The reason I've posted a new thread is that this question may be a little specific, and I also don't want to thread-jack.
The basic problem is I need a backpack/rucksack/bergen/whatever and I have no idea where to start. I'll give you any past experience I have, then I'll tell you where I need it for, then I'll suggest what sort of a price-range I'm comfortable with and what sort of packs I generally like (just trivial non-important stuff for the packs I like).
I was a cadet so I've done a bit of humping around with a pack on and a bit of sleeping rough, also. Due to this I know about the importance of equipment maintenance - the way I learnt it being, equipment first, feet second, nether regions third, the rest of you last and how to deal with minor walking injuries, blisters, a bit of sewing wounds, etc.
I also went to Namibia in October (brilliant place, but quite heavy on the wallet). For this I had a Regatta Survivor 65. Inexpensive so I went for it. I loaded it up with 15kg of kit + 5l [kg] of Water [so 15+5kg ~ 33+11lbs]. Luckily it was near the end of my trip when the problem happened and one of the shoulder-strap-adjusters snapped (it was also with the above weight of kit on my back that I learnt I really need to do more squats - thankfully a lot of the important journeying was by auto mobile, just some controlled walking with equipment - didn't want anything nasty like death happening, or worse still, malaria). The bag was also very packed - almost tearing - for all that was in it, and didn't seem to be all too happy with the situation.
Where I'm going:
Around and about, basically. The first destination is Israel, and the terrain is something like this:
As you can see already, waterproofing is not much of an issue as far as I'm concerned.
I'd also like to have this pack for a while though, and use it for urban travelling as well as the hiking stuff, which is why I decided to go for a civilian backpack and not just buy a British Army surplus Bergen - as that would draw too much attention in cities and in Irish countryside (I have family near the Republic/Ulster border, I really don't want to have anything military looking up there, it's just not worth the risk).
So that's a general overview of the environment, mostly dry, but if I carry it in Northern Europe it's going to get very wet.
The Regatta was cheap, but wasn't great, too small at 65l [~2000fl oz if you do it that way], especially considering I'd like to carry more in the future, and it packed up (more than just the shoulder strap, but that's one that stands out); it's for this reason that I'm willing to follow the philosophy of buying something expensive, but making it last, as opposed to buying a similar cheap product many times.
Due to the heat of where I plan to be going I don't want anything that covers my body too much, back-padding may just annoy me; considering (as far as I'm aware) weight mostly rests on the hipbelt then the shoulders I don't really see the need for backpadding, but hey, I'm a newbie, so if anyone can correct me that'd be great.
I'd also like some mobility, the Regatta seemed to hold me very much in place, I was like a cinder block with knees - my hips were somewhat constrained by the hip-belt and that was a little annoying, though bearable.
As for price, I'm willing to go up to $400 - £200 - €250, but that is definitely the highest, lower would be much nicer [though do bags even get much more expensive than that?]
Sorry if the question seems long and over-loaded, but I wanted to lay out a bit of history and a few specifications, and well... any advice you could give at all would be nice, ranging from simple packs even up to the most complex.
Please help a newbie?
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 3, 2008, at 12:24 PM by Rhynome ]