Please sign in to post.

Which back pack to take

I bought a RS Carry on backpack with no wheels. When I loaded it up I wasn't sure how it felt. I will be traveling for 44 days. I then went to REI and ended up buying an Osprey Fairview 55L which weighs in at about 18 lbs with everything in it. I took off the attached daypack because I have a very lightweight Seapack day pack. I will be carrying the back pack as a carryon on the plane with my crossbody purse. It is quite different because of the attachment around the waist, the adjusting straps for the back and the shoulders and then the strap in the front. It all seems complicated especially for quick getting it on and off. What have you other travelers found using a Rick Steves back pack vs. using others? I found that the RS Back pack hurt my back after a few minutes. With the other though, it seems like there will be no quick exit from a train and that I would have to put the back pack on after I get off the train. Thanks for the feedback. I leave in 3 days!

Posted by
11942 posts

If the RS bag hurts, why would you take it?

For the other one, you can't wait to put it on until you get off the train? It's not that long of a distance. We're talking about maybe 15 seconds. You pick it up by its handle, exit the train, and put it on when you reach the platform.

Posted by
81 posts

That's what I was thinking about exiting from the train. I was wondering if maybe I chose a pack that was to heavy to begin with. It weighs 3.85 pounds, but that is before I took off the daypack which I don't need. I am not even taking that many clothes. It seems that all this other stuff like flashlights, power packs for your phone when you are out during the day, soap, medications, etc take up a lot of weight. Time to pare down!

Posted by
1131 posts

Osprey makes some nice packs (I have a Porter) but they feel like they are almost too sturdy and substantial sometimes because the material they are made with is not that thin nylon that other packs use.

I think your description suggests that you really don't have to choose between the packs: one hurts and one doesn't. You take the one that does not hurt, especially for a long trip such as the one you are taking. To carry anything other than an insignificant amount of weight, a pack needs good straps, a chest strap, and, most important, a substantial belt to transfer a lot of the load to your hips.

Posted by
1211 posts

I wonder if the 55L is too much pack? I too have a porter 46 and it has been ample for travel of all lengths. It holds a laptop and cords comfortably in their designated pockets. But, as to your question about straps, they are the same as any other backpack that adjusts to fit you properly. You adjust the shoulder straps once when the pack is fitted (did you get it fitted bu someone who knows what they are doing?) and then you use only the waist strap, and occasionally the chest strap as wanted for additional comfort. If you aren't sure about how a pack should fit, take it back to REI and have them show you how the two shoulder straps should be adjusted in concert for the best support and comfort. The reason Osprey travel packs are so good is that they are made by a company that earned its reputation making packs for backpacking (which is how we ended up with the Porter - we have Osprey backpacking packs, and have had others, and have done a lot of comparison research and trial and error), which emphasize internal struts that mold to your spine and strap adjustment possibilities that allow for the best fit. When I am getting on and off of somewhere, I dont worry about the waist strap if Im in a hurry to get off. I can descend a few train stairs with the backpack slung over my shoulders and adjust when I get on the platform. Good luck

Posted by
22146 posts

I think part of the problem is that the RS backpack is not designed to a long distance backpack. Designed primarily for the convenience of short distances and time and it rides on your shoulder. Hence, the pain after some time. The Ossprey is truly a backpack with lots of adjustments and designed for the load to ride on your hips and not your shoulders. Not a true apple to orange comparison. And it is true, you are not putting the Ossprey on in ten seconds but I would never put a backpack style of luggage on in a train or even wear it in very crowded situations. That is just sitting yourself up as a target. We both use the RS backpack style but rarely have it on more than one shoulder. For me it rides very comfortably on one shoulder but I am not hiking five miles either. If I was strapped into an Ossprey the last thing I would want to go is get on a bus or subway with it strapped to my back hitting everyone in the face behind or convenient for idol hands to reach easily.

Not sure what you mean by "no quick exit from the train." You just step off the train with a bag in each hand. Move 15, 20 feet away from the flow, maybe a convenient bench, and then I get organized by pulling out the shoulder straps, positioning the bag (one or both shoulders), check whatever I need to check, and off we go.

Posted by
1118 posts

The tradeoff you are making is between an inexpensive and functional carry-on bag (that can be worn as a backpack using some skimpy straps) and a backpack (with a serious technical harness) that can double as a carry-on bag. Many of us find a bag somewhere in the middle but you don’t have time to shop any more.

You do not need to be completely harnessed into the Osprey pack (with waist belt, load lifters, and sternum strap) unless you are slogging several blocks or up many floors. Rapid movement is easy, just grab the handle or the straps and boogie. When you get a moment and some clearance, harness up.

Enjoy your trip and maybe stop back by the forum and tell us how you will pack next time.

Posted by
1179 posts

It really sounds like you overpacked. You should be able to get everything into a 40/45 liter bag.

“Stuff” does create a lot of weight, which is why keeping things tiny is important. Another source of weight is packaging and cases. Don’t take ful size anything.

As others have said, you don’t need to be fully in the harness to take the bag off the train. You could just skip into the shoulder straps, step off the train, and then attach waist belt and sternum strap.

Personally, I do as others have done and treat the bag as hand baggage. I put the pack on once I’ve stepped off the plane/train/boat.

I would take the 55 liter pack back to REI. Get a 40 liter pack or 45 liter max.. Explain to the sales clerk that you need a travel backpack with comfortable straps - not a hiking/camping pack. See if REI has any eagle creek, smaller osprey, or North Face - base camp duffle/packs. Stick to 40-45 liter size. Patagonia, rei brand stuff. You have a lot of options.

It's too late to order online. If you live near a luggage/travel store - go get a 40 -45 liter pack. You won't regret it. You are traveling for 44 days! You need an appropriate bag.

Posted by
162 posts

At risk of confusing you , I recommend a light wheeled bag with solid grab handles and lockable zips. After years of RS bigger bags I now use an Eagle Creek Euro size carry- on. I think it is a Gear Warrior. Silent wheels, one slim handle so more space inside, and all the zips are lockable. The many grab handles let me sling it on and off trains easily, and walking is much easier with a wheeled bag.
I take a small daypack as well, which carries my laptop etc.. Backpacks are bad for your back over time. Good luck.

Posted by
1026 posts

In the specs on the Osprey 55L Fairview, it shows dimensions of 25x13x12 inches, all in. This is a huge pack, and much larger than the carryon requirements for most airlines. This means you will need to check it. That's okay, but I do agree that the smaller sizes by Osprey will do the trick.

Good call Bogiesan. The OP could just leave off the daypack and use the main pack. The OP could carry a packable, small daypack inside the main pack.

Posted by
8 posts

Get a smaller bag, 40 L max, carry in size only, you don’t need that much stuff, no matter the length of your trip. Nothing wrong with light small rolling bags if backpacks hurt your back, but you will always be happy with less stuff.

Posted by
30 posts

I have an MEI Voyageur 45L and I love it. Comfortable, easy on and off, internal frame. Works for me.

Posted by
187 posts

Trade in the 55l pack for the Farpoint 40. This pack is a carry on size and should easily accomodate your needs.

Better size especially since you are bringing your own crossbody.

Posted by
1179 posts

Like Brenda, I also have the Voyageur. It had a very comfortable harness. I traveled for 4-1/2 weeks with it through South America.

Posted by
81 posts

You will all be happy to know that I took back the big backpack back to REI, they found me another, which I didn't like because it was too much of a hiking backpack and some smart person there named Sam found me the Osprey Farpoint 40L. It is great! It will make for happy travels!! Thanks for all of your suggestions.

Posted by
1118 posts

Hey, Jajo, thanks for closing the thread with your solution. Happy travels!

Posted by
3399 posts

Be sure to wear the clothes and shoes that weigh the most.