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I know what I want in a pack - but what brands?

Travel Forums Travel Gear I know what I want in a pack - but what brands?

1. Posted by farleyUL (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

I've been having trouble finding what I'm looking for here at the local outfitters. After reading TP, books, and some internet reviews, I think I'd like a pack that's in the 40-45L range that has a zip-off day pack, is side loading, and has ample pockets, comparments, etc. I'd prefer one that has a sort of cover to protect itself from airline luggage handlers. Can anyone suggest any brands? I might end up having to find a pack that has what I want and buy it online before even getting to try it on.

I'll be traveling in Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic for about 3 weeks and using about a 50/50 split between trains and budget airlines.

Thanks for any tips!

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4817 posts) 9y

I'd strongly recommend against buying online; the very most important thing about a pack is how it sits on your back, which is different for everyone, and makes actually trying out the pack a must. You do not want to be lugging around all that weight if the straps chafe and it gives you a backache after five minutes.
Everything else is icing on the cake.
Also, almost all brands of backpack out there are at least decent, with most being just outright good. I have never heard of anyone complaining about any brand of backpack being worthless.

That said, the two brands that seem to consistently rank way at the top of being the best of the best (which also seems to have a cost) are Karrimor and MacPac.

3. Posted by S_Paradise (Full Member 65 posts) 9y

Trying on the pack and testing it out is the best way to go. I would also advise against buying online without trying it out first.

It is not hard finding a cover to protect your bag.

As far as reliability, it is hard to say what is the "best". Many bags available/common in the US are not readily available in other parts of the world. I have had quite a few packs over the years (Gregory, Mountain Hardware, Lowe, Mountainsmith), and I would have to say hands down the best for me was Mountainsmith.

4. Posted by S_Paradise (Full Member 65 posts) 9y

Just to add, I wouldn't be too preoccupied with staying at the 40-45L range. It really depends on the fit. As an example, for me, I have never been able to find a 45L pack that fit me properly. I am pretty tall and they have just been too small, especially for extended backcountry hiking. You may be able to get by a little bit better with a smaller (not as well fitting) pack because you won't be wearing it for 6-8 hours at a time, as you would be doing if you on an extended trek.

5. Posted by boreal2673 (Respected Member 345 posts) 9y

If money is no object I was say the Marmot Terraplane. It originally was a Dana Design but they got bought out.. I paid around $400 but I can carry any weight for many hours. It is so comfortable... Otherwise packs by Kelty, Lowe, or even EMS brands are good. Most important is to get a proper fit and size. Makes sure it is built well. Then you can try and find it online for cheaper...

6. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 9y

Quoting Sander

That said, the two brands that seem to consistently rank way at the top of being the best of the best (which also seems to have a cost) are Karrimor and MacPac.

I've had the Karrimor that zips all the way round with a zip off day pack, its a brilliant backpack the only thing I didnt like about it was the shape, its quite round and therefor a little more cumbersome but still I really reccomend it!

happy picking


7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

You'll have a really hard time finding a 45 l one with a zip-off daypack. Daypacks usually have between 15 and 25 l, so you can easily reach the 45 l range by carrying 2 daypacks. The smallest packs with zip-off daypacks I've seen were around 60 l (40l + 20 l daypack).

I recommend taking along a small day pack that you can stuff into the big pack. Go for one in the 15 l range. You can take a cheap, (light) fold-away thingie or a fully blown daypack with a good carrying system. I use a small, very lightweight foldaway pack that I found in a drugstore. It is similar to this model.

8. Posted by bkray (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

highlander. i recently brought a 33L highlander forces 33 but i understand that they make a 44L highlander forces 44. since they made the original they have made so much more accessories. 'as i opened the bag i was impressed, it has an airmesh bag that helped strongly against sweat on your back, it has a strap for lower stability and a strap for upper stability like most high quality daysacks do. it has a cardboard like back as to keep it upright and has 2 pockets on either side capable of holding a 1L bottle in each and being easy to zip up. it conains 2 daisy chains and an ice axe holder. the straps are also made of airmesh and are completly breathable. in the zip-up pocket at the top, there is a waterproof cover connected by a clip that will cover the bag and be 100% waterproof, just dont chuck it in a river'

here is the extra stuff they added since the original design: superdurable XTP900 denier polyurethane coated polyester fabric, 2000mm waterproof raincover, airmesh funnel back ventilation system, zip lid map pocket, strong full length twin daiisy chains allows attachment of extra accessories, 2 zipped side pockets, adjustable extra comort airmesh shoulder straps, adjustable lid shock cord, base attachment facilities, extending snowlock under closure, adjustable quick release waist belt, adjustable quick release chest strap, ice axe/ walking pole holder, super strong tensile nylon webbing adjustments with ease.

thats about all of them but there are a couple more. so allover i would suggest a highlander bag presumably the forces 44. but the forces 33 is capable of holding many stuff

thanks , Ben