Updated: Jan 20
Ask my backpack, not my pillow, what I have gone through. ~PS
If you are planning to backpack (the verb… not the noun), whether it be for a weekend getaway or through Europe, it is important to pick the best backpack for you.
Think like "Goldilocks"... you want your backpack to be just right... not too big or small, easy to pack, useable pockets to make items accessible (so you are not yanking out your panties to find your phone cord), and a good fit - you want the weight of the bag to evenly distributed; no hunchbacks.
The type of traveling you are about to embark will play a major role in the type of backpack you choose. Decide what features are most important: fit, pockets, lower back support, thick shoulder straps, water bottle pocket...
This review is that of my (Natalie) opinion and what I experienced when using this bag.
There are bags that I have absolutely loved over the years, but this one far exceeded my expectations. Keep reading and you may be sold on it like I was when researching.
When I began traveling, I tried several different backpacks over the years and the one that sticks out the most for me is:
I knew backpacking throughout Europe would need more than a school or computer backpack, something that could withstand the wear and tear of constant use. How do you choose? Your personal needs are top priority.
Since 2006, I have tried 4 different styles of backpacks.
The first Europe trip, I bought what I thought was a great backpack for a two week adventure. It became obvious quickly that this backpack and I would not be friends.
It opened from the top.
So searching for anything required me to dive into my bag like Mary Poppins to find whatever it is in the depths of the abyss. I used that backpack only once.
The next trip, I decided on a rolling backpack.
In theory, a rolling backpack would be easy. Enter the cobblestone roads.
The wheels wonkily (I made that adverb work right?!) rolled over medieval cobblestoned roads. It flipped and flopped. I spent more time fighting and cursing under my breathe. To the back of the closet this one goes.
My third time across the pond, I took a backpack highly recommended by Rick Steves, a well-known and trusted traveler.
Enter the travel gods and this would be perfect. Surely I wouldn’t be disappointed! Right?
Wrong. It was a bad fit for my body-type.
My husband loves this backpack because it fits his six-foot frame and broad shoulders.
For me, it was cumbersome to carry. All my packed items shifted to the bottom which made it feel like I was carrying a brick at the base of the pack. Cue the ibruprofen.
Next trip and I had to compromise with lovely hubby that I wanted to search for a new backpack, and, him shaking his finger at me, says that this is the last time I need to buy a backpack so make it worth it. (It won’t be the last.. Shhhh… don’t tell him that!)
After my 3 bad experiences with backpacks, I knew what I wanted and needed.
I made a list of must-haves: fit, durability, quality, organized pockets, a divider in the center of the backpack so items won’t shift, expandable, opens like a suitcase, and price.
Let the research begin!
Narrowing my search to those key points, lead me to the eBags Weekender.
The eBags offer different sizes and options: junior size, one with wheels, and a regular size.
Now, more research for that.
Which size did I need for my body?
Watch more videos. Look more at the reviews.
With bloodshot eyes and overload on eBag reviews; it was time to bite the bullet. I hit the buy button.
So glad I did.
I highly recommend this bag, keep reading and watch the video to see why. Now, there are some cons that go with this bag but not enough that it would warrant me to seek another travel bag. (Stay tuned for future posts as we search for our hiking backpacks).
I was that eager kid fogging up the front window waiting for Amazon Prime van to pull up in my driveway with my highly anticipated backpack. It was the longest two days of my life!
A few things I noticed when I took the backpack out of the cellophane: there was no plasticky-chemical smell. None at all. That is a huge plus for me.
Did this bag meet my expectation key points? Absolutely!
The zippers were the first thing I noticed. I zipped and unzipped each one several times. No sticking, and no buckling. The teeth are a thick plastic which proved its durability. It will stay put and not break.
Strong material: We got rained on a few times and the water repelled and bubbled on the surface. I can’t say if it is fully waterproof in a downpour but it was water resistant in the little bit of rain that I experienced.
The material is a smooth thick canvas-like texture. It’s breathable and sturdy. The straps are cushiony and comfortable on the shoulders. They don’t dig in.
One con with the straps are the backpack comes with removable body straps that slip off easily. I tried using them across my chest and one side kept slipping off its groove. It would be nice if the chest straps were sewn and not a slip glide inside a groove.
The design team put thought into this backpack for the traveler. All easy to reach. Lots of pockets. All sizes.
Yes! Score! I like having places for each item and being able to easily find them. See all the pictures and in the video to see all these amazing pockets.
One “pocket” I had to figure out how to make better for myself was the hidden side bottle holder. If you have a short bottle, it will fit nicely but mine is a stainless steel 12+ oz. It is top heavy in the pocket so I had to use a lock to hold the water in place and then each time I needed a drink, I had to stop, unlock the lock, maneuver the bottle in and out of the pouch, lock it back up and repeat. I like the idea of the bottle holder but the quality of the bag and how it is sewn in the side was probably one of the things I like the least.
There are pockets for every travel item you need. All sizes. Perfect way to stay organized (coming from a person that needs so much guidance in this area!).
This was a huge selling point for me. The inside core has a collapsible shelf/divider so no more off-balance shuffle.
Click the divider in place if you want it or not.
The sides also have belts to hold items in place. Trust me, nothing shifts in this bag!
The sides expand to give a few inches more or even if you expand the pack and want to tighten the pack, the zippers and teeth are so strong that even if you are bursting at the seams, those zippers hold!
Whether you need it or not, it's nice to know you can get that extra souvenir in there!
Opens like a suitcase:
No more digging down into the abyss. The zippers open the backpack to lay flat like a suitcase. Perfect!
One side has your core, and the other side has a mesh zippered side perfect for dirty laundry or anything that is soft material. I noticed that when I wanted to put something pointy or in a box on the mesh side, even though the material is high quality, I was afraid it would rip the mesh.
The backpack can range in price depending on if there is a promotional sale happening on the website. Mine was a little over a hundred dollars.
This backpack will last for years so the price will be worth it!
The end result: I highly recommend this backpack because it works for my needs in a travel backpack. It was money well-spent.
Have you tried this backpack? What are your thoughts? What recommendations do you have?