Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by Gingerbread Man » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:00 pm

Here's an anecdotal story of wearing camo in Europe. I had just arrived in Italy for the second time. I spoke a smig of Italian at the time. I needed to get to a city 10hrs away and I need to take a train. I'm excited but it was raining heavily and I didn't have time to go get an umbrella. I grabbed my BDU goretex and hit the bus station. I wasn't sure which stop I needed to take that would be closest to the train station. I knew where it was but I wasn't 100% sure which stop to get off at.
I asked the bus driver. He was being a big fat dick about it. He kept telling it's this stop, then saying no, then saying maybe using lots of profanity and calling me "American Cowboy". It was absurdly stupid but I needed to get to the train station so I tolerated it. After the third get off and back on, two girls told me which stop to off at and I hit the station.
I took that same bus many, many times with the same driver but dressed more European and he was always polite and helpful. I believe his attitude toward me that day was completely associated with my BDU goretex. Once I accepted that things are just easier to immerse they did. Found that camo and the like, not soild colors (FDE/Black) but camo generally were quite frowned on, I suggest avoiding them. Will it be the end of the world, no but more often then not it's not a good thing. Definiately don't wear camo, people will be out right dicks, not because it's camo, because they think you're poor and don't want to deal with you.
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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by the_alias » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:20 pm

Jamie - you said it draws attention unless you're in a sea of other guys in that gear. I don't agree.

A sea of guys and gals wearing backpacks = travel hotspots in summer in Europe.

The notion a military style pack makes you stand out more in such a crowd isn't realistic to me. It's just my opinion.

Carrying a big bag of any size on your back will make you stand out in a city!


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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by 74 or more » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:28 pm

Regular Guy - That sounds obnoxious as hell. I have a problem not being an asshole to people are being an asshole to me. Probably something I should learn to control more in a situation like yours. My parents go to Italy every other year or so to visit some distant cousins of ours and they have come back with similar stories of being treated differently because of what they wear.
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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by Gingerbread Man » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:44 pm

I'll tolerate a lot to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean sea at a resort in Sicily. :awesome:
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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by Dawgboy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:52 pm

A couple things I would like to add.

1. You could get a nice pack cover in blue or yellow and cover your camo...

2. Thieves are very good there. They will unzip your bag while you are walking and take shit. Lock your zippers together! It will slow them down and let you know they are trying to get into your bags. I even went as far as getting 1/8 steel cable and making a net out of it and locking my bag to my bed in Hostels.

3. Train stations have baggage storage, if you are running around in town without a hotel, it's a great way to offload your gear.

I have packed through and camped through the EU 6 times and have only been ripped off twice, once in Zurich, once in Paris. Both times it was a team effort, so watch for that...


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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by 8valve » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:52 am

full camo? wouldn't do that
camo back pack or something? yeah why not, no one i know ever had problems with it
on a regular base there are people walking in a camo shirt or pants or what ever in the bigger (and touristic) cities you will see a lot of foreigners with camo stuff (most of it is dump stuff thats cheap)
some camo pieces are not a problem but you might be aware not to look like a wannebee soldier (a lot of camo) people might mistake you for some neonazi or something
if you wear army boots dont have white or red laces in them its considered racist other then that army boots are very normal to see

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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by Belair56 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:33 pm

I took a cruise one week went to the Cayman Islands, a couple of other spots Aruba was one, The cruise director warned "NO CAMMO hats or backpacks" I found this odd because this is all I had, I found it interesting you could walk down the street with a Machete, but no cammo hats, I guess they'll think there being invaded...........

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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by Sledd00 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:27 pm

I just recently returned from backpacking Ireland with a standard issue ALICE pack, insignia sewn on and everything. Didn't cause a lick of trouble. I know Ireland is not Eastern Europe, but keeping with standard travel precautions, I had exactly zero issues.

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Re: Carrying Military Backpacks Over Seas - yes/no

Post by zero11010 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:36 pm

I think that if you already have a pack you should go ahead and use it.

I think that if you're have multiple packs of both types you should use the packs that you find most comfortable.


I think that if you are looking to BUY a pack you should look for one that is not a military pack. A standard, quality backpacking backpack (literally designed for your intended use) will hold up fine, and weigh less. You've stated that you're an older gentleman, and you may appreciate carrying less weight. Your wife may, too.

Will you run into any difficulty due to you having a military backpack? It's not likely, but it's possible. Do you want that risk? I bet you could leave you car doors unlocked when you go shopping, too.

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