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Backpacks

Reader Q&A ~ World Travel Bag

by , June 16, 2012

Reader Q&A ~ World Travel BagWe do some Q&A on a world travel bag for a reader

The fantastic sunsets…the breathtaking surroundings…the parties ’til dawn…new people…new experiences…all of these open themselves to you when you do any kind of extended travel across multiple countries. And to accompany you on your epic travels? The kitchen sink. Potentially falling apart and leaking its contents. If you’re going to be traveling for a significant period of time, you want a bag that will hold its own. It needs to stand up to the “robust” touch of baggage handlers, being wedged into tight spaces in train, plane and bus luggage holds and generally being hauled, scuffed, trod on, sat on, slept on…you get the picture.

In addition, you should have a bag that provides easy access to things you need to get your hands on quickly, such as your phone, travel documents, sunglasses, etc., but it shouldn’t be so large that you’re tempted to pack half your wardrobe in it. Sure, you’re going to be traveling for a while so you need more than would suffice for a weekend. However, you’re going to be carrying the contents up stairs, on foot across towns, whilst running to catch transport and so forth. Not to mention, you’ll likely pick up souvenirs on your travels, so you’ll want space to carry these in your bag.

One of our readers, Sarah, is preparing for such an adventure and was interested in getting our input on some choices for travel bags…

The Question

Hi guys,
I’ve just fallen upon your site today with zeal after reading your guest blog on the fantastic thedesignfiles.net website. After spending the last two weeks trawling the internet for the perfect duffle/backpack/gear for world travel, it’s an absolute breath of fresh air to find so many resources in one place.
My question to you guys is what would be your recommendations for such a travel bag?
Some background:
I’m planning on travelling for upwards 2-3 months throughout Europe and use the ‘one bag’ method. Most things you can buy anywhere and it’s going to be nice to pick up beautiful shoes in Italy, stylish tops in France etc. Initial clothes I do take will probably get dropped at hostels along the way to help out other travellers or charities.
The more I read about travel, the more I see it’s going to be best to have something I can sling onto my back for those cobbled streets and mad-dashes to trains. Key carry items will include Kindle, smartphone, iPod, smallish DSLR camera, chargers, journal, clothes and toiletries. Winter/Autumn weather will not be a problem – carry coat, buy excellent merino tops like Icebreaker (NZ!) and live in jeans like most 20-somethings do.
So based on my research and personality of leaning towards comfort-style travel (I like to look nice and not out of place, i.e. not like a tourist), I’ve found the following bags which I think might suit the bill.
Basically, something with a good strap system, light and tough as hell, 40-50 litre capacity and fairly stylish for a 23 year old making her way through Europe.
Sincerely,
Kiwi living in Australia, Wellingtonian at heart

Our Response

Reader Q&A ~ World Travel Bag
Heya Sarah,

Sounds like some fun times ahead.
Yeah, I think you’re totally on the right track. A few things to keep in mind:
1. If you’re only slight, extended pack carrying can take its toll. For my wife, a hybrid with wheels works better for those times you need to walk across London to save the taxi fair. If however you are reasonably fit, you save space and weight not having the wheels.
2. Convenient access is often missed in these bags. They are effectively a mobile wardrobe on travels, and simple sacks can drive me nuts on a daily couch hop. The two you have chosen have pretty good access, which you can add a few packing cubes to and you’ll be killing it.
3. Those bags are big enough that you’ll have to check in for luggage. Have you thought about your cabin bag options? Just make sure it’s compatible enough that if you are carrying both they don’t fight for the same space (maybe a small messenger or big handbag type thing).

Reader Q&A ~ World Travel BagOsprey have a great reputation, with the only downside being occasionally heavier weight. Thule are newer to the scene, and so don’t have the extended testing and life reported, but they look pretty good from what we can see.

So good stuff, good research, and you should be pretty spot on charging ahead with those options 🙂
Andy
Got any other suggestions for travel bags that would suit Sarah’s needs? Let us know in the comments!

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