Was wondering if anyone has any experience with Hi Gear backpacks, particularly this one.
I know it's quite a big size, but I've been into the shop tried it on etc and its feels very comfortable, I was just wondering if anyone knows what the quality is like? Or if anyone can recommend a similar backpack (side loading).
Have you tried it on fully packed to the brim with weights? That is the real test.
I would not recommend this pack for several reasons:
- It is way too big.
- It is not a known brand, so if you really pack it to the brim it can be quite uncomfortable. If I really needed something this large I would always buy the best quality money could buy. 85 liters plus a daypack fully loaded will be around 30 kgs, for this kind of weight you need high quality gear or it will be a real pain to carry.
- In case you plan to leave the bag half-empty reconsider: a small backpack full feels better on your back than a big backpack half-full. A big backpack half-full will place too much weight near your hips.
As for recommendations: What do you need the backpack for? RTW, 2-4 weeks of travelling in Europe, 3 months in South East Asia, hiking, rockclimbing, backpacking in the wilderness, ...?
Thanks for the reply. I'm Going to Australia in September on a WHV, for anything up to 2 years.
I would prefer a backpack which is side loading, just for ease of access more than anything.
Any advice is much appreciated.
Well, I heard good things about the Deuter Quantum 55 +10. Fully loaded it is 83 liters (55 liters +10 liters extension plus daypack), so it is not much smaller than your Hi-Ten pack, but it is far better designed for such heavy loads. I know that Deuter makes very good quality. The carrying system should be much better and far more comfortable. The pack should compress down to 50 liters easily, so it will be easier to carry when 3/4 full. And yes, this pack is side-loading. Tip: Try to leave the Daypack empty when you set out.
The Deuter Transit 50 would also be a good option I think, but the carrying system is not as good. It is smaller, only 50 liters plus the daypack.
If I was you I would forget about getting a side-loading pack and concentrate on finding the most comfortable and lightweight backpack possible. The pack should be around 40-50 liters.
If you are on the road for 2 years you learn to value travelling light. Anything significantly larger than 50 liters total (including possible extensions and or daypacks) will be too heavy. 40 liters would be ideal.
If you can find it take a look at the Deuter ACT lite 40+10 or 50+10 and the Deuter Futura Vario 40+10 or 50+10. I recommend the ACT lite because it is the lightest integral frame pack on the market. The ACT 40+10 weighs only 1.5 kgs, this is approx. 1 kg lighter than other comparable backpacks. When you carry your pack every day packed with 15-20 kgs 1 kg more or less makes a big difference.
Try to optimise the weight you carry as much as possible. And no, drilling holes into your toothbrush to take out 5 grams is not taking it too far. It is the right attitude because every little thing and gadget adds up. Be on the road for 6+ months and you'll end up throwing half of your crap away.
Thanks for all the advice, much appreciated.