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Travel backpack opinions
Old 10-10-2014, 10:22 PM   #1
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Travel backpack opinions

I'm traveling a bit on planes yet and have worn out a few traditional laptop cases and carry on size rolling suitcases. I notice more and more folks are carrying (or wheeling) backpacks these days. I did a search on "backpacks with wheels" and ended up seeing hundreds of products. Too much information and I am leery of "reviews".

Given the constraints/features below, have any of you found the "perfect" travel backpack?

Light (5 pounds empty, max) (I don't know if this is a firm weight, just guidance),
Easy to access front pockets,
Indestructible,
Laptop slot suitable for a 15" screen,
Can hold a couple of days worth of casual clothing with one pair of shoes,
Good, long lasting wheels and telescoping handle,
Good zippers,
Water resistant
Will fit in a aircraft overhead storage bin,
Not pink with daisy's on it.

Price is not an object. Links to websites OK.

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:43 PM   #2
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Take a look at Travelsmith and REI's offerings. REI has a rock solid reputation for quality.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:09 PM   #3
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I started using backpacks for commuting and travel when I took an overseas assignment about 12 years ago; currently, I use one for frequent airline travel and to walk to work, about a 1 3/4 mile trip one way. I'm going to continue using backpacks until my back won't let me...

When I travel, I carry two laptops and an overnight kit in case I'm stranded. I check a bag, so I don't pack in the daypack. I didn't get one with wheels because 1) I dislike the clicking noise as they roll over floor tiles, 2) I wear the pack in order to keep my hands free, and 3) I can go to the men's room without having to put things on the floor.

When I bought my most recent one, I just went to the REI site (we have a store about a mile away) and looked at the biggest travel daypacks they had. This is the one I got:

JanSport Odyssey Daypack - Free Shipping at REI.com

2,350 cu. in., one of the bigger packs available at the time. It fits easily in most overhead compartments and under seats. The zippers are really heavy-duty. My only complaint is that it doesn't stand up on its own when I put it on a table.

REI has most brands, you can filter on most of the relevant criteria on the website, and they have a decent review collection.

Update: $100 at REI, but ebags has it for $70 right now. They also have a boatload of reviews.

http://http://www.ebags.com/product/...odyssey/248660
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:26 PM   #4
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My travel backpack is really a backpack, no wheels. Wheels add weight and bulk. Also, if you are wheeling something, one of your hands is occupied (not good for a developing country, bus stations, etc). Free hands and not wheeling something increase your mobility and security.

But this won't work for everyone, depending on your back's carrying capacity and traveling style.

My backpack is a discontinued REI pack and I have had it repaired several times by my local guy here in the Philippines. One thing I have liked about it is that there is a hidden zipper (in addition to the visible one) that turns it from carry on size to somewhat bigger than that.

There is that web site, onebag.com, which has hints.
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Old 10-11-2014, 12:20 AM   #5
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I also have one I bought in REI that does not have wheels, has easy access to 2 front pockets plus 2 side pockets suitable for water bottles. It has a nice inside pocket perfect for for my iPad and Kindle, which is also designed to hold a camelpak water pouch and it has the access for the water tube. I also measured it before buying to ensure that it is within carry-on size limits for airlines. (I also do a lot of hiking when we travel)
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:02 AM   #6
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Kelty Redwing 50 is a popular backpack for day hike/airplane carry-on.

Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon, might be on the small side, I always traveled with a suitcase too, gone for months at a time. Carry-on use held laptop, electronics, binocs, change or two of clothes, etc. On site carried water, rations, whatever. Still in great shape after a decade of travel use, now I keep "toys" in it and grab it on the way out of the house. One feature I really like is the main compartment zippers which run along the sides meeting at the top, you can rip it open like a clam shell, handy.

It has a water bottle holder on each side.... guess if you run out of room you could put socks over your shoes and stick one on each side.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:51 AM   #7
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I bought a High Sierra pack last year and really like it. It can be used as a pull luggage or a backpack. I really like the detachable day pack as it allows me to check the main bag and still carry essentials on board.
High Sierra AT Gear Ultimate Access Carry-On Wheeled Backpack w/Removable Daypack 53788-3112 | Luggage Pros
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
Take a look at Travelsmith and REI's offerings. REI has a rock solid reputation for quality.
Those would be my top two recommendations.

One more point:
If you're wearing a backpack in a city, be sure to get one that can be secured. Several years ago, DW was wearing a daypack to hold all her stuff (camera, water bottle, etc.) while we were waiting at a tram stop in Brussels. Not a very crowded platform, just normal. The local pickpockets opened a zipper on the backpack and started rummaging around, but she never felt a thing.

Fortunately, she didn't lose anything because it was noticed by a couple of plainclothes police who were at that location watching for exactly this scenario.

A bit of confusion, but we were treated to the wildest, lights & siren, speeding up wrong way streets, etc. ride in the wagon to make our report at the police station. Huge fun! But it gave us something to think about and that pack was given to Goodwill and replaced.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:58 AM   #9
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I use a max-carryon sized convertible from eBags. It does not have wheels--they take up too much room and I prefer to wear it as a backpack or over the shoulder for the same reasons given above...hands free. Also has a good laptop compartment. I chose their top selling max one and it has held up well at a bargain price.

Pro tip: light and bright interior color helps to find stuff. Also look into the HoboRoll, my latest favorite organizing tool. It makes it easier to organize my clothes inside the pack.

Currently on a two week road trip with just this one bag.


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Old 10-11-2014, 08:12 AM   #10
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I need to get a new backpack. I just got a laptop and it won't fit in my Lowepro 16L camera backpack. I'd like a similar camera backpack that can hold a 13" laptop. I'll probably get a bigger Lowepro because I like how it houses camera gear. I don't really need to pack clothing in it


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:56 PM   #11
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For rock-solid construction (but not with wheels) see redoxx.com
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Old 10-11-2014, 03:33 PM   #12
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I recommend eBags Backpacks and Messenger Bags- Free Shipping - eBags.com
I've had rick steves, victorinox, and others, and I really liked the selection and prices on ebags, and am happy with what I purchased, the 'Mother Lode Tls Weekender Convertible'
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Old 10-11-2014, 04:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timo2 View Post
I recommend eBags Backpacks and Messenger Bags- Free Shipping - eBags.com
I've had rick steves, victorinox, and others, and I really liked the selection and prices on ebags, and am happy with what I purchased, the 'Mother Lode Tls Weekender Convertible'
Domestically, I usually travel with a wheel-aboard carry-on suitcase which I stow in the overhead compartment and a large backpack (which holds as much as the wheel-aboard but seems to "fool the eye" and passes as merely my personal item) and which I stow under the seat.

I'm trying to figure out how large this backpack is...would it fit under the seat?

omni
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:24 PM   #14
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I am a big Eagle Creek fan. Take a look at Universal Traveler backpack from them. Pricey, but you can often find previous year's models at lower prices if you Google the product.
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:47 PM   #15
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Ooh the weekender convertible. That's what mine is! I love it!
It won't fit under the seat, but easily goes in the overheads, even on smaller planes.

I love the packing cubes from Eagle Creek. Though I have used just plain old small zipped laundry bags as well.


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Old 10-11-2014, 08:52 PM   #16
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Sarah in SC, I have the pack-its as well and LOVE them. They work well in backpacks also, as we do lots of hiking. I whole-heartedly endorse their products. I also have luggage, which is lightweight and durable. (Sorry to sound like a commercial.)
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:35 PM   #17
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SD, we all get a little excited about our favorite packing devices!
Here's the hoboroll I mentioned. I just used it for a 12 day trip and was reminded of how convenient it is for larger, rolled up shirts and pants.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hoboroll-product-shot.jpg (64.7 KB, 25 views)
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:38 PM   #18
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Sarah in SC, love that hobo roll. I have never seen that before!
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:53 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the suggestions. It gave me a lot to look through. Still may want a wheeled one, though, but may go the other way.
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Old 10-20-2014, 02:20 PM   #20
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We have traveled so much in my motorhome recently, I am afraid we forget how to pack for flight. Though the MH is not large, with more than 2000-lb payload capacity, it is easy to bring the whole enchilada. At the end of the recent RV trek, it took a long time for us to bring in all the "stuff" from the motorhome into the home.

And I have been thinking that for future trips, I may want to use an induction cooktop to make use of the electricity from the solar panel, which means pots and pans with heavy bottom.
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