The guys at Blackleaf got in touch with me a few weeks ago about helping you guys choose your gapyear backpack. I know from my first trip that I spent hours trawling the internet and then even longer going around shops to check out the packs. Only to end up buying one on impulse when I saw it discounted in the sale by 50%. I reviewed my own rucksack here and will be reviewing another rucksack in a few weeks as I’m travelling to Australia with a different bag.
For now here is what Sammy, from Internet Fusion company Blackleaf has to say about three of their most popular rucksacks.
If you’ve ever thought about travelling around the world or visiting some of your favourite countries with nothing but a rucksack on your back and a whole lot of enthusiasm, you’ll know that it’s all about taking the plunge and just doing it. A lot of us are held back by commitments or fear of the unknown but once you’ve quit your job, decided what you want to take with you and then realised that actually, you only need about a third of it, you’re left with a pretty big decision. No, not where to go – that was probably the first thing you decided on, but rather what you’re going to pack everything into. There’s a huge amount of choice when it comes to picking a backpack and knowing what you’re looking for can be pretty hard if the only one you’ve ever used was to carry your books in…
Ortlieb Elevation 42L Backpack £193.46
One of the smaller and lighter packs available, the Ortlieb Elevation is probably as small as some travellers would dare to go, but despite being compact and weighing in at a mere 1310g it’s a heavyweight in the quality and features department. Originally designed as a mountaineering and alpine pack, its extras make it a perfect smaller travellers companion too. Things like tear and abrasion resistant fabrics, plenty of external storage straps and a comfortable back section with anatomically shaped straps and hip belt are essentials; and the Ortlieb Elevation has all of this and more. Total carrying comfort, compressed and compact, why not try a smaller option and take a little weight off your back.
Montane Grand Tour 55L Backpack £112.95
A good size for travelling for any length of time, the Montane Grand Tour is a 55l capacity backpack and to say that it’s loaded with great features is a huge understatement. This backpack is cleverly designed for distance thanks to its lightweight construction and reads like a bucket list in itself with everything you want in a backpack happily sitting there just waiting to be used. Features include strong and reinforced fabrics, large pockets of easy access storage for on the move functionality, compression straps for added stability, hip pockets and webbing gear loops, glove-friendly zip pulls – quite literally every feature you can think of to make hauling your luggage around easier. Its winning feature is the awesome VertErgo Tour back system which enhances strength, comfort and support with load carrying and what’s more, it’s removable so you can make your load even lighter.
Snugpak Kit Monster 65 Luggage £35.10
For those that prefer to lug their gear around in a holdall, it kind of defeats the object of backpacking as it’s not really as easy to transport your gear when it’s hanging over your shoulders and unevenly distributing its weight. That’s where the Snugpak Kit Monster 65 Luggage Bag comes into its own – it’s got all the benefits of a holdall with a whopping 65l storage capacity, but it also transforms into a backpack with its comfy back straps. This pack is simple in design and it’s not going to recite all of its features at you because this was pack designed to be rough and ready for any kind of journey you’re travelling on. It’s cheap but not cheaply made, it’s tough but not ugly and it’s the underdog of the backpacking world but definitely worth considering.
Looking at all of these bags has only made me realise how old my bag is now and how may new features have been introduced since.