It’s in our blood, the urge to explore, to journey through unchartered lands and to be the first to arrive. Mountain Designs has a range of travel packs that offer freedom, comfort and versatility to explore every corner of the globe. Functional by design and high in quality to last the distance, life on the road is much easier when you’re packing your gear into a Mountain Designs travel pack.
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What are the best travel packs?
Countless holiday disaster stories have been told over the years because a travel bag couldn't stand up to the rugged nature of travel, leaving the contents damaged or worse still, lost in transit. The best travel pack should keep your gear safe, dry and undamaged on your journey and when you're at your destination. It needs enough storage space to hold all of your gear firmly but without being jammed in, it should be durable and provide long-lasting use, it needs to protect from the elements, and it should be easy to carry when you're on the move.
What key features should you look for when choosing a travel pack?
Being able to carry all your gear, organise it for convenience and access it easily can make life on the road much simpler. Some of the key features you should look for in a quality travel pack include:
Storage Space - Your travel backpack needs to fit all your gear, meaning the size is generally determined by the duration of your trip and the location. A large, roomy main compartment that you can easily access is essential as it will house the majority of your clothing. Additional accessories pockets (both internal and external) are then useful for separating and organising specific items. A travel pack with compression straps will help to minimise bulk and these can often be found on the sides, base, hood or a combination.
Harness - If your travel plans involve backpacking, you'll want a high quality harness on your pack. It will provide lasting comfort and ease of mobility which are invaluable when you're carrying your wardrobe with you every step of the way. Make sure it has padding and mesh ventilation in the shoulder straps, back panel and hip belt, and is adjustable so you can fit it to your own body shape and size. The best travel pack will also have load adjusters and a chest strap to aid with weight distribution and stability - the importance of which may not be obvious in the first five minutes but will certainly be evident after a long period with weight on your back.
Weather Protection - If you're outside for any length of time, you'll want your travel pack to have a certain level of weather protection. After all, there's no point getting all your gear from A to B if you can't wear any of it because it needs to dry out. A coating or laminate on the inside of the outer fabric and base material will provide waterproof protection, and a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish will help light rain bead off the surface off the outer. Some styles have a built-in rain cover to further ensure your gear stays safe and dry.
Durability - Your travel pack will no doubt get roughed up a bit in transit - it's simply the nature of travelling outdoors. And because it is stowing all your clothing, it needs to be made from durable materials and with a quality construction to withstand this wear and tear. The best travel packs use heavy-duty ripstop fabrics so they don't get ripped or torn if they catch on something, as well as reinforced stitching, and durable zips and buckles for longevity of use.
Design - Certain functional design elements elevate the value of a travel pack. Lockable zips provide peace of mind when you're in transit, multi-access compartments are convenient for accessing gear on the go, and zippered internal dividers allow you to separate dirty or wet gear from your clean gear.
What is the best size for a travel backpack?
When choosing a travel pack, the first thing to look for is a style that will hold all of your gear. Generally, this will be determined by how long you are travelling for, where you are heading to, and what activities you have planned. Each travel bag in the Mountain Designs travel backpack range lists its load capacity - measured in litres - to indicate how much packing space you have to work with. This volumetric measurement helps you work out the right size pack for your needs. Typically, our travel packs range between 70L and 80L, but for smaller trips we also have a 30L design. Once you have the volume sorted, narrow your choice of travel backpack down by considering other factors such as durability, carrying comfort and weather protection.
Which travel packs are water resistant?
A quality travel pack should offer weather protection, especially if you're backpacking and likely to spend a fair bit of time outside on your feet and exposed to the elements. Our travel packs are designed to handle wet weather through an internal lamination or coating, which is applied to the inside of the outer fabric and base to create a barrier so water can't soak through the material. The outer surface is then treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish that causes water to bead up and roll off, preventing the material from getting saturated. Some styles also feature a waterproof rain cover that can be pulled over the pack like a raincoat in really heavy downpours.
Are travel packs comfortable?
Any travel will involve carrying your gear for periods of time, whether that's in and out of airports and hotels, or along roads and down alleyways on backpacking adventures. A key feature of a quality travel backpack will therefore be comfort. Make sure your travel pack has padding in the shoulder straps and hip belt to absorb the impact of the weight you're carrying. Load adjusters and a chest strap are also important in this system, as they help to distribute weight evenly as well as enhance stability. The travel pack should almost feel like it is an extension of your torso so the more 'locked-in' it feels to your body, the more comfortable it will be for you to move about, and the greater ease of movement you will have.
Can you use a travel pack as an airplane carry-on bag?
Most travel packs are too big to be used as a carry-on bag on a plane. As a result, security for your gear is vital if your pack is going to be handled by airport staff and bounced around on conveyor belts. We recognise this so we've included lock-compatible zips and allowed for the harness to be stowed away, to give you peace of mind when you're separated from your pack. If you aren't carrying bulk gear, we also offer a smaller carry-on travel pack that can hold up to 30L, which will fit the specified dimensions of most commercial carriers around the world (but of course, check the carry-on limits of each airline provider before you set off on your journey).