This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpacks. Today’s review comes from Kathleen.
Hey! My name’s Kathleen and I’m a life coach and nomadic traveler! Since 2012 my husband and I have been traveling the world very slowly and writing about living intentionally and personal life adventures at Our Favorite Adventure. This year we set down (but not packed way) our backpacks for a few months so I can focus on my life coaching business where I help amazing women who have a good life create an outstanding life with more ease than they’ve ever imagined!
I’m excited to share my feelings about the Elixir 45 with all of you because I truly LOVE it and highly suggest checking it out.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
My backpack is a 45 liter Elixir by Black Diamond. It costs $199USD pretty much everywhere it is sold from what I have found!
>> Check for prices of the Black Diamond Elixir on Amazon.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you travelled with it?
I have had this backpack just under a year, and if I have anything to do with it I won’t be buying any other backpack anytime soon!
This past summer I broke it in on the John Muir Trail. It was a major adventure for me, 211 miles in 26 days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was such a life changing experience, and this backpack took such good care of me. I had never in my life carried a backpack on my back all day everyday for almost a month, and the Elixir made the experience incredibly pleasant!
Then it came with me to Europe for three months in the fall. This backpack worked just as well as luggage as it did as a backpacker’s pack. Everything I had with me for the trip all fit perfectly in the backpack, and, again, was very comfortable to be wearing around for long periods of time.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?
For me it is all about comfort, performance and accessibility.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t get excited about a big heavy backpack on my back. So, it is important to me that it isn’t putting too much pressure on my shoulders and/or lower back, there aren’t parts that poke me while I’m wearing it, and that it fits my body correctly.
When buying such an important piece of travel gear, performance is also high on my priority list. I can’t have it falling apart when it is traveling all over and being stuffed full of all of my worldly possessions.
And, since everything I owned is typically inside of it, being able to access different areas of the backpack without completely unpacking is an invaluable convenience.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
No downsides! I LOVE it. In addition to the fact that it is outrageously comfortable and very lightweight, it is perfect in just about every other way.
I like that there aren’t a million compartments, zippers and straps. No frills here, just the main chamber, a zipper section along the length of the bag and two zipped areas on the hood.
There are really good compression straps for holding things to the side if necessary, but they are simple and tie down nicely. The main compartment can be accessed from the top by a drawstring and the bottom by a zipper.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
It is actually comfortable. I swear I’ve never used or tried on such a cozy backpack.
There is padding down the entire back and on the shoulders and hips that is actually soft. The backpack fits snug against my body so there isn’t added pressure in one area over another. The weight is distributed evenly!
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes! I did it the entire time we were in Europe! There was only one time they gave me a hard time about it (because they assumed it was too heavy to be a carry on, but we put it on the scale and airline employee was proved wrong), but all of the other times no one even thought twice about it.
Since it is only 45 liters it is easy to make it look small by synching in all the zip cords, and the hood even comes off if you really wanted to make it look smaller.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
Just right. Again, I carried everything I needed for a 26-day backcountry hiking trip in it, including food, camping gear and some clothes. And, in Europe I had winter clothes for 3 months, my laptop and everything else I owned — minus the camping gear this time — and never had an issue fitting everything.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
Yes! It actually makes carrying a backpack not-so intimidating. It is comfy to wear, and comes in two cute color schemes! Though, I have the burgundy and grey, the white and blue is so pretty!
>> Check out Kathleen’s other post on the one little thing she can’t travel without.
About the Author: Kathleen Ventura is a life coach and nomadic traveler. She believes in living with intention and purpose, and that your dream life gets started when you do. Kathleen coaches fabulous women to find their purpose and live their dreams at KathleenVentura.com, and she and her husband blog about their adventures at OurFavoriteAdventure.com. You can connect with her on Facebook.