An Adventure Traveler’s Guide to Airports

Every adventure traveler knows that packing your backpack is not like your standard luggage packing process.

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Backpacks are no-fuss carryalls that can be brought onto the cabin to avoid the long wait at the baggage claim, but it may not always be possible for you to avoid checked bags. When it comes to packing and deciding between hand carry and check in baggage, here are a few things to keep in mind: Secure any hanging straps. Checked luggage isn’t exactly handled with the utmost care unless a bag has been marked “fragile,” so to avoid your bag getting caught on the belt or any snags on the fabrics, make sure all the straps are secured. One more thing you might want to consider is tying the shoulder straps together. For extra backpack protection, Peanuts or Pretzels suggests using the critical suspension straps on the shoulders to make one main strap to make it easier for others to handle. Be wary of your airline’s luggage restrictions. Depending if you’re flying on a budget or a full service carrier, you may have to follow guidelines on both weight and baggage dimensions. Budget airlines tend to be a little more stingy with bags, often limiting cabin bags to one per person up to a certain amount of kilograms and size, so be prepared to pay a bit extra if you’re traveling cheap, which is something you may want to reconsider as the UK airport parking site Parking4Less explains that some companies like British Airways offer special hand luggage only fares for bags up to 23kg. Buy a duffel or roller bag to protect your gear. Having breakables, such as poles and other equipment in your backpack, will be easier for you if you end up bringing your backpack right onto the plane, but if you exceed weight limits, you’ll have to check your bag. In this case, many users on Backpacking Light recommend getting a wheeled duffel that’s big enough to fit your backpack. Happy travels!

Dupre Packing up on Mount Hunter, Begguya Expedition with Granite Gear. Photo by Chris Worlow.

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