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Confused about backpacks!

Posted by Fish88er on 6/3/2012 at 09:29

Hi all,

I'm currently in the process of buying a backpack for my travels, I didn't realise there was so much to consider when buying one. Sooo confused, :(! A little bit about me, I'm a 24 yer old male travelling from anywhere in between 8-12 months. So comfort and usability is a must. Afew questions: how big is too big? Is a day bag a must? What's the better brands to go for? Do only certain bags come with the all round zip thingy? What ones would you guys recommend? Ow and most important of all please help!

Thanks guys!

#1 Fish88er has been a member since 6/3/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by webcol on 19/6/2012 at 20:38

To start the two main types of packs include: Hiking bags (rucksacks) and travel bags.

Hiking bags have the top entry for the pack and usually a bottom compartment. These are usually more water proof, then travel bags as they have limited zips and the cover over the top. They do not come with a day bag and can be more difficult to secure then a travel bag. Hiking bags do not have in built day packs, but a hybrid bag is available, which is a hiking pack, with a day pack.
You may also need to get a cover for the pack for airports, as most do not have inbuilt covers for straps and harness, and can be a pain in and out of airports.

Travel bags have the large U-Shaped zipper, which allows easy access to the pack, and will have a day bag attached. They have more security features, such as large lockable zips, and lock compartments. Travel bags are usually more bulky then a good hiking bag, but this may not be an issue for you. Good travel bags may come with rain-cover, a strap cover etc.
When purchasing a pack, you need to check the harness system, and make sure it can be fitted to your back. Check zip style? (Normal zips vs tape sealed zips)

Most packs will range from 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 litres and some places may have larger. 7o to 75 Litre should be big enough.
Branding wise, Macpack, Mountain designs, deuter and black wolf have some great packs available.
Its best when purchasing a pack to get it fitted to your back with at least 10-15 kg's in the pack, to get the feel for the pack.
You can also purchase pack covers or pack liners or drybags to ensure your gear is water proof.
Hope this helps?

#2 webcol has been a member since 19/6/2012. Posts: 1

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Posted by busylizzy on 19/6/2012 at 22:08

I'm not convinced on the value or practicality of having a 'matching' daypack that zips on to the main pack. I have a similar setup, but tend to use a different day pack that is more practical for my needs. If I need to carry both, I put the small one on my front and the big one of my back. It keeps me balanced!

The other key criteria for me is that the zippers can be padlocked together - very important for times that you pack is out of your sight (eg when checked in on a flight, left in a hotel room, put into the undercarriage of a bus, etc).

Also invest in a nylon packcover if it doesn't come with a built-in one. Aside from rain protection in case it rains, it will also keep it clean. Bus and ferry staff aren't concerned about your belongings when they toss your bags into oil spills or water puddles.

An extra feature that I wish that I had on pack - is a clip on shouldre strap. My harness is zipped away most of the time (esp when on buses, flights, etc) and occassionally you need to carry it for 100m or so and can't be bothered unzipping the harness for a short distance. Having a shoulder strap would be a bit easier than hauling it by the carry handle. It's a minor thing though...

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by goonistik on 20/6/2012 at 04:50

The size of your backpack is determined by the amount of stuff you have to carry. Traveling in cold weather means packing bulkier clothes hence a larger backpack. Some people prefer to bring a huge backpack just in case they need the space. Others prefer to travel light. I prefer to travel light and my preferred backpack size is about 40-45 liters for temperate weather. You have to decide which you style fits you best.

Regarding travel backpacks, look up REI, MEC, Osprey, Eagle Creek and Deuter.

Some backpacks come with wheels. Wheeled backpacks are fine if you will be limited to paved surfaces. Such as you will only be going in and out of a taxi to hotel. But if you have walk around, esp on unpaved surfaces, the wheel assemblies just add weight and bulk.

#4 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 563
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