Travel Gear Review: Cabela’s XPG Snow Hikers

cabela snow hikers

I received no compensation or benefits for this review.

Choosing the right gear hiking can be a complete nightmare, which is why I am always hesitant about jumping in and buying something immediately without reading about it online. Also, as an avid hiker, hiking boots are one of the most important gear decisions you can make when you plan to tackle some mountains. They can either make you or break you, so finding the right pair for your feet and what you want to accomplish can take some time.

I wanted a solid pair of hiking boots that I could wear in different weather conditions. I knew that sometimes I might be hiking in the snow, rain, and clear weather, so I needed some shoes that would hold up during all of this. I also wanted something that wasn’t too bulky—at a normal size 5 shoe, it’s hard to find hiking boots that fit correctly and that aren’t too cumbersome.

My parents suggested Cabela’s, which isn’t my usual stop for things like this. It might be because of their branding, but for some reason I had never considered looking at their travel gear and what all they had to offer. It took me about five minutes to find a pair that I thought would work, however. They were just what I needed—boots that I could hike in during the winter and summer with a quality tread and sturdy base without making me feel like I was wearing skies.

I went up a size and a half in order to accommodate thick socks, and I was glad that I made that decision. Since then, I realized anything less than that would have caused rubbing. The sizing might have been a little off, but once I had found the right one, they seemed to fit pretty well.

Of course, the test really begins when you take them out of the store and on your hiking expeditions. It did take a while for these to break in—I wore them around New York City, in Spain, and tried to use them when I went home and went hiking. Once they gave, it was like slipping on a glove.

I wore them recently on the Camino de Santiago—six days straight of hiking for more than ten miles each day. I had only minor rubs (which is totally reasonable after walking so much) after the end of it, and I began to miss the feeling of having them on. They were perfect for my recent trip to Nicaragua and hiking up the Cerre Negro volcano and kept me from getting scratched on my way boarding down.

The best part? I think they’re adorable. They also look almost brand new after all I’ve put them through.

I couldn’t find the boots on Amazon, but they are still available on the Cabela’s website. They’ve also gone down in price. Hiking boots are expensive, but you can get the XPG Snow Hikers for $129.99.

I would recommend these boots for hikers who love to get out in all sorts of weather, but who don’t want to pay for several types of boots in order to do so.

Do you have some travel gear you can’t live without?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

 

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How You Can Be More Culturally Responsible When You Travel

culturally aware travel

After being a dedicated traveler for a few years now, I’ve definitely watched myself grow as a person and what I want to get out of my adventures. When I was younger, traveling was all about “finding myself” as an individual—it was about learning what I was capable of as a young person and my place in the world.

The older I become, the more I start to feel as though I want to help others and the environment as I go along. Tourism can be a destructive force if we are not aware of others and the planet on the road, and the more I travel, the more I want to give back to the world. Part of my journey has been learning how to create positive change while also preserving cultures and places as I enjoy them.

Here are some things I’ve learned while traveling and how I’ve learned to be more culturally responsible.

Know the basics

You might think you are being aware of another culture when you travel, but that might not necessarily be the case. Are you giving candy and money to children when you shouldn’t? Volunteering at orphanages? Taking pictures of locals without asking? These are simple rules that can actually make a big difference over time. They might seem small, but if we all traveled with these rules in mind, then we are encouraging a better world.

Do your research

Before I journey to a spot, I tend to take a few minutes beforehand and read a Wikipedia article or some fellow travelers’ blogs about the place I am visiting. I might not absorb everything, and there is a lot I am missing by only reading about a destination through these sources, but it’s better than having no idea about a culture. For me, travel is about learning, and it’s a good idea to learn a little something before you go.

Ask questions

I always like to take some time and ask questions of the locals and see what problems they are dealing with as a society. I remember traveling to Egypt and asking a few questions about what were the biggest issues they faced and how they could see a solution. Much of it was how I could affect change as a traveler and let other tourists know (tourism was previously one of Egypt’s biggest industries until the revolution) how they could help. You may not always agree with the answer, but it’s important to understand the perspective of those who actually live there.

Volunteer correctly

I’ve had issues with voluntourism in the past because so many travelers have confused the idea of volunteering as foolproof way to help a community. That’s not always the case, and volunteering with the wrong organization can sometimes harm more than help. Along with researching the basics of a place, make sure you also research whether or not the organization you want to work with is legitimate and is working to make their communities better.

Also, think about if you are really making a journey to help others or if you are doing it for your own experience. Are you legitimately trying to make a positive impact? Motives might seem like a strange thing to think about when you choose to volunteer, but they are important.

Be open

When traveling to a foreign culture, things are not going to be how you are used to. You might deal with certain cultural values you don’t agree with, find that you feel uncomfortable in a certain environment, or mess up because you’re unaware of some of the customs. The most important point is to being open to learning new things and admitting that you culture and you as an individual might not have all the answers—that there is more than one way to live. That’s why we travel, right?

How have you been culturally aware when you travel?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

I Blew Off Some of My Planned Travels: Here’s Why

cancel travel plans

As most everyone knows, I’m almost always down for an adventure. I love pushing myself and seeing new places, and more often than not, I’m up for booking a ticket anywhere in the world. I’ve seen and done some pretty interesting things on my travels, and I usually have a never-say-no attitude to most experiences.

However, there have been times I have planned a trip and put a down payment on an adventure, only to find myself backing out at the last moment. It doesn’t happen very often, but there have been a few flights I have missed—some experiences I have backed out on. It seems counterintuitive to my personality, but there are times where the moment wasn’t right to travel and I needed to stay put.

One of these times happened not that long ago. I was all set to go on a trip after just landing in Spain. My boyfriend, Daniel, and I were making the move together and we were excited to have place that we could call home for a few months. This trip wasn’t just a jaunt, either. I was supposed to be gone for a month and would have limited access to WiFi—leaving him alone in a foreign country where he didn’t speak the language. We had just started our new life in Spain and I was supposed to leave again. I couldn’t do it. I woke up the day I was supposed to leave and looked over at him.

“I’m going to stay,” I said.

I helped him move our suitcases into our new place later that afternoon. I had thrown my expensive plane ticket down the toilet, along with the money I had spent on all the gear I would need to going to a very different climate. I didn’t really care, though, and I felt relieved more than anything.

There’s a fine line between jumping in and enjoying the journeys you’ve put together and knowing when you need to step back. I couldn’t have replaced those first few days of living in Spain and enjoying our brand new life in a foreign country together. In truth, my relationship with Daniel was much more important to me than any trip I could have gone on. It still is.

The two of us blew off another trip to Malta this summer. We had found some cheap flights, but we hadn’t taken account how much effort it would be to get from our home in Granada to Girona—which offered the only cheap flights out. It was simply bad planning on our part, and we found that any money we had saved on the plane tickets was offset by the cash it would take to get to Girona in the first place. It ended up just being a smarter plan to ditch the flights and relax for a few days before we left Spain.

Fear should never be a reason to back away from traveling, and I’ve never made the decision not to travel because I was afraid. However, I’ve had higher priorities than seeing a new destination before—and knowing when to stick to those priorities has helped me to determine whether I should stay or if I should go. As I get older, more and more priorities crop up. When I was single, I never had to worry about leaving a place behind and I had a more flexible budget that didn’t require that I think about paying for health insurance each month. But I’m not single and all that young anymore, which requires that I think about other priorities more than I used to. Travel is still one of my main ones—just not the main one.

Have you ever blown off some of your travels for a particular reason?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

5 Places I Would Go Back to in a Heartbeat

5 places go back

There are always places you experience and you decide that you would be okay not to experience them again. I’ve had a few of these places where I don’t feel the need to head back to any time soon. However, there are some special locations where if I was given the chance, I would pack my bags and visit again in a heartbeat. That’s saying a lot knowing there are still so many places I would like to see!

Here are some places I would agree to go back to without a minute’s notice.

1. Paris, France

eiffel tower paris

I have to admit, I’m one of those people who can’t get over the magic of Paris. I’ve been there four times, and it’s one of those places you can see again and again and always find something new to experience. I’ve climbed Montmartre one trip, visited the Louvre on another, and found deep corners of the city where tourists don’t venture to go. Paris is a place that always changes, but somehow always remains the same.

2. Tokyo, Japan

shibuya tokyo japan

The Japanese culture is one that continues to fascinate me. After returning this last year, I can confidently say that I would go again to Tokyo and spend more time exploring the city. There are some locales that seem similar, but Tokyo really is unlike any place that I have ever been before—and probably will ever visit again. If I could find a good flight deal, I would book it now and head to the other side of the world.

3. Fes, Morocco

fes morocco tannery

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Fes, one of the largest cities in Morocco. After a few hours of wandering through the old medina, talking with some locals, and smelling some of the delicious spices, I knew I would be back again. To this day, when I think of visiting Morocco, I think of staying at beautiful riads, finding some unique ceramic pieces to take home, and visiting the stinky tanneries where some of the best leather products in the world are made.

4. Antigua, Guatemala

antigua cathedral guatemala

Antigua seemed initially just like a stop before we climbed volcanoes and visited the ruins of Tikal, and I had no idea that it had an interesting history, friendly local people, and a fun city vibe. We even ended up canceling some of our plans to stay a few more days there so we could relax and enjoy some salsa dancing and dive bars. It was also incredibly safe, and a great introduction to Central America and all it has to offer.

5. Venice, Italy

venice italy bridge

Venice was where it all began for me. As a study abroad student, I was caught up in the wonder and the history that I could find there. Walking over the bridges to class every day and tasting various types of gelato, it was impossible not to fall in love with the city. I made it back once after I left (with definite tears in my eyes), and that short trip reminded me of how you could spend years there and still feel as though you could discover more. Someday, I hope to make it back again—and hopefully before it sinks into the Adriatic Sea forever.

Do you have any places that you would choose to go back to? What are some of your favorite destinations and why?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

I Watched a Woman Get Swallowed by a T-Rex: Exploring Robot Restaurant in Tokyo

robot restaurant tokyo

After seeing so many things as a traveler, it’s sometimes hard to find certain events that really wow you. I’ve become a lot more critical of shows I see while I’m abroad—I’ve witnessed some awful opera in Florence, been sorely disappointed by some live music in Mexico, and have had to revise some of expectations of what I see when I buy tickets to an event.

However, after seeing a snippet of the show Better Late than Never while on our flight to Guatemala, Daniel and I became obsessed with seeing the famed Robot Restaurant in Tokyo. At a hefty price of $80 a ticket, we were a little concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the hype and that we were spending a lot of money on nothing. We rushed back from Kyoto on the bullet train, worried we were going to miss the chance to get there on time (there were some very strict instructions on the ticket).

Hopping on the JR train, we scurried to the edge of the Shinjuku area, tickets displayed on our phones in our hands. We arrived just in time—they had started letting in people and there was a long line waiting to go in. It didn’t take long before we made a friend from the Netherlands in line with us.

“Do you think this is going to be as good as we think?” he asked. “I’m a bit skeptical.”

We all were. The front of the “theater” looked a bit tacky and dingy, and almost felt like a fair funhouse instead of a place where we would be drinking and enjoying an expensive show. After being ushered inside the carnival-like halls into a waiting room, we were offered a drink on the house and sat down.

robot restaurant door

A live band took to the stage. We glanced at one another. This couldn’t have been it. What we had heard about was giant robots fighting one another—not a mediocre band dressed as robots serenading an increasingly drunk group of tourists. Our Holland friend shook his head.

“This better not be it,” he said.

Before we could really start to wonder whether this was going to be the end of the night or not, we were directed into a large room and told to take a seat, turn off our phones (the WiFi signal interferes with the robots), and to relax. Daniel, Eric, and I were starting to get hyped now. This was clearly something worth checking out—even if happened to be less than we had built up in our minds.

robot restaurant dancers

It took only a moment to realize that there would be no disappointment for anyone. Drums started emerging on floats, along with dancers, other musicians, and yes, robots. What emerged was a story not unlike Avatar about robots taking over a prehistoric land with…scantily-clad women? Anyway, it looked just like a live-action anime. Eric looked on, dumbfounded, while Daniel and I kept glancing at each other. This was so much more than we expected. There were flames coming from a giant, robot T-Rex, music, and more…scantily clad women.

loving robot restaurant

One of them was devoured by the T-Rex before there was an intermission. We had another drink and watched another hour or two as the robots dominated the stage. In shock, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing even existed. By the end, we weren’t quite sure how to process everything, so we stopped at a restaurant outside and shared some of the local foods.

“What did we just see?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” Daniel replied. “But it was awesome.”

Have you ever seen something on your travels that has defied expectations?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

Why I Still Keep a Physical Travel Journal: And Why You Might Want To

keep travel journal
Image courtesy of Pexels Creative Commons.

Before I tout the benefits of having a physical travel journal, I’m going to be straightforward and mention that I’ve kept a journal since I was 15 (and off and on again before that). There’s something really special for me sitting down after a day of walking around and immersing myself in a new culture and being able to write out how I’m feeling. There are a lot of benefits of keeping a journal in general, but I think travelers can benefit even more so from keeping a record of their journeys.

I’ve kept an online travel blog for years now, but I’m always happy to have my personal journal where I can think about my own experiences traveling. Having a blog is a much more public thing (even when you feel like no one else is reading it) than writing some private thoughts. For me, travel can be an extremely personal thing. My thoughts and how I have viewed the world have drastically changed from exploring the world. Taking some time to articulate in writing how I see each destination has been an integral part of how I understand cultural differences.

It’s also a fun way to keep everything in order. After a few years of traveling, I started to feel as though buying souvenirs was too much for me to carry around—and that I wanted some other way to commemorate where I had been without accumulating more stuff. Instead, I chose to purchase small things that I could stick in my journal. Whether it was a map from a road trip or tickets to a museum, I began to glue them in as ways to remember where I had been and what stuck out to me on my travels.

So how do you begin putting together a physical journal? The good news is that it is mostly up to you and how you want to express yourself and your travels. I personally have a used a Moleskin journal for years now. It’s light and easy to take around, and it has a pocket in the back that allows me to store any ticket stubs or postcards that I manage to pick up as I go along. The good thing is that you can choose any journal that you like or that fits in your luggage.

I also tend to bring along a package of Sharpies. I’m not a great artist, but it is fun to transpose some of the patterns and designs I tend to see on the road. It also adds some color and makes it more fun to read later. Looking back, it’s cool to see how a place might have changed your perspective and what you picked up while you were there.

For me, keeping a journal is an inspiring thing. I tend to add some quotes from things I’m reading relating to travel or some of my favorite thoughts from fiction. I’ve noticed how much I’ve grown as a person by looking back on some of my old entries and thinking about how my perspective has changed. Tracking those changes has made me feel accountable for treating our world better, and for trying to be more understanding as I go from place to place. It’s also something I know I will look back on once I get older and be happy I have in order to revive old memories and experiences I’ve had while on my journey around the world.

How about you? Do you have a physical travel journal? How do you remember your travels?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

How to Cut Down on Your Travel Budget: And Make Any Trip Work for You

I’ve definitely felt that some places have been “off-limits” on some of my travels. As mostly a budget traveler, there are have been destinations that I have chosen to put off because I don’t think I can afford it until later. It took me a while to realize that it was my thinking rather than reality that was keeping me from seeing these places, and that there were budget options available if I looked hard enough.

Many ask how I am able to afford a lifestyle where I am constantly on the road. Much of this takes a little bit of planning and research into which flight deals could work (and how flexible I am to go to the places where the deals are offered), and being willing to allow a less-luxurious experience. I’ve had 16-hour layovers that ended up being a way to explore a new city while I waited to get to my final destination, taking more time on train rides, and being willing to forgo comfortable accommodations.

Daniel and I went to Norway about a year and a half ago. Norway was not on our list of destinations, and we were operating on an extreme budget. We happened to get round-trip flights to Oslo for $300—which seemed too good to pass up. After looking at prices in Norway, we knew we would have to be creative in order to find a solution that would work for us and how much we wanted to spend. There were very few hostels available, and they were not that much less expensive than a hotel room.

I contacted the Oslo Tourism Board, which was more than kind as they set us up in a hotel room for three nights so we could explore the city. Oslo was more expensive than we even realized going into it, so we took to the streets to find food carts and cheap places to have a meal. We might not have experienced Oslo’s finest cuisine, but we enjoyed sitting by the ocean and munching on some of the foods that the locals were into.

Couchsurfing was never something I had considered on former journeys (which has made me a little nervous as a young woman traveling alone), but since Daniel and I were traveling together, I felt comfortable giving in a try. Not only did it end up being free, but we also made a connection with our host. Henning was an incredible guy with an interesting history, and between meals and tours throughout his home in Moss, we developed a good friendship (and we’re looking forward to seeing him again this fall).

Along with a free hotel room, the Oslo Tourism Board also gave us passes to enjoy all the museums for free. Even many the museums we didn’t have passes for were more than affordable. And of course, walking was the best way to really see what the culture was like and the city. And best of all, walking was free and was a great way to get some exercise.

Norway was by far of one of the most expensive locations we visited, but we more than managed to make it work with the budget we had. Much of traveling with limited funds is being able to think creatively. It took me some time to realize this, but I no longer let my budget affect whether I journey to a new spot or not. If you’re flexible and willing to experiment, you can find a way to see almost anywhere in the world.

Have you been to an expensive spot on a budget? What was your experience?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

3 Ways You Don’t Know You’re Hurting a Culture When You Travel

hurting culture travel

Traveling with sustainable and environmental concerns in mind can always be a challenge. Even the most experienced and conscious travelers can be unaware of how they are hurting the local people, culture, and nature. I know I have been guilty of making some less-than thoughtful choices in the ways I travel, and I’m still learning about how I can make a greater effort to properly help the places I visit.

Thinking about how you can be responsible when you travel can make a world of difference (quite literally). Traveling can be incredibly eye-opening, but it can also be tough on the places we visit.

Here are some ways you might be doing more harm than good when you are on the road and seeing new destinations:

1. You’re volunteering at organizations that are harming rather than helping

Finding the right organizations that help the environment and local culture rather than harm it can be tricky. Not all tours or volunteer opportunities really have their communities and the natural world in mind. They might act as though they have everything all figured out and appear professional from afar, but doing your research and finding out which organizations actually care about making a positive impression can make the difference between helping and hurting the places you’re trying to support.

Try not to choose establishments that encourage volunteering at orphanages or animal sanctuaries where the animals are still being used for labor. Visit.Org is a great site that encourages sustainable travel.

2. You’re taking pictures of everyone and everything

As a shutterbug myself, it’s hard not to snap a photo of everything you see. Candid photos of people and places are hard to get, and that’s why travel photographers deserve so much credit for the work that they do. However, you might want to think twice about aiming your camera at locals in some locations. Different communities have beliefs about photography and having pictures taken, so you will want to take this into account before you choose to snap. Always ask for permission and think twice about taking pictures of children without the permission of the parents.

This is something I’ve had trouble with in the past because I’m shy, but I think it is important to respect the subjects of your photography. It’s better to look back on those pictures and know that you followed the right protocol rather than to wonder if you did the right thing.

3. You’re not packing as light as you could

This might seem like a strange thing to consider, but the heavier the items you’re bringing, the more fuel you use overall. It’s an abstract concept, but that extra weight over thousands of flights a day really does use a lot of jet fuel. We all need to have items with us when we travel, and I’m as guilty as anyone for over-packing sometimes. However, much of the time those extra items will go untouched the entire time you are traveling and you will wish you had the space for souvenirs or to make it easier on you to get from place to place. Can you refill certain items like shampoo and conditioner? Or is there a way you can combine both? These things do add up after a while, and the less luggage you can carry, the better. (It’s also better for your back if you’re carrying your things!)

Finding ways to help the planet along with enjoying new destinations has become a passion of mine. What I didn’t know when I first started learning about sustainable travel is that it often requires the smallest changes—and that they can make a big impact.

How have you learned to be a more sustainable traveler?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

Visiting Feudal Japan: Exploring Kyoto

exploring kyoto japan

Kyoto was one destination that I had always wanted to go to and had never made it. I had visited Tokyo a few years before, but hadn’t made it across the country because of limited time and budget. Thankfully, I could finally afford the bullet train, and Daniel, his brother, Eric, and I hopped on and made it to Kyoto in two hours.

shrine kyoto japan

We had booked a capsule hotel with a spa for a more-than-affordable price. We each paid only $14 for our private bed and access to the hot baths. I personally love capsule hotels (and end up sleeping well at them), so this was a huge treat after running around Tokyo for days. After checking in, we ran to the nearest shrine. Kyoko ended up being much bigger than I thought, so it was nice to have a well-functioning subway system available.

shrine kyoto lanterns

Our first stop was the Kamigamo Shrine, where other tourists crowded the entrance. I was astounded by how everything was so well preserved—Kyoto was one of the few spots in Japan that had been saved from bombing during World War II, and was once the capital of feudal Japan. Along the way were statues of samurais, newly-married couples posing for wedding photos, and quiet shrines where we meditated for a moment or two.

fortune kyoto japan

couple japan kyoto

Each area led to another, and we spent the day wandering through graveyards with family names and climbing hills to other secret gems. Tired, we walked back to our hotel where we slipped into some yukata robes and went down to the spa. Daniel and Eric went to the men’s, and I wandered into the women’s—as the only one wearing a swimsuit.

samarai kyoto japan

water shrine japan

lillies kyoto japan

The next day, we knew we would have to book it in order to see everything that Kyoto had to offer before we rushed back to Tokyo. Getting up early, we had our breakfast and headed toward the area where we could see a preserve where snow monkeys were allowed to wander free and the famous Golden Pagoda and bamboo forest.

river kyoto japan

Daniel usually has a lot of fun on our travels, but I have never seen him so happy as he was feeding the endangered snow monkeys. The preserve is dedicated to trying to restoring the monkeys to their natural habitats and for educating the public. Snow monkeys live at the highest latitude of any other monkey species and have a thick coat to deal with snow in the mountains near Kyoto. They were adorable—and it was hilarious to see how happy Daniel was.

snow monkey kyoto

daniel alex japan

Next, we checked out the bamboo forest. I had seen pictures overtaking Instagram of this spot, and it was high on my list of what I wanted to see (along with the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, which we explored in the dead of night). We wandered through the bamboo, trying to find the right lighting for our pictures.

bamboo forest kyoto

Finally, we headed to the Golden Pagoda. By far the most-crowded tourist attraction, we wove in and out of the crowds in order to see what once was a palace sitting in the middle of a small lake. It shimmered in the sun, reminding us that it was covered entirely in gold leaf. It was hard to believe that it could be preserved so well.

golden pagoda kyoto

kyoto shrine feudal

It was time to head back to Tokyo in order to catch a show at the Robot Restaurant. Even still, I was sad to say goodbye to Kyoto, knowing we had missed so much. I made sure to put it on my list of spots to return to some day when I have the chance.

Have you made it to Kyoto? Is it on your list?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander

Travel Gear Review: Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack

osprey fairpoint backpack

I’m a firm advocate of those who need to figure out their own travel gear and how they can make the act of moving from one place to the next easier. Travel can be extremely uncomfortable sometimes, so finding some gear that makes it simpler and less of a hassle can end up making a big difference while you’re on the road.

One thing I do believe in is having a solid backpack and making sure it suits your needs and purposes. Not all backpacks are created equal, and everyone has a different shape and reason that they might need a backpack in the first place. For me, it’s a bit more complicated than picking out one randomly. I love to hike and I need something that is portable and light, but that I can still carry a few days’ worth of clothing when I travel.

I looked into the Osprey Farpoint at 55 liters. For me, it was important to have a backpack that I could carry on flights, but that was still substantial enough that I could take it up a mountain with me if I needed to. The 55 was a good size for that and although I’ve gotten some raised eyebrows from airline attendants on whether it would fit or not, I tend to have no problem with it. I also love how Osprey is tough enough that I can transport gear in it, as well.

It was the perfect option for hiking volcanoes in Guatemala. I was able to carry my food, tent poles and flaps, camera gear, and some extras with me, and easily pack it the next day to move hotels. The fact that it is such a versatile bag is one of the reasons I love it—along with its best feature, the removable daypack.

When the backpack first arrived, I didn’t think I would be much impressed by the small daypack that “came attached.” I was more interested in the large pack and how much I could hold overall inside. With a single zip, I found I could remove the daypack with no problem, that it was exactly what I needed for day hikes or toting my computer down to a coffee shop. I was not expecting the cushioned back and laptop pocket—which has made it so much better than hauling around a computer bag or trying figuring out another option for my electronics.

There are a few things I would change about the bag, or bags, but nothing major. The hip belt on the larger bag supports the weight a little, but if you are carrying anything over 35 pounds or so, it can start to fit weirdly on your hips. Part of this might be because I am so short and it’s hard to find a hip belt that isn’t too high or low. Also, don’t expect to fit as much in the day pack as you might want. This can actually be a good thing because it deters you from trying to stuff too much in there, but if you are planning on bringing more than a few items, you might have a harder time getting everything you need in there.

Other than these minor details, I’m really pleased with this backpack and how it can serve so many purposes for travelers. No matter what you decide to do with it, Osprey has consistently good products—even though they might seem expensive at the initial purchase. This has become my go-to pack for any trip less than 10 days, and they have a great refund policy in case something isn’t up to snuff.

Do you use a specific backpack? What kind?

You can buy the Osprey Farpoint Backpack at 55 liters here.

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander