What To Look For When Choosing A Travel Pack
A travel backpack is the single most important piece of equipment for the traveler who spends a lot of time on the road or trail. It carries all your gear, makes you look stylish and can even serve as an impromptu pillow or cuddle buddy (hey, won’t judge). Not all travel packs are made equally, so it’s important to do your due diligence when choosing the right one.
In This Instance, Yes, Size Does Matter
The length of your trip and amount of gear you plan on holding will help determine the size of the backpack best for you. They usually come in sizes somewhere between 40 and 80L. A pack too big can throw off your balance, while one too small won’t hold all your essentials. Something like the Venturesafe 45L GII is great if you don’t need to haul a lot of stuff, but if you need a bit more room the Venturesafe 65L GII is a better choice.
Round up all of your gear and, if you can, test out a few different packs before committing to one. Test how it fits against your back, whether it’s too big or small for someone your size and how well it balances with all of your gear inside. You probably can’t take all of your gear into the store to test it out, so if you’ve got friends with packs try out theirs, otherwise you might have to make some purchases and returns before settling on the right one.
Can It Withstand The Storm?
Deserts, rainforests, artic snowstorms—who knows what you’re going to come up against in your travels. Probably not all of those at once, but things happen. You need a pack tough enough to handle whatever nature throws at it. Look for strong, weather resistant material that’s thick enough to take a beating but still light enough to carry over long distances.
A lot of packs come with tarps, but they should still be somewhat waterproof on their own in case a sudden downpour comes out of nowhere.
Do The Zippers Lock?
The problem with compartments is really two-fold. First, there needs to be enough to store all of your goods from food to expensive things like electronics without having so many that they serve no purpose. Second, they should be secure. The compartments should come with lockable zippers so that you can lock them together.
The backpack will contain everything you need to get by, essentially making it your lifeline.
The Shape Should Fit Your Body
Much as the size should be right for your height, the shape should also come close to matching the contours of your body. A pack that rests directly against your back prohibits air from moving freely through, which creates sweat and friction and makes carrying the thing a pain. Look for a travel backpack with a lumbar pack, usually a netted panel that allows air to move through it and has bars that keep it separate from your body.
Make sure the pads in the shoulders and waist align properly with your hips and shoulder too. Comfort is key. You don’t want to be slogging around a backpack that’s going to be rubbing you in all the wrong places or sliding off each step you take.
Go for the Internal Frame
This isn’t the 1960s so there’s no reason to travel with a pack still harboring an external frame. Just don’t. They’re bulky and can get caught on anything you walk by, whereas internal frames are more comfortable and provide better support. Internal ones are also made with carbon fiber in most instances, making them lighter.
Like it or not, a proper travel backpack is going to cost you a bit more money than you probably want to spend. Shelling out $200 to $300 is going to be worth it in the long run. They last longer than your traditional hiking back and are better designed for overseas travel. If you’re backpacking for a while, also look for one that’s small enough to work as a carry-on. Those luggage fees are beastly.