Travel backpack advice

Anybody got one? Love it? Hate it? Wish you got a different one? Got one and wish you hadn’t? Come at me.

I’m a fairly light packer, I did 12 days in Greece with a carry on and a backpack that was 70% empty, and honestly I could have not brought all of that and been just peachy.

So I’m contemplating something like an Aer or Cotopaxi backpack, around the 35l to 40l size. Which is the same size as my current carry on luggage. And then a sling to wear on my chest, maybe 3l or 4l.

Plan B is to stop traveling like you lot and hire someone to carry all of my bags. But I’m not there just yet.

I need pictures of what you’re looking at.

Not sure if it’s an issue, but gray will be harder to see by drivers if you have to hike along a road.

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Depends on the type of trips you are envisioning.

I found a 55 litre backpack was as big as I ever needed, even when I travelled solo in Nepal and India for three weeks. I often travelled with a second light daypack to organize better when trekking. (However I travelled hut to hut so didn’t need to pack a tent, etc.)

If you are only doing city travel, you might get by fine with 45 litres as that would be roughly the same as a large carryon.

I didn’t worry about the brand: anything from MEC is good: American counterpart would be REI.

When I travel with a backpack it is always in lieu of regular luggage.

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I have two travel backpacks. One that i bought about dirty years ago, that eventually broke (which i still use as a duffle bag) and one that i bought about five years ago when i planned to do some traveling that would require me to carry around a lot of stuff myself.

My advice is to get one that is a good backpack. That means it needs to rest most of the weight on your hips, and just use the shoulder straps for balance and stability. It should also hold the weight close to your torso, not lean away from you. If it’s a crappy backpack, you will do better with a roller bag. Even if you need to carry the roller bag up stairs and stuff.

I’ve used mine for urban travel, but if you are thinking of going into the wilderness, it’s even more important that it be a good backpack. I also did week long backpacking trips as a teen, with a regular backpack, not anything you could bring on an airplane without fearing it would break. It really matters that you can bear most of the weight on your hips. It really matters that it’s stable, and doesn’t wiggle or rock around. You want a solid hip strap, substantial shoulder straps, a strap across the chest to snug it up, and all of those should be easy to adjust as you are walking, to keep them tight and keep the weight balanced.

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I support the idea of traveling with a large bag with most of your stuff, and a smaller bag to carry around during the day, while the big one sits in your hotel room.

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Agree with Lucy that the weight should sit on your hips. Thats what i have.

When you say carry the weight on your hips, are you suggesting a backpack with the belt thing, or just one that is designed well enough to not be all over the place?

And, to clarify, this is for urban travel. Think ‘going to Paris for ten days’ type of travel. Just in and out of hotels and airports. It is intended to replace my 21” roller bag.

And I don’t need a bunch of pockets and zippers and what not. I would like some smaller spaces for headphones, charging cables and my spare battery. That’s about it.

The GoRuck bags are expensive but interesting. A bit heavier but they look like they’re indestructible.

I assume you’re considering the Cotopaxi Allpa. I have the 42L and love it. Lots of individual compartments to keep things separate, enough room for a week if you’re a light packer/not bringing extra shoes, and fits in overhead compartments well. It might be a bit hot on the back, but it’s comfortable to carry.

Edit: The waist belt is removable, which makes it much easier to stuff into overhead compartments.

What are you using your travel backpack for? I have 2 backpacks: 1 for camping and 1 for cross country visits. The cross country backpack is designed to hold as many clothes as possible. I can carry about 3 weeks worth of clothes doing 1 load of laundry during the visit.

I never found a backpack where the weight is on the hips that didnt have a waist belt but i suppose it’s possible.
On mine, you can fold the waist straps in if you dont want to buckle the strap or of you’re wearing it in the front. (I wear it in the front when traveling on subways, etc. both to deter pickpockets and to keep from hitting people in the face with it when i turn around.)

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I have a fengdong 40l waterproof travel backpack. It was 35-40 and has worked great.

That is on the short list, yes. Removable belt is nice, from time to time I’d use that feature.

I have a Go Lite bag that I believe is 55l. I’m looking for something smaller that would pass as carry-on with the airlines.

I am also a fan of backpacks for urban travel. For years I used a pack that had a main pack about the size you are looking for and a daypack that you could attach/detach as needed. It eventually wore out after a lot of service.

A couple years ago I went shopping for another. I was looking for one in the size range you are considering, and did not want one this time with a detachable daypack. I seriously considered the Cotopaxi, but wound up buying a 40L Osprey pack:

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That strap cover on the Osprey is really cool. More packs should have something like that.

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Yeah, that is a pretty slick feature to have on a plane.

I think the airlines would accept 40 to 45 litres as carryon and then a small daypack could be your second piece of carryon luggage? That should easily do you for urban travel.

A reason I like to travel with a second, small pack is organizational. Unlike a small suitcase, it can be tricky getting things out of the larger pack if they are near the bottom of it. The day pack saves some rummaging with the larger pack.

As mentioned before, REI and MEC have excellent offerings. Good quality and you don’t overpay.

Yup. I don’t know if I need a daypack or something like this guy: