Time for a new travel backpack

I’ve had the same travelling backpack for some time now. I bought it at REI about ten years ago, and it’s lasted the test of time. It’s a green and black North Face, and has been with me for over 10,000 miles of travelling since it’s purchase. The problem is that 10,000 miles of travel will wear any good thing out, so I’m in the market for a new pack. Upon going to REI today, I noticed that there’s simply just too much to choose from, so I had to narrow it down significantly to include what I thought were the essentials of a travel backpack.

Check out this snippet from Jackie, who is the ‘Budget Minded Traveler’! She hits the nails on the head with her video…

Personally, here is what I like: First off, I like lots of interior and exterior pockets. Places where I can stick things that don’t go with my clothes. I need a place for a compass, a place for a folded up map, and a place for my passport. Those things need to have their own pockets, and waterproof pockets are preferred, just so I don’t have to continually pull them out of a ziploc bag when I need them.

Secondly, I don’t want to pack too heavy for when I’m lugging a backpack on and off trains, buses, or airplanes. Thankfully, nowadays, everything is made from such lightweight material that you can find a backpack for less than 3 pounds, even with lumbar support.

Third, I want a good amount of padding where it matters most. Around the shoulders, waist, and lower back. This is vital to me, as I want to be super comfortable when I’m travelling long distances and my legs can feel heavy walking without holding any weight. The normal travel backpack, when completely full (size obviously matters here) can weigh anywhere from 20-50 pounds, depending on how much gear you are packing.

Lastly, when I buy a backpack, and maybe this is just because I have this number permanently etched in my head, but I only want to spend $200. From what I have seen, you can get a rockin’ pack for that much that is water resistant, has great padding and support, and is not lacking a ton of pockets, some of which will lock.

What do you look for in a good travelling backpack? What’s important to you when you travel?