In response to: Msg #157384
Hi Dan, quite a trip you've got planned there!
In my experience (as a backpacker and someone who worked for Blacks/Millets for far too long) I've always recommended a 60/65L bag; you can
get away with 55 or 45L but I've never quite managed it myself and I really don't know how some people can do it! I've always felt it's better to have more space than you need than end up with a small bag with not enough space; you'll almost certainly collect stuff on your travels and you'll need somewhere for it all to go!
On the other hand with an 80 litre bag sometimes there's a tendency to forget about weight restrictions when flying (I've done this a few times with my 65), which is usually 20-23KG depending on who you fly with (although it really does depend on who you get on the desk at check-in - some people are nice and lenient letting me on with an extra kilo or so while others have forced me to repack over a gram!)
So I'd personally say 60/65 litres is about right - not too small, not too big.
As for brands - there's a huge choice so I'll list a few below with pros & cons:
Osprey - Though it is a little more expensive, Osprey is really good quality stuff - they have an "All Mighty Guarantee" so if you have any problem with it, even if it's 30 years from now, take it in to any Osprey stockist in the world and they'll have it assessed & repaired/replace.
Berghaus - Check out the C71 - it's a great pack with a BioFlex back system designed to move with you and to prevent causing back injuries. A good all round pack...
Lowe Alpine - My pack is a Lowe Alpine Tundra 65 and I'd done me really, really well over the past three years on a variety of trips. It's even survived a car crash!
MacPac is a good New Zealand brand, though like The North Face tends to be a bit more expensive than it needs to be in my opinion.
Blacks and Millets do have their own backpack range called EuroHike which is very, very cheap in comparison to the others but you do sacrifice the quality and long life from other brands.
Hope that helps - it might be worth trawling through eBay for a good deal, though do try to see the pack in the flesh first.