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What type of pack for backpacking?

Travel Forums General Talk What type of pack for backpacking?

1. Posted by kpckgurl (Budding Member 6 posts) 12y

I'm going to be backpacking for a month (from June-July) after studying abroad in Barcelona for 5 months. What kind of pack should I invest in for this trip? I'll be taking the rail system during my travels.

2. Posted by kpckgurl (Budding Member 6 posts) 12y


I forgot to add that my dad and I have different opinions about the type of pack to bring. My dad thinks that I should get one of those carry-on size suitcase-type things with the wheels on the bottom and bring a smaller backpack for daytime trips, since he thinks the big backpack style packs might be too heavy for me to carry. Which one is better and more convenient?

3. Posted by redknight5 (Full Member 80 posts) 12y

Hi! Unless u r planning on staying in the same place for a month i'd suggest u take a proper backpack, not a suitcase on wheels. you will be a lot more mobile and comfortable with a backpack, and it will only be as heavy as you decide to make it regarding the stuff you decide to take. generally, try to limit your luggage to the essentials! happy travels!

4. Posted by kpckgurl (Budding Member 6 posts) 12y

thanx for ur help! it's so exciting to be planning and buying the essentials, but it's sort of nervewracking in case i forget to get something important for my travels! there are places in Europe that i can buy things in case i forget to get them in the states? ;)

5. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member 431 posts) 12y

I have what I believe is called an "excursion" pack. It is an internal frame pack that has a day pack attached to it, that comes off with a zipper for day trips and such... It also has a zipover cover and a side handle which converts it into a sort of duffel bag. This feature is helpful to hide the shoulder straps when on an airplane as most airlines wont take traditional backpacks as checked bags for fear of damaging the straps or haveing them get caught in the baggage conveyor.

They are not the highest quality packs but Jansport has the "Mozambique" model which has served me well.. Some other companies make them too I am sure, but I don't know specifically who else does.

6. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 12y

Do not do what I did when I went to Europe (I was living in Germany in one place for 6 months, taking a few trips out to other parts of Germany, other W European countries . .). I took 2 suitcases on wheels (crappy wheels, too- they were old ones borrowed from my parents and didn't rotate very well, either that or the suitcase kept falling over :( ) plus a daypack-sized backpack with me- the max that the airline would allow. You say you are travelling by rail- well, remember this: most train stations are not very suitcase-friendly- the major cities have big train stations, and any town big enough to have its own station has more than one platform, and the way you get from platform to platform is to take stairs underground and then stairs up to the next platform. Some train stations have conveyor belts that you could put your suitcase on and roll/slide/drag it along until it gets to the bottom. A lot of these don't even work, though, I found. I had to drag my suitcases up the stairs manually, and it was a pain in the back! I missed my train at Ulm because of it and had to wait for several hours for the next one. I nearly missed my train another time, and would have if it weren't for a very kind train driver who asked me if I was going to "Munchen," German for Munich, and while I knodded vigorously and said, "ja," he grabbed my heaviest suitcase for me and hauled it up onto the train. :) A lot of the time you can rent (or if you are lucky, you might find one left behind) a cart to put your suitcases on while you are in the train station, but once you have to switch platforms you usually have to ditch it. However, you can avoid having to go through this ordeal. I HIGHLY recommend getting a backpack- and a good quality one as well- the last thing you need is to be in the Paris train station when your zipper breaks and half your underwear falls onto the cement in full view of the Parisians walking by . . .. Go to a luggage store and ask them where you can buy backpacks specifically for travel. Good backpacks have straps that shift the weight so that, when adjusted properly, and packed properly (ask the salesperson- he/she should be more than happy to show you), they are MUCH better on your back than any suitcase on wheels! You can get one specifically for a female of such a height, which I recommend doing, also. Bring ONE bag. I would recommend Mountain Equiptment Co-op if you lived in Canada, but since you aren't there, and I don't think there is one in the States- Americans, maybe you could recommend a good backpack store? . . ..
BTW, I have been to the train station in Barcelona, and if I recall correctly, when you get off the train you have to go up a narrow escalator to get into the main part of the station. It would be next to impossible to carry a suitcase on wheels up that!
Anyway, I wish you good luck and a healthy back on your travels!

7. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member 431 posts) 12y

If you are in the New York metro/Tri-State area, Try Campmor or their website for a high-quality and wide selection of packs, from Day Packs to Internal Frame packs and excursion packs. Sorry for the promotion post, but I don't work there or anything and they have always been excellent for all my needs. btw