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8 replies
Another Backpack Choice question - so many choices!!
stingray072
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Ok so the essential question I have here is top loading vs. panel loading.
Looking for a pack 35-50L

I would really prefer a panel loading pack for the convenience but it seems that the better packs are top loading ones that offer much better frames and ventilation (will be traveling in the June).

I’d like to have the backpack be my only carry on for the trip and plan on leaving it at the hostel while I’m out exploring cities, but will be traveling with it in airports and on the trains so comfort is a feature for me.

Looking at three ospreys;
Atmos 50 – which looks to have great support, ventilation, and comfort
Stratos 40 – I like the side zipper for easy access but it’s still top loading
Exos 46 – lightweight with good support and great ventilation

BUT all three are essentially top loading….I’m at a loss here. Any advice?

I am leaving from New York with $2000 for 21 days
London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Athens, Tel Aviv-Yafo
trent84
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I’m gonna say go to the shop and try all 3 on with weight added. Choose the one that feels the best for you.

I am leaving from London and traveling for 16 days
London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, London
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Barcelona, Spain with $8000 for 70 days
Porto, Lisbon, Lagos, Seville, Granada, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Pamplona, La Spezia, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Venice, Split
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
finnegan
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Top loading is considered more secure since the only way you can get in is through the top. The reality is, if someone really wants your stuff they’ll get it regardless of the type of pack you have. Thieves have been know to distract you in front, while someone behind slices the bottom of your pack so everything falls out.

Given the choice I’d opt for the convenience of panel loading pack. I use a panel loading backpack and bring along a package of those plastic zip ties. Put the ties though the zippers and you have a pretty thief proof pack.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

oldlady
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I think mini-combination locks are cheaper than a bunch of cable ties and significantly easier to use — no problem with the knife being inside the pack when you need to cut them off, for one thing. I don’t bother with the more expensive “TSB security approved” locks as I don’t use them in airports. I bought a bunch of the cheapest “set your own combination” ones and set them all to the same combination. I’ve been using them for several years…

A top loading pack will work but… The first two laws of backpacking are:

1. If it can possibly leak, it will.
2. If you need it in a hurry it will be in the bottom (or otherwise in the hardest corner to get to) of the pack.

finnegan
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Old people like me tend to forget their combos. I use cheap zip ties from the dollar store. If you lose your knife you can break them with anything a key, a pen, etc. You’d definitely feel it if someone tried top break one off. Not 100% thief proof but a pretty visible message to thieves that they should pick on somebody easier.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

oldlady
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Combo is the same as the key pad for the garage door, the code for the alarm system, the bicycle locks and a couple of other things. If I ever forget it, having to cut off the cheapo locks on my pack will be the least of my worries..

augustin25
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A panel loading pack is great, but if you can’t find one you like and that fits don’t worry about it. Choose a pack that fits you well and works with your budget.

trent84
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My backpack has combination locks on them (came with the bag). But one of them broke pretty easily whilst traveling around.

But the cable ties seem like a good cheap idea.

I am leaving from London and traveling for 16 days
London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, London
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Barcelona, Spain with $8000 for 70 days
Porto, Lisbon, Lagos, Seville, Granada, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Pamplona, La Spezia, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Venice, Split
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
finnegan
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Cable ties are like duct tape…you’ll always find a use for them. Used one once around my wrist with my hotel kety attached when I went swimming (beats hiding your key under your shoes (first place thieves look))

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”