I am currently looking for a suitable backpack for my year trip rtw in September and I think I have found one in a shop called Blacks. It's 55L and has the straps to carry on your back but it also has wheels and if you unzip the top a handle pulls out to be able to pull it along. I thought this was a good idea as I am not going too off the beaten track and if I do I can still wear it on my back so it seems to be suitable for all situations. Just wanted some opinions if anyone has used one of these please? I thought it was quite reasonable at £55 also. Any thoughts would be gratefully received. Cheers!
Don't know shop or brand, but generally speaking, these hybrid bags are useless in both functions (weeling and wearing them on your back).
I suggest you buy a proper backpack; if you don't go off the beaten track, you'll only carry it for short distances anyway, and if you dó, at least you'll be comfortable.
If you are determined to buy this thingie, check the padding on the back and the hip pads.
I had a wheeled backpack a while ago, but what annoyed me immensely was that it had no hip pads to help me carry it. The padding on the back and the straps was ok though. However, I have not seen something similar ever since. The only wheeled backpacks I found had no padding at all and the straps felt more like decoration to me. You'll be carrying your wheeled backpack far more often than you think you will, so a heavy-duty carrying system is essential. A 55 liter backpack fully loaded is quite heavy!
If the straps on the pack are of a lower quality than one that you would use to carry books to school, don't buy it. If the foam padding on the back is thinner than 2 cm, don't buy it.
My advice: Go back to the shop and bring some weights along. Good are about 10 liters or more of water or other beverages plus some clean clothes in plastic bags. Books are good too. (Make sure you have at least 15 kgs.) Give some ID or some other means of security to the manager, stuff everything into the bag and put it on your back. Walk at least an hour with it without taking a break, climbing up and down some longer stairs in the process. If the pack is comfortable to carry this way with this weight, buy it but check the quality of the materials used. (On my wheeled backpack the zippers gave after 5 months of constant use.)
BTW, at 55 GPB you can find some good quality backpacks. If the thingie you saw is not up to the task, look for a backpack with the above method. You might want to look for a 45+10 l though. I found my 55 l + 5 l too large for me unless I was taking a tent and a sleeping bag. I can recommend the Deuter ACT lite 45 l + 10 l sl for your purpose. I have the smaller 35l+10l version and am very happy with it.
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 25, 2007, at 9:00 AM by t_maia ]
I am also in the process of buying a backpack for a 9 month trip starting September, and because I have a pretty bad back problem, I was also looking at hybrid packs. Probably the best one I came across was a North Face model, called the Doubletrack, but still, I listened carefully to what the very experienced assistant in The Great Outdoors shop told me, and have decided that he and the other posters in this thread are right - these packs are useless. The whole point about a very good backpack is that you don't feel its weight on your shoulders or your spine. If it's properly fitted to your size (and these new women's designs ensure it is also right for your shape) then the bulk of the weight goes on your pelvis, which is the strongest part of a woman's back. Men apparently prefer to take the weight higher, on the upper back, and so the big brand names have started to produce packs suited to both genders. The thing about roller hybrids is that they must have a rigid frame in order to stand up on their wheels - put this on your back and it's the spine that buckles and adjusts, not the inflexible pack frame. Not good for anyone's back. If you go to a good shop, they will provide a special 10-15 litre weight to put in any backpack you want to try. Then you can carry it round the shop, or wherever they'll let you go, as t_maia says, for as long as you want. If the bag is properly fitted to you, then you should be comfortable for the duration of the trial. I'm going to spend at least an hour buying my pack soon - at the moment the one I'm most interested in is a Lowe Alpine Frontier ND (55+10 litre), which weighs 2.56kg. This is one of the women's backpacks, and looks pretty identical to the Deuter ACT lite t_maia recommends. It's expensive at €185 (c.£110), but for a year of comfort and hard wear, well worth it I think.
The reason I recommended bringing your own weights is that it is quite different to carry a pack of clothes from the standard 15 l beansack they give you at the shop. The beansack does not fill out the volume, you'll have all the weight in one spot (usually at the bottom) instead distributed evenly. Plus you don't know how heavy the weight really is.
Bringing your own clothing and augmenting it with water bottles to get at the standard 15-20 kgs really works best.
It is generally not too much of a hassle to fill up empty bottles in the shop or to buy your weekly supply of water or softdrinks in a supermarket nearby and make a small detour to the outdoor store on your way home.
Yes, it is definitely works. I just came back from 30 days trip to Europe and for a small girl like me, 3-in-1 kind of travelling bag is very useful. They have a few sizes actually. So don't choose those that are too big coz you might stuff too many things and it will get heavier than you would have thought. It would be difficult for you to carry later on. I remember mine was about 14kg. I got it at a cheap price of Sin$85/= which even comes with a small detachable haversack....cheap huh? Anyway, it didn't gives me any problem at all. Enjoy your trip!!
Backpacks are yesterdays product-the savvy international traveller uses a wheeled bag.
If you were doing a weeks long hike into the wilderness somewhere a backpack is the way to go but apart from that they are useless encumbrances-I laugh at the people I see teetering through the streets of Vancouver with towering loads in their backpacks.
A well designed wheeled bag will be much less trouble than a heavy awkward behemoth on your back.
"I laugh at the people I see teetering through the streets of Vancouver with towering loads in their backpacks."
Hmmmm, well, maybe the people with well-designed, well-fitted backpacks laugh at you teetering along the cobbles and steps of medieval cities and towns or the steep hills and rough terrain of many of the more interesting travel destinations of the world, while you teeter along on your wheels, struggling with every bump and step, as they flit nimbly by. Not everyone is travelling to Vancouver, you see.
"A well designed wheeled bag will be much less trouble than a heavy awkward behemoth on your back."
Pity you didn't read the previous posts in this thread - I thought the whole heavy pack syndrome had been well advised on. Maybe look again
I totally agree that, packs with wheels are totally useless. They provide no comfort when you carry them over your back, and when yuo try to drag them around, they are not as durable as it seems.
Get a proper pack, with good support functions, and they, generally provide excellent comfort for you that you feel as if it weighs nothing at all as you are actually using your hips to support the backpack.
Getting a good backpack but not knowing the right way to use it is useless. On top of getting your pack, you need to know how to carry a pack as well, which is using your hips to support 80% of the weight, and 20% on your shuolder.
I used to work at an outdoor gear shop, so, wheel-lies wheel-lies are a nono.
I totally agree that, packs with wheels are totally useless. They provide no comfort when you carry them over your back, and when yuo try to drag them around, they are not as durable as it seems. .....
Why not try buying a quality product?