Yes, you read that correctly. Weird, right? In the interest of full disclosure: It’s time for me to get over my fear of judgement and just do things. So, here’s a thing!
My love affair with my backpack began in Berlin in August 2017. For those of you who don’t know, I spent from the end of May to the end of August 2017 travelling the UK and Europe with my husband* Ben and 3-year-old daughter. We visited London, Tranent, Edinburgh, Paris, Florence, Pisa, Munich, Bratislava, Prellenkirchen, and Berlin. One day in July I was wandering around Munich after visiting the Deutches Museum when I happened across Globetrotter, a travel and outdoor equipment store . I ducked inside with the hope of finding a phrasebook for the upcoming Slovakian leg of our journey and stayed for over an hour looking at every conceivable travel- and outdoor-related item you could possibly imagine.
The store itself was 4 levels high (click for pic). The shiny thing that you can see on the basement level is the Wasseraktionsfläsche: a pool to try out their canoes and kayaks before buying. Also for sale on various levels of the store were tents, clothes, travel books (I couldn’t find an English-Slovak phrasebook, but I did find a German-Slovak equivalent – a fun way to test both my German and Slovak language skills at the same time!), crossbows, hunting knives, multi-tools, drink bottles, camping equipment, a cafe, a couple of bouldering walls… Looking at the photos on the Globetrotter website it looks like I somehow missed the cold- and rain-rooms for testing the all-weather gear, and the to-scale plane and train bathrooms. This place was incredible. However, I’m wandering a little far from the point I was trying to make.
While I was soaking up the sheer awesomeness of this place, I started casually browsing the backpack section. While the backpack I was using was still technically functional, I could see that the end was near – Smiggle schoolbags are not built for round-the-world travel.
I quickly fell in love with the Deuter range of day packs
but couldn’t justify the cost (this particular one was about 100 Euros). I left the store with my Deutsch-Slowakish phrasebook and a vow to return someday.
The Smiggle backpack lasted until Berlin when I just couldn’t deal with the broken zippers and straps any longer. I showed Ben the irreparable carcass and set off for the Berlin Globetrotter store. Conveniently located across from the Rathaus Steglitz U-Bahnhof it was easy enough to find, but once inside it didn’t seem quite as impressive as the Munich branch (to be fair, though, this was partly due to the fact that I had a headache). Still, they had a great range of backpacks and the staff were really good at ignoring me while I stuffed my laptop into bag after bag to find out whether it fit into the designated pouch.
It turned out that the pretty Deuter bag that I liked in Munich wasn’t a good fit, but I eventually managed to narrow down to two options based on size, price and pockets: a black Deuter daypack and a purple Osprey one. I was biased toward the Deuter bag as I’d heard a lot of positive reviews regarding the quality, and it was slightly cheaper than the Osprey pack. On the other hand, the Osprey bag was purple. (This is significant because 1. brighter is always better when accessory shopping, and 2. purple is my favourite colour.) In this case, the Osprey back was also more comfortable to wear so after a quick guilt-call to Ben (I’m about to spend, like, $150 on a backpack! STOP ME!!!) it was a no-brainer.
As soon as I finished paying for the backpack I packed everything into it, strutted back to the U-Bahn, then hugged it all the way home (the bag, not the U-Bahn). It felt like Christmas.
On packing the backpack for the next leg of our journey – a flight to Austria then straight onto a train to Bratislava – I fell in love with it even more. My laptop fit comfortably into the padded pouch and documents sat flat against it in the adjacent zippered section. The front pocket was huge but had enough pockets to separate everything, and the compression straps meant that my unobtrusive everyday pack:
could expand to fit an unbelievable amount of clothing, food, and in-flight activities.
The only down-side was that when weighed down with all of my carry-on gear (including a laptop, notebook, jacket and snacks to name a few), the netted straps were initially a bit uncomfortable on my (somewhat) bare shoulders, but it hasn’t been an issue since. I later discovered that I also wasn’t a big fan of the corded zipper pulls (see below).
It’s not a big deal, but it stands out on an otherwise awesome backpack.
As of publication, I have owned this backpack for about 6 months and have used it almost daily. So far it’s showing no signs of wear – even the plastic key-clip is as springy as the day I bought it. For this reason, as well as its awesome colour, great design, and my memories of all our adventure together:
I love my backpack.
*NOTE: Ben and I have since separated. While I currently have intention of sharing how this came about, I can assure you that it had nothing to do with the backpack. I love it, but not like that!