I just got back from quite a long vacation and am in one word, exhausted. However, I also came back with a bit of a revelation with regards my packing habits. I used to aspire to be one of the stylish ladies I see at airports – manicured hands effortlessly pulling their stylish carry on trolley bags, handbags slung on one shoulder, dressed with a sort of casual chic I could never attain … and then I realised that I’m a comfort traveller at heart. Travelling cattle class is bad enough without being uncomfortable to boot. So this time, I pulled on a Uniqlo bra top (best top to travel in hands down!), a long skirt, my Fitflops and a backpack.
I had a check in bag too – a regular trolley bag that I usually carry on board. I rarely check in luggage unless I absolutely have to. But I had liquids in there this time, and I had transits so I just did not want the hassle. I dithered between carrying a handbag + camera bag and a backpack for a while, before I eventually decided to see how just the backpack would fare. Very well, as it turned out.
The backpack I picked up quite recently is a Deuter Giga backpack. Its sturdy and roomy and fits so much, I didn’t even need an extra luggage bag to come back with.
The bag is rather large, as you can see above, but this is an excellent size for carry on luggage for airlines because it fits all size requirements. If you don’t carry a lot, you can shorten the side straps to compact the bag and it won’t look as large or as bulky. If not full, it even slips under the airplane seat which is convenient.
These pictures show the bag in its full capacity. I’d forgotten to bring a spare bag this time, but was saved by my roomy backpack. It even held my camera bag and 2 toiletry bags with room to spare for other bits and bobs.
The Deuter Giga backpack is really meant for city folk who might need it for work e.g. carrying laptops and documents and stationery. When converted to a travel backpack, the stationery compartment came in handy for holding scraps of paper of information I might need or a guidebook, and pens. Never travel without a pen. You will need it for filling out immigration forms or documents so always have a pen handy.
There are 2 compartments – a large main compartment, and a narrower compartment that usually fits a laptop. The bag is very deep so in went the camera bag, 2 toiletry pouches, pouch with wires for charging gadgets, a spare change of clothes, a scarf and a light jacket.
With all that, it started to really weigh down, but the well padded straps and back support took care of that. You can stuff water bottles down the side mesh pockets, and if you are in transit, use the airport trolley. I actually found it easier to just strap on the bag when getting off the plane and its easier to remember one bag as opposed to 2 or 3. I also breezed past most people dragging their trolley bags so that cuts queuing time at immigration counters 😉
I took this backpack with me on a weekend trip to Singapore by bus, and it was again, so much easier to just strap on and go instead of having to wait for the other trolley bags to be unloaded at the immigration.
At my destination, the backpack stays indoors. I cleverly also packed in a handbag which I then whip out so the backpack is strictly for travel only and I can pull my “effortlessly chic” stunt at my destination LOL! A nice foldable bag usually does the trick – I use the Longchamp le Pliage as its more compact than the LeSportsac or Herve Chapelier. Am still thinking of the Bric’s 😛
I’m quite pleased with my backpack. I can see myself taking it on many travels especially if I go on short trips or weekend trips where all I need is one or two changes of light clothes. More importantly, it holds my camera bag very well, and that makes things so much easier for travelling in future when I just know I’ll be carrying it around 🙂
My Deuter Giga backpack was purchased through www.deuteronline.com a site owned by my friend who offers competitive prices and free shipping in Malaysia for Deuter backpacks. I didn’t think about getting one till I talked to him, and now I’m really glad I did 😛 Good sales person that one 😛
Do you or would you travel with a backpack as opposed to a trolley bag for carry on luggage? Its not the most glamourous way to travel, and its rugged and can be bulky, I’ll concede, but its practical and fits loads which suits me fine! 😀
My Deuter Giga backpack was purchased for RM235 from www.deuteronline.com or you may also purchase Deuter backpacks from most camping/hiking supply stores.
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I’m a backpacker. So it’s always the backpack for me except on business trips.
Frees my hands to hold maps. Doesn’t make me feel like my hands are dropping off dragging a trolley bag on stone cobbled streets on many parts of Europe. Save much trouble when taking the train/subway from the airport to the city. Especially if there’s need to change lines and connection is via long walkways and stairs.
I normally have a route when I travel. So that means changing accommodations every 2 or 3 days. So, bringing a backpack is most suited to my travelling style.
Hi Shay I’m not quite a backpacker yet but I might be headed down that route 🙂 I do still like having a trolley bag for the main stuff but for travelling between airports, nothing beats the backpack. Nothing!
Mrs Top Monkey says
Backpack and comfy shoes. Because travel for me means lugging a backpack that’s filled with diapers, wipes, kiddie snacks, small toys, iPad, change of kiddie clothes AND lugging a toddler when he’s too tired to walk or needs Mummy to hold him for whatever reason. I look like a double kangaroo with a backpack on my back and a sling with Connor in front of me but it sure gets me past all those people pulling trolleys. My backpack was a freebie Dear Hubby picked up at a convention and it’s the best ever because it’s got tons of pockets.
Ah yes, for mommies, the backpack is definitely a god sent eh? But I hope you don’t go down the fanny pack route. I can’t find anyone who looks good in a fanny pack or waist pouch except Fiona from Burn Notice and even then, have you seen how SKINNY and hipless she is?!
Mrs Top Monkey says
Oh my god. Tolong….! Hips and butt already extra wide thanks to fat not removed after pregnancy. No need for fanny pack to add on. Why do people wear it? It’s hideous!
You said it! Anything that accentuates hips and butt are a no-no … and yet and yet… people wear it! *shuts eyes in horror*
Mei Ping says
I always travel in comfort and I’m amazed as to how the ladies can still look so put together in their stylish clothes and saloon styled hair after travelling.
I just came back from Hong Kong and my husband uses the Deuter backpack as well. My family of 3 put all our stuff in this backpack, ie. My son’s and my sweaters, my son’s electronic gadgets, water bottles and whole lot of other stuff inside. On the last day there, we still had some last minute shopping and my husband managed to stuff his new pair of sneakers inside the backpack as I didn’t want to repack our luggage.
Your guess is as good as mine about those ladies who look so perfect when they land as when they leave. I’m not talking about those who are travelling in Business or First class either! I always look a rumpled mess as I tumble off the plane but i’ve learnt to accept it LOL And its great to know that your husband’s Deuter bag came in handy to hold all your stuff. Hong Kong must have been FUN! 😀
Sometimes it’s as easy as picking out travel friendly clothes. G2000 has a line of women comfort clothes which is very good to look relax chic on flight.
That’s true too. I’m learning (quite late) that its all in the cut so a basic skirt, top and cardi can look quite good if they are all cut well, and are comfy 🙂
Yup!!! I also learnt that recently. Wearing clothes with cutting that suits me really makes a whole lot of diff.
Thanks for the fantastic review and mention. I didn’t know about this review until I saw a referral link through statscounter. Glad the backpack suits its purpose. The first picture shows a kid being overwhelmeed by the giant backpack! LOL!
You’re welcome Gary 🙂 Credit where its due and I never noticed that about the kid on the trolley! LOL 😀
Thanks for the recommendation. I’m thinking of getting a backpack for my husband for his business travels. It’s kinda difficult to decide by viewing the products online… colour, size, feel, etc. Does your friend also have a store where I can go and have a look at the range available?
Hi Jen 🙂 My friend doesn’t have a store but you can easily view most Deuter backpacks at most travel/camping supplies/backpack stores which are quite easy to find in most malls and then compare prices for the ones you like. I got mine from my friend because he offered better prices than what I got in store but I did go and try on some to decide on which I wanted, before I made my purchase. For business, and under the Deuter range, I’d suggest the Giga range (there are a few designs) as these are the most business looking. The rest are too “hikey” 😉
Ok great. I’ll do that. Thanks!
Haha I can never pull off that ‘effortlessly chic’ look whenever I travel! It’s always backpacks and comfortable shoes a.k.a trainers for me =p I also love how backpacks can fit more than our normal handbags, hence being able to carry more on board flights especially when I’m carrying loads of souvenirs home! =D
I’m more like “rumpled chic” LOL! I stopped travelling in trainers because I wanted to avoid the touristy look but if I do wear them, I wear funky coloured ones hehe… Else I go with boots to colder climates and Fitflops to warm ones 🙂 And you’re so right about backpacks fitting a ton. I used to be a snob but now, I’m a convert! More space for shopping yo! 😀
I own a Deuter bag for 10 years already..the same bag that I bought when I used to climb mountain around Malaysia..not the big one but quite okay for my size and it never failled me….its worth every penny of you money…good for you to buy one Paris..am thinking of buying a little smaller bag for short trip..thanks for sharing….
Hi Laila! Its great to know your bag has lasted so long and with mountain climbing to boot! I now think backpacks are great for short travels and as carry on luggage just because they are so practical 😀
Oh dear me, the last time I carried my back pack was my last day of SPM exams!! Wonder if I’ll ever try that again… reminds me of my Aussie friends who just backpack it. Maybe I should try it the next time I travel… I’m always open to experiments! LOL ;-D
Haha I scorned the backpack for a long time too. I’m glad I went back to it though. Its so much easier to fit stuff in there and to breeze around airports. I still don’t backpack when I travel – I’m a bit of a spoilt traveller – but as carry on luggage, a nice sleek backpack does the job very well 🙂
I wanted to take just my backpack and laptop bag on my recent business cum leisure trip to Hong Kong in July, but the amount of paper my boss required me to cart to HK (not allowed to go there and print) meant that I ended up carting a trolley bag as well. 🙁
Recent multiple short-haul flights and commutes by bus have taught me that I hate to have multiple bags to struggle with and having just one backpack lets me breeze past other people. Downsides of a backpack for me? I end up stuffing too much inside and have backaches from lugging all that weight around. 😛
Oh yeah I experienced that downside too. I was bent over with my too-full backpack! So thank goodness for airport trolleys 😀 I still can’t backpack exclusively when I travel. I’d use it as a carry on because its so convenient, but not as primary luggage unless its just for a weekend. I guess I’m just a little spoilt traveller 😉
Backpack for me! I lugged a big shoulder bag around HK which made my back and shoulders ache at the end of a long day. I don’t have that issue with a backpack. What boots do you use in winter?
Oh I know how you feel! Especially in HK where shopping is absolutely crazy 😀 I do still use a sling bag when traipsing around cities though. I use my backpack mostly for just the travel part of the journey. As for boots, I have a couple of leather knee high boots and a couple of short boots that I wear on winter travels. They keep out water and the cold 🙂
Oooo, what shoes do you use in spring weather?
That’s a good question. I try not to travel in Sping because of the wet. But when I do, I wear my short boots. I find boots hardier than regular leather shoes, and they keep out the wet better without getting soaked.
Backpacks are so convenient. I only use trolley luggage bags only when I’m on business trips. I’ve been using my Deuter – not too sure of the name of the model for years and is still going strong. Just got back from India with it. If it gets too heavy at the back, always carry something in the front to balance back 🙂
Great tip Nadia! 😀 I will have to bear that in mind the next time I’m bent over hehe… And I would use a backpack when travelling to certain countries too or in the countryside. In cities I prefer to be a little more “local” 😉
The only time I travel with my backpack is when I go hiking or skiing. I also have a backpack for my dSLR and lenses but I always make my husband to carry that one for me 😛 Deuter is one of the most common backpack brands here. Mine are Mammut and Lowe Alpine because they find them more ‘trendy’… *lol*
teehee… a trendy backpack is such an oxymoron no? 😉
Hei! It’s such a good review! Thanks a lot. 😉
I’m actually thinking of purchasing exactly this bag but I’m not sure about the color. Isn’t the purple kind of boring after several months or you still do like it? I like the it best but the black is the classical – hard.to.get.annoyed.by – color.
There is no store around me where I could actually have a look at it. Moreover, I guess the colors might be a little bit different from the online-shop photos. So now I’m kind of confused which one to choose. 🙁
Paris B says
I’m not sure what you mean by the colour becoming boring? I’m still happy with the colour and that’s pretty much why I chose it to start 🙂
I am thinking of getting a backpack which can hold a 15.6” laptop and also can be used as daypack. Can this hold up to 15.6” (37.5cmx25cmx3cm) laptop?
Is this long lasting too? =)
Paris B says
Hi Stephy, maybe you could contact the people at Deuter Online – they are very friendly & will be the best to advise you 🙂
I, like you, have always admired ladies who can travel elegantly and effortlessly. How do they do it?? Like you too, comfort wins hands down over elegant travel. I usually travel with one carry on (North Face backpack) and a checked luggage (usually spinners because it’s just soooo convenient to maneuver them around airports and such). I tend to make sure that the backpack is padded for carrying my laptop about, and have plenty of compartments for the rest of my junk – toiletries, travel documents, snacks etc. Backpacks are not super chic, but it’s super practical 🙂