This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpacks. Today’s post comes from Amber Hoffman.
Amber is a recovering tax attorney traveling the world, again. The most important thing she “packed” was her husband. Amber is traveling With Husband In Tow.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
I have the Osprey Porter 46 in black and grey. It is usually sold for only $99, but I signed up for the free membership program at Eastern Mountain Sports. The membership gave me 25% off, bringing it down to $75. A steal, especially for an Osprey.
Eric, my husband, has the larger Osprey Porter 65, in brown. It was a perfect bag for him too. But, that means that we have somewhat matching bags – something we tried to avoid! Too cutesy.
>> Check for deals on the Osprey Porter 46 on Amazon
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I just bought my Osprey in November, on a stopover in the US. So far, it has gotten me through all of Central America, through lots of chicken buses, and walks across dusty and hot borders. It heads to Asia next.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
I loved my last pack, mostly because it was a travel pack and not a traditional top loader. I love the idea of laying my bag down, unzipping it, and having access to everything without having to rummage through, or take everything out to find something on the bottom.
My prior pack took me on my first RTW, through 18 countries, but it was starting to show its age. It lasted for the first leg of my second RTW, and got me through 19 European countries in 4 months. It was time to retire it. I was worried about the zippers and did not want to have an issue on the road.
I researched online by looking at the specs of my bag. I wanted something just a little bit smaller. The larger my bag, the more I carry – some of it not needed. I saw the Porter 46 on some websites and liked the specs.
I went to EMS because it was closer than the REI, that simple. I asked if they had the Porter 46 in stock, and they said no. But, then, I found one on the rack, behind a bunch of other bags, hidden from everyone. It felt like it was meant to be.
Although I tried some traditional top load bags with secondary side zippers, when I opened the Porter 46, I fell in love. It was so roomy inside!
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
I love the size! It has a huge amount of space inside, but even when loaded up, it still feels small and light on my back. There are two small outside pockets that I can use for wet stuff, or dirty things, like my bathing suit or flip flops. There are also two mesh pockets inside for organizing small items. Most of all, when I unzip the bag I can see everything I have in there at one time!
The only downside is that I wish it had more compression straps on the outside, but I can buy those to add on.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
Currently, I am carrying around 11kg, or about 24 pounds. Although the bag has a smaller, more lightweight waist strap, it does not seem to be a problem. The bag fits the contours of my back. It’s not super high, so the weight is distributed.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
It is advertised as overhead bin material, but I have not tested it yet. My husband’s bag is bigger and has to be checked when full, so often I just check mine too.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
It’s just right when it comes to being able to carry it. Sometimes I still think it is too big because I have too much stuff with me now. But, I often pack more at the start of the trip and shed stuff as I go. I will wear the same two t-shirts for weeks, and then get rid of them, lightening the load.
I also carry my yoga mat with me. When my bag is full, I attach it to the outside under the compression straps. When my bag has some more space, I am able to fold it up and pack it inside, making the bag more streamlined. But, the fact that it fits inside is another bonus.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
Yes! I love this bag.
>> Check out our guide for picking a backpack.