Backpack versus Luggage.
This has been a well-debated subject over the past few years between myself and myself.
To be honest, I’m not comfortable leaving home without my home with me. It’s an iffy feeling to walk out of the house without your essentials with you – and essentials I mean everything (up to an extra foldable grocery bag inside your bag). But over the course of years travelling, I got to say, I’ve leveraged more travelling with just my Osprey Sirrus 36L. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my Delsey AirFlash 25″ since 2013 but I just use it to store old bags (which by the way I need to dispose soon).
So why would I always choose to bring my backpack over my hefty luggage regardless of the adventure? Well…
Backpacks prevent overpacking
With suitcases, you tend to over pack and when I say over pack, I mean bring so much with you that you end up not using them. When I travel, I just really bring what I need given the small space I have – right amount of clothes (which I can hand wash within the travel period), toiletries and much needed electronics. In case you run out of clothes to wear, there are souvenir items you can buy and use (c’mon, you’re going to buy that dress or that top anyway). Also there are some toiletries that can be bought regardless if the place you’re going to is not too progressive yet (ladies, yes there are pads available in other countries too). Less items to bring means more souvenirs for you to bring home.
Plus, weight is evenly distributed compared to pulling and pushing your luggage with either arm. One good consolation, you don’t realise but you’re actually becoming fit with what you’re bringing – the weight of the backpack shapes your lower body giving you leaner legs (especially during hikes!)
Backpacks are all-terrain
You can throw it on top of the van, you can stuff it under the dorm bed, and when they’re empty you can lay them flat even if they have a frame. And the best part of all, when there is no path to the path you thought there was, it’s so quick to move with your backpack – your range of motion won’t be as limited as figuring out how to tag your luggage along. Backpacks are so versatile in all types of adventures that you can never go wrong with them. Plus they are built for that type of ruggedness so you can expect that it will take a long time for your pack to wear out.
Backpacks are easier to maintain
They are easy to wash, easy to dry (when they get wet from the rain or even after you have just washed them), and easy to keep. If they do get some rips, its pretty easy to take them back to the store for the warranty. Plus, you don’t need to worry breaking or losing the wheels. I’ve had this annoying experience with my Delsey luggage’s wheels breaking down on me on the NY subway stairs and I have, since then, dreaded bringing a suitcase with me.
They’re easy to bring in the cabin too. Just make sure that your bag fits the airline cabin size and falls less short of 7 kilos, you are good to go. You’ve saved (money and time) by not checking in your luggage.
Also, most backpacks, brands like Osprey and Deuter, come with a rain cover which you can use, not only for the rain, but for other weather types too (eg. dusty, muddy roads, snow, etc). If yours don’t come with one, don’t worry, rain covers come in pretty cheap and other travellers make their own too.
You become more responsible
Now when I say responsible, I mean it in a LOT of things.
Besides the fact that, you will learn how to pack light and not have anyone watch your bag (because it’s strapped to your back) in the event that you need to do something, you become accountable for your own stuff. Since that is the only thing you have, you become more aware if things go missing. It also teaches you to plan ahead. Because you have such a small space to fill in for your adventures, you begin to learn how to survive days minimally. This can go a long way as to incorporating it to your daily life.
You get to know yourself better
Trust me, you don’t just find yourself during travelling, it begins when you start packing. Since I started travelling in 2012, I have gotten to know myself more – what my limits are and what I can and cannot tolerate from the items that I’ve packed. Genuinely, I’ve never imagined myself bringing a 36-liter backpack with a few pairs of clothes for more than a week! I’ve realised what I need and don’t need when travelling and it has become easier over time. I have gone from 8 kilos to limiting my bag to 5 kilos – and that is a LOT for me to shed (especially to those used to carrying more than 7 kilos). It’s a never-ending process of learning about yourself and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.
I don’t think I’ll ever go back travelling with a luggage. Not only has backpacking help me save more (by not checking them in) but it has taught me that one can actually sustain his or herself with packing less and what more with just a backpack. If I do think of any good reasons why I love my luggage more than my backpack during travels, I will definitely post it.
What are your thoughts? Tell me what they are!
Love and light,
Gifs were taken from via Giphy and from our backpacking trip in Nepal, 2018.