You really aren’t serious about those travel plans unless you’ve asked yourself the all-important question ‘Backpack or Suitcase?’. This is a dilemma that will no doubt send your mind into a spiral of uncontrollable thoughts… what to pack? am I overthinking it? am I gonna be able to carry it?
We’ve got you covered! It’s actually a far easier decision than you might think and there really is plenty of different options. Before you throw yourself into a packing list let’s go through them all together;
If you’ve watched the movie ‘Into the Wild’ and you find yourself to be a free and simple traveller like ‘Chris’, the traditional top loader is definitely for you! Usually comes with front and side pockets for those easy to reach items 🎒
- Travelling light
- Lot’s of moving around
- Off the beaten track routes/locations
Tip: Get yourself some packing cubes because these bad boys will be a life safer on the road. Makes packing and unpacking far easier!
The Duffel Bag (my choice!)
The duffel bag is a plain and simple approach to packing and for me, it’s just perfect! I actually use the popular North Face – Base Camp Duffel (L)*, with its solid build quality, heavy-duty zip and large opening on the top I find it very easy to pack and unpack.
It is important to consider this option isn’t for everyone. It’s very easy to get carried away packing, forgetting about weight. The carry system hasn’t been designed for optimum support unlike some of your traditional backpack options (I’m 195cm so for me, weight isn’t too much an issue) 💪🏼
Front Loader Backpack
Definitely the more modern approach to backpacking. Designed to be a hybrid between a duffel bag and a traditional backpack. Just lay it on the bed and load the conventional way you load a suitcase.
- If you hate top loading 🤬
- Moving around lots and need to unpack/pack often
- South East Asia routes!
TIP: Get your backpack fitted properly, remember most of the weight should be carried on your hips. A waist band is ESSENTIAL!
The Wheely Suitcase
This bad boy has tonnes of positives and a heap of negatives. Just remember 1 very important thing ‘It’s yours to carry!’…scaling stairs, climbing on and off boats and dragging it across the beach isn’t always IDEAL! But it does come with the ease of packing and life admin.
- Working Holiday Travellers
- Flashpackers 🕺
- Those that just can’t decide what to do
IMPORTANT: For anyone joining us on a @feelfree.travel adventure. The wheelie suitcase is easily manageable due to our carefully thought out transport options
The Wheely…BACKPACK 🤯
If you’re anything like me this concept just blew my mind when I first encountered the wheely backpack! What a genius idea…luxuries of a suitcase but the freedom of a backpack which is FAB. But…keep in mind that the wheelie backpack is heavier than your standard backpack before you even start packing because of the frame etc (gets heavy fast!)
In Summary… 🤯
There really is no perfect option, but based on everything we covered above I am sure you can hit the sweet spot and find the best option for you.
There are lots of other questions that we know you’ll have regarding luggage and packing so we’ve listed a few Q&A’s below;
This is a very simple one…QUALITY is very very important! Buying a replacement on the road is no easy and whatever anyone tells you the cheap/fake options are TERRIBLE!
In this instance size really does matter 😂. If you are far smaller than me an XL Base Camp Duffel would be a complete disaster on the road. Be smart and think about what you are able to carry. If in doubt visit your local outdoor store and try a few on.
My biggest tip for reducing weight comes down to ‘necessity’. Think long and hard if you really need those big, bulky items. Focusing on multi-use items really can help reduce that weight, aiming to use layers when keeping warm will also help with working out what to pack. Finally, you should minimise big bottles of toiletries and how much footwear you bring along.
You absolutely can…you are not going to Mars! Laundry is pretty common in most places so getting your stuff done is pretty easy and SUPER CHEAP. Just remember to get the laundry in first thing when you arrive…this will reduce any delays as things don’t always go ‘to schedule’ 🧺
Sharing with a travel buddy is such an easy way to save on weight and money. Sharing is caring after all 🥰
Packing cubes are 100% worth every penny. You can get cheaper options from Amazon or go with branded that is up to you but the concept of them is great. I used cheap ones the first few times I went travelling. I’ve not upgraded to some other better quality options.
So this is a travel hack my dad taught me many years ago and to be honest it’s pretty simple. Jump on the scales and weigh yourself…jump off…make note of the weight in KG’s. Then jump back on the scales with your backpack in your back and subtract the difference. There you have it…problem solved!
*We are in no way affiliated or partnered with North Face or Osprey, the outbound links/recommendations on this blog are non bias and based on our experiences as travellers. The purpose of this blog is to offer genuine non bias advice and support.