Choosing the right backpack for your travels
Picking the right backpack for a trip is clearly essential. It’s almost like picking a home to stay in for the next few months on the road, after all it is your mobile home on your back ! Here are some tips on how to choose the right backpack for your future adventures:
Size matters, or does it? I started my first backpacking trip with an enormous bag that contained lots of things that I never used. Going months living off a backpack, I started to realise the things that I thought I needed but never used, and got rid of them after realising it’s just taking up space. Most of the time people think they need a lot of things (just-in-case) but in reality we all can get by with very little. My ideal backpack size would be a 45lit+15 backpack for short trips and a 60lit+15 backpack for longer trips where I’ll experience different season shifts. 45 lit backpacks are easy to bring onto flights as hand-carry baggage. What’s the +10, +15 supposed to be? It’s the “expandable” portion of the backpack in the event that you run out of space — usually expandable on the top, or a detachable section (in the front) on the backpack that stores the extra bit of junk.
Where it opens affects your everyday life. Whether it’s a top load, or a front load backpack. Everyone has their own preference. Personally, I always look out for backpacks that open from the front. I like to be able to access most of what I have instead of using a top-load. Top load bags mostly requires people to dig through the top and dive in to search for something. In events that require a quick extraction of something, that could take time and end up being frustrating.Deuter backpacks are mostly top loads, and packs a more vertical fit – narrow and long. North face backpacks usually have both but has a good range of front load backpacks.
Nobody should ever buy a backpack online or without trying it. Finding a backpack that suits you well is like searching for a soul mate. It’s essential to try it out and find a comfortable fit by adjusting the straps to your height, and see if the size of the backpack is suitable for you. Backpacks are not a one-size-fit-all kind of purchase. It may seem like it, but carrying it for the long haul, you’re going to slowly realise the little uncomfortable aches or grazes that arises from carrying it wrong.
Above is a picture of me with the straps so badly adjusting that the backpack is practically hanging off my shoulders causing strain. Talk about bad backpack posture. #noobtraveller in 2011.
Treat it right.
Backpacks are made for tough situations, but that doesn’t mean it should be abused. It’s going to get tossed around in the back of pick up trucks, or get splashed on by sea water on a ferry, or have days where mud gets splashed on it. But ultimately stuffing it to the brim and forcing the zip close is going to cause it to explode, and dragging it across the floor is going to cause unnecessary wear and tear. Secure all straps before checking in / loading it on the bus so nothing gets caught on conveyer belts or storage compartments, put a rain cover over it on boat rides in case it gets soaked in sea water, basically, just take care of your mobile home !
My current backpack:
Gregory Jade 60lit
So far my favourite backpack although I would prefer it to be a little smaller. Still able to sneak this baby up on hand carry because when it’s half empty, the straps can be tightened to make it look so compact, it’s difficult to believe that it’s actually a 60 lit. This backpack is really good for ladies because the straps are thinner, and doesn’t cut into my neck or arms as much as the thicker ones. And the hip straps are adjustable for the more petite sized people. As this is a trekking backpack, the side compartments come with a slit where I can slip my trekking poles in comfortably and it even has a slot for CamelBak hydration pack straws.
Where to shop for backpacks in Singapore:
Queensway Shopping Centre Singapore
1 Queensway #02-05,
This is the place I go to buy my backpacks. They import selected backpacks with different brands that sometimes most backpack stores don’t carry. Besides, the owner is really friendly and makes sure to help you fit your backpack to your body build!
Tiong Bahru Plaza
302 Tiong Bahru Road #02-02,
Another place to browse a good selection, but the staff doesn’t seem to assist much.
Happy backpack shopping !