OK, backpacks might not be a topic that gets your blood pumping, but I’ve learned from experience how a well designed backpack can add tremendous convenience to your trip or outing.  Backpacks are not just for the serious hiker or camper, or the student hauling their books across campus.  Depending on the nature of your travel plans, the backpack is a universal travel companion that you should not be without.

I hadn’t really given much attention to backpacks until lately.  I’ve always had a few in the closet that I’d drag out when heading to the beach or one of the theme parks here in Florida.  I started looking for a new backpack for a trip to Europe and was amazed to see the variety of shapes, sizes, number of pockets, water bottle holders, and even some with extendable handles and wheels.  I wanted one with a good number of pockets – and zippered pockets, not just the mesh and elastic exterior pockets that many have.  My old backpacks had a limited number of pockets resulting in everything stuffed into the few available openings.  It would then be difficult to dig through the bag to find what I needed.  I knew I wanted a bag with multiple pockets and I found a model with 7 (yes 7) pockets.

Now I have enough pockets to easily pack and find the items I typically bring along on an outing.   Here’s a list of items I had in my backpack during a recent trip to a theme park; park map, jacket, hat, emergency rain poncho (one of the plastic bag types), camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottle, wallet, cell phone, tissues, and car keys.  With enough pockets to more logically arrange my items, I can now easily grab my camera for a photo opportunity, quickly find those ponchos if it starts to rain, or have easy access to my wallet to make a purchase.  As noted earlier, an amazing variety of shapes, sizes, and features are available.  Look for one that suits your needs and you’ll probably never travel without one again.