Hi, I am from the uk and am planning my ATW Trip for Sept 08, I am currently looking for a back pack, but want one that zips open like a suitcase, so I dont have to keep fumbling around to get things out. Makes sense ha, you think they would all be made like that! Can anyone help me pleeeaaasssee. I have looked on websites such as millets, blacks, berghaus and just cant seem to find any. I suppose I would be looking for a 60-65 litre.
Thankyou to anyone who can help
What you want is (often) called a "travel pack", as opposed to a (top-loading) "backpack". (They have benefits when just going city-hopping, but when on a multi-day trek, backpacks are often sworn by due to the disaster that trouble with the zipper would be.)
Pretty much any backpack brand should have such packs: MacPac, North Face, etc, etc. Don't buy on brand name or features, though; buy on how it fits you, for which you'll need to go to a real world store and try them on (weighted down a bit, too).
I thought I wanted the same as you and looked at the Karrimor Global Rucksack, I think I looked at a 60 - 65l one in a local outdoor shop so I'm sure you'll find them. They come in mens & womens fit and different sizes too.
but.... when I tried this on it didn't suit me at all so I am going for an Osprey top loader because it just feels better.
Like Sander says make sure you try it on because the one which looks like it might be your perfect choice may not be quite so perfect when it comes to carrying it for hours on end!
Have a look at Aztec, they do a nice range of bags that zip open on the side, I'm not sure of the capacity though. The only thing I'd say is that a lot of travellers I met who had a bag like that found it more difficult to pack than a top-loader, and a bit harder to carry since the weight didn't distribute in the same way. Having said that, I actually met people who weren't really planning to carry their bag anywhere so brought the ones with wheels on. I have to say I was very envious when hiking through towns with my heavy bag while they simply wheeled theirs along in front of us.
I ended up with a top loader from Berghaus, it's 60 (+5) litres and really comfy. It was more than I wanted to pay for a bag, but in my opinion the most important thing really is how well it fits you.
Have a great trip
I highly reccommend NOMAD store for rucksacks and travel packs if there is one near you, I have just bought the Lowe Alpine en route 60+10 from the Bristol store after trying a load on with weights and I couldn't be happier.
I would also check out the Lowe Alpine Shuttle, comes in 65 or 75Ltr............tried one yesterday fully weighted, felt really good (for me anyway).
Has all the usual travel pack things - straps zip away, opens completely like a suitcase, dirty laundry pocket and the most important thing it only weighs a bit over 2kg!