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Backpack Tips

What to Look for in a Backpack


Choosing a backpack is one of the most important steps in planning your trip to Europe. If it doesn't fit right or just isn't comfortable, it can really slow you down. There are some things you can cheap out on but trust me, it is worth every cent to get a pack that fits you properly.

 Go here for a printable version of this list.

 You can also visit the Eagle Creek Store to see my favorite packs.


  • How long are you going for?
  • How much are you planning on packing?


  • When are you going?
  • You might need a slightly bigger pack if you are carrying winter clothes or a sleeping bag.


  • Are you interested in a pack that has a removable daypack?
    (I strongly recommend this)


  • Are they easy to get into?
  • Can you lock the zippers?
  • Note-too many outer pockets can throw the weight of your pack off-not a good thing!


  • What is it made of?
  • Is it water resistant or can it be treated so it is water resistant?

 Waist Belt

  • Is the waist belt comfortable? (Don't buy one without a waist belt-80% of the weight sits on your hips)
  • Does it sit right on your hips?
  • Would a woman's fit pack sit better for you?

 Chest/Sternum Buckle

  • Does it have one?


  • Is it top loading or panel loading?
  • Top loading loads everything from a top pocket while panel loading loads from (usually) a large zippered pocket on one side.
  • Will it load evenly to distribute the weight? (Panel loading is better for this)


  • Does it come with one?
  • What does it cover?

 If you aren't certain about a pack, ask the sales clerk at the store to put some weight in it for    you. Often they have weights or sandbags they can put inside to give you a more realistic  feel. It's a good idea to ask how much weight they've added to the pack and get them to add  weight  in increments.


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