My Favourite Travel Accessory – Post by Travel on the Brain

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I have a confession to make. By now I should know better, having travelled a lot, lived in different countries and currently being on a world trip for a year, my packing skills should be highly developed. They are not. Sure, I learned some tricks along the way, like just packing what you actually really need and buying the rest – if necessary – on site as well as rolling all my clothes. But it’s to no avail, I still take too much. After all, I travel through different seasons and climate zones, I tell myself. That doesn’t explain the huge medi kit or Japanese vocabulary book, though.

Now my saviour comes into play. It is my daypack. Whatever stuff I cannot fit in anymore, I put in there while I am travelling and can always unpack after I checked in. I love this so much that I actually have three now and they are full to the brim and weigh a tonne. What happened? I bought new stuff, always keep two cans of food with me, just in case there is no supermarket, and I got some new fashion items. Just a few.

No Day Without a Daypack

But let me get back to my actual topic, my daypack. I use the term daypack generously, including every kind of bigger bag that serves me as my bag of choice that day. This could be a shoulder bag, a rucksack or a backpack. Like said, I have all of them. Now, anything else I find impractical for a day out, exploring for hours on foot. Handbags are for a fancy resort stay, big backpacks for hikes over days and don’t get me started with totes or cotton shopping bags.

If you are a fashionista and absolutely must have a daypack that goes with your wardrobe, fear not. They do not have to come in camouflage colours and canvas materials. Take for instance my new fun rucksack that mimics a 2D comic style. It is practical, has lots of storage possibilities and looks fun. The other one I have is a smaller one and has lots of pockets. You might start to see a pattern here. For a rucksack to pass the test of practicability as well as style, it has to tick some boxes.

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Space

If you cannot put at least a 1 litre bottle in it, then it just won’t do. You need water and do you really think you can and want to find places to fill it up four times a day? No, you don’t. Apart from the vital, you will also need to store the necessary, such as wallet, maps, tissues, sunglasses, snacks etc. For a short shopping stroll or a spend-all-your-budget holiday, a smaller bag and buying on the go would do just fine but we are talking travelling. This means to be strategic and money savvy in order to create an experience that does not result in huge discomfort and worries (mainly financially).
Pockets

Having sorted out the daily must bring items, they need to be packed into the bag. Some you will need often, others you just need rarely and yet again others you must keep on you for safety, such as passport and other forms of ID. Here, pockets come in handy as well as secret zippers inside. Pockets should contain those items which, when you need them, you need to retrieve quickly, such as tissues, sanitiser and a pen. Whatever you want to pack in them, just be aware that they might be the first choice for pickpockets. Never put valuables on the outside. Make it as hard for them as possible.


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Comfort

This one is hard and will disqualify many of the ones that have fulfilled the first two criteria. You will walk around with your – who are we kidding – not too light daypack for a whole day, for days on end. This means pains if the straps are not properly adjustable, they are too thin and might fall off at one point, the balance is off or it generally does not fit your body shape. It doesn’t have to be an expensive outdoorsy piece that is fitted to your form, but try it on, put something in it (and while you’re at it, check for space) and walk around for a bit. You do the same with shoes, why not with a bag?
Price

This is quite an obvious one. Of course you do not buy the cheapest one you find since that would lack in the quality you need for a daily daypack and the one in the top price ranges might be unaffordable. Even if you go for expensive, just make sure you do not keep the price in mind all the time or you will go crazy babying your precious backpack and keeping it from all harm. I did something like that with my comic rucksack, which had white bits in the front onto which it constantly decides to fall when I turned away. It drove me insane and I kept scrubbing it. (Maybe you should avoid the colour white or beige as well.)

Style

Now that we have gone through the practical issues, we can have a look at the vainer side of things. Probably by now the selection has shrunken considerably and with regards to style, there might not be much left. But fear not, anyone who is into fashion and not desperate for a quick buy, can leisurely stroll through high streets and keep their eyes open for a good buy that is just right for all the fields covered. As regards to the choice of style, I leave that completely up to you. After all, fashion and taste are highly subjective (even though dictated by the fashion industry and catwalks) and you know your own wardrobe best. So have fun looking for the right fit and then you can travel around looking great and feeling it, too.

In the end, all of this is personal taste, your purpose of travelling and where you are travelling to. Whatever you need it for, I hope you will remember my compact guideline when it comes to buying your new travel companion. Have a great time exploring and keep on travel dreaming!
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One more thing: Am curious, what is your favourite kind of daypack?

 

Filed under: Travel Accessories