Why I Dumped My Backpack

After three weeks of lugging my 55litre backpack around with me, I decided enough was enough.  I got rid of it. Or, to be more exact, I dumped it in a hostel with a friendly ‘take me’ sign on it.

I look happy in the photo below. But it was okay if I stayed still, which kind of defeats the object.

Plus, my boyfriend carried it for me when we travelled down to London for my flight.

I know, what a weakling I am..

The backpack was uncomfortable to the extreme. I had to stop every few minutes as my back and neck muscles were pulling too much. It was adjustable, but no matter how many times I faffed about with it, I still ended up reeling in agony. There were literally burn marks on my shoulders where it had been chafing.

After dragging it from Vancouver to Victoria, I made the decision to get rid. I tried to make it work, but something had to give. And I did not want this to be my back.

What luggage have I got now?

The term backpacker, in its true sense, has escaped me. I am now the proud owner of a wheeled holdall suitcase. I love it…

I do not care that I sold out on my backpack in favour of a new model as this case is heaven. No aches and pains, just smooth gliding. It has loads of extra space in it and you can find things much more easily.

That was another feature I really did not like about backpacks. If you wanted to get something, you usually had to take everything on top of it out first. And then roll it all back up to be able to fit everything back in again. It was too much hassle.

But now I am happy with my luggage and so are my much more relaxed muscles. Or maybe this is my problem… I do not have enough muscle. Either way, I have finally found luggage that best suits me and will be avoiding big backpacks in future.

Do you like backpacks when travelling long-term? Or do you prefer wheeled luggage?



  1. June 17, 2012 / 18:11

    This looks like a much better option to me and I am sure some backpacker is happy with your other one. I am not much for backpacks myself for the same reasons you mentioned. Your back will thnak you I am sure. Cheers, Darlene

    • June 17, 2012 / 22:04

      My back is definitely happy without the backpack. It’s getting a good workout with the farm work though :-)

  2. June 17, 2012 / 18:57

    It’s good to know when to cry “Uncle.” Don’t think of it as caving in – think of it as being a flexible thinker.
    Sheila recently posted..WhyMy Profile

    • June 17, 2012 / 22:03

      Flexible thinker – I like this!

  3. June 17, 2012 / 21:36

    Lol! I don’t think you sold out! And I’m sure your backpack made someone’s day. I’m considering buying a backpack for shorter trips-right after I learn how to pack less!! Great article!
    Michaela Hall recently posted..The Secret to Keep Souvenirs From Becoming JunkMy Profile

    • June 17, 2012 / 22:03

      I hope it made someone’s day. I think I’m done with backpacks, unless I find one that is actually comfortable haha :-) Smaller backpacks are great for short trips.

    • June 19, 2012 / 01:00

      Yeah, it was ridiculously heavy to the point that every time I took it off my back, it was a great exertion to get it back on again. I think a really small one would be fine for little trips, but this one definitely too big to be carrying around for long periods.

        • June 20, 2012 / 01:09

          I didn’t realise how heavy it would be filled up. And I though a 55litre was quite small, haha. I’ve seen people travel long-term with just a tiny backpack. I don’t know how they do it, but seems appealing in some respects :-)
          Alison recently posted..Hostel Review: Green Tortoise, SeattleMy Profile

  4. June 18, 2012 / 23:33

    I traded in the backpack after my first trip and ever since have used a rolling suitcase, I love it and won’t go back!
    Claire recently posted..7 Habits So FarMy Profile

    • June 19, 2012 / 00:55

      Yey, glad I’m not the only on who prefers the wheeled suitcases.

  5. June 19, 2012 / 20:03

    You gotta do what you gotta do. I’ve travelled with the same pack since i was a girl guide. I love it. It’s falling apart and may not last this trip. I’d be devestated to part with it. I keep it under 20kg, and have hiked miles in it. I have my packing style down to a fine art and can locate exactly what i need. I discovered on my last trip that i can live out of it for about 4 weeks before i feel the need to tip it up-side-down and shake everything out of it, then start throwing out, or posting home things i don’t need. Everyone has their own travel style, yours may be a little more stylish then mine, but at the end of the day you have what you need. Happy travels :)
    Michelle Blake recently posted..A bit of reflectionMy Profile

    • June 20, 2012 / 01:12

      Aww that’s fab that you still have the same backpack and that it works for you so well! I think everybody has different preferences and you’re right in saying that you should go with the travel style that best suits, or that your back can handle. Happy travels to you too ;-)
      Alison recently posted..Hostel Review: Green Tortoise, SeattleMy Profile

  6. June 20, 2012 / 05:05

    Like the new gear! We went for backpacks with wheels so we could carry them if needed but we’ve mostly wheeled them about so far to save our backs :-)

    • June 21, 2012 / 00:07

      Ha ha, it’s so much easier travelling with wheels! It’s great that you have both options, especially, as Lucy pointed out, it’s often better to have a backpack to get up lots of stairs.

  7. June 20, 2012 / 22:50

    I had a huge 70-litre monster backpack when I did my big RTW trip and ended up filling it with all sorts of useless rubbish just because I had the space, then sprained my wrist and couldn’t even put it on my back without someone helping me! Now I have a 40-litre little backpack for short trips/hot places where you don’t need bulky clothes, and for anything else it’s a wheelie suitcase – so much more sensible most of the time (the only time I regret it is in train stations or anywhere with loads of stairs!)
    Lucy recently posted..In pictures: Herefordshire’s black and white villagesMy Profile

    • June 21, 2012 / 00:15

      Now that’s a massive backpack, I’m not surprised you hurt yourself. A 40 litre sounds like a good size, I might be able to handle that. That’s a good point about wheeled suitcases, the difficulty dragging them up stairs. I was on the fourth floor of a hostel recently and there were no lifts. That was a workout and a half.

  8. June 24, 2012 / 18:23

    I’d always go for a backpack.. the one I have right now is not even a proper backpack – it’s more like a rucksack – and it sometimes kills my back – but I love the freedom it gives me. :)
    Abhi recently posted..Monday Morning Spice: Street art in ParisMy Profile

    • June 26, 2012 / 02:31

      Glad your backpack works for you. I think finding luggage to suit makes travelling much more enjoyable!
      Alison recently posted..Seattle Street Art: Photo EssayMy Profile

  9. August 7, 2013 / 21:24

    I go back and forth on this. We just did a 2 month trip with backpacks only. They are technically within the carry-on limit, but were stuffed pretty full. I certainly felt the heavy bag on the moving days and was sore the following day. Though I still remember my very first trip ever with an enormous duffle bag that I was wearing as a backpack with the tiny handles often cutting off circulation in my arms. I have learned tons since then.

    Our next trip, I want to try with a wheely bag and see if I can get most of my stuff in it. My only issue is that we are looking to travel in a lot fo places where dirt roads (South East Asia) and cobbles (Europe) dominate. I am not sure how much I could deal with the inability to roll and if I would just end up carrying it.

    I totally get your decision and applaud you for it. A fellow travel blogger I met at a conference had a fancy combo bag. It had wheels AND decent looking straps. I might loop into that. I still want to be able to backpack if the roads are bad and not have to carry it with my arms. Everything is a balance it seems.
    Andrew recently posted..Can You Bring Sports Equipment as Carry-On?My Profile