Author Topic: Best Travel Backpack?  (Read 13194 times)

College Stash

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Best Travel Backpack?
« on: December 02, 2016, 06:17:20 PM »
Hi Mustachians,

I know a lot of people here are avid international travelers/backpackers and many have retired to backpack the world. Does anyone have any recommendations for a travel backpack that meets the standard carry on requirements (40 or 45L I assume)? Also, any recommendations for a universal travel adapter?

If it helps, i'm looking into a 4-6 wk trip to East Asia next summer and a similar length Europe trip a year or two after.

Frugalicious

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2016, 01:45:55 AM »
Hi Mustachians,

I know a lot of people here are avid international travelers/backpackers and many have retired to backpack the world. Does anyone have any recommendations for a travel backpack that meets the standard carry on requirements (40 or 45L I assume)? Also, any recommendations for a universal travel adapter?

If it helps, i'm looking into a 4-6 wk trip to East Asia next summer and a similar length Europe trip a year or two after.
I use the Redoxx Skytrain.  It's $265, but buy it for life.  I have used it exclusively for about the past five years and it's good for short trips since it can be cinched in.  But it's even better for longer trips since it's measurements make it a 20 inch case.  It really holds a lot.

Www.redoxx.com

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sol

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2016, 01:59:07 AM »
I think it depends on what kind of travelling you'll be doing.  If you're staying in hotels, basically anything works.  If you're walking or hiking a lot or need to be self sufficient for days at a time, then you need a regular backpacking bag with adjustable straps that can carry a tent and a sleeping bag.  Some folks really love to pare down and can go for three months in a 25L bag, but I prefer at least a 50 and the ability to carry more stuff.

In the world of backpacks, cheap is not frugal.  Many of these companies offer lifetime guarantees on quality products, and it's worth it to never have to buy another bag of that size ever again.  Even with a guarantee, I recommend you prioritize durability over light weight and fancy features.


cakie

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2016, 03:29:31 AM »
Definitely try on a few or at least get a good idea of your back measurements and buy a good quality pack. I bought a 2nd hand deuter (34L) 4 years ago for $80 off ebay, while my SO bought a new bag for a similar price at the same time. Mine has had a LOT of use and still going strong, meanwhile the other one lasted for the initial trip (5mths) but was nowhere near as comfy and later broke.

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lizzzi

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2016, 05:29:44 AM »
I like a convertible, that you can carry like a briefcase, or put on a shoulder strap and carry like a messenger bag, or pull out the backstraps and use as a backpack. My favorite go-to bag for Europe is my Tom Bihn TriStar. Also get the modules to go in it. (I like the Tom Bihn Aeronaut for road trips in the States, but find it a little big for airline travel. But that's just me. The Aeronaut is a great bag, too.) Tom Bihn is an American company in Seattle. Not cheap, but definitely BIFL. If you are looking for more of a camping out or hiking trails kind of thing, I don't know...but I'm sure others will be along with suggestions.

College Stash

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 07:51:56 AM »
Long-Term I'll be traveling in hostels, doing some hiking, and taking extended trips of hopefully 1 month a year off work. Eventually, I'd like to FIRE or at least take a sabbatical for even longer trips.

So again, the key factors are:

Price
Durability
Carry-on/travel size (40-45L?)
Comfort

College Stash

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2016, 07:55:42 AM »
Hi Mustachians,

I know a lot of people here are avid international travelers/backpackers and many have retired to backpack the world. Does anyone have any recommendations for a travel backpack that meets the standard carry on requirements (40 or 45L I assume)? Also, any recommendations for a universal travel adapter?

If it helps, i'm looking into a 4-6 wk trip to East Asia next summer and a similar length Europe trip a year or two after.
I use the Redoxx Skytrain.  It's $265, but buy it for life.  I have used it exclusively for about the past five years and it's good for short trips since it can be cinched in.  But it's even better for longer trips since it's measurements make it a 20 inch case.  It really holds a lot.

Www.redoxx.com

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Looks like a good bad with great reviews. How comfortable and feasible is it for long backpacking trips?

GreenSheep

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2016, 09:20:01 AM »
I've tried all sorts of backpacks, and although it's not quite a backpack in the sense that you'd literally take it camping/backpacking, my absolute favorite is the Patagonia Black Hole. I have the 45L and the 60L.

I bought them on sale, but the full price isn't too bad considering it lasts for ages -- currently $129 for the 60L. The 60L has straps attached so you can wear it like a backpack. It wouldn't be comfortable for a 20 mile hike, but it's great for hauling it around an airport and through a city until you get where you're staying.  It's 1 inch too long to meet the official requirements for a carryon for most airlines, but no one has never noticed that 1 inch, and since it's a soft bag, it always fits. (I have an older model, so check the current measurements to be sure.)

I've taken this thing all over the world. It's water proof (or water resistant? whatever, it's been fine on top of a van in Panama in the rain). It holds anything and everything, and when it seems like it's full, I can still stuff more things inside it. I think it could be run over several times by a truck and remain intact... which is good if you ever have to check it for some reason. I had to learn the Spanish word for "duct tape" when I was forced to check my other-expensive-brand backpack on a flight to Ecuador and discovered a gigantic tear in it on arrival.

Riff

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2016, 09:44:44 AM »
I've made many trips with this bag, including overseas.  It's the only bag I take, no checked bags.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XUYFS6/ref=twister_B004C0PHNE?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2016, 11:42:23 AM »
I have a Tortuga backpack, no complaints. I also have the Kikkerland adapter, which I haven't had to use yet, but Tynan has been recommending it for years so I have a feeling it's not terrible.

shadowmoss

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2016, 11:57:12 AM »
http://www.onebag.com/

Site for how to travel with one bag indefinitely, and pointers on what to look for in a travel bag.  That said, I like:

https://www.campmor.com/c/campmor-essential-carry-on

I had outside cinch straps added.  It converts from over the shoulder to backpack style.  No hip belt, though.  For $30, it is great to see what is important to you if nothing else.  I would give it a total thumbs up but I found mine is coming apart in one small seam.  I use it every day now, though, so it has seen some rough handling in the past 3 or so years.  Basic, carry on size, unstructured, well made convertible bag.

AshStash

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2016, 03:34:47 PM »
Since you mention you'll be doing some hiking with this bag, I think you should buy the most comfortable hiking pack you can afford, instead of a travel pack.  In my experience, the best way to do that is to go to a store and be properly fitted for a pack and test a bunch of options while loaded up with the weight you plan to carry.

I have an Osprey Porter travel pack that I love (and would recommend if you go the travel pack route) but it just doesn't have the features or the fit to double as a hiking pack. When I needed a new hiking pack, I went to REI and asked them to pull every pack in the size range I wanted with the features I wanted (zipper pockets on the hip belt, easy to use trekking pole attachments, and an outer mesh pocket). Then I just bought the most comfortable, best fitting pack, without paying attention to brand.

use2betrix

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2016, 05:29:18 PM »
My wife and I are currently in Thailand doing what you speak of. We each have Osprey bags and they are excellent. Mine is 50L and hers 45L.

If you're staying hostels, they aren't always the most secure. We bought a 15L pacsafe day pack to put our electronics in when we dong feel comfortable where we're staying - then bring that with us for the day. Since we're a couple we've been staying in $35-$40 hostels/hotels so we have private rooms and bathrooms, but for a single person or two people who don't want to sleep in the same bed, the bunk houses are really cheap.

arebelspy

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2016, 02:49:37 AM »
Following! 

I love bags.  :D

This 100%:

I think it depends on what kind of travelling you'll be doing.
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LZZ

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2016, 06:18:53 AM »
Following! 

I love bags.  :D

This 100%:

I think it depends on what kind of travelling you'll be doing.

i love bags too !

I have an earlier version of this convertible backpack that I use for both business and leisure.   Comfortable for my female frame - but as other posters said - please try on (with a load in it).

http://www.patagonia.com/product/headway-mlc-convertible-carry-on-shoulder-bag-45-liters/48765.html?dwvar_48765_color=BLK&cgid=luggage-messenger-bags#start=1

Haven't used it for multi day hiking.  I have a technical North face pack for that.

KCalla

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2016, 11:07:46 PM »
We've had great luck in Europe with a couple of different types of electrical plugs with this one that I bought through Amazon:
World Travel Power Plug Adapter with Dual USB Charger - M8 By OREI - The International Mate
by Orei.  It would be worth checking on the countries you plan to visit for their electrical plug style.  This one has many.

I have an EBag TLS MotherLode Weekender, Convertable (I used it as a backpack comfortably, but we did not do any hiking).
My husband used his Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45.  It can be used as a backpack, but he prefers to carry it over the shoulder.  I agree with previous posters....pick a backpack meant for hiking if you will do any decent amount of hiking.  The comfort needs are different for hiking than for train/bus/plane/walking to get around.  A reminder: if you are planning any overseas flights, especially on "low cost" carriers, their size and width limits for carry on bags are often much, much lower than what the "big" airlines allow.  Even on US flights, keep in mind the smaller overhead bin size on regional jets.  When you choose flights online, click through to look at the type of plane (and seat options:  a site like SeatGuru.com can help).  Pick your best option.  It is wonderful to have your bag with you for flexibility for changes, and it is nice to be able to have it with you in the cabin (rather than gate checked), if you have a tight connection.  I love the packing cubes someone mentioned, but do realize that they add a little weight if you will be hiking for long.

I second the suggestion of looking at PacSafe.com.  I carry a CitySafe crossbody bag as my "personal item" and carry electronics, etc. in secure sections.  As well as tissues, glasses, bottled water etc. in easy access pockets.   Check PacSafe for backpack net locks.
Also...FOR SURE get a good money belt to wear around your waist, under your clothing.  They even come RFID protected.  We keep all of our travel documents, our passports, each other's passport copies, money, credit cards.  etc.  Consider wearing it while you sleep and keep it near you (in a zip lock bag) when you shower.  While this may seem crazy paranoid re: theft...I actually do it because, over the years I have had to evacuate my hotel room several times for different reasons (real fire, false fire alarm, power outage).  If you can take nothing else, you want to have your documents, money, credit cards with you in an emergency.  For the same reason, I put my money belt on right after I get past security at an airport. 
Take reasonable precautions, you'll have more fun.

KCalla

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2016, 11:10:36 PM »
PS.  I think that using a chest strap (and, if it has one, a waist or hip strap) makes carrying a full bag much more comfortable. 

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2016, 06:32:00 AM »
For me, the ability to carry as much of the weight on my hips rather than shoulders is the biggest factor in comfort.

arebelspy

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2016, 06:38:48 AM »
IMO, if you need extra straps, you packed too much (and/or your bag is too big).

Our bags have waist and chest straps.

I've never used em, and I don't think Ali has much, either.

I have used them with giant camping bags when you're backpacking and having to carry a bunch of cooking equipment, tote in your own water, etc.  They're super useful for lots of weight, I get that.  But for a travel backpack?

Go light.  :)
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Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2016, 07:04:08 AM »
IMO, if you need extra straps, you packed too much (and/or your bag is too big).
...  They're super useful for lots of weight, I get that.  But for a travel backpack?

Go light.  :)

My spine curves atypically, I use a hip belt when I'm carrying my laptop and wallet to the office.

What a hip belt does for you with a hiking backpack it does for me with a travel backpack, even for a 8 kg bag.

bikebuzz

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2016, 07:16:41 AM »
Another backpack nerd here.  There's a lot of good advice already in this thread but I will put my two cents in.  I actually have three that I rotate through depending on the trip.  If only there was one bag to replace all of them, but I haven't found it yet.  In an ideal world, you'd have something with a clamshell opening, compression straps, and a hip belt.

I second arebelspy's suggestion to pack light.  Get the smallest bag you can and your back will thank you.  I wouldn't go over 35L personally, but I'm petite and most backpacks overwhelm my small frame.

You should check out some of the recommendations at http://reddit.com/r/onebag

I have a 32L Patagonia pack that I found on sale several years ago that I use on trips where I'll be both hiking and traveling.  It's not ideal, as I strongly prefer a clamshell for travel, but I make it work with packing cubes.  For regular travel I have an old REI Overnighter pack that they discontinued, and I use my EDC Synapse 19 when I can go really light.

The Osprey Porter line (I'd lean you towards the 30L version) or Farpoint 40 might be bags to look into.  Tom Bihn has amazingly well-made travel bags that will last you a lifetime but they aren't really made for hiking.

KCM5

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2016, 07:47:33 AM »
I have an Eagle Creek convertible bag that I've used exclusively for all of my travel for the last decade. Still looks as good as new. It converts from a roller bag to a comfortable backpack with chest and hip straps and is carry on size. I love it. But it is not good for hiking. And the wheels and unnecessary weight if you're concerned about that. For hiking you'll want a hiking pack.

Really, get a quality bag. Doesn't have to be new, but a bag that has a lifetime warranty will last.

If you do get a hiking pack, I'd make sure the bag has an access point that isn't just the very top of the bag. Something with a zipper that unzips most of the bag. So this is bad: http://www.patagonia.com/product/cragsmith-pack-35-liters/48055.html?dwvar_48055_color=DFTG&cgid=luggage-technical-packs#tile-2=&start=1&sz=24

And this is good: http://www.patagonia.com/product/crag-daddy-pack-45-liters/48060.html?dwvar_48060_color=NVYB&cgid=luggage-technical-packs#tile-4=&start=1&sz=24

(Only examples, I have never used either of those bags)

AshStash

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2016, 08:56:48 AM »

What a hip belt does for you with a hiking backpack it does for me with a travel backpack, even for a 8 kg bag.

I'm with you. For any hike with a bag over about 7-8 kg, I will use my hip belt. For long hikes with even ~5-6kg, I will use my hip belt. A properly fitted pack with good hip belt is the difference between me being able to a full day in the mountains with ~6-7 kg vs having to turn around due to back pain after lunch.

For a travel bag, I use the hip belt if I'm going to have it on my back for more than ~15 minutes at a time..or if it's the end of the trip and I have souvenirs :D

I love this thread! I love talking about bags and looking at new models, even though I have my core group of bags and can't imagine needing a new one for many, many years. Of course, to get this core group of bags, I've bought and sold more bags than strictly mustachian in the last 15 years...

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2016, 09:10:11 AM »
There was another thread on this topic a few months ago that you might want to search for. I have a nearly 20 year old Eagle Creek convertible bag that is awesome, especially with the packing cubes. No wheels, just straps. I hate wheelie bags. Just came back from a month in Brittany; got several comments along the lines of "this is all the luggage you have?". Yup. :-)

GreenSheep

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2016, 09:45:07 AM »
got several comments along the lines of "this is all the luggage you have?". Yup. :-)

I love hearing this when I travel with just my backpack and one of those little nylon bags that ball up to the size of your fist. The amount I pack has slowly crept up over the years, but it's true... packing light is one of the best things you can do. You can buy almost anything almost anywhere, and if you're going to Central/South America, most of Africa, or most of Asia, it will probably be cheaper than at home anyway. I'm trying to get better at following my own advice on this one!

BTW, if you don't have one, a little nylon bag that takes up almost no space can really be helpful for daily running around or "overflow" if you have souvenirs to take home. These are a bit on the spendy size, but I've had a couple of them for years, and the seams are still intact even after many over-stuffings. I like to use them around town when I'm traveling because they're not flashy and they're big enough to hold and hide my camera, a jacket, and whatever I'm buying, like groceries, etc.

https://www.amazon.com/Flip-Tumble-24-7-Black-Slate/dp/B0028K2SUU/ref=sr_1_17?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1480956100&sr=1-17&keywords=nylon+bag&refinements=p_n_feature_keywords_two_browse-bin%3A8067118011

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2016, 02:03:29 PM »
Seconding the love for the tiny nylon bags. Great for a day bag as well.

arebelspy

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2016, 03:13:32 PM »

What a hip belt does for you with a hiking backpack it does for me with a travel backpack, even for a 8 kg bag.

I'm with you. For any hike with a bag over about 7-8 kg, I will use my hip belt. For long hikes with even ~5-6kg, I will use my hip belt.

Fair enough. :)
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Ben Hogan

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2016, 03:31:19 PM »
If you plan to travel to a hot climate, make sure you have a pack that is vented and framed for comfort. I like Osprey's for this reason, I can do a few miles with ease totally loaded out a Exos 58 in hot 100% 100 degree days without my back or shoulders soaked. I have never internationally traveled or check this in as luggage so I cant tell you how well it holds up with baggage handlers. But vent and fit are very important for a pack for extensive hiking.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2016, 03:33:48 PM »
http://www.ospreypacks.com/ca/en/product/farpoint-55-FARPNT55_526.html

I have an older model of the Osprey. It came with a lifetime guarantee; I have a few more years before I test them on it. Its already getting some wear spots, its seen a lot of trips and I fully expect to turn it in
Pros:
Zip up cover for the backstraps when doing airplane travel - no need for bagging to keep the straps from ripping off
strap/covers over the zippers to deter access
Day pack zips up between the pack and my back, deters thieves - my wife had an encounter with a pickpocket in Paris  (she had a cheap day pack), luckily I was trailing 10 feet behind and saw the whole thing.
Lightweight
quick access to clothes/everything at hostels
the zippers can be locked if you feel the need to
Great when I climb stairs, totally hands free. 


Cons
Not that great for bedrolls - other backpacks are better
A bit pricier than others I've seen, although I'm very satisfied with mine and would buy it again
Zipper pulls broke off mine fairly soon, I replaced them
Still needs rain protection - most bags do

Always try to pack smaller, I got mine with the intent of packing communal stuff for the two of us. Remember weight is one of the most important considerations in backpacks, lighter packs are generally more comfortable (especially after a mile of walking). 

terran

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2016, 07:14:19 AM »
We've been very happy with Our Osprey Porter 46L packs for any length trip. We've gone long enough to have to do laundry anyway, pretty much no matter how much we packed. I'm now tempted by the 30L version to see if I could do that (not sure my wife would go for that or not). This is for accommodation to accommodation travel, not hiking/backpacking. We had to make sure we were wearing the bulkier items and cinch them down good, but we carried on to one of the budget airlines in Europe (Easy Jet I think) which have more stringent carry on limits than US and international airlines.

LZZ

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2016, 07:28:38 AM »
http://www.ospreypacks.com/ca/en/product/farpoint-55-FARPNT55_526.html

I have an older model of the Osprey. It came with a lifetime guarantee; I have a few more years before I test them on it. Its already getting some wear spots, its seen a lot of trips and I fully expect to turn it in
Pros:
Zip up cover for the backstraps when doing airplane travel - no need for bagging to keep the straps from ripping off
strap/covers over the zippers to deter access
Day pack zips up between the pack and my back, deters thieves - my wife had an encounter with a pickpocket in Paris  (she had a cheap day pack), luckily I was trailing 10 feet behind and saw the whole thing.
Lightweight
quick access to clothes/everything at hostels
the zippers can be locked if you feel the need to
Great when I climb stairs, totally hands free. 


Cons
Not that great for bedrolls - other backpacks are better
A bit pricier than others I've seen, although I'm very satisfied with mine and would buy it again
Zipper pulls broke off mine fairly soon, I replaced them
Still needs rain protection - most bags do

Always try to pack smaller, I got mine with the intent of packing communal stuff for the two of us. Remember weight is one of the most important considerations in backpacks, lighter packs are generally more comfortable (especially after a mile of walking).

Help me understand why you would take a company up on a lifetime guarantee when you've had good usage of the product and it seems like it's just 'wear'.   You mention later in the post that you are satisfied with it and would buy it again.  It seems you are loyal to the company but you don't want them to make money either ;-)  I know people are entitled to it based on their company policy, but it isn't the moral choice I would make.  Just my opinion.
 

sol

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2016, 11:33:15 AM »
I know people are entitled to it based on their company policy, but it isn't the moral choice I would make.  Just my opinion.

I bet you never submit health insurance claims, either.

LZZ

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2016, 12:46:34 PM »
I know people are entitled to it based on their company policy, but it isn't the moral choice I would make.  Just my opinion.

I bet you never submit health insurance claims, either.

Well I don't subject myself to what I think is unnecessary health testing/screening ;-)

Prairie Stash

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2016, 01:47:45 PM »
http://www.ospreypacks.com/ca/en/product/farpoint-55-FARPNT55_526.html

I have an older model of the Osprey. It came with a lifetime guarantee; I have a few more years before I test them on it. Its already getting some wear spots, its seen a lot of trips and I fully expect to turn it in
Pros:
Zip up cover for the backstraps when doing airplane travel - no need for bagging to keep the straps from ripping off
strap/covers over the zippers to deter access
Day pack zips up between the pack and my back, deters thieves - my wife had an encounter with a pickpocket in Paris  (she had a cheap day pack), luckily I was trailing 10 feet behind and saw the whole thing.
Lightweight
quick access to clothes/everything at hostels
the zippers can be locked if you feel the need to
Great when I climb stairs, totally hands free. 


Cons
Not that great for bedrolls - other backpacks are better
A bit pricier than others I've seen, although I'm very satisfied with mine and would buy it again
Zipper pulls broke off mine fairly soon, I replaced them
Still needs rain protection - most bags do

Always try to pack smaller, I got mine with the intent of packing communal stuff for the two of us. Remember weight is one of the most important considerations in backpacks, lighter packs are generally more comfortable (especially after a mile of walking).

Help me understand why you would take a company up on a lifetime guarantee when you've had good usage of the product and it seems like it's just 'wear'.   You mention later in the post that you are satisfied with it and would buy it again.  It seems you are loyal to the company but you don't want them to make money either ;-)  I know people are entitled to it based on their company policy, but it isn't the moral choice I would make.  Just my opinion.
The initial purchase price was inflated to cover replacements. Osprey and I made a contractual agreement that if the pack wears out they will replace it. I made the decision to purchase it; partly on the basis of it being the last pack I purchased.  When I replace the pack the frame will be showing through, the corners are getting there since I wear it a lot and its seen a lot of airplanes and lots of time on my back. I take good care of it, there won't be accidental rips or tears. I won't be replacing it prematurely, I'll wait till it can't be used then replace/repair it.

Here is the company advertising the replacement guarantee. They are blatant about customer service, it makes me a loyal advertiser for them.
http://www.ospreypacks.com/ca/en/customer-support/all-mighty-guarantee

I'm proud of wearing it out, it means it was used like it was intended. They're proud of me too, I feel sad for people with 20 year old pristine packs, they look like dreams that didn't happen. I'll be sad when my beat up pack gets replaced, I might take a picture and post it to the new pack.

Why is it moral for them to charge extra for a service that I ultimately shouldn't use? This morality argument is intriguing, I really don't get your point of view. Do you skip out on benefits companies offer you?

Goldielocks

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2016, 02:02:54 PM »
Long-Term I'll be traveling in hostels, doing some hiking, and taking extended trips of hopefully 1 month a year off work. Eventually, I'd like to FIRE or at least take a sabbatical for even longer trips.

So again, the key factors are:

Price
Durability
Carry-on/travel size (40-45L?)
Comfort

Be careful of real backpacks for carry on size,  many of the internal backframes are too long for the carryon limit, although I see many people sneaking on with them unchecked.

If you are not going to be walking for more than a couple of hours at a time, and will travel lightly, I recommend this one.  I bought it when it was improperly advertised,  (fixed now) but because it has no internal frame, I can't use it for hiking overnight with the loads I carry (30lbs and 6 hr/day hikes).  Otherwise exceptionally well constructed for the price, roomy, but best used as a hotel / travel bag.  Similar to $100 bags here...

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/40L-and-50L-waterproof-women-men-travel-backpack-out-door-camp-mochilas-climb-hike-backpack-bagpack/32679157106.html?spm=2114.30010308.3.118.ghUM3e&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_4_10065_10068_10084_10083_10080_10082_10081_10060_10061_10062_10056_10055_10054_10059_10099_10078_10079_426_10073_10103_10102_10096_10052_10050_425_10051,searchweb201603_1&btsid=735ee545-fdb7-4fbb-b10b-c22c7896cc6c
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 02:08:03 PM by Goldielocks »

SirSavesaLot

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2017, 01:31:05 PM »
I realize I'm a little late to this party, but I want to throw in another alternative that no one else has mentioned:  the MEI Voyageur and its relatives.

https://meipacks.myshopify.com/

The Voyageur is sized exactly to U.S. carry-on dimensions and converts from a standard carry-on bag with handle or shoulder strap to a full backpack with cushy shoulder straps and lumbar support.  It allows you to carry just one bag while having the versatility to go where a backpack is needed. 

The other thing I like about this bag is that it has a very low key appearance.  I like something that doesn't unnecessarily advertise that I'm a traveler, especially if I'm in a place where that could make me a target for thieves or worse.  The exterior only has a few zippers visible.  The backpack straps stow away in a hidden compartment when not in use.  It looks extremely plain, especially in black.

I've used this in India, where even the urban environments are rugged, and it worked great.  Going across town to the bus station while dodging traffic, trash, cows, their leavings, and debris was no problem, because the load was securely and comfortably on my back.  Its size was such that I could pack what I needed without the enticement to pack anything unnecessary.  (Trip lasted 2.5 weeks.  I only took this bag.)  An added bonus is that the backpack straps have metal rings on them.  You can take a day pack, for stashing groceries or whatever, and attach it to your front with carabiners.  Keeps the weight centralized, and your belongings right in front of you.  The other MEI models offer other removable compartment options.

So, the MEI packs are worth at least checking out if you're looking for a one-bag option.  Which, IMO, is the only way to travel.  :)

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2017, 01:47:44 PM »
I have a Wingman from Timbuktu, and I've done 10+ international trips (up to 6 weeks of traveling) with it. It is great. It has held up so well. I love the arrangement of pockets (laptop space, shoe/dirty laundry compartment, but still easy to fit a ton in there). I never have to check it. I love that it doesn't look super "backpacker-y" for when we are in cities or nicer places. I really wish it had a hip-strap, because it's not really designed for walking tours (say, walking from town to town, which we have done a few times). I can walk for a couple hours in it (so, like 6 miles), but after that it's not super comfortable. But this is more than most travelers will ever walk with their pack. My sister got a tortuga recently because of the hip strap, and from my limited experience with it it also seemed like a good option. I have concerns about their quality, though, because I have another bag from them that ripped almost instantly.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2017, 03:31:13 PM »

What a hip belt does for you with a hiking backpack it does for me with a travel backpack, even for a 8 kg bag.

I'm with you. For any hike with a bag over about 7-8 kg, I will use my hip belt. For long hikes with even ~5-6kg, I will use my hip belt. A properly fitted pack with good hip belt is the difference between me being able to a full day in the mountains with ~6-7 kg vs having to turn around due to back pain after lunch.

For a travel bag, I use the hip belt if I'm going to have it on my back for more than ~15 minutes at a time..or if it's the end of the trip and I have souvenirs :D

I love this thread! I love talking about bags and looking at new models, even though I have my core group of bags and can't imagine needing a new one for many, many years. Of course, to get this core group of bags, I've bought and sold more bags than strictly mustachian in the last 15 years...

I'm an ultra runner, for my camelback with 2L bladder, snacks for a day and 1 extra layer if it's below 70, I wear the hip belt.

JoJo

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2017, 05:03:31 PM »
I just got the e-bags weekender convertible.  Can be under $100 if you apply discount codes.  http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/mother-lode-tls-weekender-convertible/143101?productid=1370036

Although it's a travel bag, it has a waist & chest strap.  It also has an extra strap so you can sling it over your shoulder.

I also like the extra expandable zipper - have more room if you're bringing stuff home.

seems pretty well designed... will give it a try on a 7 week trip soon.

FIreDrill

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2017, 05:28:37 PM »
My wife and I bought rei 40L packs before our 3 week trip to Greece.

We have now used these on every trip since.  Several within the US and one to Mexico.  We have never had an issue checking them so the size is perfect.  We also got separated clothes bags for organization.  Absolutely love this pack.

https://www.rei.com/product/880839/rei-co-op-trail-40-pack-mens

Also check out ebag packing cubes on Amazon.

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« Last Edit: April 02, 2017, 05:32:33 PM by FrozenBits »

LadyMuMu

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2017, 07:50:46 PM »
LZZ, I had a NorthFace pack for about 10 years. A piece of the frame snapped in two. I mailed it off to NorthFace to pay to have it repaired. They gave me a $250 credit for a new pack since they didn't have the part to replace it anymore. They now have a gear customer for life.

I'm not one of those folks who send 25 year old tshirts back to LLBean but in this case, I sleep well knowing that the guarantee was legit.

FindingFI

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2017, 02:19:16 PM »
For those that have checked a backpack at the airport, do you put it in another cover/bag to protect the buckles and straps on the conveyor belts? I've got a Gregory Jade 50L that I'm thinking of using for a trip to Europe this summer.

cakie

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2017, 07:03:11 PM »
Do you have a raincover? When I need to check mine, I flip the cover around on my bag and cover the straps with it :)
For those that have checked a backpack at the airport, do you put it in another cover/bag to protect the buckles and straps on the conveyor belts? I've got a Gregory Jade 50L that I'm thinking of using for a trip to Europe this summer.


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farfromfire

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2017, 05:13:30 AM »
Do you have a raincover? When I need to check mine, I flip the cover around on my bag and cover the straps with it :)
For those that have checked a backpack at the airport, do you put it in another cover/bag to protect the buckles and straps on the conveyor belts? I've got a Gregory Jade 50L that I'm thinking of using for a trip to Europe this summer.


Sent from my InFocus M808 using Tapatalk
I used to do that until the TSA cut through the cover (instead of simply moving it aside), although you can buy a generic new one for ~10$ they don't always fit that well. Also, you might not be able to buy a good one wherever you're traveling to.

Nowadays I either just clip the straps tightly (the waist straps can be secured tightly around the front of the bag), or put the bag in a giant, thick, clear garbage bag.

KCM5

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #44 on: April 05, 2017, 06:06:02 AM »
For those that have checked a backpack at the airport, do you put it in another cover/bag to protect the buckles and straps on the conveyor belts? I've got a Gregory Jade 50L that I'm thinking of using for a trip to Europe this summer.

No - and I lost a buckle doing it. And I just checked it because I was too lazy to carry it around in the airport and it was an international flight. I've maybe checked a backpack with the straps loose twenty times and lost a buckle once.

Some packs have a flap that you zip over the folded straps.

patrickza

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #45 on: April 05, 2017, 07:49:23 AM »
Another vote for the Osprey porter 46. It's the best backpack I've ever seen. Front opening not top opening is a godsend, and if you do want to check it the straps fold away so they won't get torn off. I use my for regular traveling, and on my brompton rack for bike touring.

cakie

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #46 on: April 05, 2017, 03:34:19 PM »
Do you have a raincover? When I need to check mine, I flip the cover around on my bag and cover the straps with it :)
For those that have checked a backpack at the airport, do you put it in another cover/bag to protect the buckles and straps on the conveyor belts? I've got a Gregory Jade 50L that I'm thinking of using for a trip to Europe this summer.


Sent from my InFocus M808 using Tapatalk
I used to do that until the TSA cut through the cover (instead of simply moving it aside), although you can buy a generic new one for ~10$ they don't always fit that well. Also, you might not be able to buy a good one wherever you're traveling to.

Nowadays I either just clip the straps tightly (the waist straps can be secured tightly around the front of the bag), or put the bag in a giant, thick, clear garbage bag.
That's insane! I have recently acquired a cheap duffel bag that fits the backpack, better just use that from now on :/

farfromfire

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2017, 11:23:15 PM »
Yeah, TSA isn't the gentlest when it comes to baggage inspection :/

Another thought for OP: some airports put "irregular" baggage in plastic tubs for the conveyor belt. It can't hurt to ask for one at the baggage dropoff/checkin counter, although this only helps for 75% of the first airport.

SnackDog

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2017, 02:40:42 AM »
Unless you are actually camping and hiking with all your things on trails, it may be easier to just use a good rolling bag. They are fine on all sorts of streets, sidewalks, paths, etc They are well designed these days and a zillion times more physically sensible than lugging things on your back. They are lockable. Then all you need is a light day bag for exploring. Your back thank you.

magnuminator

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Re: Best Travel Backpack?
« Reply #49 on: April 06, 2017, 11:32:20 AM »
Am I the only one who finds roller luggage somewhat antisocial?  I can't be the only person who doesn't enjoy walking behind a swarm of roller bags.