In my drive to reduce the weight and bulk of my travelling experiences I did a lot of searching to find the right backpack for me. I have used a 55+15 litre pack in the past but I knew that was too much for me. Even though it was an excellent pack I decided that never again would I travel with something that size if I was planning to move from place to place regularly. The Regatta Survivor 35 litre backpack was the answer for me.
This pack is relatively cheap but it has proven to be well made and surprisingly spacious, especially in conjunction with compression packs used to squeeze down my clothing. The main chamber is pretty large, and takes up most of the advertised 35 litre capacity. I have crammed it with a netbook, uni textbooks (and they are uniformly cumbersome), clothing, coat, towel, toilet roll, and souvenirs. It’s never been so full that I couldn’t close it and the extra pockets all act as perfect overflow storage if need be. Future trips post-uni will prove this bag to be even more spacious without the added books and I will probably be able to take a lightweight canvas day-bag to make the daily strolls even more pleasant.
It is top-loading but that’s no issue with a pack this small. There is a pocket on the top of the pack which is more than large enough to hold all your adaptors and toiletries. There is a pocket on the outside-back which I tend to use for my guidebook and maps as it’s easily accessible. It holds most guidebook sizes with ease. There are two elasticated side pouches which can take a large bottle of water or even your sandals comfortably. Two slim, zipped, pockets on both sides above the pouches are a very handy shape for sun cream bottles or bug repellent. It has its own rain cover, which so far I’ve not had to use. There is a bungee-cord mesh on the outside of the back pocket so you can slip whatever you like in that for easy access. Finally, a pair of Velcro loops on the sides would take walking poles if you wanted to use this bag as a proper trekking/backpacking day-bag.
The top is closed by two buckles and a drawstring. Now, those of you who travel with vastly expensive paraphernalia might baulk at this kind of closing as yes – it’s not very secure – but the pack is small enough that you can carry it with you at all times. Simply decant the contents into your hostel locker and take the high-value items out with you! If you have become that attached to those items then you probably wouldn’t want to leave any other kind of bag lying around either, secured or not, so I would ask you to engage in a bit of careful self-examination about what you are and are not prepared to do with your security precautions.
I’ve found the pack to be very comfortable as it has well-padded shoulder and waist straps which make any weight feel truly negligible through the 2-point adjustments on the shoulders. The usual cross-chest buckle ties the package together and turns it into a very stable product.
The versatility, space and comfort of this pack are excellent and as it’s easily small enough for hand luggage I would say it’s going to be my long-term solution to any kind of travel from now on. 3 weeks use in Serbia, 3 weeks touring Japan and it’s oppressive rush-hour crowds, and a camping trip to Oxfordshire where it took my tent, mattress AND sleeping bag INSIDE THE MAIN CHAMBER tested and prove what I’m saying. It looks pretty good too in a dark green colour and limited branding. Not too rambler-ish if you know what I mean. If you are looking to downsize from a bigger pack then I doubt you’ll go wrong with this one.