If you have followed my stories since this blog’s inception in 2007, then you will probably have seen my varying array of backpacks. I can’t even remember half of the brands I used, from Hello Lulu to a £6 ASDA job to Adidas to the ones that got slashed on a night bus in Colombia, ironically in CuCUTa! Have a look at some of these photos and you’ll see how many different backpacks I really used down the years of that insanic journeython.
So having first used a MindShift backpack in 2015, the Rotation180° Travel Away, I wanted a new backpack as my day pack from 2018 onwards. I still have the Rotation180° Travel Away and I still use it, it’s lasted 3 years and is great but I wanted a change and so I stuck to my loyalty to MindShift.
I opted for the 18 litre Backlight 18L from Mindshift Gear. Already, a few months in and I love it! This is my new beautiful daypack rather than my overland long-term backpacking rucksack (since I have basically not done any backpacking since depression began in 2016). Here are some of my latest backpack’s features and parts of it that I love!
Colour: Forest Green
I love the colour of my new backpack. I chose forest green. Green is my favourite colour and believe it or not this is the first backpack I have had that is green! Can you believe it? It is two shades of green and is also grey and black (in straps and interior). There’s a warmth and happiness in wearing a backpack of your favourite colour. The Backlight 18L is available in two colours, Charcoal and Woodland Green, and meets almost every international airline carry-on requirements. So you can also get it in black.
This backpack has a lot of options and a lot of parts. In brief it has two main sections – the front which is compact, and tight. And then the back which is almost like a suitcase. The front acts as a place for laptop, books, files, keys, business cards, quick access clothes. Thanks to the frontal strap, you can turn the backpack round and open the rear without disconnecting it from your body, it rotates – another special feature of Mindshift products.
The side pockets are perfect to store fast access food and drinks. TWO 500ml bottles of soft drinks (or even a brace of beers) fit in each side pocket, so in theory easy to travel with 4 different 500ml drinks, or a large flask and 2 x 500 ml drinks. So do oranges, peaches etc. – many of them fit in the side pockets. You can also put the rain cover here and easy access important documents (unless of course it’s raining).
The main compartment at the back offers great flexibility. There are separable compartments within it using Velcro straps and dividers. You can use as many or as few of these as you want. This part of the backpack is also well protected and durable. This is perfect for professional photographers.
You can change lenses or just snap a quick photo simply by rotating the bag to the front of your body while the waist belt is still secured. Rear-panel access also adds security when traveling since camera gear is protected from behind.
There are lots of cool quirks with my new backpack. The back-panel access allows you to work out of the bag without getting the harness dirty, wet, muddy, or icy. Dedicated compartments fit both a 13” laptop and a full-size tablet, places for keys and pens are also included. As a daypack, the pack’s front pockets can carry up to 5 litres of personal gear space for a day’s outing, such as extra layers, a light jacket, food, and more.
Despite looking compact, this backpack has lots of space and when you open the back it even resembles a suitcase. Because of the flexible material and strong zip you can fit a lot in here, the velcro padded compartment can be moved around to suit your needs.
Durability: Strong Zips and Padding
Down the years of backpacker I have had so many backpacks that have broken, got ripped or simply the zip breaks. These zips are the strongest yet, especially the back ones and each zip has two zippers, meaning that even if one does break, you can pull it to the bottom and the other one will still work. Protection and padding is also excellent.
I love it when I get a backpack that I keep discovering. In other words there are hidden pockets, extra features and surprises all the time. At the start I didn’t even know about the lower pocket, which can hold the waterproof cover or the frontal pocket which is hidden under a flap.
So far my backpack has been in United States (where I ordered it from), Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Belarus and Poland! Not bad for someone who isn’t a hardcore backpacker any more.
So I am enjoying using it and recommend it – it’s a superb item to have. Now you know it’s name, I’ll show you how to buy it. Here are the details for buying the Mindshift Gear BackLight® 18L, which is also available in 26 and 36 litres, but for me the 18 litre is perfect.
Order it here online – https://www.mindshiftgear.com/products/backlight-18l
Visit one of their stores by putting in your postcode/zipcode here – https://www.mindshiftgear.com/pages/store-locator
Here is a video of me in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on the first ever trip using my new Mindshift Gear BackLight® 18L: