GearHack Backpack

Hey dear reader. After traveling a while with my home on my back, I thought I should share some GearHacks with you to make your journey easier and you waste less money and time to figure out what you need.

How many Backpacks do I need?

I found that TWO backpacks is the way to go. One large one, your “home” and another smaller one that you can hide in your big one, the “runner”. The smaller one is just making you so much more mobile, let’s say for day trips, work, or even temporary flights to another area (so much cheaper and faster with a onboard bag). The best way was in my experience to put your camp up, fairly hidden at a beach or in the park, forest, wherever pretty much. This is where I left my “home” backpack, the large one, packed all my most valuable items into the small one, the “runner”, laptop, purse, important copies. Yes, someone might steal things out of your base, it nearly happend to me as well, but to be honest from 95% it happened 5% and that 5% were in the park of a big city. So when your camp is fairly hidden you will be okay, and if you come back, you still have all the important stuff in your “runner”. It is vital, I have to add, that your most important things are not your swim gear (naked is the way to go btw.), your hiking boots (“but they were 200$!!”, you could wear them) or you cooking utensils (depending on the trip to be fair). Pretty much all you wear now is what you need, as long as you dress appropriate to the conditions. A hat when it’s frying hot, a rain jacket if it looks rainy or it rains and warmer clothes if it is freezing. Another good way is to speak to others, get contacts and ask if they mind to store your “home” backpack at their actual flat, hostel, house. This way is letting your mind relax way more, but on the other hand you are dependent on the person, when he, she is home or disturb her in her private space, to be honest, it’s fine. Just don’t ask every 2 hours if the person is home and if you could get some stuff off the “home” backpack.

Fazit: Wuhu so we know TWO backpacks, a “home” and a “runner”.

There are so many sizes and types and colours and systems and features and extras and prices and brands and….

Okay, I try to make it simple:

Big “HOME” BACKPACK

  • Buy second hand instead of new (if you read listings carefully to avoid disappointment you can get some really good second hand deals!)
  • Size from 65L to 70L (everything bigger makes life misery for yourself)
  • Make sure you have firm straps on the back to attach things, clothes, gear. (Very helpful to dry clothes)
  • Bottle holder on the outside on both sides
  • Must have a fast accessible outer pocket (access to knife, lighter)
  • Must have a rain cover (that one does not need to be expensive, can buy separately)
  • Compartments to sort things out, 2 in the main-bit (separate bottom compartment, I found very useful)
  • Top filling with string not zipper
  • Bottom access is a good feature, with strong thick zip access
  • pockets on sides I found useful (better sorting system for fast access things)
  • good waist belt, must have at least one pocket there
  • chest-strap (although the chest strap I personally find useless probably spend too much time in the gym, haha)
  • Document/laptop pocket in main section (so they stay safe, very useful)
  • Decent side straps to attach things and compress the backpack firmly
  • Top lid must have ideally outer and inner pocket
  • must have back panel size adjustment from S – XL
  • sitting off the back a bit for ventilation (best to have a metal frame in this case to strengthen the backpack, as it is carrying larger loads)
  • soft ventilated padding on the back
  • shoulder straps to keep it sturdy and not from swaying around like a monkey
  • strong material, as it is getting moved and thrown and dropped and wet and sun exposed, and snowed …

Small “RUNNER” BACKPACK

  • Size from 25 L to 35 Liters
  • Must have top lid, ideally with both an inner and outer pocket
  • comfortable strong hip belt, with at least one zipped pocket
  • chest strap (ideally with integrated whistle)
  • adjustment strips on shoulders and between straps and back panel, against swaying like a monkey
  • good ventilation on the back panel (although not metal framed to curve away from the back as this makes the backpack difficult to load, and to store!)
  • not too much padding (since it is the small backpack, you won’t have that much stuff in it)
  • side pockets, I personally prefer open ones (closed ones for skiing)
  • side straps over those pockets to secure things like bottles in there from moving
  • Straps on the back or outer “shove it” pocket
  • string closing system, no zip
  • top loading
  • nice and light but also strong material
  • strong shoulder straps, mesh pocket on shoulder straps useful for sunglasses/small items
  • must fit into big backpack, foldable back (not metal framed)
  • ice axe/trekking poles and other equipment loops/attachments
  • adjustable back panel
  • space for water bladder attachment
  • water resistant material (or rain-cover included)

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