No, it is all personal preference. And somewhat dependent on how you travel. Someone who spends a few months at a time before moving on to the next place can bring along a wheeled suitcase or two and lots of amenities and be just fine. On the other hand, someone who is overlanding by whatever vehicle rolls down the road across a continent is going to need something durable. Something that can be sat on for hours, pecked on by chickens, strapped to a camel, tossed off the top of a bus, etc. As far as features go, backpack carrying comfort is really not all that important. The reality is you are not going to be carrying it all that long (15 min bursts) or all that far (half a mile) unless you are heading off onto some sort of trek. And most of the known treks that typically appeal to the average person (Inca Trail, Torres del Paine, Kilimanjaro, anything in in Nepal) porters either carry all your stuff or rental equipment is available.
The more important features of a backpack are likely to be how it opens and its overall shape. Backpacks that open in more typical fashion to that of a suitcase are just simpler, quicker and easy to organize, pack and unpack. Not being able to quickly and easily pack/unpack gets a lot older a lot quicker than rather you have a backpack that can be carried for hours at a time because you are just not going to be carrying a backpack for hours at a time. The overall shape of the backpack matters as well if you want it as a carryon. And I am not talking about as a carryon for a plane. It is whether you want to have it as a carryon for the bus, or for the train, because those are the places your backpack is more likely to go for a walk or to be pilfered with. Or simply having luggage that is small enough so that you can bring it inside with you on a taxi ride (so it can’t be held hostage in the trunk by a taxi driver…twice ).
If you have large feet and at if some point along your journey you are going to a place where people have small feet, it is good to make sure your shoes are still up to the task or that you also have a pair or sandals or tevas.
Wherever I end up I tend to spend a few nights outside one way or another so I do have a sleeping bag that is incredibly small and light that can still fit within my carryon sized bag. It would be difficult or expensive to source this in most of the world.
Traveling in overnight buses is quite an efficient way to travel around South America or India. And overnight trains (sans private berths) are also quite common across India as well as the rest of Asia. So, I bring a silk sleeping liner which makes overnight travel slightly more comfortable but more importantly I can put items of value inside with me making them less likely to walk away. In fairness, though, in some places of the world (lots of Asia) it would be easy and quite cheap to have a liner custom made although the quality of the silk does matter as you could quite easily wake up in the morning the same colour as your liner.
I do also carry a good quality small travel size umbrella because I am a civilized person. Nothing yells foreign tourist louder than a TNF jacket and soaking trousers. One might argue that this could be purchased abroad but good quality ones are surprisingly hard to find.
That’s it for me. Most everything else can be sourced elsewhere.
This isn’t really much of an issue. It will either end up at your hotel/hostel, in a storage locker, or since these are largely touristy areas you are mentioning above there will be appropriate facilities for luggage.
Unless you have a flag on your backpack no one is going to believe you are Canadian anyway.rocket354 wrote: ↑Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:01 pm I know for a while there (again, 15-year-old information from the last time I did much travelling or thought too seriously about it), it was popular to claim to be from Canada rather than the US. Watching those videos upthread of the guys in Nigeria repeatedly getting shaken down by local officials makes me wonder if claiming to be another nationality might make me less likely to be seen as a target or a "rich guy."
I’ve been to most regions on this planet. The simple reality is that people are going to figure it out. It’s not that hard. Now, there is one type of circumstance where I might hide my American roots and that is when negotiating the price. That’s because once the seller knows you’re an American the price goes up. Americans, overall, don’t like to negotiate and aren’t particularly good at so it’s generally easier for the seller to make a better profit. And the sellers know this. Once they know your nationality they have a pretty good idea of the range you are willing to pay.
There is one thing, though, that can be worth hiding. If you are an atheist or agnostic. There are lot of cultures out there that are much more open to those that have a different religion but cannot comprehend those who have no religion at all. I’ll leave it at that because otherwise it will veer outside of what is allowable on the forum.
Just carry what you need for the day in your pocket. You don’t want to be digging through your pack, money belt, neck wallet, secret compartments to access cash/cards throughout the day as it has its own risks. A pickpocket is simply going to get whatever they get. A mugger is going to get everything anyway. They know all the tricks.rocket354 wrote: ↑Tue Oct 12, 2021 6:01 pm Another old piece of advice I remember is having a "dummy" set of money/cards. So if I get robbed or held up I can hand over a few dollars and a (canceled) credit card or two and the guy can run off, and I haven't actually lost anything important. Is that still recommended, or are either thieves more sophisticated, or are there more sophisticated safety protocols?
Yes, it would be. But people who worry about it aren’t the same people who are likely to be going to some remote place anyway, at least not independently. As much as a pain in the arse it would be with the internet and electronic banking available these days it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Just memorizing a credit card number that you don’t bring along the trip could get you out of many jams.
The main thing I always recommend is a medical emergency evacuation policy. While there are plenty of places in the world that do have quality, cheap medical treatment there are obviously many countries that do not. I’ve typically used Medjet when this type of cover is needed.