I still have my old backpack in the garage. Yes, the one with all the hand-sewn patches on it from the different countries I have visited. While I have stopped using that backpack, I still collect the patches when visiting a new country. I do it for my daughter who I one day envision presenting said backpack wrapped in newspaper and a plane ticket to some far-off place for a grand life lesson and well-earned vacation.
Of course, for me, times have changed. I went with a standard black rolling bag like everyone else about seven years ago. Instead of everything in one big backpack, I went to one rolling piece of luggage to save my weary back and shoulders.
Then I changed again when I began to bring a laptop and camera equipment, for backpack and suitcase. Before you accuse me of missing traveling for work and photo ops, my main reason for bringing all the equipment is for ITKT and the inspiration of our travel revolution. Hopefully getting as many people as possible to visit new and different places — back to the backpack.
I have grown attached to my Lowepro CompuDaypack, which is well padded and well-designed to handle camera and computer with a few specialty compartments for camera/computer accessories. Really, it was built for someone like just me. It is a great pack for the person on assignment.
So when I was asked to take a peek at another pack, I had some serious misgivings. In fact, I had no intention of even bringing it on my latest trip to Thailand when it came down to the moment to start packing. I guess the Rick Steves’ Veloce pack just looked like too big a risk when I had already had a great backpack.
However, with a heavy sigh I loaded the Veloce when its look reminded me of my real backpacking days. I took it due to a case of yearning travel homesickness, but it wasn’t really designed for me?
Yes, it has room for a camera and notebook so I knew it would work, but once I got it out into the streets of Bangkok I realized its value. It is designed for everyone. This bag is lightweight, sturdy and I was sure it had fifty pockets and not the 11 that were advertised. It has specialized, easy-access, and secret pockets — all of which were used throughout Thailand. Perhaps the downside is that it feels like it needs a more organized owner to use the backpack effectively.
Having said all this, I was really happy. I can use it as a carry on with all my equipment (including tripod) as well as having lots of extra room for more clothes. This is good, as I understand there is 2400 cubic inches of storage (I left my googliometrometer and math skills at home so I could not measure this by myself). What I can say is that there was a lot of room inside of it and this pack, more often than not, appeared half-full — even when I was carrying enough equipment to do live interviews with a change of socks.
It is a good pack and sadly, I may have to retire the old Lowepro (still a fantastic pack for pros), for the Veloce. Prcie, around $80.
See our video interview with Rick Steves