No kickbacks here – no sponsor plugs and no affiliate links. Just an honest overview and assessment of the bags and backpacks we have as of this writing for our continuous slow travel outside the U.S.
Also, this post is not about what’s inside the bags. We’re still figuring out how to pare down what we do have as we galavant ’round the world, with a goal of two bags each. (I’m close – but not quite there.)
First – my “always with me bag.” It’s a regular, run-of-the-mill backpack that you can find anywhere. Nothing fancy. It has a laptop pouch in the main compartment. It’s the gray and orange pack in this picture of us on the train from San Diego to Tijuana:
If you look closely at the picture, you can see the straps are wrapped up to keep them in place. I consider that a design flaw. Again, this pack is nothing fancy. It’s also not a bag designed for women, so it hits my ass when it is on my back.
The other main bag I use also meets most carry-on limits. The green backpack on wheels pictured below doesn’t have a name or tag anywhere on it that I can see, so I don’t even know the brand. Talk about nothing fancy!
My green bag used to have a removable day pack attached by zipper on the front. I lost that a long time ago – I don’t remember where. So, I ordered a new day pack from Amazon before we left the States earlier this month – New Highlander 33L packable day pack.
Of course, that size hits my butt. I like it anyway – it’s light, packable, and it was only $17.
My husband plans to carry a Kelty on his back. It’s huge – 50L. Tedly took off the metal rods that served as an external frame. Without the rods, his plan is to scrunch it down and cinch it in to fit carry-on size as needed.
He bought it used on Craigslist in San Diego – this was one of our last purchases before we left the States. (Ironically, the seller was from Cleveland!)
Tedly also uses a backpack on wheels. He’s had this model a long time. It’s some random brand, the tag says ‘GS’ on the front flap.
Tedly’s third bag is a regular backpack – an OGIO Ionik. It’s got virtually no padding on the body, so it’s super light. He loves this thing.
He’s had it for more than a decade, and it’s falling apart, but it is still functional. The goal is for him to pack this away as his day pack, like my blue one that is a bit more packable.
And finally, we are still carrying around a reusable shopping sack (yes, a shopping sack) with a few convenient money-saving items in it, including a coffee maker.
A comparable machine in a Mexican Walmart is more than double the price. So for now, we’re still carrying it. (Yes, I’ve done instant, camping cups, immersion coils, French press… doesn’t compare to fabulous drip coffee where no extra prep – like boiling water – is needed!)
I digress. What’s inside the bags is another blog post.
The bigger the bag, the more I pack. The smaller the bag, the more I try to jam in there. Tedly is the same way. We’ll get the hang of light packing, eventually.
The goal is for each of us to have two bags as pictured below – a wearable backpack and a backpack on wheels. That’s it.
Tedly, loaded down with bags, at the train station on the way to Tijuana, Mexico.
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