The Best Travel Backpacks - Minimalist

When planning a long-term trip around the world, one of the things you'll need to think about is a travel backpack. We looked at many bags and chose two. I got the Osprey Farpoint 40, and Bradley chose the Osprey Porter 46.

We are also bringing one carry-on rolling bag each because we have a lot of gear for blogging and producing video content for our business ventures. Maybe one day we'll be able to minimize down to one backpack only each, but we're comfortable with a backpack and carry-on bag.

I went with the Farpoint 40 because of the padded hip belt. As someone who is not so strong, a good hip belt makes a HUGE difference when carrying a heavy backpack. The pack is not as structured as the Porter, so having packing cubes really helps to keep things organized. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and looked at a few reviews but didn't really find one that explained what size packing cubes fit well or how many could fit.

I ended up ordering 4 slim packing cubes on Amazon and they worked out perfectly. I actually only needed 3 of them and they fit side-by-side on the bottom of the bag, and it left space up top to fit my running shoes. It didn't have enough space for my hiking boots, but that's okay because I plan on wearing the boots during transit.

Bradley chose the Porter 46 because it is still a carry-on size backpack, but the sides are much more structured like a suitcase. He will be carrying items that need more protection and a soft-sided backpack just wouldn't cut it.

Because the sides are more structured, packing cubes are not a must. If you're used to using packing cubes though they'll work just fine in the Porter as well.

Both backpacks fit a lot more than we expected, but we ended up not filling them all the way so that we'll have some space in case we decide to get some souvenirs! Also, since we're bringing a rolling bag each, we don't have to carry all the weight on our backs.

Recommendations for packing/travel:

  1. Pack your bags and practice carrying them around. If they're too heavy, unevenly weighted, bulky - take out everything and lay out each item. Consider each item and decide whether the usefulness of the item is worth the weight.

  2. Practice! Try living out of your suitcase/bag for a week. If there are things you didn't use but you packed "just in case," then you probably don't need it. On the flip-side, you may realize you need things that you forgot to include.

  3. Think of ways things can be used in multiple ways. A good quick-drying shirt can be used as a workout shirt, a swim shirt, or a pajama top. You don't need to pack a different item for each activity you will be doing if one item is multi-functional.

  4. Some travelers recommend doing laundry in the sink or tub. That's fine, but if you've never done it before then trying it out while you're on your trip for the first time probably isn't the best idea. Practice at home first and you'll also be more familiar with which materials dry quicker/don't wrinkle.

  5. Don't pack your bag to the brim. Leave some space for that t-shirt/trinket/hat you just had to get on your trip. Also you might not fold everything so nicely when returning from a trip as you did when you left, so leaving extra space will help when packing your bag up again to go back home.

What are some of your travel/packing tips? Would you like to see our packing lists? Let us know in the comments below!