Travel Essentials Series #2: Backpacks

Ok, our backpack situation is kind crappy, so this post will be about telling you what works for us and what doesn't, as well as what we would do differently.

Our Current Set-up:

My husband uses this bag and really likes it. 


It has a ton of pockets for staying organized and stashing things like our passports.


It's a little heavy without anything in it.  

We aren't using the hydration pack feature as we primarily use waterbottles instead.  


This was primarily my bag, but we switched with our 9 year old after hers was feeling too heavy for her to carry.  


It's very light and comfortable with adjustable straps.  


The front small pocket, if not closed, will just flop open when the main compartment is open and dumps all of your stuff. 

Side pockets hold waterbottles but are kind of slippery so they've been known to fall out.  

Not enough internal organization for my liking.  

My daughter used this backpack, which used to be mine until it started rubbing my neck uncomfortably.  Initally this worked great for her, but began to feel super heavy after a little while, which meant my husband and I would have to carry it.  Ugh.  We switched her to using the Marmot (which she still find to be heavy), but overall feels is better for her.  



Small hip strap to help w/ bearing the load.


Heavy on it's own (2 lbs 1oz).

The straps are close together so they can rub on your neck.

Our water bottles don't fit well in the side pockets when it's full and often pop out.


This backpack was a hand-me-down from our older daughter to the younger, so it's been through quite a lot and doesn't look so clean!  Works very well for the 7 year old, though it seems no matter how light we pack it, she complains that it's too heavy.  (Maybe there's nothing wrong with the backpack....just the wearer! I love you, A.  Maybe you just need to eat some protein like I keep telling you!)


Conclusion aka What We Would Do Differently...

Smaller, more comfortable bags are worth the cost for the kiddos.  They will save you having to lug them around for them.

If there were a service where you could test-drive backpacks for a few weeks to see how they function before committing, that would be awesome.  Hmmm, it just occurred to me that we could have bought them from REI and tested them out and returned them if we had any issues.....(no, I do not get paid for saying that!) 

We are currently in Indonesia and traveling faster than we have the entire trip thus far. (Moving every few days or so).  This means a lot of packing up and lugging our bags around.  We are considering donating the kids backpacks in exchange for carry-in size rolling backpacks.  We think this will allow us to place more things in their bags than we can when they are physically carrying them and will, hopefully, keep us from having to carry their bags for them.  By making them carry-on size, we will only need to check our two larger suitcases (plus board bag), cutting overall flight costs.  


Anyone have any recommendations for bags to use while traveling with kids?