Tuesday, 15 December 2009

My Pack

My cousin recently asked me for advice on a backpack to buy for travelling.  Of course, I don't have a great wealth of experience in this area, so I can only really discuss the pros and cons of my current pack.  That said, I've been wanting to do a review of my current pack for awhile now, so this is a good opportunity to post some pics so you can all see what I've been lugging around.

I've been using a Pangea 75 from MEC.

The "75" refers to the pack's capacity, in this case 75 litres.  Here's a couple pictures showing the front and back of this bad boy:

You'll notice from the back shot that the suspension system is quite rugged, which is something you're really going to want.  Pay special attention to the "belt" on this pack.  The straps are very wide and well padded, and it allows you to comfortably shift a lot of the weight of the pack off of your shoulders and on to your hips.  The back pad is adjustable top to bottom, which is why I highly recommend actually going into MEC if you're planning on getting a pack.  The pros there can help you to adjust the pack to fit you perfectly before you leave the store.  It's also important to note that we're all built differently, and it may not be possible to adjust a pack to fit your specific body type.  For that reason it's a good idea to have a few packs in mind when going into a store.  Your favorite pack on paper might not turn out to be your favorite pack on your back.

A feature of this backpack that I'm really keen on is the fold-away suspension system, illustrated here:

I can just fold up the suspension system, cover it with this zippered flap, and voila, my backpack is now a duffel bag:

This is particularly nice when you're planning on flying with your backpack as you don't have to worry about loose straps getting caught in things and damaged after you've checked your luggage.  Checking your backpack at the airport segues nicely into the next nice feature of this pack, the removable day pack.

That nice part on the front with the awesome flag on it just happens to zip off.

That's handy for camping when you want to bring a few things on a day hike without having to bring your whole pack with you.  It's also nice when flying because you can use it as your carry-on luggage.

So those were the key points that I was looking at when I got this pack.  Something to consider when looking at a pack like this is that it's not perfect for all travel situations.  For a serious expedition this pack is actually quite small; you can get packs in excess of 90L at MEC.  Also, for the kind of vacation where you're checking into a hotel upon arrival and staying there for the duration of your visit a backpack is a bit unnecessary.  The pack was great in Japan since we were constantly on the move, but for a more stationary trip you can get a LOT more gear in a regular suitcase.

Well folks, that's all I can offer in terms of backpack advice.  It's been awhile since I've talked about travel gear, I hope you all enjoyed the read.  Sorry it's so late getting up, I was playing around with the photos and didn't get it all uploaded in time before I had to leave for work this morning.  See you next week!


Jabbles said...

I forgot the name of my pack, but if I had to do it over again I would likely you with your model, so I guess it does not really matter. One thing I like about yours is the resistance to water, I know it's not full on water proof but it's still a great feature. My only problem with the day pack (at least for my model) is that you can't cram the main bag full, if you do it get nearly impossible to attach the day pack.

Aunt J. said...

After reading your review I'm wondering what commission you're receiving from MEC!