Initial thoughts on using a 38L backpack for travel (Bellroy Transit Plus)

When I travel, I like to avoid checking in luggage and try to take carry-on baggage only. Making that change and trying to pack light came with its challenges. For me the most bothersome thing is usually trying to carry 100ml (or less) bottles of each liquid. I prioritise my skincare routine, so I always have to prepare for travel by squeezing or tipping products into small containers, or buying travel-friendly sized products separate from my regular sized products.

I recently made the switch from a cabin-sized suitcase to a 38L backpack. I haven’t given it a lot of time, as we are still travelling at the moment, but it’s been a few days and I’ve been loving it so far.

My main reason for changing to a backpack was to have more freedom in moving with my luggage. I wanted to avoid rolling my little suitcase around and dragging it down the street when I travel. I found it generally pretty unwieldy, and a bit bulky even for cabin-sized luggage, and I was very convinced that I could fit everything I need into a large backpack, if I found one that suited my needs.

After doing some extensive research, I got the Bellroy Transit Backpack Plus, which has 38L capacity. I ordered the backpack in navy because I like and prefer the colour blue. I also thought about the AER Travel Pack 3, but the fact that items sent internationally are final sale (it is from the US and I am in Australia) made me uncertain. If I disliked it, or something didn’t work out, I’d be stuck with it. I felt like I had some trust in Bellroy because I have bought from them before, and my brother Brandon gave me a lot of information about the Transit Backpack he has. 🙏🏻 I also have to thank my friend Pauline for helping me through my decision. She has a 40L backpack and I was initially unsure about my decision but she made me confident that the 38L would work for me.

When I first got the backpack I had to give it a test. 😆 I started trying to put as many clothes and other items as possible in it. The mere fact that I could fit a pair of hiking shoes, umbrella, drink bottle, and a denim jacket, along with many other clothes, made me so thrilled. The Bellroy Transit Backpack Plus is definitely spacious. I haven’t gone down the route of any packing or compression cubes but it’s honestly fine right now. I’ve packed enough clothes for 16 days, including those hiking shoes and clothes suitable for outdoor activities. I’ve separated and organised things with small bags. I don’t feel the need to buy specific packing cubes… they’re one of those things I almost feel like are a scam. 😂 What is wrong with just using small pouches you already own if they do the job?!

A fully open travel backpack with the top unzipped and open completely. There are some clothes and shoes in it, and liquid toiletries in a plastic bag on top.
My (almost) fully packed backpack for our current trip

The backpack has many pockets that I kept finding out on the first day I was using it. There was even a front pocket that still had protective plastic inside because I didn’t realise it existed. I have really enjoyed choosing my own way to organise my stuff.

I am really impressed by the backpack. I’ve never owned such a backpack, so the fact that I can stuff the bag (almost) completely full and it still has some amount of structure and protection for all the items in it, is excellent.

Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing a white brimmed hat and a white shacket, with a navy travel backpack on my back.
I took this snap from a video 🎥

In terms of carrying the backpack, it weighs about as much as I’d expect, given how much I am carrying in the backpack. I don’t think the backpack weighs much on its own, so it’s nice that it doesn’t add much to the load on your back. There is a chest strap that helps distribute the weight. There isn’t a hip strap, but I don’t think I’m really bothered by that. I found a hip strap only after two weeks of using it—they were tucked into the back part of the bag. I swear, I keep finding new things in this bag. 😂 The backpack does feel a little heavy if I were to wear it for a long period of time. I actually didn’t weigh the backpack with all my items in it, which I remember worrying about at the airport, because the limit is 7kg and I wasn’t sure if I was over. I’ll have to find out when I get home. 😆

I don’t have a lot of photos in this post but these are just some initial thoughts. I would definitely be keen to share more about what I pack and how I pack my items for short trips, especially because I know some people are interested in knowing how I manage to pack so light for anywhere between 2–5 weeks. 😅

I’m blogging every day in January 2023. Let me know if you’ll be joining in and trying to blog every day. 😊 The hashtag you can use on social media is #blogeverydamnday.

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