So you have a rough idea as to what to take with you on your epic trip around the world, but what do you put it all in? From experience it is vitally important that you are totally comfortable with your choice of rucksack. Don’t rush into buying the 1st one you see just because it looks pretty or it has an appealing price tag. Do your research.
Wise words: I ditched my 1st backpack in Australia because I fancied an updated model. I decided I was going to be a surf bum and sack off the backpack I had bought back home and opted for an all singing, all dancing Roxy soft surf bag on wheels. Ideal for the streets of Byron bay and Airlie Beach, all I needed to do is lug it on and off busses. Simple. It wasnt untill I reached the rough terrain of South America that my mistake was realised. Wheels don’t fair well on dusty dirt tracks and the size of my new (100 l, as a posed to my previous 65 l) bag only tempted me to fill it and it got almost too heavey to hurl onto a taxi roof. Not very practical.
So a few things to consider…
Size does matter: In the past I have used a 65 l top loading bag. This I found was a little too big for my frame. (I am only 5ft 3.5”, dont forget the .5!) The bag was almost as big as me and with my sleeping bag stung to the bottom and the roll mat tied to the top from behind I looked like a backpack on legs. This time I have chosen to only take a 55l backpack. 10 l doesnt sound like much but it most definitely makes a whole world of difference. Firstly weight. Less of a strain on your back. dont forget you will be hauling your bag around with you everywhere you go. You can edit what you take, less is quite often more. You dont really need to take all those shoes do you? Top Tip: if you have a top loading bag you often dont see the things you have lurking at the bottom for months. You tend to wear the same things over and over until they have so many holes in you have to get rid!
Comfort control: Think about the quality of the straps on the backpack. look at the material they are made from. You want to go for a breathable fabric, you will be sweating quite a lot. Go for adjustable back, great for a unique fit. The hip strap is essential. you will carry the bulk of the weight on your hips do as not to pull on your shoulders. We dont all want to look like hunchbacks now do we?
Pocket it: You want to be looking for a rucksack with plenty of pockets. Pockets mean organisation, a well oiled traveller is always organised. It is imperative that you know exactly where everything is at all times. I have a pocket for toiletries, separate from everything else for ease of reach and to minimise mess in the event of leakages (trust me it happens often). A pocket for documents, usually down the back of the main compartment hidden away. Pockets for easy to reach things that you will use daily like guide book, sarong, sunglasses, suncream etc. And a compartment for all things dirty, I use the bit at the bottom to separate the grime from the clean. You want to minimise contamination of sweaty smells as much as possible.
Brand and look: The rest us up to personal preference. Some find top loading bags a hassle and opt for fold out larger bags rather like a suitcase on your back. A benefit of this style is that they usually come with a day pack attached. But purchasing a smaller everyday pack isnt a bother.
Backpacks on the market:
|Karrimor 65L Rucksack|