When I was doing research for our year long RTW trip, one of the tips I came across the most was: get a decent backpack. Since our backpack will basically be our home for almost a whole year, it was important we’d invest in a very good one. I considered myself lucky. My family loves hiking, which meant we had several backpacks to choose from. After reading some blogs that advise you to bring as little as possible, I decided to go for my Deuter 34L. Like this, I could even take my backpack as carry on with me! It sounded like a very good plan in my head. However, when I decided to do a trial pack (very important!) a couple of weeks ago, I realized my backpack was way too small. Back to the drawing board…
I had to make sure my backpack was big enough
When choosing a backpack, there are a lot of requirements to take into account. First of all, I wanted to have enough space to fit everything we’re bringing and still have a bit of space left. We had decided to bring enough clothes to go a week without needing to do laundry. Anything less would mean we’d have to find a launderette too often. However, when doing my trial pack I couldn’t even bring all of the clothes I wanted! My backpack was already so full and I hadn’t even brought other things like electronics and our first aid kit. Luckily I still had more than a month to do some more backpack research. First step: go for at least 45-50L instead of 34L. This of course, depends on whether or not you want to fly carry on. And whether or not you’re able to bring almost no clothes with you (which clearly, I can’t).
I opted to go for a backpack which can be opened from the front
Simen had already bought his backpack, Bergans Helium 55, and was very happy about the fact that he could open his backpack from the front and not just the top. My relatively old Deuter 34L didn’t have that option. During my trial pack I already noticed the downsides of only being able to open the backpack from the top. I could see the logic behind opening the backpack from the front as well, so I decided to narrow my search down to backpacks that offered this.
I had to come to terms with spending at least €100
This of course meant that the price went up quite a lot. Since I didn’t take the cost of a backpack into account in my budget, I didn’t want to spend too much. I was mainly looking in the price range of €50-70.
However, I only found backpacks of very unknown brands with dodgy names. I started to realize it was better to fork out a bit more. I didn’t want to be stuck somewhere in South America with a broken backpack because I wanted to save some money… So once I started looking for more known and trustworthy brand such as Deuter, Bergans, Millet, The North Face, etc., I started to find backpacks which suited my purposes a lot more.
The verdict: Vaude Asymmetric 52+8L
I was pretty lucky since I managed to find a very interesting backpack on amazon.it (I decided to look on amazon.it because a lot of the retailers on amazon.com unfortunately don’t ship to Malta). The backpack opens from the front, has a capacity of 52L + an extra 8L more, plus it was on sale! So now I’m the proud owner of a Vaude Asymmetric 52+8L! With shipping costs and VAT included, I only paid €100 which I think is a bargain. Normally you pay at least €160 for this backpack.
So what have we learnt from all this?
- I’m really bad at estimating
- It’s very handy to be able to open your backpack from the front
- Decent backpacks set you back at least €100, most likely €150
- Don’t do your trial pack a couple of days before departure. Do it at least 1 month in advance so you can buy a new backpack if needed
Did you ever do a RTW trip? Which backpack did you bring? Let me know in the comments!