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Backpack vs Wheels

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I am heading to Costa Rica, Guatemala & Belize this winter. I am considering buying a backpack. On previous trips to Australia & SE Asia I used a bag with wheels and managed just fine. Backpacks are expensive. Is it worth it to buy one or am I better off sticking with what I already own? What are the advantages of a backpack? Are there different backpacks for different genders? I am 5'3, 110 lbs. How do you determine what size to go with? Any specific bag recommendations? The closest thing to an outdoors store in my area is a Sports Authority (with a very small selection), so I am hoping you all can help. Thanks!

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