best backpack for travel

Old May 23rd, 2009, 11:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 90
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
best backpack for travel

I am heading to Glacier Park this summer and Germany next winter and I am interested in purchasing a backpack for these trips. I took a suitcase on the train the last time I was in Europe and vowed never to do that again. =)
I will NOT be backpacking or even hiking with this pack, so I am most interested in the ease of getting into the pack and the volume it can hold. I will be walking from the train to my hotel, so comfort is important but not in an "all day wear" kinda way.
What are you savvy travelers using??
Thanks for your ideas!
minnehappylis is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,226
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would not carry all my stuff in a backpack! A small rolling suitcase beats a backpack any day. How hard is it to lift that up 2 steps on a train? Lifting a full back pack up onto the luggage rack is just as heavy as lifting a suitcase. Personally, I have been smacked in the head sooo many times by people wearing backpacks and who have no idea of the space they occupy as they turn this way and that. It is much easier to find and things in a suitcase too then in a back pack. Perhaps you were travelling with too large of a suitcase? Or one without wheels?
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 02:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 26,778
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I also don't see the point in a backpack, as opposed to a rolling suitcase, but to each their own. The only thing I would ask is that you take it off of your back and carry it when walking on the train. If you have it on your back, you WILL end up smacking somebody else with it when navigating tight quarters.

As for recommendations for a backpack, I would look at both Osprey and Eagle Creek. They make backpacks built for travel, as opposed to trekking that should suit your needs. If you have an REI in your area, that would be a great place to start - they carry both Osprey and Eagle Creek and the staff there are usually very knowledgeable and helpful.
travelgourmet is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 04:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You haven't said why you won't take a suitcase on a train again; what was the problem. I can't imagine preferring a backpack over a small rolling suitcase.

My advice is when you buy the backpack do not remove the tags until you load it with at least 15 to 20 pounds of weight and then walk at least a mile with it on your back. That way you can make a considered decision of backpack vs. rolling suitcase and return the pack if you regret your decision. The time to find out if the backpack is right for you is before you leave home.

I agree with what other posters have said about carrying the pack in your hand when on a bus or train so you don't smack other people with the pack.
adrienne is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 06:33 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Adrienne. But a packpack is easier to schlep depending on what type of places you are staying, are you hiking, and do you carry it dueing the day for whatever reason. If the backpack is made well and you pack it right so the weight is ditrubted evenly, it could be easier than toting a suitcase on wheels.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 07:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 90
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please do not assume I will smack people in the head. Sheesh.
My daughter spent a year studying abroad and we did a lot of train travel when we visited her. Many small stations did not have elevators, and in some cases they were out of order and I was carrying my suitcase (which was small and had wheels) up steep flights of stairs to get over the tracks. Yes, wheels are perfect in some situations. They didn't do much for me when I was facing a steep narrow staircase crowded with people.
I am not judging how you like to travel. I tried it that way and want to try it another. I may go back to wheels.
I was merely asking for some recommendations; I thought that is what this site was for.
I have taken several extensive canoe trips carrying heavy packs over portages, so I know weight on your back can be tiring.
Thank you travel gourmet for the REI suggestion. Someone else recommended Eagle Creek packs to me. I will check them out.
minnehappylis is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm sorry I took the time to try to be helpful.
adrienne is offline  
Old May 24th, 2009, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 46
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with many of the other posts but I've bought an Eagle Creek backpack that has a smaller pack that zips of of the larger one. It's not huge but I can get it (unzipping the smaller pack off once one the plane) on about any aircraft overhead. The smaller pack comes in SO handy once I arrive at my destination (which I'm currently using . It is not the best designed for hiking but it sounds like something that you may wanna try out. I've taken it on about 8 trips over the last 3 years and packing for two weeks on most trips. on this trip I've been lugging it up the hills of Montepulciano! Quite an aerobic experience! I do use the space savers when packing though to make the clothes into smaller little packages (those big zip lock bags with a one was air valve). Hope this helps. S
Scottgunter is offline  
Old May 26th, 2009, 05:50 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 53
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I realize that Rick Steves is not very popular on these sites, but, if you are looking for a good backpack for travel, you should check out those at his Web site. I have used one for two trips to Europe now, and plan to use it for future trips. My previous experience with backpacks was with those based on the military model; they were heavy and uncomfortable. My wife still uses a rollie, which makes a backpack doubly important for me because I end up having to pull her bag half the time. If I could wear two backpacks, I would do so and ditch her rollie.
summero is offline  
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 982
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

We just took these for 2 weeks to Italy, very happy with them. The straps have a compartment for stowing and it has a top and side handle. Side zipper so it open just like a suitcase. I'm 5'3" and had no problem carrying it for 20 minutes with 2 weeks of stuff in it.

We watched so many people struggle with their noisy, rolling bags over cobblestones, steps & bridges, especially in Venice we were very happy with our choice to back pack. We also took them off before getting on planes, trains or buses.
LHS is offline  
Old May 26th, 2009, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just back from 3 weeks in UK and Ireland using a 22" roller and a shoulder bag. Who cares about the noise? Cobblestones? That was in the Middle Ages. Most cities have smooth sidewalks with wheelchair access at intersections. Steps? Virtually all train stations and hotels have elevators. The B&Bs I stayed in in several cities only had stairs. That was a one-off lift which you have to do with a backpack anyway.
spaarne is offline  
Old May 26th, 2009, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,742
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Sure this forum IS for exchanging ideas. But you did ask in your post "what are you savvy travelers using?" and turns out most of us seem to prefer a small rolling suitcase, is all.

For backpacks, I think the trick is finding one that fits YOUR body. I think that takes shopping in person (I would not order online without having "tried it on" somewhere first).
suze is offline  
Old May 26th, 2009, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 344
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I used a backpack with wheels on my 2-month trip to Europe and loved it. Honestly, I primarily rolled it (often with my messenger bag looped over the handle and sitting on top), but I loved that I could easily pull out the backpack strap and throw it over my shoulder for those walks through train stations, apt bldgs w/o an elevator, and other places where I knew I was going to be going up and down stairs. My bag was from Eddie Bauer, and while they don't seem to sell it any longer, I'm sure other stores have something similar. For me it was the best of both worlds.
Sidny is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2009, 08:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Black wolf or Deuter. They both come with a day pack that securely attaches to the main backpack (front & back). The Blackwolf has attached combination locks on every zip. We will use both when we go away. They are 90 litre packs. The day pack will contain our hand luggage. One major benefit too is that the day pack can be attached to your front when you have the backpack on your back. It provides easy access and leaves your hands free. We will have two little kids with us, so to have free hands is very important!
All the best.
Ronael is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 824
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have a bag much like LHS's and found it a nice compromise.

It is much lighter than a rolling bag(about 2lbs vs ~8lbs), which might be important if your airline has a weight restriction for carry on. The shoulder straps, slings and handle give you a lot of options for handling it in a crowd. As none of the interior is taken with an extension arm (as in a roller bag), the pack holds a lot.

I previously used a good roller bag but found that it would often not fit in the overhead bins of the German trains.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 228
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Minnie - I use a (gulp) Rick Steves backpack and I amd thouroghly happy with it. I don't pack a lot (ie last 2 week trip to Europe my pack was only 25lbs) so I have no trouble carrying it and it leaves both hands free. Last trip I even had to help some of my co-travelers with thier 50 lbs roll-on luggage when they couldn't handle it. BPs are great for manuevering down cobblestone streets, up curbs etc.

As far as packing I figure if you didn't bring it and you need it you can always buy it at your destination.

I agree with your sentiments on rollon luggage!
pauljagman is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,194
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ignore the diatribes--packing inspires more passion here than anything I've ever seen.
I usually use a backpack, and I cannot even tell you the brand off the top of my head, but I can advise going into a store--a good outdoor supplier with a wide selection--and wearing it around (stuff it with merchandise, with staff assistance of course). I prefer a soft frame over a hard frame, though my pack has some internal boning that is well padded. Simplicity is best, but the pull-out rain guard is a great amenity. The most important feature of a backpack is the waist belt, so you want to make sure that part works for you.
Also, if you want to carry on the bag, make sure the packed dimensions work. (Mine comes out to the allowable 45 linear inches, with some wiggle room since it is "smushable.")
yorkshire is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 64
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I may have the same one that Scottgunter has. An Eaglecreek backpack w/ detachable small pack. Altogether about 60 liters. It's perfect size for a 2-3 week trip. The detachable small pack is great when hiking in the Alps. Eaglecreek makes one of the best travel packs. A bit expensive, but you won't regret it.
If you're not experienced w/ backpack, you first have to learn that it's not your shoulders but your legs that's carrying all that weight. So you have to tighten the waist belt to transfer the weight of backpack to your hip bone. When properly fitted and given that you have enough leg strength, you will have no trouble carrying a backpack.
I, too, had a bad experience of dragging a suitcase over cobblestones to my hotel in Prague. When checking out from the hotel, I called a taxi without a second thought.
Togo is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2009, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,242
Received 33 Likes on 2 Posts
Another recommendation for Rick Steves' bags. I have the classic:

No waist belt, but if you're not going far, it's fine. What I love about it is how lightweight it is. Just 2 pounds.
althom1122 is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2009, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been using the Gregory Jade 50 and love it. For your purpose, you probably want a smaller one but the Gregory backpacks are great because they have it in all sizes and for me (being a mere 4"11'), I was ecstatic to find one in Extra Small. But I agree with many of the responses here that, at the end of the day, the fit of the backpack is the most important so go to a good sports store like REI, EMS, etcs and try them on. My friends swear by Osprey but they just don't make one that works for someone like me with a short torso length.

Hope this helps!
debudante is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:36 AM.