Backpack Basics

So, apparently ‘travel blogs’ are meant to be filed with useful, fact filled posts about gear, places, schedules and the like. Not random, nonsensical posts about whether travelling actually requires travelling (because that’s just silly). 

So, here goes. 

Backpacking. As obvious as it seems, there is a backpack involved. Now pay attention, this is important. Your pack will be house, your garage, your storeroom, your safety blanket, at times, it’ll be your all. So don’t skimp. Equally, you don’t need to refinance your house. 

  • Quality, particularly around seams and the zips is a must. This will be the area taking the most wear and tear.
  • Size. Now, bigger is not better here. Anything over 75 litres is going to be tough to carry for any sort of distance. Equally, a well packed 75 litres is roughly 20 kilograms, the default weight for many airlines before they start charging overweight tariffs. It you need to pack more than 20 kgs on a backpacking trip, you’re doing something interesting (Who am I to call somebody wrong).
  • A day pack. Many packs come with a detachable day pack, which means that your main pack can be locked up in a hostel, while you carry only the essentials with you on a day’s sightseeing. Secondly, the day pack can be attached to your main pack when travelling long distances, one pack is easier to handle when using public transport.
  • Waterproofing. The advantages of this are obvious. IT KEEPS YOUR STUFF DRY!! If the material is not waterproof, make sure your pack has a rain jacket.
  • Can the multitude of straps be tucked away? Nothing will tick baggage handlers off more, and nothing increases your chances of a rip or breakage than loose straps.
  • A waist strap. Non negotiable. It’ll make carrying a heavy loads that much easier on your poor shoulders.
  • Try it on before you buy. Make sure it can adjusted to fit your body size. It MUST be comfortable.
  • Last, and possibly most importantly – you need to choose between a traditional ‘top entry’ pack or a ‘side entry’ back. For my money, it’s a no brainer. Using a top entry pack will mean that you spend far too much time unpacking and repacking your kit, to get that elusive piece of gear. When you need your iPod before the 2 day bus trip from Hanoi to Saigon, odds on it’ll be right at the bottom of your pack. A side entry backpack will solve all the problems.

Right, that’s it. Informative, fact based and (kinda) impartial. 

My bag is a K-Way Transit 75. It gets two thumbs up from me,and naturally has all the features mentioned above. Read more here

Published in: on 24/06/2010 at 10:34 pm  Comments (8)  
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