Gear Guy

Q:

What Are the Best Packs for a Family Trip?

My wife and I are taking our two teenage kids on a trip to Europe. We'll be traveling for 15 days and to avoid hassle, we’ve decided to carry only backpacks. How do I choose the right packs?

What Are the Best Packs for a Family Trip?
Osprey Meridian (Courtesy of Osprey)
A:

Ah, fun! Putting everything on your backs may be a bit ambitious, but it'll certainly streamline your luggage footprint. You will, however, need to decide whether you want to check your bags or carry them with you when you fly. Carrying-on will require smaller luggage.

Eagle Creek Rincon Vita

Eagle Creek Rincon Vita


For you and your wife, I’d suggest fairly large packs to allow room for any common gear (maybe a toiletries kit), or any souvenirs you purchase. If you’re okay with checking your bags, then look into the Osprey Meridian Wheeled Convertible Pack ($329), a nicely designed piece with 4,600 cubic inches of volume. Features include a main compartment with an organizer pocket; a removable daypack; and the ability to switch between a pack and a wheeled suitcase. That last feature might come in handy.

Your wife might look at Eagle Creek's Rincon Vita 75L ($275). It has just as much capacity as the Meridian, but it’s designed for a woman with shoulder straps and a hip belt that are contoured for better fit. And those straps also zip into their own pockets, making it easy to carry like a duffel. The Rincon Vita also has a removable daypack and several handy organizer pockets.

The Best Packs for a Family Trip: REI Stratocruiser

My wife and I are taking our teenage son and daughter on a trip to Europe. We'll be traveling for 15 days and to avoid hassle, we’ve decided to carry only backpacks. How do I choose the right packs?

REI Stratocruiser
REI Stratocruiser (Courtesy of REI)

If you don't want to check your bag, take a look at REI's 22” Stratocruiser ($239). With 3,700 cubic inches of room it’s down-right capacious, and, like the Osprey, it has the ability to roll or turn into a backpack.

The Best Packs for a Family Trip: Maxpediton Vulture II

My wife and I are taking our teenage son and daughter on a trip to Europe. We'll be traveling for 15 days and to avoid hassle, we’ve decided to carry only backpacks. How do I choose the right packs?

Maxpedition Vulture II
Maxpedition Vulture II (Courtesy of Maxpedition)

Your son might like the Maxpedition Vulture II ($170), which combines tough looks with a very practical 3,000 cubic inches of space. It also has comfortable suspension, and the option to attach different Maxpedition accessories.

For your daughter, take a look at Deuter's Transit 50 ($179). It’s a classic travel pack with 3,000 cubic inches of space and plenty of places to safely tuck an iPod or a Kindle. Plus, it's easily adjustable, meaning it'll fit comfortably and it’s a pack she can grow with.

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