Tips – Choosing a Backpack

For extended travels of weeks to months you will be carrying your life ‘on your back’. Luggage needs to be appropriate for your style of travel.  I favour a backpack for independent travel as it offers flexibility to be able to walk a reasonable distance to and from transport and in search of accommodation options.  Traditionally backpacks come in either a top-loading ‘rucksack’ or ‘travelpack’ style – large zip-open pack often with smaller compartments for organization. Variations and hybrids, inclding backpacks with wheels can now be found.

Key features to look for and help with your decision when choosing a backpack include:

  • harness – adjustable, comfortable harness to ergonomically carry the load
  • material – ‘ripstop’ canvas, durable and anti-theft properties
  • security – lockable good quality zips / entry points
  • expandible – gusset side zips can expand the size of your pack to fit extra “souvenirs” on the way home
  • size – fullsize travel backpacks usually vary from 50 to 90 litres; my pack is 60L – expands to 80L
  • harness cover – zip-over cover to protect your harness while your luggage is in transit
  • compartments / organization – a single compartment toploading rucksack vs multiple compartments and zip – open layout of a travel pack.  Side and top straps may also be a useful feature for attaching tents / sleeping mats / poles
  • attachable daypack – many travel backpacks include a zip-off and clip-on daypack (20 – 30L)

I have been travelling with (the same) One Planet hybrid rucksack and daypack for the last 10 years.

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