Backpacking is the quintessential item. It is so important that it embodies the act of travelling. You will never hear people say they are going suitcasing, and yet backpacking is a word searchable in the dictionary and something that many are actively participating.

For those of you wondering what it means, here is the first paragraph from Wikipedia:

Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent international travel. It includes the use of a backpack that is carried easily for long distances or long periods of time. The use of public transport, inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels, often a longer duration of the trip when compared with conventional vacations. And often an interest in meeting locals as well as seeing sights.

Whether you want to backpack or not, a backpack is arguably one of the most useful things you can buy. There are a million types of backpack out there on the market for you to choose, each with a different function and purpose.

Photo by Nam Cheah

Backpacking tips

If you had never bought a backpack before, it’s a tough task deciding what size and type you would need. And trust me – I had the same problem too. To help you pick the correct backpack, here are three questions that you need to ask yourself.

1)    Camp or no camp
The first question you should ask yourself is: what type of trip are you most likely to go on? Unless you are buying a backpack for hiking and camping, I would recommend one that can zip all the way around like a suitcase. Because the old-fashion backpack makes digging out a certain something you need to use extremely difficult and unpacking a nightmare.

2)    Your size vs backpack size
No matter how long your trip is, if you are 5 foot tall, there isn’t a chance in the world that you can carry a 75 L backpack on your back and not collapse after ten minutes. Make sure you pick a reasonable size for yourself to carry, and for reference there are many people out there who had done a month to three months with a 40 L backpack. I found that the optimum size is 55 L after reading through people’s blog posts and going on a trip myself. My sister, who is 5 foot was able to carry her 55 L backpack ithut problems, whereas I kept my 75 L wheelie backpack on the ground the whole time.

3)    Do you overpack?
If you are constantly on the move during your trip and staying less than four days at each destination, I wouldn’t stray from a backpack. However, if you can unpack somewhere and have extra luggage or gear that you need to bring, then perhaps you can consider a wheeled backpack. You can get convertible ones that are a backpack wheelie hybrid so you can carry or wheel them depending on the situation. However, refer to point two to see if you should just get a wheeled one or a hybrid depending on the sizes. And you should never go beyond 90L because by then it’s not a backpack, it’s a suitcase.

Recommendations

I can’t just leave the article here without giving you some recommendations.

For you backpack

Osprey is by far my personal favourite and one brand that I see many other travelers use. They make sturdy, functional and surprisingly stylish backpacks that are great for traveling. The far point series goes from 40L to 60L with a detachable daypack that’s perfect for any active holiday goers. The zip compartment opens all the way around, has compressive straps to hold your belongings and even a zip up cover for your backpack straps for putting it on hold. The 55 L pack is borderline carry on size if you take off the daypack and depending on how much you carry.

Here’s a super useful article that won me over to Osprey far point side.

Wheelie backpack hybrid

If you want a wheelie case, then there are two up for grabs: the Osprey Meridian and Caribee fast track. The differences between the two are not big, but Osprey Meridian is lighter, with the backpacking straps detachable and it opens all the way around and has a daypack that is attached by zips.

The Caribee fast track is heavy. It has an optional compartment at the bottom for shoes (which has a separate opening, but can join as part of the main pack) and has a daypack that attached by five buckles. I have checked in the bag before, and it doesn’t fall off.

Here’s a the article that got me to buy the Caribee fast track wheeled backpack.

There isn’t much out there on Osprey Meridian, but here is a video showcasing its features:

Article by Nam Cheah