When we started planning this trip a big part of the idea was to go to Russia and Ukraine and meet with car groups there. We discovered the Lada through the car clubs in these places and they have inspired the customization of our Lada. So of course we have been watching the situation between Russia and Ukraine very carefully in the past few months.
We have decided to postpone our trip and leave in early June instead of early May. We still might have to change the route of our trip, but this at least gives us a chance at being able to go everywhere we want to go. Not being able to meet the people who inspired us is unfortunate, but our thoughts are with those whose lives are affected. We sincerely hope for a quick and peaceful resolution to the situation.
When you’re planning a road trip for over a month in a small sedan that’s likely to break down you have to pack carefully. We have fragile camera equipment, tools and of course clothes to worry about. We think we have a pretty solid strategy so far. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
1. Duffel Bags (4)
We don’t really have a lot of money in our budget for luggage, so I was pretty excited when I found these duffel bags from REI. They were on clearance for about $20 each, we bought 2 large (black) and 2 medium (blue). Duffel bags are a good choice for us because they’re easy to carry up stairs, they don’t add much weight, and they have less wasted space than a rolling suitcase. These bags come with their own carrying cases that can double as toiletry bags. We already have toiletry bags, but I’m sure we can think of something to use them for.
2. Tool Backpack
I was browsing lightning deals on Amazon and I found this cool backpack: Custom Leathercraft Tool Backpack. Our car is old and the chances are very high that we will break down at least once. Bird is pretty handy, so bringing the right tools can help us avoid having the car towed to a shop for many problems. (Bird’s Note: If you bring all the tools you could possibly need, it decreases the risk of needing them.)
3. Backpacks and Camera Bags
Bird’s camera bag and backpack are the same bag. Most of his bag will carry camera gear and I’ll be carrying any extra stuff like jackets. I’ve already posted about my backpack, but now I’ve got some ways to organize the inside including a camera bag.
I’m sure you’re thinking 4 duffel bags, 2 backpacks and a tool bag is way too much stuff. All that stuff will never fit in the car and will cost a fortune in baggage fees! Not to worry, we have a plan.
Our backpacks will be our carry on bags. This takes care of all our valuables that we don’t want to check (or leave in the car). Our checked luggage will be the two large duffel bags.
Large Duffel 1
Large Duffel 2
When we get there we’ll put our clothes in the medium duffel bags and pack away the larger ones until the return trip. This way we can make the best use of our checked bags without having to carry giant duffel bags into each hotel.
So, what do you think? Let us know if you have any packing tips or tricks we should try.
I found several bags I liked at REI and had pretty much decided on a North Face commuter style bag, but then an employee asked me if I needed any help. I told him I was looking for a backpack. And then came the question: “What are you going to use it for?” I think this is the first time I’ve described our trip to a total stranger. I explained that we were planning an epic European road trip and I needed a backpack that I could carry around all day. I showed him the list of things I thought I would need to fit.
Start with a stock/restored Lada, add period type accessories, and lower it as much as possible. You can learn more on our ‘About Resto’ page, but those are the basics. We’ve got our basically stock Lada, and since it’s in such nice original shape, we won’t be doing very much restoration at this point. We do have a few things we want to take care of though. Our front badge is incorrect, and evidently the correct part is very rare, so we’ll be trying to source one of those. Read More