Buying a backpack takes a serious amount of research! Our bags are one of the most critical pieces of gear for our adventure. After all, we have to live out of these bags for many months to come, not to mention carry them around from place to place!
Once you start wading into the world of backpacking gear, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many options to choose from. After 3 weeks of scoping out sizes, narrowing down the range of brands that offer the size range and utility that we required, and then reading online reviews and making trips to outdoor stores to test fit, we were ready to commit.
We both chose to go with a Deuter brand bag. Richard picked a blue Futura Pro 38L and I chose an orange Futura Pro 34L SL (ladies fit).
Here is a list of criteria that shaped our decision:
- Be comfortable and well padded around the hip and shoulder area (check)
- Be as light as possible and keep within the standard carry on size for flying (check)
- Have two compartments with a zippered separation to keep our running gear and shoes apart from our clothes (check)
- Have a raincover (check)
- Have top and side zippered pouches for storing items for easy access (check)
- Be able to incorporate a hydration reservoir (check)
- Be durable with a good warranty (check)
- Have zippered pockets on waist belt (uncheck! this isn’t a feature in the models we chose, but since the bags met all other criteria, we let this one go!)
The bags are a lot smaller than the standard backpack one might choose for the length of trip we’re planning. However, we want to travel in a very minimalist way, and pack as little as possible. I guess our decision to follow the summer over the next few years will help with the amount of clothing we need to cart around with us :).