I’m (Esther) the main writer of this blog, but Jacob has been wanting to contribute as well. After brainstorming, we finally figured out a couple things he could do in this space. One will be writing up reviews and making some youtube videos for travel products that worked for us and those that didn’t:
For the past 8 years, I’ve been using the Lowepro Compudaypack (review here) for everyday usage, but since we’ve been traveling and doing more outdoorsy activities, we’ve outgrown the pack and have been in search for a new one!
Finding a versatile backpack is really hard! It doesn’t help that the perfect bag has very specific specs.
What I needed in Choosing a Backpack:
- decent storage (enough space to go on overnight trips).
- has room and protection for a laptop.
- is good for traveling with a dslr camera (when I have it).
- has solid support for short hikes.
- is reasonably priced.
- on top of all that… still looks good.
I know, I know. It’s a lot to ask for from one bag.
After much research, I didn’t find a good bag made for a camera that functioned well for anything else. After a few recommendations from friends, I decided to buy a camera insert that I could use with any bag.
For the actual pack, I online shopped for months and couldn’t find anything I wanted. When REI had a sale (gotta love their return policy), I finally decided to order a bunch of packs and try them out. In the end we ended up keeping the Mountain Hardwear Paladin Pack! It’s primarily made for bike commuters but works well as a hiking pack as well. It’s spacious, has top and side access for a laptop, and even after using the insert there is plenty of room for other stuff! It’s been a couple months since using the new bag, and we’re happy with it! We’ve taken it with us on a mission trip to the Philippines and have gone hiking with it a few times.
Check out my reviews for the Mountain Hardwear Pack & Crumpler Haven Camera Insert by clicking on the images below:
***Update:*** While writing this post, we found a new bag at REI over the weekend, the North Face Overhaul 40 Daypack, and I am still deciding between this one and the Mountain Hardwear.
Pros of the North Face Pack in comparison to the Paladin Pack:
- Camera gear is more easily accessible.
- Laptop flap lays flat so you don’t have to take it out during TSA screenings.
Cons of the North Face Pack in comparison to the Paladin Pack:
- It’s heavier. 3 lbs 3 oz versus 1 lb 15 oz.
- It doesn’t compress. Compression comes in handy during hiking.
Check back for my final decision in a couple weeks. If you like my reviews, please subscribe to our channel!
Here were some others we checked out that didn’t quite work out:
- Merrell Clamshell Day Pack (no longer available, but this is something similar // Review
- Merrell Travel All Laptop Bag // Review
- Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW Camera Pack (great for camera gear and can maybe use the hydration compartment for a laptop, but it provides no protection.)
Have you found a perfect travel backpack? What’s some criteria you would look for in your perfect travel backpack?