You may already be aware, but I’m in to backpacks. I once went through 4 commuter packs in as many months. I like perfection, if only in baggage.
So I needed a good bag for our Morocco trip that wasn’t too big, too small or too lame. There are plenty of options. You can go with a straight backpacker pack, like many do, but you don’t really need all that suspension and support for 15 minute hikes from the bus station to the hotel, and all those straps are just a hindrance.
There are some travel packs that have wheels and convert into a backpack, but we figured that we wouldn’t be able to use wheels that often, and we were right, so we ruled those out. Danielle got an Eagle Creek travel pack with a nice suspension that is stowable behind a zippered panel. It is nice and served her well, but it was too much like a backpacker pack for me. Plus the zip-on day pack was too small.
So I ordered the Osprey Porter 65 from REI for $129. It is a simple duffel bag with a huge zippered opening, dual compression straps that shrink the thing down for the smallest loads, semi-rigid sides so that it stands and stays open on it’s own, and stowable (yet minimal) shoulder and waist straps for carrying like a backpack. The main opening flap has a zippered pockets on the outside and inside (mesh) and there is a long zippered mesh pocket inside that I used for stashing non clothing items like a clothesline, deck of cards, power inverter, poncho, windbreaker, etc. There is also a zippered compartment at the top that you can access from the outside for shoes, jackets or dirty laundry.
This was a great pack for traveling, and I’ll definitely use it again. The straps are not amazingly comfortable, but if you keep your load light it works. The large main access flap makes it super easy to get stuff in and out and the rigid sides keep the whole thing open so it’s easy to load and unload. As you can see from the second image, there are second compression strap attachment points so you can really get it down small. This makes it super useful for shorter trips. I just used it for a camping trip and was able to get clothing and all my sleeping gear into it with room to spare.
I love Osprey packs and this one is perfect.