Living like a snail - TravelPack Special

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Don't underestimate the importance of choosing the correct backpack. We spent ages deciding between different brands and styles, and at the time it felt like a laborious process especially as all the backpacks look very similar and at the end of day do the same thing, but boy we are so glad we did our research!

We read many travel blogs before deciding on which backpack to choose but they were all blogged prior to travelling and we couldn't find any feedback on how the packs coped with the journey. Therefore we have waited until 4 months into our big adventure to see how ours coped before writing this blog.

After a few days on the road we soon realised that the backpack wasn't just a piece of luggage but our house on our back, yes we had become snails. Everything we need has to be carried on our backs and be packed and repacked multiple times, day after day. If you choose the wrong backpack you will regret it.

Everything has a budget and when you are travelling the world you do need to save pennies where you can but don't cut corners with the backpack. You do get what you pay for and as it is such a massive part of the trip we do not recommend you base your decision solely on price.

We were lucky enough to find our chosen backpacks in a pre-Christmas sale and ended up only paying just £90 for Ross' and £60 for Sonya's, approx. 60% of the standard retail price.

Cross backpacks off the shopping list

Firstly forget looking at any top loaders. These traditional style backpacks might be good for hiking or a couple of nights away but not for an extended trip on the road. Having to pack and unpack everything from the top would be a nightmare.

Opt for a travel pack

Distinctly different to a backpack, travelpacks are side loading, have detachable day packs and a cover that zips over the luggage straps. We opted for:

  • Ross - Berghaus 70L main pack 15L day pack
  • Sonya - Berghaus 60L main pack 10L day pack
  • And a Berghaus 100L Mule!

Try it on!

We made sure we tried every backpack on we reviewed online. Especially Sonya's as we went for a specific women's travel pack with a special cut and added back support. We visited Go Outdoors several times but when they wouldn't budge on the price we bought them online. We did get the Mule from Go Outdoors and they price matched it to Amazon with an additional 10% discount!

Size does matter!

GGo for something small because if you don't you will end up filling it along the way with useless stuff you just have to carry. We didn't follow our own advice here and in addition to the travel packs which were on the larger size we also invested in a Mule. Although extremely useful in the early part of the trip as we had to carry a mass of various clothes, sleeping bags, snorkelling kit etc. as time goes on carrying it on and off trains and buses is proving to be a real pain. Having said that it has helped us out massively and we are glad we brought it with us but we were equally glad to drop it off in Bangkok for a few weeks as we headed north to visit Laos. When we run out of land and have to fly the beloved Mule might be left behind. :-(

Wheels or no wheels?

Ross's backpack being much bigger came with wheels. Although in the first part of the trip we barely used them and were beginning to think that it was false economy carrying around the added weight, as the trip goes on they are becoming more useful. Jumping on and off buses where steps are less common being able to wheel the case is useful and allows us to load one up with the heavy stuff (beer) and only carry the light stuff on Sonya's back.

Pack light & Become a BIT Traveller

Pack the minimum you think you will need and then try and remove at least 5kg, you won't regret it! We managed to remove a few KG's but still not enough. Unless you are travelling somewhere really extreme you can get everything you need on the road. Admittedly this is something that took Ross a while to get used to as he hates shopping. Become a BIT (Buy It There) traveller and live so called hand to mouth and buy stuff only when you need it!


We don't want to tempt fate but 4 months have past and the travel packs are still in great condition. The only war scars showing are Sonya's day pack where we decided to put it through the washing machine but the material on the inside didn't appreciate a wash. However (fingers crossed) it's still going strong and we are using it daily approx. a month later.

As long as we haven't just tempted fate hopefully our backpacks will serve us well for the rest of our trip, if they do it was the best £150 we have ever spent.

© 2014-2021 All rights reserved.
All images and logo's are licenced. Please contact us before copying any content or linking to our blog - Thanks! :-)