Travel Packs and Backpacks

Travel packs have become the preferred luggage for backpackers, and with good reason.  They offer
many advantages over traditional backpacks .  I’ll explain the differences, pros and cons.

For years people have been backpacking with the traditional “everything in through the top”
style backpacks, originally designed for trekking.  Backpacks are strong and are easy to
carry, but access through the top means taking things out all of
the time. 

Over the last few years more and more travel packs are
being used, and with good reason, they are generally much better for
backpacking.  With a zip around the side, opening the front like a
suitcase, access to your stuff is much easier and less
disruptive
.  As most backpackers only every carry their
packs for short distances, travel packs are the way to go.  Let’s
compare them.

Travel pack vs backpack

Item Backpack Travel pack
Access to main compartment Through the top.  Good for trekking, as everything is safe
inside.  Bad for everyday access as things bet buried and
squashed.
From the front via an unzipping front.  Allows easy access to
everyting inside.  Some have straps in the bottom for clothes.
Size and shape Thin and long to allow weight to spread out across the back for long
treks.
Generally shorter and wider, to allow better packing of items.
Carrying straps Designed for wearing all day. Generally the same as backpacks, but good travel packs have a cover
that neaty zips over the carry straps which is great for airplanes,
buses, etc.
Day pack No Good travel packs have a day pack that clips one, so you only need to
carry one bag to and from the bus station.
Pockets Generally on the outside. Almost always inside, around the main compartment.  Good for
keeping everything safe.  Good travel packs have document sized
compartments on the inside of the main flap.

Travel packs are a great new alternative to the
traditional backpack. If you haven’t got one already then check our shopping guide or your local
store.

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