After making the exciting decision to travel, you are going to have to choose what type of travel backpack to invest in to help get the most out of your trip.
First and foremost, you must figure out what sort of travelling you will be undertaking, and for how long you will be gone for.
No matter how long of a duration of your trip, I would highly recommend the relatively new design of travel backpacks. The main attraction, and why I like them so much is the fact that they open up like a suitcase, so you don’t have to deal with that bullshit top loading design, that takes forever to find what you’re looking for.
Over the years I have met countless travellers who carry around a 70-80L hiking backpack which are filled to the brim and way too heavy. I always get a kick out of watching them putting on the backpack, as it is generally a two person job to prevent injury. Trust me, you don’t want’t to be one of these people.
During a 5 month backpacking trip around Asia, I used a 42L backpack along with a 20L daypack that I carried on my belly. Storage was a bit tight at times but I’m glad I decided on it, since it kept my bag relatively light, and refrained me from wasting money on useless stuff. If you want to buy souvenirs for family and friends, I suggest buying small items, and immediately shipping them home. It is cheaper to ship than you think.
Travel Backpack Pros And Cons:
- As I mentioned before, the U shaped zipper allows for very quick access if you are after something at the bottom of the bag. It is also easier to strategically place certain items to distribute the weight evenly throughout the bag, which makes walking with it a tad more comfortable. Who doesn’t prefer to be more comfortable?
- Due to the more “suitcasey” (yes, I know that isn’t a word) designs, they are considered a carry on bag on airplanes (if the bag is 40L or less, and is within the weight limits). This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars if you plan on taking multiple flights on your trip.
- Certain travel backpacks have locking security features built into the zipper design to give you piece of mind. This feature ensures that nobody can freely snoop around in your bag, and prevents thieves from taking things that’s not theirs.
- They generally made from very durable material, resulting in a bag that should last decades of globe trotting. The flexible nature of the packs minimizes damage when carelessly thrown onto airplanes and buses by passionless baggage handlers. Most high end brands also make their packs with water resistant materials, which is super handy when you get caught in the rain, giving you enough time to find shelter without soaking your clothing/gear.
- Many designs feature detachable day packs that can replace the need for a second backpack. One less thing to carry around and worry about is always an awesome bonus!
- Every travel backpack that I have researched always include great shoulder and cross body strap and adjustment features, which will make carrying your bag heaps easier. Obviously every traveller is a different size and shape so it is crucial that you adjust the straps to fit your body so the weight of the pack is distributed evenly.
- Generally speaking, travel backpacks feature a perfect amount of compartments. I’ve met many backpackers with hiking style packs that have a dozen or more compartments, and can make it very difficult to find what they’re looking for. I find that a pack with 3-5 compartments is plenty.
- Travel backpacks come in a wide variety of sizes, anywhere from 30L all the way up to 80L. I cannot stress enough how important the proper size for backpacking is. You don’t want anything too small, but more importantly, you should not want a backpack that is too big. Keep it minimal. Collect moments not things.
- Only a couple manufacturers design their travel backpacks that features some sort or air flow technology (more on this later). The ability to keep the back of the pack away from from your back is crucial if you plan on walking with your pack for hours at a time. Nobody wants an embarrassing sweat soaked back of the shirt after removing the pack.
- Since travel backpacks are not designed and intended for long periods of carrying, the pads on the shoulder straps are not quite as padded or as comfy as hiking packs.
- Many brands do not include a fully waterproof bag that you can cover your backpack if you get caught in the rain. Purchase one from a third party that is intended to fit the size of your bag if this is important to you.
Why Minimalist Travelling Is The Way To Go:
- If your bag is sub 40L and light enough, you are eligible to use it as a carry on, which will save you heaps of money over the years.
- It keeps your bag light enough to carry for extended periods of time, without straining your shoulders, neck and back.
- Less things to carry = less things to worry about losing or being stolen.
- Much easier to manage during transit such as trains, tuk-tuks, taxis, buses.
- You will save money on not buying things you don’t need.
- Keeps you from carrying too many clothes. (I have left many shirts and pants at hostels throughout my travels after realizing I overpacked.)
- If you are on the move a lot which backpackers usually are, it makes for very quick packing when you are ready to leave to the next destination.
- Since travel bags close with zippers, and zippers are never waterproof, water could potentially get inside your bag if caught in heavy rain.
Travel Backpacks That I Highly Recommend:
The Osprey story all began over 40 years ago in a small shop in Cortez, Colorado, with Michel Pfotenhauer selling hand-sewn custom adventure packs. Today, Osprey is the industry-leading manufacturer of adventure packs and accessories, with designs catered towards backpacking, hiking, cycling, climbing, and travel. During your travels, you will more than likely come across more Osprey bag than any other manufacturer. This is a testament to this highly regarded and world renowned brand.
The Farpoint 55L is the definitely one of the absolute perfect travel backpack money could buy, especially for the price. It is large enough to fit everything you could possibly need, while still being small enough to be able to use as a carry on if light enough. Some important features include a 15L detachable travel pack, lockable zip pulls for use with a TSA recognized lock, space mesh back panel for comfortability and ventilation, adjustable sternum and hip straps, and external gear attachment points.
The bag is perfect for both men and women, coming in a S/M size for smaller framed women, or a M/L size for men. The Farpoint is also available in a 46L, 70L, and 80L size.
Click here to purchase this amazing bag via Amazon: Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack, Volcanic Grey, Small/Medium
This is the 2017 version of the bag that I mentioned earlier in the post, which I took on a 5 month backpacking trip around Asia. The main improvements this year come with improvements in comfortability with the back panel, and shoulder straps. It also features a sleeker and cleaner outside look, with a wider variety of attractive colours.
This 45L travel bag still comes with all the amazing feature as it always has. A book style opening, interlocking zippers and steel locking cable to be used with their patented Roobar locking system (which is why I bought it), hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh to protect against slash-and-run theft, and a front pouch with a several storage compartments which can fit up to a 15inch laptop are just a few to mention.
I believe that if you pair this 45L with a 25L daypack worn on the front of the body, this is the perfect setup for a backpacking trip up to 6 months. As of the day I wrote this article, I have actually been travelling for 490 days with this set up! If you’re not so into minimalist travel,
Pacsafe also offers this amazing bag in a 55L and 65L bag, all available on Amazon.com through the links below.
25L GII Daypack: Pacsafe Luggage VentureSafe 25L GII, Black, Large
Kelty Redwing 50
The cheapest bag in my list, coming in at a very affordable $159, is one of the most well rounded travel backpack out there and an amazing bang for your buck. Whether you are planning on going for a weekend trekking adventure, or a 3-6 month backpacking trip, the Redwing 50 has everything you could ask for.
The best features IMO are its ‘LightBeam’ single aluminum stay and ‘Dynamic AirFlow’ back panel, which will keep your load stable and comfortable for many hours of carrying. Other awesome features of the pack include their ‘PerfectFIT’ suspension system, laptop/hydration sleeve, front pocket with organization, water bottle pockets, and its U-zipper design works as both a top loader and panel loader for ease of access to your gear.
Pick up this amazing bag in black off of Amazon here: Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack, Black
Or check out this awesome colour: Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack, Dark Shadow
Deuter Transit 50
Founded back in 1898, the Deuter company has continuously been the industry leader in producing high quality and rugged backpacks and rucksacks. Their latest edition to their Transit line is a perfect combination of beautiful looks and amazing functionality.
For a very reasonable price of $179, you can own one of the best travel backpacks in the world.
Along with all other packs in this list, the Transit 50 also has a U shape zip which allows for a full opening and easy access to all of your gear. The suspension system is second to none, featuring heavily padded, fully adjustable, and concealable shoulder straps, along with a thick anatomically formed hip belt to help take the load off your back. There is a detachable day pack as well which can eliminate the need for a second backpack if you are travelling minimal. The Transit 50 is the first backpack ever created to feature a detachable shoulder strap to convert it into a shoulder bag. The zippered compartment at the bottom is convenient to stash a spare pair of shoes or dirty clothes, so you don’t stink up the main compartment.
Overall, this is an amazing option for you to say the least, and probably my favourite bag in my list!
Pick up your very own Deuter Transit 50 off of Amazon here: Deuter Transit 50 Pack Anthracite / Moss One Size
Tortuga 45L Outbreaker Backpack
As the relatively new kid on the block, Tortuga has quickly made their mark on the industry with some of the most comfortable, durable, adjustable, and efficient backpacks money can buy.
Their newest update to their initial V2 design which began on Kickstarter, is the Outbreaker, and is available in either 35L or 45L.
Not the cheapest bag on the market by any means, but it’s by far one of the best investments you could make before heading off on your great adventure.
Tortuga now manufactures their bags with 4 layers of their new “waterproof sailcloth” material, which is just as durable as their other products have become known to be. A fully adjustable hiker-style suspension system, along with heavily padded shoulder and waist straps, ensures a comfortable carry, even with heavy loads. For flying through airport security, you can open the ‘lie-flat laptop compartment’ to gain quick access to you computer and other electronics which can be stowed in convenient compartments.
Read more info on this amazing travel backpack here!
I hope I have convinced you to purchase in a travel backpack, as I genuinely believe they are the most efficient bags for long duration backpacking trips. Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I go into detail of everything in my bag that I’ve been carrying around for the past 490 days!