I love my rucksack with detachable daypack
For a whole variety of reasons. But mostly it’s because I only have two arms ! It’s so much easier when your travelling to carry all your luggage loaded over your back in one go than to have to cope with a rucksack and then in addition a separate day bag/handbag over one shoulder or hanging off your arm. The only nervousness I have over the rucksack with detachable daypack system is that I cant see it and worry people could access the daypack without me knowing in a crowded environment but this is easily solved with a little added security. And in any case for valuable documents and money I wear a money belt and/or neckpouch.
It’s a Bergaus Jalan 65+15 Biofit backsystem. It’s light yet very durable. The nicely padded biofit backsystem adjusts to fit so sits comfortably on the back/hips making it good to wear for long periods of time without straining the back. I have found it easy to put on and fit – even when lifting it on from the ground. ( I used to have to put the previous rucksack to this one on a table to put it on or get someone to help me on with it ). The zip away harness and cargo cover ensure that the straps are always neatly packed away when in air transit. And it makes it look neat as well. One of my fears when travelling is that the zips on my luggage fail and the contents fall out all over the place – but this rucksack has been quite well thrown about and still is in perfect order. The outer fabric is still sound – no signs of stress or fabric pulling away from the seams/zips/straps. I would say the best thing I love about this rucksack is the fact that i can lay this on it’s side on a chair in my room when travelling and unzip it like a suitcase so that all the contents are accessible. The colour remains good ( I’ve seen rucksacks that have faded or have faded patches – although i suspect this may be due to something inside having leaked at some point). The detachable daypack is a great size and I use this all the time at home. When travelling it zips off of the rucksack to carry-on the plane.
I’m teasing you by telling you all this because sadly you can’t buy it anymore. Well that’s the advantage of following the advice below and buying a good quality rucksack – it will last you years. Luckily I have researched thoroughly for you – here are similar ones. I’ll be buying my eldest son one of these in the near future so that he has one of his own instead of borrowing mine.
Points to look for when choosing your rucksack
I would say around the £100 mark should be the least you pay to get a good quality rucksack. If it’s good quality it will last many years and you will get your moneys worth. Mine has been lent out to family and friends and traveled to many continents and is still going strong. It’s over 5 years old but is still in excellent condition with many more years in it yet. I bought it for around £95 on offer. For the number of trips its been on it works out at less than £10 per trip which is a small price to pay to securely transport your luggage and valuables on holiday. Not to mention the number of uk trips it was used for.
Rucksacks with detachable daypacks come in a variety of size combinations – measured in Litres. 80+15, 60+20, 65+15, 45+15, 60+10, 35+5, 60+15, 70+ 20 and so on. In case it isn’t obvious the larger number refers to to rucksack and the smaller number refers to the detachable daypack. Buy the right size rucksack for your needs – too small and you will be straining your rucksack to fit everything in and too big and you are carrying extra weight – although better to be too big than too small. I find my 65 + 15 litre is enough for me. I’m a woman in her fifties and 5′ 3″ this is probably the largest I am comfortable carrying.
How your rucksack opens is another point to consider. If it opens at the top you will be forever unloading everything to access items further down the bottom. If you unpack most of your gear when you get to where you’re staying and are not continuously delving into your rucksack then this might not be a problem for you but personally after using a rucksack that has side zip opening similar to a suitcase I wouldn’t go back to top opening. Also most top opening rucksacks have drawstrings rather than zip closure. The advantage of a drawstring is that there is less to go wrong but I prefer rucksacks with zips as they can be secured with padlocks.
Some rucksacks have grab handles located on the sides making it easy to move around when on the ground. These come in surprisingly handy in my opinion.
Rucksacks with good padding are more comfortable to carry for long periods of time. This may seem obvious but not all rucksacks are the same so it’s wise to check.
Internal and external pockets
I personally find pockets useful though not essential. Great for non valuable items such as tissues and hand sanitiser and keeping odd bits like shells picked up along the way.
As a general rule the more you pay for your rucksack it will not only be better quality but it will weigh less as it will be manufactured using lighter higher spec materials.
Shoulder straps and dangly bits
Some rucksacks have a shoulder strap cover that hides the shoulder straps away making them safer and easier to navigate luggage handling / air transit. Rucksacks tend to have lots of straps which can be caught on conveyor belts and baggage transporters at airports. This can seriously damage your rucksack causing tears / rips / seam damage or worse still if they get caught up it may stop your rucksack from being loaded onto the plane in time. Also if your rucksack has lots of bits hanging off you may be asked by check-in to take it to a special baggage loading area – I cant remember what the correct terminology is for this but it doesn’t just load onto the conveyor belt where it’s checked in. This isn’t a major problem , usually its very close by. If a rucksack doesn’t have a cover then you can tuck everything in and tie any loose straps down / together, securing them as much as possible or better still buy a protective rucksack Bag / Sac Cover that goes over your rucksack and keeps everything secure whilst in transit. If you plan on travelling to India during Monsoon season then get a waterproof cover. A cover is better value than getting your rucksack secured with clingfilm for air transit as it is re-usable and so a one off cost. Also if your rucksack needs to be checked by airport security they will just cut the clingfilm off and you will be back to square one. Alternatively take some duck tape ( not a whole roll) with you and secure straps down with it – seems an odd idea but I have known people do it and apparently duck tape is an absolute life saver if your rucksack ever gets ripped or damaged or even worse the zip fails while you are on your travels. (Which it shouldn’t if you have followed the advice in this blog ! )
These are designed to slot together for easier and more secure padlocking – so no gaps in the zipping for anyone to try and poke their fingers into your rucksack.
Great if you have to make a bit more room for all those lovely bits you’ll be bringing back from India. Versatile
Your rucksack needs to be tough and sturdy enough to cope with being loaded to the full and thrown around by luggage handlers at airports. Anything really cheap is unlikey to be well constructed. This will result in you ‘double buying’ – ie having to buy a second rucksack after you’ve had to throw away the first one because it’s fallen to bits. Better to pay a little more and get something reliable and lasting.
Here are more suggestions for you
Accessories you might need to ensure your trip is a success.
Rain cover – also for keeping straps in check
If travelling during monsoon season then a waterproof backpack or waterproof cover will be a good choice.
A good quality padlock for each zip closure is recommended. Use on airlines or if leaving in accommodation for any length of time or when travelling on trains or anywhere you might fall/need to sleep – coach trips etc. Good padlocks are more necessary with the rucksack/daypack combo as your daypack is slightly vulnerable in crowded places. Combination locks are better than those with a key as keys can get lost. Just don’t forget the code ! This 2 pack of 4 Dial Combination locks from Amazon below are the best I have used – very reliable and great value.
Keep any damp wet clothing or potentially leaky items such as toiletries separate from the rest of your luggage by storing inside dry sacs. If you’re saving money then plastic bags will do a similar job except you will have to knot them very securely to avoid any leakages and may need to untie and redo many times. Or replace. A dry sac in my opinion is good value and I usually use a few – for wet items, dirty laundry and dirty shoes. Keeping your rucksack dry will help protect and preserve it as prolonged damp can cause rotting and weaken seams.
Insects and Rucksack liners
You can also buy rucksack liners but if you are tidy and use Dry Sacs this shouldn’t be necessary if you are only worried about damp. However a liner might be a neccessity if you are worried about insects ie bed bugs / cockroaches from getting into your rucksack. Keep your rucksack closed as much as possible while you are travelling particularly at night when these insects are active and for the same reason I avoid unpacking and putting in drawers/cupboards or leaving clothes on beds as these are bedbugs favourite hideouts . You will find life easier if you have a zipped rucksack as you can move things about without having to unload onto a bed / floor / chair / chest of drawers.
Best place to keep your money when you’re on the road
Brightly coloured scarf
As most rucksacks look very similar – make yours stand out by tying something bright on one of the handles. I have a small bright pink silk scarf. Of course it doesn’t have to be a scarf, anything bright and highly visible that you can easily identify as yours is good.
Rucksack with wheels
If you are unsure about a rucksack altogether, usually preferring a suitcase which less strenuous to maneuver and kinder on the back, then a wheeled rucksack is a good compromise though will be slightly heavier than a regular rucksack. There will be many areas in India, beach, uneven roads, trains and buses/coaches where a wheeled suitcase would not be suitable and the ability to carry it for a while then change back to wheeled luggage might be useful to you particularly if you have back problems or are just not very strong or are easily tired. I don’t particularly find these as comfortable as normal rucksacks due to the extra mechanism. I find them a bit stiff and heavy and they don’t sit as well into your back/hips.
Don’t overpack your rucksack. You will strain and damage the zips and seams if you cram too much in. You should not have to force anything or sit on your backpack to enable zipping up. Buying the correct size rucksack should help you to avoid this.
Wipe off any dirt or spills as soon as possible using a damp cloth and let dry thoroughly. Keeping your rucksack clean will prolong it’s life and help ensure it doesn’t fail you on your travels.
When you’ve got your rucksack back home – wipe clean – dry thoroughly – check zips and straps are sound – and then store in a dry place. It is essential to make sure it is 100% dry or you may end up with spots of black mould growing on it. Which is not good !
Read also my blog about how not to bring bugs home