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Backpack recommendations

Last post 04-29-2006 6:59 PM by Tharr. 28 replies.
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  • 03-23-2006 8:30 AM

    • Noffham
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    Backpack recommendations

    Hi gang!  I expect to follow the Keeper's advice and bring a "backpack of life". That being said, I've found an incredible array of types and sizes at the store. So, I figured I'd ask the community for suggestions on what to look for and what to avoid.

    Are the little included water bottles worth it? Would I be better off spending a little more for extra size? That sort of thing. (Not that I want to lug around 50 lbs of gear, but I'm staying out by the airport and the fewer trips back and forth I need to make, the better.)

    So please let me know what you think.

    Thanks!

    Patrick "Noffham" Seymour

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  • 03-23-2006 9:17 AM In reply to

    • Lesimony
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    In your situation, I'd definitly spring for the larger size. Check the material/stitching for quality and strength. The last thing you'll need is a seam ripping or a strap pulling loose. Speaking of straps, make sure they're padded, and comfortably placed for you body size/type. Some backpacks, especially smaller ones, the straps may be close together and rub your neck.

    A separate pocket/front flap with sections for pens, etc is handy so your not digging in the big section every time you want to write something down.

    That's all I can think of right of the top of my head. I'm sure other's will contribute more.

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  • 03-23-2006 9:26 AM In reply to

    • blackrider23
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    Look for ones that have that side netting deal.  You can usually slide a 20oz of whatever in there.
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  • 03-23-2006 9:28 AM In reply to

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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    In a perfect world, I'd recommend a backpack that is waterproof with multiple sections.  Waterproof is good for rain and in the unfortunate instance your water bottle pops open as your second pocket with your gaming books will be unaffected.
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  • 03-23-2006 9:41 AM In reply to

    • game junkie
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

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  • 03-23-2006 9:45 AM In reply to

    • Azeem
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    I like the bags that have shoulder straps and can also be wheeled around.
  • 03-23-2006 9:54 AM In reply to

    • marimacc
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    Azeem:
    I like the bags that have shoulder straps and can also be wheeled around.

    Uh oh, I feel the great wheel debate rearing its ugly head yet again.

    To summarize from the old Boards; A wheeled backpack in the dealer's room or crowded hallways is going to probably get you dirty looks and/or dirty comments; and is probably a really bad idea.  Probably it's ok to use the wheels to go to and from your hotel and maybe through less crowded hallways; but just FYI, I think the popular vote was strongly against wheeled backpacks.

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  • 03-23-2006 9:54 AM In reply to

    • Mock26
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    Get one with a waist strap, and if possible, a chest strap.  Having backpacked most of my life those two straps make a world of difference on distributing the weight, and more and more companies are putting them on day packs.

    Also, don't get one that has a divided main section.  You are better off getting one with one large central storage area.  I have a backpack designed to hold a lap top, and it has two main compartants, each of which is kind of small.  Well, I can't fit any really large items in the pack because of that. 

     

    Take care and have a great day....

     

     

    ciao,

    john.

  • 03-23-2006 10:00 AM In reply to

    • Noffham
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    Draven:
    In a perfect world, I'd recommend a backpack that is waterproof with multiple sections.  Waterproof is good for rain and in the unfortunate instance your water bottle pops open as your second pocket with your gaming books will be unaffected.

    Oh yes, cruel experience taught me long ago to carry large ziplock bags to store anything liquid/food related in, no matter what you're using for your books. Sad [:(]

    Lots of good ideas already. Thanks everyone!

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  • 03-23-2006 10:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Backpack recommendations

    Here are my backpack tips:

    Included water bottles: a good idea, when paired with this idea--go to the store and buy some powdered lemonade/ice tea mix. You can buy them in little individual-serving pouches these days. Whatever you get, make sure you can drink it at tap water temperature. Now, those packets, plus your water bottle and a water fountain, equals an inexpensive drink, rather than a $5 soda from a vendor.

    Size of the pack: this is going to depend on how well you can carry around the various sizes of bags, AND on how much of a nuisance you want to be ;D A bigger bag will obviously let you carry more stuff. BUT, a bigger bag will also get in the way of other people more, say, in the Exhibit Hall, when you're trying to cram around a booth, or walk down the aisles. I'd judge it this way: bring the size of bag that you're going to need for your busiest day. If you're going to have to carry around five big RPG books on one day, bring a bag that can handle that. But don't bring a huge bag if you're planning on filling it with stuff once you get there. You can always carry the stuff you buy/get for free in the bags the exhibitors will give you. Trying to cram it all into your backpack will not only kill your back, but you'll end up with a huge backpack that's in everyone's way.

    Along with that: please be aware of how big your backpack is. It's like driving--know how big your vehicle is. Same thing. So many people, particularly in the exhibit hall, will turn around where they don't have the room, slamming into people because they forgot about that big thing on their back. I saw a little girl knocked over once by some dude who turned around away from her, hit her in the head with his pack.

    Style of pack: I am a big fan of the single-strap 'messenger bag' sort of backpack. NOT the messenger bags that hang over one shoulder. The 'bike messenger' sort of bag, where it sits on your back, and the strap goes from over your right shoulder to down around your left waist. Like this:

     

    They are comfortable, can be carried handily over one shoulder (if not too heavy, and for short times), and they can be taken off easier than a 'two-strap' backpack. They often will have handy pockets along that front strap, too.

     

    Edit: as for being considerate in the exhibit hall, whenever I am going into a 'high traffic' area, I always carry my bag over one shoulder, rather than slung over my back. I can swing it down in front of me easily, and thus ensure that I can fit through the crowd hole that I am trying to fit through. The kind of bag pictured above can actually be carried easily over *either* shoulder, and there's a benefit to carrying it over the *right* shoulder. In so doing, you are keeping the main compartment of the bag *in front of you*, not behind you. This helps avoid people swiping stuff out of the main or little zippered pocket behind your back (yes, it's been known to happen at Gen Con), AND helps you avoid the classic "I forgot to zip up my bag and all my crap fell out" mistake.

  • 03-23-2006 12:35 PM In reply to

    • NDGeekboy
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    I've always been a fan of the old-fashioned backpack often seen on college campuses.  It's big enough for three or four books, a notebook (the paper kind, not the wireless), pens, pencils, dice, munchies (sandwiches, Pop Tarts, what have you), and pop or water. 

    Something I try to factor in when packing for the day is vending machines and concession stands.  A few extra bucks is always lighter than a couple liters of water and a hot dog.  Another thing to look at (and possibly run in terror from) are hotel gift shops.  Good for a quick fix but they will cost you dearly.

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  • 03-23-2006 2:58 PM In reply to

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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    I have a backpack almost exactly like the one Tom speaks of.  I love it, and it is easier to get on and off than a normal backpack.  Sure it's a bit smaller than one of the two strap backpacks, but it holds everything I need, and it even has the side netting for my 20 oz. drink like BR talked about.
  • 03-23-2006 3:46 PM In reply to

    • Mock26
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    Tom, one problem with that style of bag is that by their very nature they have less cargo space than a traditional two strap backpack.

     

    One other option is to hire 4 burly guys to carry you around in a sedan chair and hire a 5th guy to carry all of your stuff.  Then you wouldn't need a backpack!

     

    Take care and have a great day....

     

     

    ciao,

    john.

  • 03-23-2006 11:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Backpack recommendations

     I shall be using the Hello Kitty backpack I bought 3 years ago on sale right before the con. I use it for all my gaming needs not just Gen Con.

    I know it sounds silly to buy a bookbag that they would generally send to school with a school kid. But I've found they truely are some of the best bookbags out there. They're sturdy, which is good. I mean they have to be because they're being expected to probably get tossed around the school yard and the bus atmosphere.

    The first year I used my water bottle for my dice, just cause I didn't want to lug my dice bag around and well I don't reccomend doing that. But the water bottle itself is a blessing in disguse. You can stop by the little water fountians and fill it up or before you leave the hotel room. Very helpful and nice.
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  • 03-24-2006 7:19 AM In reply to

    • dream spawn
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    If you are looking to really invest in backpack that will last for years, I suggest a Wenger (this is the brand name, it's by the people who make swiss army knives) backpack.  They are a little bit high on the price side (expect to pay around $60-70), but they will hold up to darn near anything you can dish out.  They are also very well padded and comfortable.  I have one of their messenger style bags for my gaming books and I love it.
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  • 03-24-2006 9:41 AM In reply to

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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    I think the popular vote was strongly against wheeled backpacks

    That's why the wheeled packs have shoulder straps and handles; for the tight places.

    The problem is Oblivions, not the pack. All large packs in the dealer room are a problem and should be avoided.

     

  • 03-24-2006 9:44 AM In reply to

    • DaRat
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    I'd say go for a larger size, but not too large of a size.  You can easily get too large of backpack which will tempt you to carry things that you don't really need or you'll just have stuff sliding around.

    For water, you might want to find Nalgene water bottles which are very hard to break.  Might ruin your day if you have a regular water bottle in your pack and it springs a leak.
  • 03-24-2006 12:33 PM In reply to

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    Re: Backpack recommendations

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  • 03-24-2006 8:16 PM In reply to

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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    That one looks a little bigger than I was considering!  Big Smile [:D]

    Actually, I found an outdoor products "day and a half pack". A little larger than the bookbag size packs, it has one big main compartment and a number of side pockets. Not too big but should carry whatever I need. It has both waist and chest straps and can even take a 2 liter water pack in a separate pocket. It seems quite sturdy and Wal-mart has it for $30.

    I'll check a few more local places to see if there is anything else that seems to be a better deal. If not I'll go for the "day-and-a-half".

    Thanks everyone for all the good ideas.

    Noffham

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  • 03-25-2006 12:52 AM In reply to

    • garhkal
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    Re: Backpack recommendations

    What about camle packs.  Backpacks with camel backs in them.  Good for 5-6 books.

     

     

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