Picking a backpack that’s going to see you through months of travel is HARD.
I remember before I left for 7 months in Europe stressing over which size to pick, what brand would be best value for money and whether to go for wheels or not.
At the end of the day everyone’s needs are different but I am pretty happy with my Osprey Farpoint 70.
There are essentially I found to be four main factors to consider when choosing a bag besides the price tag.
To wheel or not to wheel
While there was definitely times where I wished I had wheels to give my back a break when walking for a few kilometres in the middle of summer to find a hostel, overall the lightweight absence of them was a bonus.
A good compromise though is a bag that is both a backpack and has wheels if you’d like to get the best of both worlds and don’t mind the extra little bit of weight.
See if there are online reviews
A fairly obvious point but especially video reviews like this one here for my Osprey bag can help you see the bag more practically and determine whether or not it would suit your particular needs.
Check that the bag has a decent hip strap, internal frame and shoulder padding to relieve your muscles that little bit more when carrying your life around on the road.
Ensuring that you can easily lock your bag at the zip points is mandatory also!
Front loading or top loading
The Farpoint 70 model opens flat/front loading- there’s no way I could deal with a top loading bag since there’s always something inevitably at the bottom that you’ll need.
The other aspect I love about my backpack is that when I check it in at the airport I can seal up the straps and it becomes like a regular piece of luggage.
My trusty bag in action
My day pack (15L) also attaches easily by belts and zip to the larger bag (55L) which means I can have the option of carrying them separately or together.
This bag has endured dozens of countries, being dragged along floors and has managed to survive being stuffed to the absolute limit and is still going strong.
Image: Paddy Pallin
While not the cheapest option (Kathmandu and Black Wolf often have similar sized bags for less) I think Osprey certainly has the quality there.
I got mine from Paddy Pallin for the Australians and I believe quite a few stores in the USA offer the brand in stock and prices usually start from around 200 USD.
The opinion/review is my own, no sponsorships were engaged in.