The best backpack for travelling
Before you step off to your big adventure, you will eventually come along the question of what the best backpack for traveling is.
Requirements to a backpack while traveling
Once you start traveling with only a backpack for more than a week, you will have to ask yourself not what and how much you want to bring to the country or place you want to travel to. But also during traveling you will have to decide not only what you want to bring home as souvenirs rather than how you are going to bring it home.
Many times I have traveled to place bringing far too many replacement clothes and other gear. And as a result of this I ended up carrying a full backpack around and had only little space to fill up with new things I found along the journey.
I believe many of the readers here can agree with me to that topic.
In order to not end up in that situation again I did some tests on several backpacks and of course I reduced the gear I bring with me. As a result of my research I found a few requirements, that you should consider when looking for the best backpack for travel.
1. It needs to have an appropriate size, I buy no smaller than 90liters (5492 cu In)
2. It needs to be equipped with thick and comfortable shoulder straps
3. A solid and in the best case ergonomic pack frame
4. Releasable side bags that can be used as day packs or in the event of traveling by plane, as carry on luggage.
I mentioned previously that size matters. So, while standing in the shop trying it on, do not think it might be too big. It will NOT. Trust me and you will thank me later for that.
A lot of people planning their long awaited round the world trip and an average round the world trip visits about five to eight countries depends on the duration length of course.
Lets make an example, a classic: On the route Europe -> Nepal -> Thailand -> Australia -> USA -> Peru -> Brazil – > Europe, you will be packing things for hiking, swimming, warm clothes (at least a few), a couple of antibiotics, some mosquito repellent, a pair of good outdoor shoes etc. The list is of course individually adjustable. Well the last point is very important, as you might buy warm clothes on the trip, but shoes are sometimes hard to get. And these shoes are probably one of the things that take away a lot of space in your backpack. Well you might wear them while traveling on the plane, but trust me, that is very uncomfortable, I did that. Also, it is inefficient at the security checks at the airport since most of the hiking shoes consist some piece of metal as well as are equipped with a good thick rubber sole where airport security wants to let it go through their X-Ray.
You see, you will bring a lot.
This is the most important topic from my point of view. I remember the first backpack I had for hiking and traveling was a cheap copy of the backpacks they use in the German Bundeswehr. It looked very comfortable, was comfortable, but only for the first 15 minutes and with low load.
In the first “field tryout” I went for a 45k (28mi) hike carrying about 5kg (10lb) load. Already early in the hike I felt the weigh pulling down my shoulders and the pack frame pushing into my back, making the hike highly uncomfortable. I know you guys think now, that you will not be carrying your backpack for traveling for the amount of time it took me to march 45k. Maybe you won’t, that is true, BUT you will carry it almost every day for a short time, sometimes waiting in a queue, walking through a huge airport. Picking it up, putting it down at the baggage belt, at the hotel. There will come a time when you lose your enthusiasm for your big trip, for example you missed your bus somewhere and it is heavily raining.
And at this very point you will be happy not to be suffering from pain around your hips, back and shoulders.
I mentioned the thick shoulder straps, how thick do they have to be? As thick as you can get them. The shoulder straps on my Tasmanian Tiger Range Pack, are about 1 – 11/2cm (half an inch) thick and are made of a medium hard rubber foam, which brings the advantage to not wear out that fast while carrying a heavy load.
Furthermore you need to look for a backpack providing a solid and in the best case adjustable pack frame. A good pack frame balances the pressure weigh on your back away from your lower back meaning that your neck will not hurt so badly as well.
The side bags
The fourth and last important feature your backpack should be equipped with are releasable side bags. Often times I went to the airport with two backpacks. One in the back and one wearing in my front. Well that can work, no doubt, but once you have to push through a square filled with people, or a market square, you will feel immobile and somehow caged. I for example, hate it when I need to help to balance the front backpack with my hands and can´t use them for holding a map or such.
Most side bags are connected to the main backpack through zippers. That comes in quite handy as they are put on and off in no time. Plus mostly they come with shoulder straps which transform them to a small day pack when zipped together.
The side bags are not a must have rather than a nice to have. After traveling 32 countries though I would not want to miss them. It´s your choice and most likely also a style question.
The best backpack for traveling
Is so far and still being at one piece after traveling the world for nearly 5 years the Tasmanian Tiger Range Pack MKII.
It is a tactical backpack produced by Tasmanian Tiger which is the tactical line of Tatonka. This Backpack is the best backpack for travel for me, because it comes with all the above mentioned features. One time I carried even 40kg (88lbs) and my back did no hurt at all. Neither did I feel any inconvenience, given the fact that I suffered a back injury in sports long time ago and am not supposed to carry heavy loads.
Next to the comfortable wearing it is made of cordura 700 DEN, that doesn´t make it just waterproof for quite some time, but also resists nearly all the abusive ways the ground personnel treats your luggage at the airport.
After nearly five years of traveling, the only thing that got broken was a robe that was at the outside of the backpack.
Below some details:
- Cordura 700 DEN
- 7383.90 cu in (121 l) total volume
- Detachable carrying system with integrated fastening possibilities for various marksmen systems e.g.G22-G82
- Detachable, subdivided front pocket with opening in the main pocket, to be used as an emergency backpack 915.35 cu in (15 l)
- X1 carrying system for excellent carrying comfort with high loads
- Material: Cordura 700 DEN
I hope I could help you with this article on what to pay attention to when buying the best backpack for traveling. The backpack is a bit pricey but you will not regret it.
Thank you for reading, I´d be more than glad to answer some questions in the comment box.
Have a wonderful day and safe travels!