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For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the dream that all of us have felt at some time or another is completing a thru hike of one of the most legendary long trails traversing the country. The Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail are the big three when it comes to long hikes, but there are dozens of other long trails that can be looped together to easily make for a year-long adventure.  

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Whether you are planning to hit the wilderness for a year (or more) or are planning on travelling/backpacking through Asia or South America for a year, the most important piece of gear that you will need is a great travel backpack. When you are carrying all you own on your back, something as simple as a broken zipper can lead to a major disaster.

Below we look at some criteria to help you choose the best travel backpack for long journeys, wherever you may be headed.

Lightweight Options are Best

After being on the road (or the trail) for several months, you will learn to be able to feel every extra ounce that you are carrying on your back and shoulders. That extra can of beans will be easily felt as will that bottle of wine you bought to share with your trail companion once you make it to the top of a certain peak.

Since every ounce counts when hiking, you would do well to find a pack that is ultra-lightweight while not skimping on quality or space. Many medium volume packs can be found for under three pounds total weight. Any pack that is heavier than three pounds is probably too heavy, unless you are planning on carrying serious gear for extreme climate and temperatures.

Comfortable Suspension Systems

Just as you won´t be able to hike with tight fitting boots that rub blisters all over your feet, the same goes for a quality backpack. You will want to test several packs and find one that offers the best suspension system for quality support that distributes the weight of your pack across your back, shoulders, and hips. There are certain travel backpacks made especially for women with contoured straps that adapt better to the female body.

A Bag That Doesn´t Break the Bank

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With so many different travel backpacks on the market today, there really isn´t any reason to spend six hundred bucks when you get a pack similar in quality for only two hundred. While there are certainly quality differences, a little bit of research should be able to show you which companies offer quality packs, and which do not. If you are looking for the best travel backpack for the money, make sure to check out this post to find the best bargains that don´t sacrifice quality.

Multiple Compartments and Easy-Access Pockets

Imagine backpacking through Central America and each time you come to a border crossing (quite often in a land of tiny countries) you have to open your bag and take out all of your stuff in order to find your passport. To save yourself from this embarrassing ritual of showing your dirty underwear to innocent bystanders and border agents, finding a bag with several easy to access outside compartments is a must. A bag with several pockets will allow you to keep your life organized while on the road or on the trail.

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