Choosing the Right Backpack for Your Next Backpacking Travel

Choosing a backpack can be really tricky, especially if it’s your first time travelling. Most guides are usually endorsed and lack a lot of information which leaves you more confused and indecisive than you were originally. In this guide, I want to help you decide which pack you should get based on budget and purpose.

I chose the Osprey Farpoint 55. Here’s why.

Brands?

The brands aren’t as important. The main aspect that matters is finding a bag that has good support to protect your back. There are several brands out there such as Osprey, McKinley, North Face, Gregory, MEC, REI, etc.

Each brand have some advantages and some disadvantages. Some are cheaper, some are more expensive, some have better warranties, etc.

If I didn’t care as much and was just looking to save money, I would buy one of the $60 bags on amazon. But since I had a bit more money to spare I opted for better quality.

I chose Osprey because of their price and warranty. The prices were pretty close to the competition, but they have one advantage that really helped me make my mind, and that is their warranty. They have a lifetime warranty on their backpacks, so anything happens to it even if it’s 30 years down the road, you get it fixed for free, and if they can’t fix it they send you a brand new one.

Size?

If you’re a first time traveler, I would recommend to get a backpack between 40L and 65L. Not more, not less. Here’s why:

A 40L* backpack is enough to fit a week worth of clothes, your toiletries and medical as well as all small sized necessities. If you’re thinking of bringing any electronics, I would add a day pack that you would carry with you on the plane. 

65L backpack is more than enough to fit the essentials. I would only carry a bigger pack if I have supplies that I must bring for work related purposes, or if you plan on purchasing items in the country you’re visiting.

I got the Farpoint 55L, I like it because it’s a 40 liter backpack with a 15 liter detachable bag. So, I can put all my essentials in the main pack and then put all my electronics in the detachable part and have it on me at all time.

*40L bags can fit as carry-on on most international flights (do make sure you don’t carry anything that can’t be brought in a carry-on).

Style?

(from left to right) Cerro Torre 70L with separate MEC day pack, Osprey Aether 65L with included day pack, Osprey Farpoint 55L with included day pack.

 

There are three different styles of backpack. 

  1. The regular hiking bag 
  2. The Travelers bag 
  3. The Hybrid 

The Hiking Backpack

The regular hiking bag is what you’ll see most people traveling with. You will want the hiking bag if:

  • You are lower on budget
  • You think that you will use the bag for hiking as well as traveling.
  • You are planning on bringing a sleeping bag

The advantage of owning a hiking bag is that it can be used for hiking as well as travelling. Hiking bags have a special area for sleeping bags and a lot more external tools for attaching camping or hiking gear. Therefore, if you are an avid outdoors person and you are trying to save money, I would go for this bag.

Average price: $300 CAD

Some models: Osprey Atmos, Gregory Zulu, Cerro Torre

The Travelers Backpack

This is a fairly new model that company’s are making solely for travelers. You will want this bag if:

  • You are trying to save money
  • You’re buying the bag for travel purpose only

The bag I got (Farpoint 55) is a travelers bag. The advantage of the bag is that it opens up like a suitcase, so it’s a lot easier to reach anything in your bag, as opposed to the hiking bag where everything is stuffed from the top hatch. It also has a 15L detachable day pack. The down side is that the bag is not as well equipped for hiking or camping gear.

Average price: $260

Some models: Osprey Farpoint (55, 70), Osprey Waypoint

The Hybrid Backpack

Finally the Hybrid. The hybrid pack is the best option because it combines all the advantages of owning a hiking bag with a travelers bag. It has all the tools of the hiking bag as well as a special area for the sleeping bag, and it also unzips from the side. Some, like the Osprey Aether AG have a top pouch that turns into a day pack. The downside is that it’s the most expensive option. If money is not an issue for you I would go for the hybrid with no hesitation.

Average price: $350 CAD

Some models: Osprey Aether AG, Osprey Ariel AG

From Personal Experience

Based on my travel experience with the bag that I purchased, I would go back in time and pay the extra cost for the hybrid. However, if you are trying to save money and you are hesitating between hiking or traveler backpack, ask yourself this question:

Will I use my backpack only to travel, or will I use it to go hiking as well?

If you think that you will use it to go hiking, then it should help you make up your mind.

 

Alright so you got your backpack. Now what to pack and how to do it efficiently? It’s the topic of my next blog. Check it out!

 

 

 

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