camera.

    Is somebody going with you? They could bring their phone, and you could use it, if need be.

    I carried 14 lbs to Mexico (including the Western Flyer bag). I could carry a bit more -- say 16 lbs comfortably on my back. Beyond that, I might as well bring my roll-a-board because I would get too hot and sweaty carrying the backpack. I'm 5'5" and 115 ish lbs. (I'm small-framed and fairly fit.)
    My little set of TB stuff:
    Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
    Small Pouch (cork)
    Large Shop Bag (solar)
    packing cubes

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    ...Also, you mentioned that toiletries were bogging your down.

    Are you bringing makeup?
    Are you bringing pills?
    Are you bringing soaps?
    Are you bringing moisturizer AND sunscreen?

    The above are areas where you can cut back.
    You can use a zip loc to cut down on weight.
    My little set of TB stuff:
    Western Flyer (steel/ultraviolet)
    Small Pouch (cork)
    Large Shop Bag (solar)
    packing cubes

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