Good, durable backpack?

Move along, nothing to see here!
Post Reply
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm

Post by boltzmannsbrain »

Can anyone recommend a high quality backpack?

I've worn out two backpacks in ~40$ range over 6 years, need something that will last.
I'm pretty short, so max. 30 liters or my back breaks.

User avatar
Posts: 4492
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Post by Ego »

Great thing about REI is that they guarantee their stuff for life so they generally make it rather durable.

Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:37 pm

Post by EMJ »

Tom Bihn ( not cheap, but made in Seattle, great quality

Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:40 am

Post by Roark »

One of my favourite bloggers recommends the Tom Bihn "Synapse" which he uses quite frequently as a world traveler. scroll down to it, review there.
Coincidentally, he also lives in an RV in the SF Bay Area, is financially independent from passive income, out of the box type.

Posts: 568
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:38 pm
Location: NYC

Post by BeyondtheWrap »

I don't have any particular suggestions, but I've noticed that with my backpacks the zipper tends to fail long before anything else. Perhaps a zipper-less backpack would be ideal?
And if the zipper isn't the problem, then one of the straps breaks off.

Posts: 489
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:03 am

Post by Hoplite »

An old thread with a couple of suggestions:

I've used EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) with good longevity except that the waterproof inner lining deteriorated rapidly after 8 yrs, cracking and flaking. Currently using an inexpensive High Sierra with no complaints; it seems pretty sturdy.

Site Admin
Posts: 11759
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73

Post by jacob »

I'm still trying to kill one I got for free 8 years ago but once it dies I'm probably going with Maxpedition. (They tend to have water bladder pockets that are big enough to substitute for a laptop.)

Posts: 958
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:45 am

Post by KevinW »

The basic LL Bean nylon backpacks hold up pretty well for the price.

Posts: 650
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:00 am

Post by riparian »

I have a military surplus pack that still looks brand new after 4 years of constant use.

Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:47 am

Post by rachels »

My boyfriend and I both have 55L Osprey packs. He got his used and has had it for 5 years. I bought mine new 4 years ago. They've seen A LOT of use and are still in good shape (multi-state AT trips, thru-hiking the Long Trail, hitchhiking, etc.) His hip straps wore out about a year ago and Osprey repaired them for the cost of shipping with no questions asked even though he's not even the original purchaser. I imagine they make smaller packs as well.
As for an errand and short trip back pack, I have a plain, black, three pocket number I got at a garage sale for 50 cents. I'm pretty sure I've gotten my 50 cents out of it already.

Posts: 391
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:58 pm

Post by Matthew »

I second the Osprey packs, but I have not used mine enough to validate the durability. My only complaint with some of the Ospray packs is the pack will sometimes get caught in the zipper. I have had a Timberland normal size pack to carry my books in college since 1998. It held up the whole time and is still going. My favorite thing was the massive zipper (never broke or snagged).
All of my packs have looked awesome as well. I have also heard great things regarding the wenger/swissgear packs.

Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 pm

Post by boltzmannsbrain »

Thank you! A lot of stuff to look into. Unfortunately, a lot of your suggestions seems to be American brands, I live in Europe, so the shipping is probably quite costly. I can get Osprey here though, so I might go with that one.

Found some European brands: Haglöf, Deuter, Northface and Fjällräven, do any of you have any experiences with these brands?

Posts: 4452
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Post by Dragline »

I have an Osprey "suitcase" pack called a "Porter" -- small enough to carry on a plane, but with straps -- that I've used for several years and have been quite happy with. Have taken it all over the world. I would not characterize it as a regular backpack, though.

Posts: 1168
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:31 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by m741 »

@boltzmannsbrain - I have experience with Deuter.
I own a 28L Deuter Futura. It works great as a daypack, for around town, or for traveling. It's well-constructed and popular in Germany (to me, a good sign for durability). The big selling point for me is that that the frame holds the pack an inch or so off my body, important since I sweat a lot in even cool weather, and don't relish walking around with a big splotch on my back. It also includes a raincover in the bottom of the pack. The size is just right as well, it's small enough to be easy to carry around, but large enough that I can stuff a ton of crap into it. I spent a week backpacking in Europe with it last year, and will be spending two weeks traveling with it this year. I don't anticipate any problems, but I do travel light.
I'm 5'8", the bag doesn't feel overly large to me.
My previous pack was an army surplus pack (I think it's an ALICE pack). Super-durable (I used it for 5 years with no signs of wear), but it was not well thought-out, IMO. There was no support so it was just a big pouch, with some water bottle pouches on the outside. If you didn't put something solid in it, it would collapse. Also the clips that it used were very difficult to quickly open/close, I had to replace them with some simple snap clips. Finally I felt self-conscious wearing it, since I haven't been in the military and didn't want to pretend that I was.
Army surplus is probably the best deal in terms of cost/durability ratio, but not so good for usability/style.
I've been happy with the Deuter and have no desire to switch right now.

Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:54 pm

Post by jzt83 »

I backpacked Europe using the 70L Osprey Aether hiking pack(paid $205). It was a great durable hiking pack and the straps provided great support, but it was way overpriced.

Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:19 pm

Post by TravelingTrader »

Hello boltzmannsbrain,
I own the Wenger Synergy ... B000NONHYY since about 2 years.
I travel a lot arround Europe. (Car, bike, public transportation, airplane, train...)
I can recommend this backpack to any city traveler with laptop.
If you want to do a backpack trip through India, this one is the wrong backpack.
Otherwise, It´s perfect. Read amazons reviews as I did.

Post Reply