Packing the Backpack 103 – What Bags to Bring

Part 3: What Bags to Bring

Next up in our Packing the Backpack 101 series is what pack to actually use. This is the pack you’ll be living with, the one you’ll be carrying around every day; it’s basically your travel buddy. So it’s important that the pack is comfy, and that you like it and understand all of its capabilities. We would say go to a travel store and ask what they might recommend for your specific trip.

Money Saving Tip: Check out MEC Online Gear Swap to get some deals on used travel gear. A great resource to use!

To help you get started, we used two very different pack styles and compared them for you!

Devon’s Pack:

  • Devon brought a pack from MEC. It was around 75 litres and was complete with adjustable straps, a waist clip and tons of pockets for extra storage (including a top Backpack1pocket).
  • The actual design is no longer being made, but there are lots of similar designs (there is a picture of it to the right).

Pros: Super durable. The extra pockets allowed for organization and lots of extra space when souvenirs started building up. The waist and chest straps made it very comfortable for carrying long distances. The top pocket has a water resistant area.

Cons: It opened from the top, so she did have to dig downwards to get stuff, but with packing cubes this wasn’t a huge issue. It did get heavy by the end of the trip making it harder to carry around.

Devon’s Additional Bags:

  • A MEC Waterproof Pack Liner– She used this to line the main area of her back pack, to keep her clothing and valuables dry if the pack ever came in contact with water (ie. The pack being dropped on the ground is not unlikely, and caught in the rain is a Backpack2big probability)
  • Small Back Pack – She used this for day trips and overnight trips. Super useful and we would recommend having one for trekking!
  • MEC Shoulder Purse – This had a thick strap, inner pockets and multiple zippers and buckles to discourage pick-pocketers. This was super durable and big enough to fit a sunscreen bottle, a phone, a wallet and a few other small things like a beach sarong or small trip towel. Great for long days when you don’t want to carry around a back pack, but need something more secure than just your pockets.


Alex’s Pack:

  • Osprey Ozone Convertible Pack (75 Litres) – This pack could be a back pack or roll on the ground like a suitcase depending on what he needed.

Pros: Super helpful when the ground was smooth enough to roll the bag instead of carry it. The front of his bag opened up completely, so he could lay it down and access things at the very bottom without having to dig through it.

  • It also had a detachable day back pack, perfect for trekking and day trips but when moving cities, he could put both together.

Cons: Less back and strap padding when in back pack mode. Much stiffer on your back as it had the two metal rods for when it was a suitcase.

That’s all we have for packs! If you have any questions at all, feel free to email us!

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