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Yet another 'which?' thread - don't worry, I've used search.

Travel Forums Travel Gear Yet another 'which?' thread - don't worry, I've used search.

1. Posted by Rhynome (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

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).

Past Experience:
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:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/127/346175636_f036587a1d.jpg?v=0
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.

Trivia:
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 ]

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Hmm, the rule is usually 40-45 l for "hostelling" rucksacks, and 65 liter rucksacks for carrying camping gear too. Which is why I wonder what you had in your pack that it was overloaded. Maybe you should look at your equipment a bit more closely? Any way you could reduce weight and or volume there?

Apart from the info of "65 liters with camping gear" and "always try on with weights before you buy" there is not much more information to impart. Maybe the brands that are decent? I know Deuter is good, as well as Berghaus, Vaude and Osprey. Deuter makes an excellent backpack (ACT Lite 65+10) specifically for the American market, it is available from REI.com and should be exactly what you need - check out its smaller brother ACT lite 50+10, see whether you like the fit and then order the larger one.

3. Posted by Rhynome (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

I was looking at maybe a 60+10 or even a 70+10; the reason being something I forgot to mention directly previously.

I also plan to use it as luggage, not just for hostel trips and hiking and whatnot, which means carrying things such as boots, smart shoes and trainers* in the bag itself and maybe being able to fit an SLR and a few lenses in it for an extended period of time if I need to, plus maybe a laptop and so on. I'd like to be able to carry as much as I might need to, but also at the same time I want to limit the size of the bag itself, so it's not too conspicuous; though as a rule I am aiming mainly at a camping backpack, so I'll look at the 60+10 range. Thanks a lot!

  • Don't worry, the shoe collection stops with that after 'everyday shoes' - I'm not too bad.