Backpack or not?
Backpack or not? Reviews
To Backpack or not? Aug 24, 2009
Many travellers are wondering if they should do the jump from a suitcase to a backpack. Also, this topic often appears in the forums. I share here my experience on the topic...
Suitcases are fine for short trips or trips where we don't have to move around much (per example visiting relatives or resort vacations). Longer trips? Around the world trip? I most definitly take my backpack!
I like the fact that it allows to have both of my hands free and my luggage becomes like a part of me which can be pratical in many situations.
My advices to first time buyers: For women, I would definitly suggest to buy a women model. It should always be adjusted to your size. As for the brand, I'd say go to a store that offers a wide variety of models and try them on with heavy weights in them. Take your time walk around the store with them. Shoulder straps should be very comfortable. It has to fit so well that it becomes like a part of your body. Think of the tuttles!!!
As for quantity (numbers of litres), it depends on your capacity and on how many hours a day you plan on having this thing on your back. Bigger backpacks tend to be heavier even when empty but more comfortable than smaller capacity backpack. However, you might have the tendency to carry too much weight in them (which is hard on your legs and back).
Most people, including myself, tend to pack too much stuff. I've seen people having to mail home some of their stuff to reduce the weight. Althought, I usually carry between 8 kg to 10 kg, I always manage to find something I packed and didn't use during my trip. Often, we forget that things can be bought along the way if necessary.
I was told that 10 percent of our weight was an ideal ratio to prevent problems... But as I was saying in depends on the type of travel or activities. Will you need to carry a tent and camping equipment or just city clothes and mini-computer? I should add that the actual load may be dependent on the distance, terrain and time that the backpacker will cover. A heavy pack maybe OK if one only carries it for short periods of time. Also, the person's size, conditioning and the design of the backpack itself (especially weight distribution and padding) may do a big difference.
Personnally, I have a Bora 62 litres from Arc'terix...which was very expensive...and too big for my needs. I now know that, for me, a 50 litres would have been just fine. A smaller one would have had the advantage of being considered as a carry-on luggage. With mine, I have to live with the constant possibility of having a lost or delayed luggage...and I'm talking by experience here!!! On the good side, my sleeping bag and floor mat fit inside the lower compartment. It is very comfortable on my long days of trekking as well as for backpacking around countries. It's made of strong material. It's fully rain proof and has few outside zippers, so I'm never worried about thiefs in my back... and though I travel light, I can always stretch it more to have more room to bring some souvenirs home at the end of my trips. One time, fully streched and loaded with souvenirs, I got it to a very heavy 18 kg; most airlines allow more than that. You can probably find similar features in other brands for a smaller price.
So my advice is to think about your type of travel and activities...the things you'll likely pack. But the main thing is that You must like it.
Hope this helps! Have the nicest trip and the most wonderful memories!
Part of the list My basic packing list
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