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Posted by
13395 posts

Personally I think his concept of $150 being reasonable is nuts. My $24 bG does everything he suggests and has lasted for years. Just missing a brand name. And the concept of it needing to be comfortable on your back for hours assumes you will take it hiking or something. Mine slips over my carryon handle and stays there from car to plane. I dislike people who wear them in airports or worse yet on planes hitting people every time they turn around or try and take them off. But okay, he has opinions.

Posted by
2882 posts

I love lists like this, but usually don't agree with them (I'm a contrary personality, I guess. LOL). There is only one pack reviewed that would fit the personal item for British Airways, and it is the least appealing. IMO. I try to pack most items in my carryon, and only the 'must haves' in my Personal Item.
So, IMO, using most of these bags as the PI, would cause me to over pack, and British Airways would agree.

Posted by
1117 posts

And the concept of it needing to be comfortable on your back for
hours assumes you will take it hiking or something.

Well... what else would you do with a backpack? Why would you need a backpack at all if you're not going to be using it?

No matter if I'm hiking or just walking around some town and sightseeing, I am definitely going to be carrying that thing for hours. So it's going to need good padded shoulder straps and a good padded waist strap.

Posted by
12933 posts

Wray—-I had to look long and hard to find a daypack that fit the British Airways 16” x 12” x 6” size limit for a “personal item”. Finally found it 3-4 years ago—-the Osprey Skimmer 22L:

https://www.rei.com/product/892220/osprey-skimmer-22-hydration-pack-womens-25-liters

Unfortunately it is now sold out everywhere I could find——REI, Moosejaw, Amazon. So I better take extra-good care of mine, since they are not making it any more. Everything else exceeds that 16” measurement in height.

Posted by
3140 posts

I've said it before-it's not stylish but is cheap and comfortable because of all those heavy books kids have to lug. After years of looking for the perfect personal item, it's the JansSport bookbag for me-and one of those jackets with a lot of pockets.

Posted by
567 posts

Lola, that is very similar to my daypack. I have the Osprey Tempest 20. It works great for day hiking, but I also take it as my personal item while flying. Iceland Air also has pretty small limits for carryons and this worked just perfect for that, even stuffed full. Best of all, it is super comfy even for a long hike.

Posted by
2882 posts

Lola, This is my solution to BA’s PI requirements: Sherpani. As my bag is older, it is slightly different. I look for tote straps so I can hang is as a counterbalance on my bag.

Posted by
6513 posts

I read the CR article and was disappointed at the whole basis for the comparison. First of all, they seem to be suggesting these bags as a choice for a "personal item" as in what you put under the seat in front of you. But at 20-30 liters in size, with some dimensions too large for this use, it seems they were judging them as "carryon" bags, and implying they would be your only luggage. I would consider them all too large to use for daypacks, unless you are planning on carrying everything everywhere. And yeah, $150 is too much when a school backpack will do.

I just cruised through the article. Should be “best backpacks” for the author, not everyone else. Backpacks are like footwear - very personal.

Here’s my criteria to apply to a purchase: volume (day trip, 3 day trip, long trip), design, torso length, materials, colors, padding, features, cost, brand, type of travel. This is going to be different for everyone. Actually, I am utterly amazed at the array of bags every time I “people/luggage” watch at an airport.

One point I like to make about torso length. Get a tape ruler or string. Measure from the large bony knob at the base of your neck down to just past the concavity in the lumbar area. Do this 3 times and average your measurements. This is the most comfortable length for you. Find a pack close to this length.

Also, length has to be balanced against volume needed for packing. So, my rule for 1 week of casual clothing is for people shorter than 5’7” is a pack that is 38-40 liters in volume and 19 -20” long. For taller folks - feel free to upsize to a 20 - 22” pack at 45 liters.

Posted by
12933 posts

Mikliz97, that Osprey Tempest 20 looks like a great pack—-very similar to my Skimmer., although a bit sleeker in appearance. The XS/S is 17” in length, but I’ll bet it can fit the BA 16” limit if not fully packed. I may look for one to go on sale and buy it as a “spare”.

Posted by
567 posts

Lola--Yes, they look very similar. I have the XS and if it works for Iceland Air, it will work for most any airline. This pack works so well for me hiking, but also traveling. It is just very well designed, IMO.

Posted by
146 posts

I cannot imagine using a 20-30 liter pack as a personal item in addition to a separate overhead item.

Anything over 20 liters is simply too big to comfortably carry around towns, in stores and on public transit.