This post is the first in a new feature on Her Packing List in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpack. We hope these reviews help you find features you want in a pack and help you get to know some fellow female travelers! The first backpack review is brought to you by Val Bromann who’s been on the road with her backpack for the last several months on a RTW trip.
I’m Val, a website editor, photographer, and road tripper from Chicago, Illinois. This summer I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Europe. I’ve been traveling for three months now and am currently in Barcelona, Spain.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
My backpack is the Eagle Creek Explorer LT. It’s kind of old, so it’s no longer available new.
>> You might be able to find a used Eagle Creek Explorer LT on Amazon.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I bought my backpack in 2006, shortly after I applied for my first passport.
That summer it came with me on a three week backpacking trip around Europe. It went to Munich, Interlaken, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Prague, and Paris. Since then it’s also been on a week long visit to Amsterdam and on many plane and road trips around the US.
Now, it’s holding all my clothes for my year-long ’round the world trip. It’s held up great over the years so, while I thought about getting something newer or fancier for my current travels, I really saw no need.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
I wanted something light and on the smaller side. When I went to find a backpack I had no idea of what was out there. I tried on ones with a metal frame and didn’t like the way they fit. They were too stiff for me. I needed something that was more flexible.
I also liked that it had a detachable daypack. I’ve used it in the past but this time left it behind because I was trying to pare down what I bought and already had a separate camera bag.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
I like that it’s light and simple. The zipper goes all the way around so I can open it up and see everything. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a very organized person, so I wouldn’t be able to handle a top-loading pack where I couldn’t see everything (though with two zippers it could just be opened from the top.
The backpack has just one main area with a small zipper pocket inside. It’s great for loading all of your stuff, but potentially a downside because there are no compartments to organize your belongings.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
This pack definitely fits my shape well. The back is soft and flexible and all of the straps are adjustable. It rarely feels heavy on my back and I’ve easily carried it flung over one shoulder or held by the handle before.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
When I bought the backpack the information sheet said it was carry on size. But when I checked into my plane to Munich the first time I used it I was told I had to check it. You might be able to get away with carrying it on if you don’t have any other bags and it’s not packed full.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
With the daypack the bag is 70 liters, without it’s 50 liters. I’m currently traveling without the daypack attachment and find that it’s just right. I do have trouble trying to force everything in and zip it up each time I need to pack, but if I forced myself to get rid of a thing or two it would zip right up.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
I would recommend this backpack, or something similar, if you’re like me and need something that allows you to get at everything at once. It also is soft and light so it’s very easy to travel with and is still in great shape even after five years.
Read more about women’s backpacks on Her Packing List.
Sounds like a trusty and comfortable bag! Thank you for sharing our first backpack review, Val! You can learn more about Val’s life at valbromann.com and about roadside attractions at sillyamerica.com. Connect with her on Twitter @sillyamerica and her Facebook fan page.