The Search for the perfect pack: Travelpack vs. Backpack

I never thought this would happen to me. I have fallen into the travel pack vs. backpack debate.

It started off how it always starts, you think you’ve found the one, nice shape, good size, willing to put up with all your baggage and then bam, you’re having commitment issues with your rucksack.

Have I made the right decision? What if it doesn’t  really get me, maybe we’re just too different for each other?

Then it starts. You go… try on some other rucksacks…

And these ones have so many pockets, seducing me with all their separate compartments and H20 sleeves. They’re just so classic with their top filling and extra back support and specialised hip straps for extra comfort on long hikes.

Ohhhhh!

I’m so confused. I love my Osprey Farpoint 40, I even lovingly named him Oscar but is he right for me?

Too good to be true?

Too good to be true?

Back to the drawing board it seems.

So much deliberation, so much reading and research (I thought) went into my first decision, and he’s been sat proudly in my bedroom now for the best part of 3 weeks.

My main draw was the fact he is so compact and has, what I thought, was everything I ever wanted in a bag. Great reviews, durable fabric, hideaway straps for transit, and would go as my carry-on from flights, to buses, to trains. He’s great for transit travel, going from transport to hostel/guesthouse whatever. He even has a reasonable suspension system so day hike? No problem. Even the trial pack went seamlessly, almost too well in fact.

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So yeah I hear you, ‘so what’s the friggin problem?’

Pockets.
There I said it.
My concerns started with pockets, or more the lack of. All those cute and handy little pockets a normal backpack has? My dear Oscar does not.

Travel packs are easy access bags, well organised for laptops (the Farpoint has a slot for a laptop and paperwork), effectively they are mini filing cabinets, but they are not their older sibling the backpack.

Backpacks are the walking house all us outdoorsy types dream of, bathroom compartment – toiletries and make up complete with handy mirror – there’s a pocket for that. Impromptu snickers or cheeky sip of water from the kitchen? There a little pocket and H2O sleeve for that. Main bedroom – where the magic happens? There’s your main compartment for that, complete with games room for books, gadgets and cheeky souvenirs. Oh yes the backpack is the pocket master you never knew you lusted after. Stood in the store I was practically giddy with pockets even situated on the hip belt(!)

But no I’m not getting all in a tiz because of a few pockets (well maybe I am… but there’s logic too).

Since the start I have been inspired to travel light and while 30l seemed a bit unrealistic for me, the 40l… perfect!

Other bloggers were great resources for research, what better opinion to obtain than those that have been there and got the backpack? Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse is not only an advocate for carry-on travel but has an awesome video on her blog which ultimately swayed me to go sub-65 with my bag.

Trouble being I fell into the trap of thinking the right bag for her would be the right bag for me, this is a bad decision.

Picking a bag is like designing a house, while someone elses may look beautiful and seem to have all the right fittings doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Think about it. No point in building a summer house when you live on a snow capped mountain in Canada, just like theirs no point in building a fully equipped gym when you’re a proud couch potato.

It comes without saying that unless you have incredible luck finding the right pack for you takes time, a few trips to the shops and plenty of debating with yourself, ‘can I really make it round the world with less than I take for a weekend to London?’

I’m sure you’ll be updated next week on my search for the ultimate backpack, I know, you’re excited, but hold tight!

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