Backpacks vs Travel Packs

Picking the Perfect Pack - Backpacking packs vs. Travel Packs

We spent a number of days researching, reading and exploring the huge assortment of travel bags that exist out there in the adventure sport world.  It's extremely important to go to an REI, Cabellas or any other sporting goods store and try the packs on in person, opening them up, loading them with 30lbs of gear and throwing the pack on your back.  This is really the only way to test if the bag is right for you - the REI store representative helped Emily and I fit ourselves so we knew what size we were.


Emily (5’ 1”) = Small & Medium

Frankie (5' 11") = Medium


Back packs (especially hiking and backpacking packs) come in all different sizes even sized in-between Small & Medium - so fitting the perfect pack is essential.  Loading it down with some gear is necessary because the pack will not fit properly without have some real gear in it.

The first thing we did even before deciding what backpacks to look at we read what other bloggers had to say about their backpacks. Much of the research I sort thru came directly from Pinterest. I definitely had to sift through some of it to find valuable and useful information.

Some of the links I referenced are:

Dangerous Business


REI Product Reviews

Something I realized on a recent short trip to Italy is that I am an extensive over packer! I struggled so much on my trip rolling a 50lb + bag and trying to carry it up train station steps and carrying it on cobble stone roads. By the end of my trip I wanted to throw away most of the things I had brought just for the fact that I didn’t want to carry them any longer nor did I really need them.  While searching for a backpack at REI (again go here! the only way to truly test is the pack) I first chose a bigger Osprey bag: Kyte 70. This bag was huge after putting some weight in it I realized I would again be in the same situation I was in when in Italy.

A friendly climbing associate at REI recommend I try on the Gregory Deva 60 and the Gregory Amber 60. For my size this size pack was perfect for me I was able to move my head very comfortably with a pony tail still in my hair. Also the waist straps sat perfectly on my hips - which is imperative when picking a pack. I really liked both packs because they also had waist pockets which I’ve read in several different blogs come in handy for personal items.  These side-fanny packs are nice for easily accessed items instead of having to take your pack off and rifle through all your things for your camera, passport, money etc. The only thing I did not like about the Gregory Amber is it did not have a bottom zip compartment for shoes or wet items. This may be a deal breaker for me. I’m pretty confident I’ll be going with the Gregory Deva 60.

Something else I’ll be looking into is a day pack because as we travel - I’ll need my laptop with me for blogging and business purposes. So I wanted to find a multipurpose satchel bag that will fit my 13” Mac Book Pro along with other Misc. items. I’ve looked at a lot of different brands to name a few: Patagonia, Herschel, Northface, Osprey, Etc.  I think I’ll be going with a Herschel bag. First off they were the only company that really offered a day satchel with the space for a laptop without making you feel like you are carrying a brief case. Also I have owned some of their bags in the past and there made out of nice material and last. It can’t hurt that they're also stylish.


I select these packs as my top picks:

Osprey Farpoint 55 or 70

Osprey Porter 65

Osprey Ozone 46 Travel Bag


These packs came highly recommend thru reviews and for the type of traveling we are seeking out (mostly Europe, Air BnB type travel setting up a home base and then leaving from there for day trips).  I really liked how these packs opened up (especially the Porter) - 2 large access zippers to the central compartment is very important to me vs the top loading function of a backpacking pack.  The highlight of the large central zippers is whenever you need something from the pack you won't need to unpack your bag to get to what you need.  We plan to buy packing cubes - like these: Packing Cubes.

Keeping your articles separated by packing cubes makes for quick, easy and convenient packing and at the same time keeps you organized and prepared to easily grab something while your out and about.  Organization is key when doing a trip like ours - we will also be writing a few posts about what items are going to make the cut into our packs - and what items we think we should and can live without.  55 liter pack is one of two bags I will have with me on this trip, which ends up giving you between  3100-3300 cubic inches of space or approximately 30-45 lbs of gear for round-the-world travel.  My other bag (seen here Lowepro) will be packed to the brim with camera gear, Macbook Pro and most of my tech gear for photography.  I am heavily considering switching my Macbook Pro to the Macbook Air as weight is everything when you must carry it all on your back and front.


Hope you were able to learn something today thru our backpacking advice guide!  Please feel free to leave additional comments, if you think we're buying the wrong bags please tell us why! We would love your feedback

Until next time ~ we hope someday…to