The Endless Search for the Perfect Backpack


In a perfect world, we would be able to walk into a store and have “the” backpack of our dreams made for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the world is not quite perfect… yet. However, Kamiliun Bags is holding “A bAG fOr yOUr sTORy” competition where the winner will have the bag of their dreams custom made (deadline for entry is July 12, 2010).

Since there will be only one winner and custom bags are not within my budget, I guess I will keep searching…

I have spent at least 25 hours researching backpacks for our trip around the world and have yet to find the exactly what I am looking for. I currently have the Osprey Atmos 50 which I am very fond of, but I am not sure it is appropriate for all of the gear I will be hauling. So, after hours of endless research, I find myself dreaming of the unattainable: the perfect backpack.

The bag of my dreams would be a hybrid of a “flashpack” and an internal frame backpack. In all of my research, the one thing that seems to be missing from most internal frame packs is a padded and organized section for electronics. I understand the logic of having open space in packs used by hikers. Yet, internal frame backpacks tailored to the Flashpacker seem like they would be a viable market.

My ideal internal frame backpack would include the following:

  • A puncture/leak-proof hydration system
  • A padded organizer fora DSLR camera and one extra lens
  • A padded compartment for a 13” laptop
  • A compartment or section dedicated to small electronics (point-and-shoot camera, small video camera, ipod, a portable hard drive, etc)
  • A compartment for clothing (big enough for your standard light-weight rtw packing list)
  • Multiple attachment points on the exterior (sleeping pad, etc)
  • Multiple entry points
  • Designed with security in mind (access points would not be easy to enter)
  • An exterior design that does not draw undue attention to the bags contents (no flashy labels or colors)
  • Small enough for carryon luggage, yet big enough for all of the above

Can it be done? Until someone steps in and fills this huge void, I guess I will just keep dreaming… dreaming of a hybrid of the packs below.

Osprey Atmos 50

Pros: compartment for hydration pack, multiple attachment points on the exterior, sturdy and comfortable design
Cons: top loading only, no padded compartments designed for electronics

Osprey Manta (20/25/30)

Pros: hydration pack built in, built-in rain cover, many pockets, compression straps, sturdy and comfortable design
Cons: Too small for extended travel, no padded compartments designed for electronics, do hydration and electronics really mix?

Crumpler Karachi Outpost

Pros: beautiful design, padded organization for DSLR camera, laptop and other electronics
Cons: Too small for extended travel

Case Logic SLRC-206

Pros: protective base, padded organization for DSLR camera, laptop and other electronics, DSLR stowaway on the fly
Cons: large boxy shape, but too small for extended travel

Kamiliun The Great Escape

Pros: attractive design, very versatile
Cons: Too small for extended travel, attachment points do not seem strong, the larger packs increases in depth versus height (potential balance/comfort issues)

Tenba Messenger Series Photo/Laptop Backpack

Pros: Discrete camera backpack, padded organization for DSLR camera, laptop and other electronics

Cons: Too small for extended travel

The more I research backpacks, the more confused I become. I am keeping my fingers crossed that a hybrid will be released within the next six months so I can pick it up before we leave.

Have you found the “perfect backpack” for your electronics, gear and clothes? Have I overlooked the “perfect backpack” in my research? If so, please leave us a comment.

One thought on “The Endless Search for the Perfect Backpack

  1. This post got me thinking how more companies should let you design your backpack just the way you want it. Often times backpacks are too heavy or disorganized. It’s hard to find a happy medium.

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