Which is the right suitcase for you? | Backpackers

November 04, 2017 4 min read

There are certainly no hard and fast rules about the perfect suitcase for your circumstances, however we have noticed that our customers will typically fall into one of four categories; the casual traveller, the business traveller, the adventure traveller and the backpacker. Here are our top picks for these 4 types of travellers.

This week we will look at the ‘Backpacker’



The Backpacker

If a backpacker takes a suitcase are they still a backpacker? It’s true that due to the nature of a backpacker’s travel (multiple destinations in one extended trip – usually staying only a few nights in one location before moving on), that a backpack is the most sensible option. It allows the bag to be carried when moving from one destination to the next and means the carrier is unrestricted in what they do. It doesn’t make sense for a backpacker to take a hiking pack though – unless they are hiking at some stage. Hiking packs are designed for hiking, not for long term living out of your bag.

Often times backpackers could get away with a suitcase – the convenience of the wheels would make getting around much easier and they are easier to pack and live out of. Their only disadvantage is that they are cumbersome to carry, so for the off occasion the backpacker needs to pick them up they are not suitable. Thankfully these are no longer the only two options – with the world of wheeled backpacks, wheeled duffel bags and travel packs, backpackers can select something far more suited to their needs.

Wheeled backpacks are a great all-rounder choice. Look for one with a panel opening that packs like a suitcase. If you will need to carry your bag for extended periods ensure the pack has a comfortable harness and a waist strap for extra support. Also consider getting a removable daypack, as this will allow you to have a small bag for daytrips and overnight trips that attaches to the big bag making managing the two far easier.

If you opt for a travel pack, look for the same features, a panel opening and removable daypack, these make living out of the bag much easier.

Key Factors to consider when choosing a bag are:

  • Wheeled or not – This depends on where you are going and what you are doing. Read out post on which is better here.
  • Budget – Backpackers tend to be budget travellers; however the bag is something you should invest some money into. You need something with decent quality zips, wheels and materials to see you through. A backpacker is harder on their bag in the one trip then most suitcases see in their lifetime. It’s also very difficult to get your bag repaired when you’re kayaking in Africa, a broken bag can ruin your trip.
  • Size – It’s tempting to get the biggest option available as backpackers go on long trips, however it’s important to get the biggest size you can that is comfortable to carry. If it’s too heavy once it’s full to carry comfortably, then it’s too big.
  • Wheels – Look for high quality, big wheels and a high clearance from the ground so that it can be wheeled over rough surfaces. Also look for lots of hardware around the base that protects the fabric from wear and tear when the bag is being dragged.
  • Packing Features – Avoid top loading packs, they are designed to be weatherproof for hikers but make it really difficult to pack and find things in. Look for a panel opening that packs like a suitcase, then if you want additional compartments there are options for sleeping bags, wet compartments and shoe compartments.
  • Additional Luggage – Backpackers should avoid additional bags as they need to keep things simple to make it easy to get around and also to secure in hostels and lockers. Look for a daypack that attaches to your main pack – even when both are full.  If you need a smaller handbag or travel bag opt for a cross body design that can be worn at the same time as the pack.
  • Accessories – packing organisers are amazingly useful for backpackers, they help keep your gear organised which makes you feel a little more in control when you’re on the move. Also consider a cable lock to secure all the compartments on your bag, and allows you to lock your bag to your bed or public transport for additional security when you’re in hostels or moving about.

Most Popular Options


The Osprey Sojourn Range –

The Osprey Sojourn is perfect for backpackers. It’s a premium quality backpack on wheels, and it’s loaded with practical features for all different sorts of trips. Available in 3 sizes, the Sojourn packs like a suitcase making it easy to access your gear, and the included backpack harness is an anti-gravity harness with waist strap, allowing the user to carry the pack for short distances up to day trips or a 2-day hike depending on pack weight. The Sojourn features a high road chassis (high clearance from the ground) and oversized durable wheels ensuring the case is durable enough to be dragged off road.

The Osprey Sojourn is a more expensive bag in its category, it is however backed by a lifetime warranty and comes highly backed by the staff at The Luggage Professionals.



Osprey Farpoint/Fairview Travel Pack – The Farpoint and Fairview range are travel packs designed specifically for men (Farpoint) and women (Fairview), that integrate a comfortable harness and a high quality pack that has a panel opening. With the gender specific fit, the pack is comfortable to carry even for extended periods of time, yet the panel opening makes it easy to live out of.


Also consider the Osprey Daylite daypack which attached to both the Sojourns and Farpoints/Fairviews.

Images via Osprey

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