• backpacking India 2 months

Ask Me Anything: Help me Buy a Backpack for India

I sometimes share e-mails under the tag “ask me anything“. I get a lot of very similar e-mails which means there are a lot of people out there thinking the same questions. Why not address them to everyone? You can search more like these by clicking that link above.

When people ask for help to buy a backpack for india, I usually just share the ones I’ve used as that’s kind of all I have experience on. But, I do travel with other girls a lot and look longingly at some of their cool backpacks which have had some convenient pockets and such.

Which backpack is best for india?

Backpacking India is stressful, that’s for sure so it’s important to pack right when you go. Packing for India is something I have down to a science and you can read about it here.

I’ll start with size. I’m totally happy with taking a 65L backpack. Anything bigger would have been too much to handle for me, but I’ve met loads of girls who take a 70L and they have no issues. I have traveled with a 48L for trips in Kerala (10 days) and around Thailand (30 days) but as you can imagine, the clothes I pack for Thailand are a lot smaller than India. When I sent to NE India (11 days) I took my 65L because I was packing warm clothing. It’s good to have both sizes actually if you’re going to be taking a lot of trips in the future.

I am fans of both Osprey and REI’s warranty plans. I buy my REI bags on their website or in the shop as they are not on Amazon and usually their site gives discount codes.

I’ve had a blue 65K REI backpack since 2008 and still use it when I’m going somewhere filthy lol, because it’s a bit of a mess although holding on for dear life still! They are a lot cheaper at REI, just as convenient to use, have as many perfectly placed pockets, and certainly durable. I also have a 48L REI that I use often for short trips.

  • . I’ve had this since 2008 and it’s still kicking.
  • . I’ve had this since 2012 and it’s like new!

Funnily enough, when I went in to REI for the second backpack a few years ago, I told the salesman I had a 65L that I loved. He said, “Oh is it broken? Bring it in and exchange it for this 48L if you want”. That’s how their return policy used to work. You could return things used, like a million years later. It’s insane. Everything was lifetime guarantee and you could return if you took something on a trip abroad, like a sleeping bag, then wanted to return it because you didn’t like it and without a receipt. NOW, they only let you do that in the first year. Still a pretty good policy though.

You will want to shopping I’d imagine and a 48L just isn’t going to give you any wiggle room, and although you can buy a cute bag to carry secondary and fill up with goodies, which is what I did even after filling at 65, it’s so much nicer to fit it all in one bag.

I know Osprey isn’t cheap, so if you aren’t planning on investing on a backpack and just want one for this trip then REI is always a good idea and you can go into one to try them on and see how they fit.

A few things to look at when you buy a backpack for India:

  • Make sure you see that they do make Men’s and Women’s which will fit differently. There are internal frames built-in the back and you want ones that fits well.
  • Go for one that has multiple loading areas to the main backpack holding area. The top comes off but you want to be able to access from the bottom or side as well.
  • It should have some ringlets off it to add hooks. I loop my sleeping bag on the bottom outside of my backpacks & even tie my boots on.
  • The fabric should be somewhat waterproof. Even if it doesn’t say “waterproof” as long as it’s really sturdy and get help you through some drizzles you get caught in. I think mine advertised as being waterproof, but it is anyways.
  • Side holders for water, wet shoes, etc.
  • Padding is important. For me, I pull the straps pretty tight and high, and put the backpack’s weight on my hips completely. I have gaps by my shoulders because I push it so high. This is because my hip straps are really padded and I can hardly feel the weight like that- , I hate having sore muscles in my upper back and shoulders.
  • I love when there is a pocket with holes that you can put something like a wet bikini in to dry during transport.

A few more backpacks I’ve lusted over:

 (less expensive because it’s a top loaded, but a smaller backpack so should be good)

 

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2016-10-13T09:43:15+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

3 Comments

  1. Laura September 14, 2016 at 4:30 am - Reply

    I really need to invest in a new backpack – I’ve never looked into REI – but they look and sound great. Thanks for the tips!

  2. […] What backpack specifically you should buy […]

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