This post is part of a series in which ladies on the road offer a review of their backpack. Today’s review is from Katie Aune who quit her job to travel and volunteer for a year. Please note, any affiliate links are denoted by an asterisk.
I am a thirty-something former attorney from Chicago who left a job in nonprofit fundraising last summer to travel for a year. I am focusing on traveling and volunteering in the 15 countries of the former Soviet Union; so far I have been to Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus, and I am currently in Ukraine. Up next will be Moldova, the Caucasus and Central Asia. When I am done with this trip, I hope to transition into a career in travel/tourism.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
I have an Eagle Creek 55L Truist Vita. It was originally priced around $200 but I got it from the REI Outlet* online for about half that at the end of 2010.
>> Shop for Eagle Creek Truist 55L Bag on Amazon*
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I got it specifically for this trip. Previously I had a 70L Eagle Creek pack that was just way too big for me so I decided to try to downsize for my current trip.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack? How did you come to choose this one?
A backpack that is front and side loading was most important – I can’t imagine using a top-loading pack – I would never find anything! I also wanted a pack with a separate compartment for shoes. I also liked that this one has a detachable “fanny pack” with several small pockets that attaches on the top. I never actually detach it but I have found it is the perfect place to store my toiletries. They are easily accessible and if something leaks, the mess won’t go into the rest of my pack. It also helped that it was on clearance when I found it so the price was right!
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
Hmmm. Good question. I actually am not a big fan of traveling with a backpack and probably won’t use one again after this trip. I am not so good at packing light and I like the comfort of a rolling suitcase over lugging a pack around on my back. I only went with a backpack for this trip because it seemed to be a better option for doing a lot of train and bus travel.
All that being said, I like the separate compartments the best. No real down sides.
It is made for women and relatively speaking it’s fairly comfortable. I had it delivered to an REI* store and someone there adjusted it for me to fit just right. I have gotten to the point where I can walk around with it for a good 45 minutes or so at a time and feel okay.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
In terms of carrying and comfort level, it’s probably still a little too big. In terms of fitting everything I wish it could fit, it’s too small. But again, I don’t like to pack light. I am also traveling in cold weather so my clothes are bulkier than if I was in warmer climates.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
I would recommend it. Out of all the backpacks I considered, I just kept coming back to this one. I have used multiple Eagle Creek products while traveling and I really like them overall as a brand.
Thanks for telling us about your backpack, Katie! I would like the separate space for the toiletries too.
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