My husband and I are spending 3 weeks in England and Italy this summer. We want to pack light -- just a backpack each. I'm looking for recommendations for something sturdy, but lightweight. Thanks!
As Ross says, you need to pick a backpack that makes sense for you. I am a believer in Ray Jardine's approach to ultralight backpacking (www.rayjardine.com), but it sound like you want to use the backpack instead of luggage as you travel to England and Italy. If that is the case, my I suggest a great packing list from Rick Steves at http://cdn1.ricksteves.com//Projects/cms/production/000/014/077/original/be69ed30e24a48490b363fe7596bb5cf/RickStevesPackingList.pdf
The packing list is designed to work whether you’re traveling for five days or five weeks. Remember, there is great happiness in traveling light...
This question cannot be answered. I am a ultralight traveler and backpacker. I never check a bag and if I am camping/backpacking I'm under 30lbs with fuel and water! If you pick a pack based on other peoples recommendations you will likely get the wrong pack.
You have to try them on with weight to be sure. My favorite travel pack (I don't use my backpacking gear for travel it's to fragile for airports and happy hour) is an off brand, under $100 pack, that just fits me and is tuff (I have 12 packs). I have said it before and I'll say it again, you can get the best, most awarded pack this year and it's probably awesome, but if you have a different body type than that pack was designed around, it will suck! Go to a big out doors store and try a lot on and for at least 30 min. Depending on the weight of your gear you may be able to go frameless.
Getting a good pack is like adopting a good dog, they find you!
let me know if you need advice on streamlining your gear!
I'm a big fan of REI packs. They tend to be lightweight, durable and affordable. They do come in different sizes, the last thing you want is something that's uncomfortable when you're running through train stations/airports. So make sure you try it on and get the one that fits you. I also pick up a cheap medium size REI duffle. (~$35) It folds up to be pretty small and at the end of the trip I just toss dirty laundry in there since it is hard to repack everything neatly into the backpack at the end of the trip.
Check out Tom Bihn's products: www.tombihn.com. I've used my Tristar for vacations up to three weeks long.
I am not usuly a backpack enthusiast. But i have found a duffle that converts into a backpack : Hedgren, Urban Gear # A 90832082. It corresponds to the cabin requierments, so no need to check it. I did 2 weeks in Seattle last summer and an other 2 weeks in Corsica with this bag. My travel companions were amased of how much it contained and still was relatively light.
But the best recommandation is to try it for yourself. You have no idea the number of bags I've tried befor findind one that suited me.
So, happy trials !