When traveling through Europe or Asia or even the Himalayan razorbacks, it's important to carefully consider the type of luggage you'll be strapping to your back. Though backpacking packs are multipurpose and often large enough to haul all necessities, they shouldn't always be the first choice. Before your departure, you must take a firm look at what you can bring, what you should leave and, perhaps most important, what feels best on your back.
High Sierra RailPass Travel Pack
The High Sierra RailPass ($75 to $140 as of 2010) is an ideal backpack for light and mobile travel. The pack is designed with the hiker in mind, but shouldn't scare away the novice travelers. Its wicking technology and seam-sealed zippers and compartments give it the waterproofing that all travelers enjoy when caught in a rainstorm on a train platform. Though it's large enough to carry the majority of what you'll need on an extended trip through Europe, it also comes equipped with a removable day pack--which can be used for shorter day trips and strenuous day hikes when you can't fathom the thought of trucking all your gear up a mountain. It received an 88 percent consumer approval rating at eBags.com.
REI Tour Travel Pack
The REI Tour Travel Pack ($145) is best for minimalistic travelers who like to keep a low profile. This pack looks rather small, but in fact has a 3,750-cubic-inch capacity. Though it's easily stowed under seats or right on your lap, with careful packing you'll be able to fit in nearly all your essential gear. The smaller design does leave a little to be desired in terms of opening spaces. This pack also comes with a separate daypack that is easily removed. The smaller design does not sacrifice on comfort, though. The straps and hip belt are both equipped with soft foam, and the internal suspension system will keep you from jostling yourself right off the EuroRail. REI's 2008 Buyer's Guide says this pack is "smartly rigged for a hydration reservoir and digital audio player," and has the benefit of "many lashing points," which help when you can no longer fit anything else in the pack.
The Filson Rucksack
For the truly adventure-minded and small-weight travelers, there is the Filson Rucksack ($245). Though the price may be a tad high, this well-designed sack may well save your precious maps, clothes and camera in a serious bout of weather. The twill material is double-treated with paraffin and is highly water resistant. In addition, the thick material and the heavy-duty zippers ensure that this pack can take a serious beating on any trail or train. Throw it down in the dirt, have it kicked by a hostile traveler; it will withstand the brunt of your frustrations. Only the most minimalist of travelers should consider this pack, though. Its capacity to carry is dwarfed by the backpacking models. The Filson Rucksack was ranked an Editor's Choice on ShoppingComfort.com, a consumer reporting website.
Article Written By Duncan Jenkins
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.