Travel Pack Selection – Buying a new Travel Pack

Travel Pack Selection – Buying a new Travel Pack

Travel Pack Selection

When travelling for long times, a Travel Pack is your most important travel companion. It will be your most important investment for your trip.

Qualities you need in a travel pack

  • Durable – you do not want it falling apart en route
  • Water resistant – you do not want your clothes all wet in the next rain
  • Comfortable – you want to be able to enjoy the travels
  • Secure – you don’t want to be the easiest target for thieves.
  • Easy Access – you want to be able to find your stuff easily
  • Flexible – you want to be able to just take the day pack during the day

The following provides a guide of what to look for when buying one.

Water proof or water resistant material

This keeps your kit dry even when everything else is getting wet. Canvas is the most waterproof material. However, there are also some high end synthetic materials almost as good. A completely waterproof would be a dry sac. However, for a travel pack this would be overkill. As long as it keeps your luggage dry in a big storm, it will be fine.

Lockable Zippers at the base so nobody can put anything in.

The best quality zips are YKK ones. Furthermore, zips need to lock at the base to prevent anything being pushed into your pack.

Multiple Compartments

There are 2 compartments. This allows for separating for example, laundry in one or travel gear in one and clothes in the other. The compartments should also be able to be combined back to one when you need the extra space.

Internal Frame (that can be taken out for washing)

There are 3 types of pack. An external frame, an internal frame and no frame pack. External packs have excess of frame that can be obstructions. No frames mean that there is no support. An internal frame in many models can also be taken out for washing.

Handles at top and side

Handles at the top and side allow a person to carry the pack as though it was premium luggage used in 5 star resorts. It makes it easy to bypass the hippy backpacker mentality that some hotels still have. It also makes it easy when to carry when you have packed the straps away to protect them during a long plane or train ride.

Padded Adjustable Hip Belt

The hip pads support the weight of the pack. A fully adjustable hip belt will spread the weight best. The best travel packs will be both durable and comfortable to wear.

Padded Adjustable Shoulder Straps

The rest of the weight is spread to the shoulders. For the same reason these need to be adjustable and durable.

Chest belt

The chest belt is important for spreading the weight well. It allows the weight on the shoulder straps to be better distributed.

Zippered compartment that allows straps to be hidden

The zippered strap protection compartment is important to protect your travel packs straps, especially when your pack is in transit on planes, trains and automobiles. It transforms your travel pack into high quality luggage.

Zip flap

A zip flap hides the zippers and makes the pack more water resistant.

Padded Back

The back needs to be lumbar padded to ensure that the pack is comfortable against your back. It also protects you from objects that may be pressing against the material of the pack.

Zip off day pack (can be used for cabin baggage) with internal zip compartment

A zip off pack allows you to take your essentials (minus your Swiss Army Knife ) on the plane. It also doubles as a day pack that you are able to use during the day


A 65 – 75 litre pack will be big enough to take what you need for a long term trip but not too big.


Wheels add extra weight and as such are not generally a good idea. For most people doing a long term trip as they are no good on cobbled streets, stairs, snow, dirt tracks (or roads), etc they can become quite cumbersome quite quickly.

Internal compression straps

Internal compression straps are an advantage at times to hold clothes and sleeping bags inside. They can help to reduce the size of your luggage. External straps are more at risk of getting broken.


U shaped Zips open like a suitcase providing easy access to your belongings and easier to find what you want. It is not just a small hole at the top and bottom.


Clips can be used to attach extras such as a tent or something that you do not want inside your pack.


There are a number of materials used for travel packs.

  • Canvas – The leader in water resistant material
  • Nylon – Is too lightweight, not water resistant and can easily tear
  • Newer synthetic materials – Lighter than canvas but not as water resistant

Double Stitching

Holds together better. Single stitched packs will save small change and make big problems. If your pack starts to come apart, you will need to find a replacement fast as it carries everything you need on your trip.

Luggage Strap

Luggage Straps can be an advantage but are not an essential feature.


Your travel pack is an investment. Buying a poor quality travel pack may be the worst mistake you make in your trip. It can turn a good trip into a bad experience.



However, not everyone thinks the same about back packs. See what Steve Climber thinks about backpacks


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