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Backpack or Travel Pack Recommendations?

Backpack or Travel Pack Recommendations?

Old Dec 25, 13, 7:00 pm
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Backpack or Travel Pack Recommendations?

I just went back to university, meaning that I'm going from business traveller to student traveller. I'm planning a few overseas trips the next few years, and am wondering if anyone has any backpack recommendations for bags that maximize overhead space. Availability is a little more limited here in Canada, and although MEC has some decent options (e.g. http://bit.ly/1ii8vB4 or http://bit.ly/1jJKJQd or http://bit.ly/1lgGuqH), they all seem to exceed Air Canada's maximum of 23 cm x 40 cm x 55 cm (9 in x 15.5 in x 21.5 in).

Does anyone have a bag they swear by? Anyone have the perfect backpack that's rarely needed to be checked?

Happy Festivus everyone!
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Old Dec 25, 13, 7:06 pm
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osprey meridian 22"....is awesome if you pack light. It has a detachable pack, has backpack straps and wheels for airports, have used it for a number of trips in Africa, Europe and Asia. Hard to find here, got at REI stateside. Pushes the limits but can always detach the pack. also has an amazing warranty.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/...eridian_series


Eagle Creek flipswitch/switchback also pretty good from what i hear and easier to find in Canada.

Last edited by scotchmeup; Dec 26, 13 at 11:22 pm
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Old Dec 28, 13, 11:50 am
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First, a backpack is designed for wilderness travel, not for travelling around Europe etc. That backpacks and the term 'backpacker' have come to be seen differently, doesn't make those who use one for a purpose it wasn't intended for, right.

So when you ask backpack or travel pack the answer is a 'travel pack' which is in fact designed for the type of travel people often refer to as 'backpacking'.

Next, size matters but unless you are only going to ever fly on one airline, what size is allowed as carry-on differs as does WEIGHT. Here is a list to consider.
http://boardingarea.com/flyingwithfi...orld-airlines/

As you will see, it is pretty hard to stick to a bag that will meet all the different size and weight limits. Basically, to do so you need to travel with something not much bigger than a school kids backpack and with a weight under 5kg. Not many people can keep to those limits.

There is also the 'liquids' restrictions to consider. Or what if you never like to leave home without your trusty Swiss Army Knife as I do? You can't go carry-on only, simple as that.

So I would say you first need to gather together everything you will need to take (then throw half out) and determine what size bag you need to fit it all into and whether size, weight or contents will result in your having to check your bag.

It's a cart before the horse thing. You shouldn't buy a bag planning to travel carry-on and THEN see if what you plan to take will fit or whether it will meet restrictions.

Lightweight travellers can get by with a 30-35L bag which is very hard to find in a travel pack. I actually travel with a 29L backpack as all my personal travel almost invariably involves hiking and so a proper backpack is more suitable and I have to sacrifice to the inconvenience of straps etc. on airport carousels. Medium weight travellers can get by with a 40-45L pack like an Osprey Porter or Osprey Farpoint. Heavy weight travellers opt for 55-65-75L packs. Frankly, those are people who have no clue.

If you can fit your 'stuff' into an Osprey Farpoint 40 it will fit your Air Canada dimensions. But remember, you still have to consider weight and contents.
http://www.rei.com/product/837010/os...40-travel-pack

Finally, fit is important. You cannot buy a travel pack online and know that it will fit you properly when you want to carry it on your back. You need to try it, adjust it, put weight in it equal to the weight you are likely to carry and the walk with it on your back for half a day to see how it feels.
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Old Dec 28, 13, 4:15 pm
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Originally Posted by scotchmeup View Post
osprey meridian 22"....is awesome if you pack light. It has a detachable pack, has backpack straps and wheels for airports, have used it for a number of trips in Africa, Europe and Asia. Hard to find here, got at REI stateside. Pushes the limits but can always detach the pack. also has an amazing warranty.

http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/group/...eridian_series


Eagle Creek flipswitch/switchback also pretty good from what i hear and easier to find in Canada.
if you are interested, found a place that carries it in Canada and reasonable given exchange, free ship and good exchange policy: http://www.lacordee.com/en/brands/o/...2-wheeled-pack
as referenced above this is a travel pack not a purpose backpack.
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Old Dec 29, 13, 11:50 am
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"osprey meridian 22"....is awesome if you pack light."

Scotchmeup, define 'pack light' for me. Osprey is a good manufacturer with quality products of all kinds. So I would never say the Meridian is a poor bag but if you want to 'pack light', it is automatically removed from the list based on its own weight.

The Meridian 22 weighs 6 lbs. 15 oz. The Osprey Farpoint 40 weighs 2 lbs. 15 oz. That is a 4 POUND difference. Interestingly, the Osprey Porter 46 which is obviously bigger than the Farpoint 40, weighs 2 lbs. 7 oz., lighter than the 40. That's due to it using a lighter weight material but also obviously likely to be less durable.

Pack light is a relative term and means very different things to different people. For me pack light means you do not carry more than 11lbs/5kg. on your back. Many people consider around the 15lbs/7kg. to be a goal to aim for. If 7 lbs. (Meridian) is basically gone before you put one item in that bag, reaching anywhere near 11 or 15 lbs. total is going to be very hard to do.

It all depends on HOW you travel and just how much walking with the bag on your back you are really going to do. For the type of travel YOU do, a wheeled bag (automatically weighs more obviously) may make sense.

Someone who goes on a trip where they will walk through an airport to check-in; take a taxi to a hotel; take the hotel elevator to their room and unpack for a week, would probably be very happy with a Meridian even if they occassionally had to carry it up some stairs on their back.

Someone who is constantly getting on/off buses and trains; using stairs; walking on cobbled streets; staying in hostels with 3 flights of stairs; going for a hike from one village to another, will not be best served by a Meridian.

When Matt says he is a student looking for a travelpack/backpack and plans to do some travelling in Europe, I presume he will do so as a typical 'backpacker' would do, not as a typical tourist with a bigger budget would do. But since he has not made it clear HOW he will travel, I see no problem with your initial suggestion of the Meridian. It might suit him.

However, when you introduce 'pack light' into the equation and assert that the Meridian is suitable for that purpose, I have to disagree with respect. NO bag with wheels, a handle and the frame to support them is ever light compared to one without those.

Second, the Meridain you suggest is a 65L bag. Far too big for lightweight travel. There is no question that 'stuff' expands to fit space available and of course that means increased weight. It would be interesting to know just how much weight you personally usually carry when you travel with this 65L bag. My personal packing list for a trip of 3 days to 3 years in 3 seasons is 5kg. when I step onto a plane. It is carried in a 29L bag.

Bear in mind that Matt has also asked about meeting carry-on requirements. While major airlines in the USA have a 40lb. carry on limit in many cases, that is not the case in much of the world. The commonest limit in Europe (where Matt is talking about travelling) is 7kg/15lbs. That's a huge difference. There are some airlines with a 5kg/11lb. limit as well. Check the list that I linked above for Matt to look at.

So, it's not my intend to start an argument but I think we have to agree on what 'pack light' actually means. Given Matt's mentioning of 'overhead space' then I think we can agree that it has to at most be the amount the airlines will allow for carry-on. Disallowing the highest and lowest and going with the average would tell us that it would make sense to shoot for a goal of no more than 7kg/15 lbs.

If you can agree with that, regardless of HOW Matt will travel (suitable for wheels or not), taking up 7 lbs of that maximum of 15 lbs. with the weight of the bag alone, makes no sense.
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Old Dec 29, 13, 7:46 pm
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i would suggest he will determine how his travel has changed from a business traveller to a student one. Ultimately his question suggests he is evaluating either a backpack as you suggest or a travel pack that I have suggested.

While this is not the lightest bag, its utility is exceptional. Its 60L when combined together only: the main bag is 40L and the rest is in the detachable (20L) daypack. http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/produc...ab=description

I have carried it on Air Canada as well as LH,LX, MS, TK and will be doing the same on BR, SQ and UA in a few months.

IMO, It allows the most flexible travel, but if his intent is purpose backpacking then your examples are more appropriate.

However, if its a mix of trains, planes and automobiles, with airports, hotels and other venues, this is worthy of consideration. Really depends where and how he is travelling.

I have used it extensively and the extra weight isnt noticeable and is offset by utility.

It was awesome for travels through Africa last year, this past summer in southern Italy, Croatia and Czech Republic and will be taking it to Bali and Australia this year.

There is also a review here from others that used it for an 8 month trip: http://artydubs.com/2013/08/27/ospre...-and-counting/

Ultimately, the OP will decide whats the most important to meet his travel plans, and am merely providing suggestions supported by experience if his priorities align with mine.

Last edited by scotchmeup; Dec 29, 13 at 9:00 pm
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Old Dec 30, 13, 11:27 am
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I have no disagreement with any of that scotchmeup. I just disagree with your idea of 'pack light'.

But then, I disagree with most people's idea of what 'pack light' means. I started a new thread on the 'travel buzz' sub-forum asking what it means to people. Perhaps you would like to add a comment on it with your interpretation.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...ht-travel.html
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Old Dec 30, 13, 12:11 pm
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The best one I have found is the Goruck GR1

See: http://www.goruck.com/en/gr1
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Old Dec 30, 13, 5:50 pm
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If you're into light travel then the REI Overnighter Pack is a good option (tho no longer available online, but you may be able to find a store that has one, and get it shipped via a forwarding service), or for something a bit bigger, the LL Bean Quickload Travel Pack. Another good option is the Osprey Farpoint 40 (it's suspension system is more like a real backpack)

Originally Posted by scotchmeup View Post
I have carried it on Air Canada as well as LH,LX, MS, TK and will be doing the same on BR, SQ and UA in a few months.
I'm curious as to how you kept it under the weight limit on LH? BR and SQ has an even lower weight limit than LH.

I know my 34 litre carry on (a 2 lbs REI Overnighter Pack) when packed normally weighs in at almost 15 lbs, so I'm wondering how you are able to pack using a 7 lbs bag for LH / BR / SQ and still stay under the weight limit?

Originally Posted by scotchmeup View Post
There is also a review here from others that used it for an 8 month trip: http://artydubs.com/2013/08/27/ospre...-and-counting/
This review says that the Meridian 22 could not be used as carry on for most airlines in SE Asia (due to both dimensions and weight), and that they checked it in on most flights (using the removable daypack as their carryon), but did manage to sneak it onboard on ONE flight only out of their entire trip.

Last edited by ITCFlyer; Dec 31, 13 at 1:13 am
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Old Dec 31, 13, 9:43 am
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No offense intended John Isaac, but that pack is like a kid's school bag. You simply can't compare it to any of the others that have been mentioned here. It's like comparing Kraft macaroni to a Delmonico's steak.
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Old Dec 31, 13, 7:36 pm
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I "swear by" the Rick Steves Appenzell. It is called a Day Pack, but I've done many three week overseas trips with it. 1400 cubic inches in the main compartment, which translates to just shy of 23 Liters. It also has some other smaller compartments.

It only weighs 1 lb. 4 oz. empty.

It is wonderful when everybody else is struggling with those roller bags up and down subway stairs, or calling taxis because a 1/2 mile hike is too much with bigger/heavier bags.

It squishes around until it fits in overhead compartments or under the seat. A great footrest on overnight flights if one scores the right seat.

A certain amount of discipline is required to make it work. One pair of shoes, just a few changes of clothing, some hand-washing. Clothes picked for their light weight and washability. Multi-use things.

I had a full-sized back pack, and originally bought this for younger grandkids. But I took it for myself on a trip once and was hooked. Never went back to the big pack, and bought another one for the grandkids.

Romelle

PS - John Isaac's Goruck lists for $295. The Rick Steves Appenzell lists for $39.95. If the Goruck is Kraft macaroni as dulciusexasperis says, I'm at a loss figuring out what the Appenzell is? Ah, but maybe I can afford the steak if I only spend 40 bucks on the bag?
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Old Jan 1, 14, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
No offense intended John Isaac, but that pack is like a kid's school bag. You simply can't compare it to any of the others that have been mentioned here. It's like comparing Kraft macaroni to a Delmonico's steak.
I always loved the simple and functional design of the Goruck GR1. It has two major flaws though.
1) price
2) its to heavy for light weight travel.

If only they would make it out of 420D. This so the weight would be half. Also the shoulder straps are to heavy constructed imo. It may be a good design for Army use but not for light weight travel.

Therefore I bought myself an Eagle Creek Mountain Vally Backpack. Great quality, 1950cu (32l) and super leightweight for only $100,-. Will use it first time next month, on a 2 week trip to Florida. We'll see how it holds.

Ps: Everybody best wishes for 2014 :-D
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Old Jan 1, 14, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
No offense intended John Isaac, but that pack is like a kid's school bag. You simply can't compare it to any of the others that have been mentioned here. It's like comparing Kraft macaroni to a Delmonico's steak.
the GR1 is a bit too heavy, probably not quite as comfortable, and a bit too expensive given the other choices out there when considering the OP's requirements.

that said, i'm not sure if the analogy is apropos - equating the GR1 to Kraft macaroni does the GR1 a disservice. it's probably a good bag for certain use cases. personally, i would look at the 5.11 backpacks if i needed a 'tough' rucksack at half the goruck's price though admittedly the 5.11 warranty isn't quite as good.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 11:13 am
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Yes, perhaps my analogy was a bit harsh. My primary objection to the GoRuck is in the area of it's suitability for carrying on your back.

First, it is heavy for it's size. Weight is the number one enemy of something you carry on your back. Next, the shoulder straps are not contoured for comfort; there is no sternum strap; there is no hipbelt to transfer weight onto your hips and off your shoulders.

Any pack you look at putting on your back with more than 10lbs. in it needs to address those points. The Goruck simply does not stack up against something like the Osprey Farpoint 40. That it even costs more, makes it even worse.

The RS Appenzell is a day pack Romelle, the basic difference being a 'real' backpack has to have a hipbelt to transfer weight off your shoulders and onto your hips. There is nothing wrong with the Appenzell at all but if you carry more than 10lbs. in it for a few hours you will feel that weight far more than carrying the same load in a pack that transfers weight onto your hips.

I use a 29L Vaude Triset 25+4 pack to carry 5-7kg. (11/15lbs.) It is called a day pack as well due to its size but it has a hip belt. It isn't actually as good a hip belt as on the Osprey Farpoint 40 but as I carry a very light load, it is more than adequate. It does what it needs to do, transfer the weight to the hips. The feature I like best about it and the main reason I chose it over others is the Aeroflex mesh back. Almost invariably when I travel I do some hiking and that air flow back keeps me cool, a big plus. That's something else the RS can't do for you Romelle. But if you only wear it for short periods of time walking from a train station to a hostel/hotel then it isn't such a big deal for you. http://www.go4awalk.com/product-revi...riset-25+4.php

It is difficult for people to understand just how much of a difference a hipbelt makes when you have a properly fitted pack on your back. You go from knowing you have a pack on your back to almost not knowing it's there. That's with a 5-7kg. load of course, not a 25kg. plus load. Properly fitted, the hip belt should transfer 60% of the weight off your back. So if you were carrying 15lbs/7kg. on your back, it feels like you only have 6lbs./2.8kg. on your shoulders. It is important to know there is a difference between a hipbelt and a waist belt. The hip belt must be sitting on your hips, not above them.

Try an experiment Romelle. Put 6lbs. in your RS bag and see how it feels. Then put 15lbs. in it and see the difference. That's what a hip belt would do for you.

For the average traveller on vacation who wants to sometimes put the bag on their back, the Osprey Farpoint 40 or other similar packs from the major manufacturers is probably the best type of pack to get. My personal choice is more about putting hiking as the first priority.

The Eagle Creek Mountain Valley has some good points armiductor. It has a hip belt; sternum straps; contoured shoulder straps. All the things to look for in a hiking pack. While it has an 'airflow' back, it is not as 'airflow' as a pack which uses a mesh and frame to actually create an airspace between your back and the pack. Not a major issue for most and I do pay a weight penalty, for having that airspace, of over a pound. Finally, it cannot have the shoulder straps zipped away like a travel pack (Osprey Farpoint 40 being the example I've been using here) and so is not airport carousel friendly for the average vacationer. Nevertheless, it's a good pack for many uses.

There is no 'one pack fits all' obviously. The question here is which would best fit the OP's plans for travel in Europe. Again, I would say a travel pack such as the Farpoint 40would be his best choice. That presumes that like most students visiting Europe, he will carry it on his back sometimes from train station to hostel etc. but spend most of his time in cities not carrying it and perhaps occassionally take the odd little hike somewhere.

Filmbuff, I have nothing against GoRuck but frankly I cannot see ANY use for which there is not something better available from some other maker. Their whole 'shtick' seems to be 'special forces, gung ho, bulletproof, for real men, etc.' A lot of nonsense as far as I am concerned. No doubt some are gullible enough to think, when a pack is hurting you to carry it, then you must be a real man.
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Old Jan 3, 14, 9:18 am
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you don't need to convince me about the goruck not being the best choice for a travel or hiking backpack.

i give points [to goruck] on how they market their bag to a niche group in the way they do. the fact that they've piggy-backed onto the current popularity of enthusiaists who like to participiate in spartan-type events with their goruck challenges...and it doesn't hurt also that they sell the bag at discount if you sign up on the challenge. all this pulls in a civilian segment of the market that might otherwise not know of the brand and of course, ex-military and survivalist folks are on familiar ground with the style of products they make.

there is something to be said to having a tough rucksack that wouldn't suffer a separated or torn strap while lugging a heavy load in active or rough conditions, esp. if you're far from a city or other source of getting a bag replacement. that's why i said, the GR1 could be a good choice in certain use cases.

i agree that i don't think that the OP's example makes for a good argument for a GR1 over the backpacks already mentioned in this thread or available via search from ebags, rei, backcountry, etc.

reading your posts, you obviously have a strong understanding and come from a hiker/outdoor enthusiast POV. the majority of people who come on this forum asking for 'what-to-buy' backpack advice are mostly more travel-centric on how the bag will be used. the extent of their travel would involve a loaded backpack going thru airports on the first leg of their journey, trains or buses or more planes on later legs. so features like frames, etc are a bit beyond what they'll need to consider as they're generally on larger bags and wouldn't be carry-on sized.


Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
Filmbuff, I have nothing against GoRuck but frankly I cannot see ANY use for which there is not something better available from some other maker. Their whole 'shtick' seems to be 'special forces, gung ho, bulletproof, for real men, etc.' A lot of nonsense as far as I am concerned. No doubt some are gullible enough to think, when a pack is hurting you to carry it, then you must be a real man.

Last edited by Filmbuff; Jan 3, 14 at 9:35 am
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