Choose the right backpack for traveling

with-my-handheld-backpack

Choosing the right backpack is an important decision. If you are going to travel for a long time you should choose one that is actually comfortable. If you don’t have one already, it is worth buying it new. Backpacks that sell today are far more comfortable than back in the hey day, allow a better access to their interior, are made of the better materials and are more waterproof.

Carry one or two Backpacks? There are people who like to travel with a large backpack, and a medium-sized (school type or mountain). The advantage is that you can leave the big one in your hostel and use the size medium for short trips or to visit cities. The main drawback is that when you travel you will have to carry a backpack on the back and the other in front, something that won’t allow you to do much more than walk. I usually carry a big backpack (65L) and another very small, handheld, which I always carry over with my money, cards and passport.

Size: You rarely will need a backpack more than 65-litre in capacity. Even if you’re travelling in different climates, with 65 L you should have enough space to put everything you need.

Material: Waterproof and more durable is better. If you are traveling in countries such as India, your backpack will suffer enough of wear and tear, so it has to be strong or won’t survive. Check if the rucksack has waterproof cover, it’s very useful to have it.

Comfort: backpacks with a strong structure, which does not bend and does not smother you too, normally have metal bars and a network that prevents the full contact with the back and leaves room for it to breathe. It is also important to have adjustable fasteners at the waist and chest to distribute throughout the body weight, and not to overload the back. The more ergonomic the better.

Check out the backpacks section on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/field-keywords=backpacks. For some good reviews on 3-day and handheld backpacks and arguably on the best tactical backpack, check out http://www.rangermade.us/the-best-tactical-backpack-in-2014/. If you’re into hiking and survival stuff, www.Rangermade.us is a good resource for you.

Making the case: what to wear?

Now that you have the backpack what to Pack? I would say that you first make a list of all you think you need and you eliminate some 25% of the stuff on the list, which works well for me. When we haven’t traveled in a long time, we have the feeling that we are going to need a lot of things once out there. Actually you don’t need much. When you’re traveling, you arrive in a town or village, and you’re looking for a hostel, you will appreciate greatly that you have packed light. If your backpack weighs little, you won’t bother you take some time to check more than one hostel before deciding, so you end up choosing the best and cheaper places.

Since I’m on it, I will leave a fairly logical list of what I usually carry: (you always can buy what’s needed in the destination country…)

Clothing
-5 or 6 t-shirts
-2 shorts
-1 swimsuit
-1 Texans (2 in winter)
-1 sandals
-1 sports or hiking boots
-1 long sleeve t-shirt
-1 jersey or something a little warm
-1 light towel that dries fast
-1 waterproof light IRA
-Underwear and socks
-IRA (winter)
-Sweatshirts or sweaters (winter)
-Scarf, hat and gloves (winter)
-Another type of long trousers (winter)

Toiletry bag
-SOAP and shampoo
-Blade razor, aftershave and foam
-Brush and toothpaste
-Sun cream
-Plugs for ears (almost essential if you’re going to sleep in dormitories)
-Bandages, gauze and tape, iodine, aspirin, pills for diarrhea and anti-mosquito.
-Mosquito net (useful in some countries in tropical climate)
-Some of the laundry SOAP (depends on where you go and for how long)

Other
-The phone and its charger
-The camera and your charger
-Front (lantern)
-Sunglasses
-A book, a notebook and some pens
-Knife (not in the tote bag if you’re flying, clear…)
-A small summer sleeping bag or silk cover (useful in some countries)
-A padlock and a couple of good smaller ones: useful in some countries to close your room without fear that anyone has a copy of the key, as well as to close some zippers on long journeys by train or bus.
-A cover for Backpack: can be useful to be sure, moreover, that nobody will open any pocket during long trips.
-A small rope: can be used to hang the mosquito net or your clothes.

Documents
-Passport and some copies of the same (or digital photos)
-Two or three credit and/or debit card
-International  Driving license (in case you want to rent a car)
-Some pocket money (30 or 40 dollars to pay for visas or setbacks)
-Passport photos
-International Immunization record

And that’s my list. Add your own thoughts in the comments!

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