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Meet Lucy Dodsworth and her Ridegway 40 Litre Backpack

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This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpack. Today’s review is from Lucy Dosworth is mixing her love of travel with a family and normal life.

Lucy DodsworthI’m Lucy, a UK-based editor and designer who blogs at On the Luce. After ten years of living and working in London, I’ve given up the day job to go freelance to try and travel more and have a more flexible lifestyle. I did the whole “give up everything and travel for years” backpacking trip in my 20s, but now with a business, house, family and friends, I’m trying to bring them all together. So I’ve been mixing travel and everyday life – taking trips as and when I can, from weekends around the UK and in Europe to more far-flung longer trips.

What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?

I have a Ridgeway 40 Litre Backpack. The usual price was around £50 ($80) but I paid about £35 ($55) for it on sale.

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Ridgeway 40L Backpack

How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?

I bought it a year ago for a trip to Bali and Kuala Lumpur, and have used it for a couple of short trips in Europe since then.

What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?

When I did my big RTW trip I had a huge 70-litre monster and ended filling it up with all sorts of rubbish I didn’t need (set of watercolour paints and sketch pad anyone?) just because I had the space, until I struggled to even put it on. So this time I was looking for the smallest bag I could manage. It had to be front loading so it’s easy to find things, be comfortable on the shoulders and preferably have a front pocket for my notebook/guidebook. I tried on lots of more expensive backpacks but this one had everything I needed, and the purple colour was a bit different from the usual greys/browns.

What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?

The upsides are that it was a bargain, so I don’t worry too much about it getting damaged. You can also fit a surprising amount in and there are quite a few compartments – a large front pocket, a bottom compartment you can separate out with its own zip, and mesh pockets on the sides. The downsides are that it’s not very waterproof, though there is a rain cover included and I sprayed it with some waterproofing to protect against showers. The metal frame on the back can make it a bit awkward fitting things in the top section too.

Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.

As it’s quite small I can’t overload the weight too much, which helps keep it comfortable, and it could easily be used as a hiking pack. One thing I really liked for travelling in tropical climates was the open mesh on the back which holds the pack away from your body and stops you (and the backpack) getting sweaty in the heat. The waist straps are also well padded and there’s the usual chest strap to balance the weight.

If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?

Yes (though possibly not with the budget European airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet who are really strict about the size and shape of carry-on).

Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?

It was about perfect for travelling to a hot country like Bali where you don’t need any bulky clothes, or for a shorter trips, but you would probably struggle if you were going somewhere cold or packing camping gear. Sometimes I think it’d be nicer to have more space but it makes me a better packer!

Overall, would you recommend your backpack?

Definitely, it was a real bargain and just what I was looking for. You do need to be a light packer though so it depends what sort of trip you are on.

Find out more about Lucy’s travels on her blog ontheluce.com or you can follow her on Twitter @lucydodsworth or on Facebook.

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