Hey guys I need some advice.
Last year while I was studying in China I bought a The North Face Flight Series 50 Electron backpack (which is fake I assume, because can't seem to find the series name on the official TNF site) at a local market. I used it for a month of backpacking and it worked fine. I think I should have adjusted it better (if possible), because it wasn't that comfortable.
Now I am going to do 5 months of backpacking through SE Asia and while the TNF Electron backpack worked fine during my 1 month traveling through China, should I buy a real backpack now? I'm also aiming towards a 60L backpack this time. Don't know if that is to big as well.
#1 HugeCookie has been a member since 30/1/2012. Posts: 3
It all depends on your own style of travel and I certainly can not comment on size since I don't know how many things you usually take with you.
In general most things are available in SE asia and there is not much need to bring everything from home.
Also, SE asia is reasonably well developed and most travel is by bus/train or motorbike. Most people don't actually carry the backpack on their backs for a very long time. If you're on a very tight budget which doesn't allow for short motorbike/taxi/tuk tuk trips from bus station to guesthouse/hotel you should take the comfort of your backpack into account. Otherwise it won't be an issue.
Other reason for a better backpack would be long treks. There's not that many places where you can/will do that. The average backpacker does a few day simple trek in northern Thailand/Laos or Sapa and there the normal backpack or a big day pack would suffice. But again, I don't know your interests. I guess that if you were a serious hardcore trekker you wouldn't have asked the whole question.
Me, I'm not a backpack person. A normal suitcase does the trick for me. Easier to pack and to keep organised but I'm never on a real tight budget. If I plan to do trekking i completely stuff a big day pack, smell and look like a pig for few days and enjoy the shower afterwards.
As eastwest mentioned, it does depend a little on the type of use however unless you're really needing to save pennies I would recommend getting a genuine make. The fakes would probably be OK for a day bag but once you try and put 10 kg plus of kit in them they start to feel the strain on the zips and seams. Back support and straps tend to be poor so if you carry it for any length of time your back will feel it too.
Of course you can get different levels of fake - but in my experience the quality of those bought in SE Asia made them a false economy (fakes from China and Nepal are better quality). If all you need is a cheap bag to carry your beach gear in that you don't mind either replacing along the way or holding together with safety pins then a fake may do the job but if you want something more reliable I would go for the real deal. And remember, it doesn't have to be North Face - there are loads of very good, cheaper brands to choose from.