How to Choose and Carry your pack

The thing I was most worried about was how was I  going to carry 3 months worth of  my belongings. Bags with wheels were out as they were too hard to push so that ruled out suitcases.

I ended up settling with a 55L pack from Kathmandu (an Australian outdoor/camping company). The staff there were great and super helpful. I settled on 55L as anything  bigger than that would make me too top heavy and any smaller and I wouldn’t have been able to carry all my stuff as I was travelling in a European winter.

The next question was how to carry it. My main concern was that carrying the pack on my back or back rest was going to make me way too top heavy and cause me to fall over backwards. Therefore in addition I got a smaller handbag sized bag and put all my heavy items in this bag and then clipped it to the front of my chair. That way my distribution of weight was even and my centre of gravity was in the middle of my wheelchair.

I was originally going to put my pack over my back rest and then use extra straps to attach it to my chair. However I found this too difficult as every time I wanted to put my pack on I had to transfer out of my chair. Therefore I just ended up putting my pack on my back and then using the waist strap to secure it and provide better weight distribution.  I then would rest the pack on top of my back rest so that the wheelchair was carrying most of the weight load. The photo above illustrates this ( I hope).

It did make me look a bit like a turtle and I found I couldn’t jump down gutters (kerbs) or get up gutters with my pack on. But as long as the path was relatively flat it was ok. The only time I really needed to carry my pack was getting from the train station to the next hostel and back, so for these relatively short distances the system I implemented seemed to work well.

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