Picking the right bag for your trip is going to save you so much hassle. The right bag will benefit you and make your trip easier, so make the right choice for your specific adventure. Weigh the pros and cons for what you will be doing, where you will be going and more importantly, how are you traveling. These all will determine what bag to chose, Backpack or Suitcase. Just remember, every journey is different, so a bag that worked for a work trip to Minneapolis may not work as well on a trip to the Nile River Delta.
Suitcase versus Backpack
First, you must decide to bring a suitcase or backpack? Each has their advantages and disadvantages, so chose wisely. Suitcases are better if you are traveling to one location and not moving for a longer period of time. Backpacks however are better in almost every other situation. Suitcases are awkward to carry around, they seem to get damaged easier than backpacks and are just not as efficient. I can pack so much more in my backpack than I can in a suitcase of comparable size.
If you have physical restrictions like back problems, then surely you should choose a roller suitcase, but for all others, go backpack.
What to look for
So, we decided on a backpack, I guess you are going on an adventure. If you chose a suitcase then you should read another blog by some nerd who only uses suitcases.
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, here is my backpack picking protocol.
Check out the fabric to see what it’s water rating is, which is a very important and you’ll thank me later. Waterproof is the best but water-resistant is acceptable depending on your trip. If you are going white water rafting, maybe choose water proof, all other trips water resistant should be fine.
Does your bag have a built in lock? That is important if you are flying or staying in a hostel or other group living situation. Think about it, the bag has all your belongings for your trip so you want to make sure your stuff is safe. Nobody wants some stranger rummaging through their stuff while they sleep.
How Many Pockets
This is a crucial question to ask, because you want to know how much packable space the bag offers. These numbers are usually offered in cubic feet. It also matters how you pack, so make sure you read my blog on packing tips to get the proper techniques. The amount of pockets and the space they provide is very valuable information to help determine which bag to use.
Does the backpack have a frame and is the frame external or internal. Frames help to distribute the weight of a bag on the person’s back, to make carrying more efficient. Check out all three types of bags: frameless, external and internal frames, to see what suits your needs and preferences better.
How’s the padding, is it soft enough or is it hard or just plain cheap feeling? Does the back have ample padding as well for the shoulder pads? I prefer a good amount of padding on the shoulders, as this is the area that carries the most weight.
How big is the bag and how easy will it be to navigate your trip with this bag fully packed on your back? Trial and error is probably the best way to determine these aspects.
Finally, how much are you willing to spend on such a bag and what’s too much? This all boils down to personal preference and your bankroll. I would tend to stay away from the cheaper bags because they will be made poorly and you don’t want your bag to break mid trip.
Good luck finding the perfect bag for your adventure and remember proper preparation makes for a better trip.
Read the full article over at NomadicMatt