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Backpack Advice

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Just after some advice/help on choosing a backpack
8 years ago, June 8th 2012 No: 1 Msg: #157384  
I'm leaving to travel indefinitely in September and need to get my backpack sorted, soon. Just looking for help on this as there seem so many on the market it's hard to work out what i'll need.

I've been away before but never long term, only a 10 day or 2 week holiday so this is new to me. I'm 5 ft 10 and 200 lb.

I'm seeing people say 55l bag is enough and others that they want 80l but these numbers dont mean alot to me. I also want one with a day pack as i imagine on excursions and daily use i'll need a small bag to bring a few things each day.

Your help is much appreciated

Dan Reply to this

8 years ago, June 8th 2012 No: 2 Msg: #157385  
I'd reckon a 70 litre might be fine. I initially started with a 60 litre when travelling, then purchased a 70 litre, but am intending to get an 80 litre after owning the 70 litre for almost six years. The main reason is to carry bulky items that are light, rather than using it to pack heavier items. If you are heading away for an indefinite period, the extra space might be useful.

I have also purchased a couple of backpack/bags that fold into a small bundle - and these are very light (only a couple of hundred grams). I use them for times I want to carry items but don't want to carry my usual camera/laptop backpack with me. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 8th 2012 No: 3 Msg: #157390  
I doubt i'll have many bulky items bar a netbook computer when i leave but i suppose you never know what you'll pick up on the way.

Probably better to have the space incase of purchases or the need for more space, imagine its better to have more space than to be crammed for it.

What brand of bag has lasted you 6 years, that sounds good quality? Reply to this

8 years ago, June 8th 2012 No: 4 Msg: #157393  
My previous two backpacks were Deuter - they have been excellent products. I'm thinking of buying another Deuter (an 85 litre not an 80 as I mentioned previously) or an Osprey as the latter have lighter frames.

I agree with your reasoning re the more space vs cramming point, which is why I am thinking of buying yet another bag and upgrading (again). Reply to this

8 years ago, June 8th 2012 No: 5 Msg: #157397  
Unfortunately I'm yet to back pack, but my brother uses a Deuter, which he swears by. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 8th 2012 No: 6 Msg: #157408  
In response to: Msg #157397

Try a lighter backpack to start with if you are unsure - a female friend of mine only travels with a 45 litre (give or take 5 litres) and that is plenty for her. I love backpacks because they allow you to move through a crowd, down escalators/stairs and along streets quicker than any other method. I'm only a slight build and my bag can look enormous on me, but it is mostly filled with lightweight clothes, so it is not as bad as it looks.

I'd avoid those hybrid packs - those that you can either carry or wheel along - the configuration and weight of the wheel mechanism and handle I reckon is too cumbersome. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 9th 2012 No: 7 Msg: #157417  
I would say a 60l is well enough except you plan on camping where I would go for an 80l.

Backpack doesn't have the be full anyway.

I had a couple different companies, but my favorite is Gregory. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 10th 2012 No: 8 Msg: #157440  
Something to consider is the type of travelling you intend to do. If you are trekking a lot and carrying camping gear etc then the traditional top loading pack is advised. If however you are travelling from hostel to hostel and will be moving regularly then I've found the full front opening one to be best as it gives easy access to your gear and you don't spend much time with it on your back.

I'd encourage a good day pack, a lot of the times the attached ones can be a little small for good day or two to three day hikes, and make them comfy as this will be what you carry around most of the time. Depends where your going I'd also recommend one you can put a lock through.

Hope it helps. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 10th 2012 No: 9 Msg: #157441  

If you are trekking a lot and carrying camping gear etc then the traditional top loading pack is advised. If however you are travelling from hostel to hostel and will be moving regularly then I've found the full front opening one to be best as it gives easy access to your gear...


Totally agree - this is the feature I'm looking for on my new backpack - certainly makes more sense than the normal pack that only have a top opening. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 13th 2012 No: 10 Msg: #157568  

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.

Cheers

Ian Reply to this

8 years ago, June 13th 2012 No: 11 Msg: #157570  
Hey Ian, that is a very helpful post. How does Osprey compare to Deuter in your opinion?

[Edited: 2012 Jun 13 02:36 - The Travel Camel:11053 ]
Reply to this

8 years ago, June 13th 2012 No: 12 Msg: #157596  
Hi Shane, I must be honest I've not really had much do with Deuter, nowhere I've ever worked has stocked it! Although a friend of mine has a Deuter daypack; from what he says it's pretty good brand and seems to be well made, but that's about as much as I can say about it!
Reply to this

8 years ago, June 13th 2012 No: 13 Msg: #157597  
Thanks! I'll be checking out the Osprey backpacks this week. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 14th 2012 No: 14 Msg: #157605  
My is a Osprey and you are telling us that it is guarantee for life. This is a really useful post.

Last year when I claimed my luggage in London I found out that one of the plastic ring wherein the belt is passing to support my back broke. They sold me the same plastic ring, but the one that broke was stock in the backpack and the only I could replace it was to unstitch the bag, so I been running for almost a year with a pack of lace replacing the piece.

I will go see them tomorow. Great news. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 15th 2012 No: 15 Msg: #157643  
B Posts: 72
Deuter packs are top class. At some point you get to a range where the main differences fall to personal preferences, so it's not really possible to objectively state that Deuter or Osprey or Gregory etc are better than the others. My current packs are a Deuter 21 ltr daypack, a Mammut 45 ltr ultra-light and an Osprey 65 ltr with a suspended mesh harness. I really liked the Deuter 65+10 but in the end the suspended mesh on the Osprey just came up more comfortable after a hot day of use. Hence personal preference decides it rather than any baseline deficiency. A decent outdoor specialty store (not an all-purpose sporting goods store with a camping section) will only carry quality brands, so just try them all on and see which is best. The more generous the returns policy, the more likely they only carry stuff that won't need returning! Reply to this

8 years ago, June 15th 2012 No: 16 Msg: #157646  
Great information Dag, thanks for posting. Would second heading to a specialist outdoor outlet - with something as important as a backpack (the wrong one can really ruin your day), it is important to get the best advice possible. Reply to this

8 years ago, June 15th 2012 No: 17 Msg: #157657  
Manxie,

You may want to purchase a cover for the back pack to keep it dry and it adds a layer of safety. Reply to this

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