'a backpacker's best friend, 2 years on'
this is my first gear review as i am mostly writing about my travel experiences around the globe but i felt this was relevant as the equipment that you take with you especially your luggage can make a huge difference to those days when you have to make the long trips by bus or train.
last year when i started my journey around the world i gave up nearly all of my positions & was left with an 85L cheap travelling backpack, a small daypack for my camera and computer. for months, my large backpack was full of items that i used sparingly maybe once every 3 months. on big journeys where i would have to carry my backpack for long periods of time especially in india where i used the train and rode a motorcycle around the northern mountains the large backpack started to become troublesome as it was so heavy and it didn't have the features that i wanted for example waterproofing & back support. so i made a deal with myself the moment that i return to europe i would invest in a quality backpack.
that brings me the 'fjallraven friluft 45L'
fjallraven is a swedish company that specialises in outdoor clothing & extremely high-quality garments. as i have a close relationship with sweden spending two summers in umea in the north. i knew that this could potentially be the best backpack for all my needs as i had heard so many wonderful things from swedish people about the quality of fjallraven products.
so, onto the bag…
for me, there are a few key features that i look for when purchasing a backpack. your requirements may be different but for a full-time traveller like me these are essential.
weight; this is fundamental when travelling for extended periods of time as there a days when you go for a long trek to a secret beach or mountain top. it's made with an aluminium frame & mesh back, this makes it's extremely lightweight & gives a lot of ventilation this is especially useful to me as i normally pick hot countries to travel to & having back ventilation is a huge plus when you are lugging your backpack around for 10 hours.
function; this backpack has some clever tricks to make it much more useful as a globetrotter's bag. my favourite part of this bag is the dual main compartment zippers (as seen) this opens up the whole main area of the bag that makes it really easy to pack & retrieve items at the bottom without taking all your other clothing out first. I remember that this was one of my most hated features of my old backpack as when i needed something at the bottom of the bag i had to take everything out before i would reach it. the hip belt pockets are also another great feature as you can keep important items like cards up front as in my past, security of my positions in busy places like train stations have been an issue & having it up front i never have a single issue with always looking over my shoulder to see if my bag has been opened. the built-in whistle on the front strap is super useful for getting attention. oh, one more thing… the large waterproof zip pocket on the back is perfect for all the wet or dirty clothing that you inevitably accumulate along the way.
material; myself & fjallraven have something in common, we really love the environment & the desire to protect the outdoor world around us. the main material of this backpack is a material call G-1000 that is made from recycled polyester & organic cotton. for me, recycling is part of my daily life in europe & it's something that comes naturally to me now. when travelling to developing countries recycling is not at the top of the list of priorities so for me it's nice to see a big company like fjallraven proactively using recycled material in their products. it's extremely hard wearing & has an extra rain cover for those days when the sun is not shining.
comfort; i have been using the bag now for a few weeks with trips to the countryside in poland and i can honestly say that is was amazingly comfortable even when fully loaded with supplies for me & my partner. the adjustable straps & vent system are amazing, especially on the long treks.
its defiantly the most advanced backpack that i have used in over 15 years of travelling & with all its little extra features it makes life much easier for those long trips. I can honestly say that this will be my backpack of choice for the foreseeable future.
update 2 years later.
i have travelled with this bag now for over two years, visited more than 60 countries & its never failed me the combination of lightness & quality make this backpack something special. it's been to the rainforests of africa & south america, taken dozens of flights & boat rides & it's still in perfect condition. this is truly one of the best bags on the market for hikers & travellers alike.
click the link below for more information & to purchase this wonderful backpack.