What Type of Backpack Do I Use?

01/20/2011 By Shawn Burns

Every now and then I am asked about the actual backpack I use. I admit, I’ve toyed with the idea of turning this site into some kind of “Get Your Backpacks Here” page and just retiring with the all the big Internet millions I would make doing so. If I were to do that I would probably write a review of the backpacks I have used, and you could all bow down before my backpack expertise. And then buy a backpack and pay for my island Mai-tai.

On my Delurker post Technogran inquired about my backpack. Well, since it was a question on that post I am compelled to answer it. I made you ask the questions, Lurkers; I ought to respect that.

The first backpack I ever used was a Deuter Kangakids pack. It zipped up to hide the straps when the kid wasn’t in it, and would hid tiny legs from the world when the babies were still babies. It didn’t last beyond 30 lbs, though, so I moved on to a Kelty TC 2.5. It has a higher strap-load limit, but no zip-up sides. It can never be confused for a book bag. It did come with a sunshade, which I like but the kids hate. It also has a detachable diaper bag, so if I want to I can leave the main backpack in the car and just bring the small bag along with me if we aren’t backpacking on our jaunty jaunt.

I miss the Deuter days. The kids were more snuggly in that pack, and could fall asleep without tilting over to the side. It had a chest strap for the kids to keep them upright instead of wiggly their arms under the shoulder strap. It was just more comfortable. The Kelty also has a plastic bottom plate, which is great for setting it down without the pack falling over, but as the kids’ legs get longer they extend below the plate and bang against it as they kick or as we’re in motion. It has to be uncomfortable to have a plastic edge striking against your calf for an hour on a hike.

So…I use a Kelty but I wish I could still use the Deuter Kangakids. I think more recent models have higher strap load limits (possibly up to 44 lbs), but I don’t have a new one so I’ve never tried it out.