EPoP 059: How to Choose the Right Backpack

Posted By Trav

How to Choose the Right Backpack

What bag should I bring for a two week trip to Europe?

When you’re planning your first trip (or your hundredth) one of the most important decisions you can make is what type of bag you’ll be bringing.

So, little surprise that it’s one of the most asked questions from EPoP readers!

This week Jason joins me to talk about the essential qualities of a backpack and how to choose the right one for you.

If backpacks aren’t your thing, don’t fret. We also discuss larger wheeled luggage and daypacks, an essential for any traveler regardless of their luggage size!

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In This Episode:

  • Why, if possible, you should only bring a carry-on.
  • Tricks to bring on just a bit more stuff if you bag gets too full.
  • The difference between top and front loading packs, and why it matters.
  • Daypacks, why you should carry one, and what makes them great.
  • How backpacks with a good warranty are absolutely worth the investment.
  • Some great recommendations from Jason and I for backpacks, daypacks, and more traditional luggage.

and much more!

Links Discussed in This Episode:

Backpack Reccomendations



Larger Luggage:

Wheeled Luggage:

I Need Your Help

If we’ve shared any good advice with you this week please click “Tweet This” below to help others find the right backpack for their travels:

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  1. Sean Colahan says:

    I agree with the Osprey recommendation. I have had the Osprey Porter 46 and love the versatility and simplicity of the bag. I love the one large main compartment. I have taken it around the world on 1-2 week trips and I don’t even fill the bag to capacity and have also used it to pack my ski boots as carry-on so I would only have to check 1 bag (my skies). Would buy one of their bags again.

    1. Trav says:

      @Sean Colahan- Awesome, glad to hear! I haven’t ever tried out the Porter itself, but I’ve heard from others they really like it. I don’t think you can go wrong with Osprey at all, and they really do have sizes and shapes for everyone, from really small to huge bags, from regular backpacks to wheeled packs.

      My Farpoint 70 is a little big, so I may downsize to the Farpoint 55 (which is 40L main pack, 15L daypack). Any suggestions on the Porter vs. the Farpoint?

  2. Thanks for the shout outs, Travis. We’re grateful for your support.

    Re: daypacks, here are a few packable recommendations to tide your listeners over until ours is ready. http://snarkynomad.com/best-lightweight-packable-backpacks/

  3. Ryan says:

    Excellent podcast! I’d also recommend the Eddie Bauer Alchemist 40L which is 100% waterproof and expands to a 55L bag just by unzipping the sides of the bag. I just hiked with it in the White Mountains in Ne Hampshire and loved it. Will definitely be trying it out on my upcoming trip to Mexico.

    1. Trav says:

      @Ryan- Wow, sounds like a good recommendation. My only issue is that it looks like a toploading backpack, right? Good for hiking, but I don’t like toploaders as a regular travel pack.

  4. jamesbrown294 says:

    Hey Trav,
    This is a subject I have been investigating lately and was seriously looking at the Minaal backpack. Not cheap but looks good and has some great reviews. The wife figures if I use it for carry on, she can fill another suitcase for me to put through baggage. I think she is missing the point here and I think we’re going to have that talk about traveling light. Could get messy! Anyway, looking forward to listening to this podcast and getting some further ideas. Thanks and keep up the great work with your podcasts. Cheers. Jim

    1. Trav says:

      @jamesbrown294- Yeah, I’ve never tried out the Minaal, so I can’t give an opinion on it either way. I’ve had a few friends use it and like it, though.

      And yeah, your wife has to talk to Heather, my wife. She used to think the same thing: “oh, you are using a carryon, that means I can get another checked bag.” But little by little, she learned how to do a carryon, and now she is a pro. And it’s soooooo much easier in the long run!

      Glad you like the podcast, keep the comments and questions coming!

  5. Rafa says:

    Travis, did you finally got the Osprey Farpoint 55? How about it’s size? Have you used it as a carry on? Which airlines? Thanks.

    1. Trav says:

      @Rafa- No, I’ve never gotten an Osprey Farpoint 55. I still only have the Farpoint 70 and my Tortuga backpack. Are you planning on getting the Farpoint 55?

  6. I enjoy what you guys are up too. Suuch clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve you guys to blogroll.

    1. Trav says:

      @internal frame- Thanks so much, glad you like it!

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