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Budget Travel Gear Yo Nellie, which backpack should I git? Questions and answers on gear related topics (i.e. backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, hiking boots, stoves, etc.).

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Old 07-28-2006, 10:29 PM   #1
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hey everyone, firstly this is an awesome site and ive got heaps of good advice and tips from it, so im gonna be backpacking europe for a couple of months next april and im trying to get organised early! im confused on what backpack to take as i find the backpacker packs really iritating when u wanna get something right down the bottom of your pack u have to pull everything out! so i didnt know whether its possible to buy a pack that opens like a suitcase? (has a zipper all the way round - making it easy to reach items in the bottom) i hope this makes sense. or what about taking a suitcase type thing that has straps that u wear over your shoulder like a normal backpack!
sorry i prob sound so stupid but ive never backpacked before!!!!
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Old 07-28-2006, 11:41 PM   #2
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luckily this is on of those places were there is no such thing as a stupid question.

There are a lot of different options for back packs and luggage. With backpacks there are top loaders and side loaders.

with top loaders think one big opening at the top provides the only means of access to the main compartment of the bag, although many packs also have a zipper that the lack of extensive side or front access zippers makes top loaders more durable and rugged than side loaders

side loaders let you peel back the front of the pack for fast, easy access to the entire main compartment. You can then organize your gear inside. The drawback: You wont be able to cram as much stuff into it as you would a similar-size top loader

most common are actually hybrids of the two with a zipper on the side and a collar at the top. thats the kind i have, they are not water proof as the other two because there are a lot more zippers and straps but it is easier to find what you need

the wheeled ones seem likea good idea to alot of people, but i tend to recommend staying away from them, they are very stiff less comfortable and neddlessly heavy (first one i found weighed 11 pounds empty, vs my 3 pound bag that holds as much) , plus you dont want to be dragging it down a cobble stone road trying to escape wolves


i apologize if i was to wordy i am a back pack whore
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Old 07-29-2006, 12:14 AM   #3
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I havent decided yet what kind of luggage I'm taking, I guess it really depends on the person, but my cousins just got back from a 20 day trip to Europe and the told me they where soooo glad they took a bag with wheels and not a backpack. Apparenly Paris was just terrible with the heat... and they told me they tought they would have died with a backpack. They took small roller bags and had no problem (and they fit A LOT of clothes into those tiny bags... and I don't plan to take as many things anyway).

Another friend of mine backpacked Europe during winter, and he told me that although he enjoyed the "backpack" experience, he'd go with something with weels on his next trip (keep in mind that most hostels dont have a locker big enough for a real suitcase, so u have to chosse something slim, along he size of a backpack).

I took my wheel-luggage on a summer trip and the city was not really that well kept... it was sooo annoying skipping dents and wholes on the sidewalk, a backpack would've made it easier...

I guess not everyone is into the pack... but in the end it depends on what kind of trip you're planning. I still have to decide myself on the matter...
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Old 07-29-2006, 09:04 PM   #4
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I personally would never be w/o a backpack. I feel naked w/o one.

My experience with a wheeled backpack is in 5th grade (where they make you carry about 5 heavy books back and forth to school ) Maybe I'm just klutzy but it kept banging against my side (I think it was my side, fuzzy memory here) and kind of tipping over and this was on flat pavement and sometimes on grass (similar to cobblestone maybe)

Anyway I think it probably comes down to how much you pack, the lighter the more comfortable for either type of bag. Just my 2 cents here.

There was a debate here on wheeled vs. backpacks which may be useful to you.
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Old 07-31-2006, 01:31 AM   #5
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My husband has one that is both top-loading and has a side zip, we use that all the time. I believe it's an REI model, but I can't double check because he took it to Romania this morning.

Mine is a smaller, older side loading EastPak, which has worked well for me for the past 15 years, though it doesn't have the capacity or the support his has.

Typically, we can fit everything needed for 6 weeks for 6 people (4 kids) in his pack, so that should give you an idea of capacity. Also, I recall that his side zips have a pretty broad flap over them, to help keep out the rain. We've been caught in some pretty wet weather and haven't had any problems with our gear getting wet, though I don't think it would withstand days of pouring rain.

We also have smaller wheeled bags which we use for weekends when we we'll be driving, or for flying, but not for trips when we'll be walking a lot or on and off trains and such. I prefer to have my hands free, and the little wheels are such a pain, getting stuck in ruts and tracks, or bumping over cobblestones. They're great in paved cities, and airports, but otherwise not worth the hassle in my experience.

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Old 08-14-2006, 08:01 AM   #6
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Im considering purchasing a pull-along case, because i dont want the added weight on my back..

I'm thinking about something like this:

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Old 08-14-2006, 11:45 AM   #7
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Dude that bag makes me want to have a dolphin or a pink pony,it's sooo Roxy. ( I know it says animal but the colors and stuff looks mad roxy-like)
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:12 PM   #8
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So for the last several years, I have been back packing with an Eagle Creek Pack. It zips open like a suitcase, has a handle on side and top, Back straps, that tuck away if using handles. It also has a detachable day pack with all the same features. It also features a security strap for when you need to lock your shit up. All the zippers are lockable. Basically I love this pack. The features go on and on. I found mine at Sierra Trading post. I saw it in the last catalog a few months back, so I think they still have it. This pack has had the shit beat out of it so far, and it still looks brand new. Tons of storage and straps to tighten it up with.
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Old 08-15-2006, 06:35 AM   #9
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..... and whats wrong with Roxy??
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Old 08-20-2006, 07:04 AM   #10
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if it helps my local tiso has a backpack with wheels on the bottom?!
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:33 AM   #11
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I know a lot of asolo bags come with the zipper all the way around thing......they are kinda handy so I would say look into those, also try to get ahold of King Crazy Legs hes into the outfitting stuff, hes the man to ask I reckon.
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