Now, this might seem proposterous. Why would anyone choose hunting/tactical backpack designed by company which is mostly designing packs for military, hunting or survival. And what´s with all those rifle-scabbards? You don´t need to carry a gun when backpacking in Asia?!!
(Let me note, I´m not fan of hunting, physical force or any form of violence. Just to make that clear.)
Alright, hear me out. (And yes I´m aware you don´t carry a file with you, we´re going to skip that part – simply focus on those backpacks without that feature, would you?
Or – as a friend of mine – if you´re a photographer, you can use it for carrying your stative for example:) Makes for some weird looks at the airport security).
After three conventional backpacks let me down in Asia (bought in Europe – I´d expect something like that from 60,- baht backpack bought in Bangkok), I realized I need something different.
Durable. Where I don´t have to wait with that little fear after getting my luggage from the top of the tuk-tuk or bus if it´s still in one piece. Or if it survived the handling of the airport staff. (Yes, I saw that videos from the “airport-backstage” guys, we know what you´re doing with those bags!) 😉
And no, you won´t look like you´ve stolen the pack from your army friend and no, they don´t come all in military-green color only:)
But let´s make a list, because – of course – there is more.
1.) They´re durable. I mean, really durable.
Think about it – if someone´s primary group of customers include army-soldiers and guys that go in the wilderness on daily basis, he surely would take great care not to make these people angry with his products. If it can survive mission in Afganistan, backpacking in Asia/Africa doesn´t even count as challenge, right?
2.) They have some great features. Most of the things have actually multiple purposes. Means you carry less stuff and are more flexible.
(Zippers and buckles or other plastic parts are the first thing to go in harsh conditions, and it may become real pain to travel with a pack you can´t properly close or carry, because your shoulder strap is getting loose.)
3.) Front/top loading combinations is the norm here. (Because the things you need are always at the bottom of the backpack.) As is the waterproof design, possibility to collapse them if you don´t need that much of a capacity, as are variable shoulder straps and hip belts adjustment system to make it fit your body frame/torso), handles to pick (and throw onto the bus) the backpack, many different pockcets, straps that don´t hang everywhere (wait till the guy at the checked-in baggage counter at the airport gives you THAT look and you´ll know what I mean. Yes, they get caught everywhere on the way to the airplane!), and of course the rain cover (as an extra protection, in case you happen to travel during the rainy season).
4.) They came in all sizes needed. (Although you really don´t need anything bigger than 60 liters.) (Edit: after going through 5 different packs from this brand – don´t ask, various shipping/ordering problems, I own only two of them! – and learning bit more about what I really need on my travels, make it 40 liters.)
5.) Most of them offer Lifetime Warranty. (That alone says something about the quality of those products.)
6.) there are plenty of accessories you can buy afterwards, such as additional compartments which can be secured onto the pack (front, side or on the top of it), extender straps, elastick keepers (great if you checking your bag in at the airport, as those keep all the straps out of the way!), spare buckles, pouches, even replacement harness, thicker padded belt and so on. (Sou you can literaly build your own backpack.)
Now, to be more concrete, I can only speak about the backpack I own right now, which is from Eberlestock. Seriously, I think that was purchase of a lifetime – I very much doubt this thing would “die” on my one day (as so many previous did).
The hipbelt (which should carry the most weight) feels really comfortable, although it´s not too bulky (as those unnecesarily too much padded tend to be).
There are lot of backpackers I see wearing their backpacks too low – the belt is supposed to sit on your hips! (To be exact on the top of your hip bones.)
(See the fitting tips in my previous post – there is the link to Eberlestock fitting tips video as well.)
Designed for European military – well, I´m European girl, so that was a nice touch:).
I´m about to take it with me to
Asia for one month in April to India and SE Asia for two months (yup, another year passed) – so far I “lost” there 3 backpack on previous trips. I´ll keep you updated once I´m back:).
Note: I bet the guys at Eberlestock don´t even know I exist, so this are my own opinions, based on my own experiences with their product. I simply like the backpack (and get positive reviews from my friends who as well own them) – there are no affiliate links or other deals involved.