This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpacks. Today’s post comes from Nienke Krook, a fantastic member of our Pin Team! See her work on our Camping board.
Hi! I’m Nienke [neen-kuh] from Amsterdam. I’ve always camped with my family in Europe and started travelling solo to Asia and Oceania in 2006. The last 2 years, I’ve lived in Sydney where I worked as a Hostel Receptionist and Travel Agent. I’ve seen many different backpacks and suitcases during that time! On my blog, I focus on travel memories through photos, stories and souvenirs. I interview travel bloggers about their childhood travel memories and am very active on Pinterest, where my Travel Style Boards seem to be most popular. You can also find me as a HPL Pinner for the Camping Board.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
I have a green Quechua Forclaz 60. This backpack costs around 45 Pounds (52 Euros, 68 US Dollar, 66 AUS Dollar).
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I bought this backpack for my second world trip in 2008 and I took it to the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and India.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
I wanted a big pack, minimum of 60 litres, as my previous backpack was a lot smaller. I also looked specifically for a ‘front loader’ backpack, instead of one that can only be accessed from the top. The fabric from my last pack was quite stiff and didn’t give much, so I liked that this one was a bit more flexible. I believe this pack was on sale when I bought it as well, so it made my choice easy.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
I like the fact that I can open the (very strong) front zipper to get into my bag without taking everything out, but I would’ve preferred a zipper that goes all around, as the new Forclaz 60 model has.
Pocket-wise, I use the ones on the side and top most, as they are quite big. There are two gauze pockets on the bottom side of the bag that I never seem to use, I would’ve liked them to be a zippered pocket instead. I do like the flat pocket inside, ideal for storing documents. There is also a separate bottom compartment (ideal for shoes/dirty clothes) and a ‘secret’ zip pocket on the inside of the top, good for storing spare money, etc.
You can strap a sleeping bag to the bottom of the pack, which I don’t think is very handy, as you can’t put your bag on the floor in that case. I usually use the straps on front of the bag to tie my sleeping bag to.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
Carrying this backpack is quite comfortable, even with me pushing it to 20-30 kilos. The waist band is thickly padded and wide and the shoulder straps are adjustable, as well as the frame on the back, which you can set according to your height.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
No, I think it will be too big.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
As a person who always takes too much, I’d say it’s a bit small for me. I always seem to strap extra items to the top, front and bottom of the pack and I usually fill my flight bag with additional loose items. Next time I might buy a bigger size, but if you’re a more sensible packer than me, you will probably have enough space with this one.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
I’ve been dragging this pack around the world for about 5 years now and it doesn’t show any signs of wear and tear yet. Well worth the money for me. I will use it a couple years more, hopefully.