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While I was in Ukraine I gave money to people whom I felt needed it and to some people collecting food for the Army, and paying street sellers more than they asked for their apples, seeds etc. They need the money more than I, was my reasoning. After this trip I decided to do more, as things only got worse due to Russia's actions, the resulting devaluation of the UAH, the cost of war in the east, etc. The start of doing more was suggesting to Galina, whom I met in Cherkassy, that she should sell her self made shawls. Have a look:
Starting on 7 January, Ukrainian Christmas, cultural information about Ukraine (to be expanded)
On my travels I go with a back pack and travelbag. For back packs for hiking I used a Jack Wolfskin ACS Photopack and a Deuter Futura 32. With a height of about 55cm these are the maximum you can use for cabin luggage on airplanes (but some companies allow only smaller packs, see also further). I use my backpack during travelling for all the stuff that I want to have handy and to keep safe, and when exploring a city to put all the stuff I want/need in it such as drink, 18650 batteries, charger, flashlight, tablet, book, food, drink etc. Mostly these 2 uses are almost the same but for hiking I leave some stuff that I won't need, in the hotel/apartment.
I like the Jack Wolfskin ACS Photopack (the version I had is no longer available, but there is a new version which I may try out), even for nothing to do with photography. In the large padded compartment I could for example put packs of orange juice which I bought in shops during my walks, safely, and fits great :))
The Deuter Futura 32 is similar in size, but feels more flimsy...
For in buses, but also in the airplane, such backpacks of 55 cm height and with a frame that keeps the pack from your back for ventilation, are not easy to stow away. In buses I usually need to keep it on my lap. In airplanes it's just possible to stow under the seat before me, but it's not easy to get it out again then to get something from it. On the last 2 trips I took my daily use back pack (ca. 40cm high) with me too, rolled up in the big travel bag, and used it where appropriate, which was once on the way back to NL as the company I travelled back with had lower limits for size of cabin luggage...
More on the subject of back packs to come.
I walk a lot with my bags, I usually don't take taxis, and even in NL lots of bags, such as the Samsonite S'cure 69, have wheels that are too small (45mm & 57mm) to nicely cope with sidewalks with tiles here, even if the sidewalks are fairly smooth, it's no fun. And in Ukraine, sidewalks are often very bad such that larger wheels (and a reasonable ground clearance) are a necessity but also in NL they are useful, not just in case of bad spots but also to get off of, and onto, curbs. You further need enough ground clearance for the bags itself, to go over stones or tiles that stick out./p>
I've examined North Face's "Rolling thunder 30" and Osprey's "Sojourner 80"/"Shuttle 110" a while ago. The North face bags are really nice, the handle in particular is nice and not as much play as with the Osprey bags, but they have only a little more than 2cm ground clearance (don't these people use their own stuff? Don't they ever come across less than perfect roads/sidewalks?), and ca. 78mm diameter wheels, whereas the Osprey bags have 90 mm wheels and much more ground clearance, but also, the bottom section of these Osprey bags is from solid plastic so will better be able to withstand impacts when riding over small stones.
Another option looks to be "Eagle creek" with apparantly 100mm wheels, but ground clearance is also nowhere near that of the Osprey bags, and they don't have good protection from impacts of stones etc. Otherwise for example the "Activate wheeled duffel 30" or "Gear warrior wheeled duffel 32" could be nice.
Then a bag which I noticed recently is Jack Wolfskin's Railman 80, looks to have good protection of the bottom close to the wheels, and wheel diameter is about 80mm.
I don't like the retractible handle on the Osprey bags which feels flimsy, cheap, unlike North Face's bags, and those from Wolfskin look better too, but because of ground clearance, I still think that for my next trip, I will probably buy the Osprey Shuttle 110.
Last modified: 5-1-2015, 12:43 CEST