Recommendations on a Travel Pack

My in-laws are coming to Kuwait!  Whooo hoo!  Their tickets are all booked and they will be touching down in Kuwait City at the beginning of April.  We are going to spend a few days in Kuwait showing them where we live/work/hang out and then the four of us will be heading to Jordan together to explore Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea.   We are going to embark on a great Middle Eastern Road Trip.  I can’t wait!

Since we will be moving from one location to another on this trip, and will be spending time in the desert where there aren’t roads much less sidewalks to roll your suitcase along it makes more sense to travel with a backpack.

After we booked Kraig and Jody’s plane ticket’s to head to the desert one of the first questions Jody asked was; “What kind of suitcase do I need”  So the following is my advice. This post is truly intended for my Mother-in-law, however it is super awesome if this info is helpful for you as well.

First of all, get a backpack, carrying a wheelie bag for extended periods of time sucks, like really sucks.  The only time you are going to wish you had wheels is at the airport after that you will be super happy that you are hands free.

Mitch and I each have a backpack that we each LOVE.

I have the Tortuga and Mitch has an Eagle Creek backpack.


Rachel’s Bag


eagle creek frong

Mitch’s Bag



Things we both look for in a bag

  • Front Loading: no one wants to take everything out of their bag to find the pair of socks at the bottom of their bag, NO ONE.  Get a front loader, a bag that opens up like a typical backpack rather than a hiking pack.
  • Price Point: We use our luggage a lot but we still don’t want to spend a small fortune on our bags.  Both of our bags are under the $200 price point.  Mine just barely made the cut at $199 and Mitch’s was $150
  • Carry on Size: In my opinion checking bags is the pits, it is too expensive and waiting for your bag once you arrive at your destination stinks.  Sometimes I can’t avoid checking bags: like when we moved to the other side of the world but having the option to carry on is great.

Things I look for in a bag

  • Easy Access Pockets: I think every couple must settle into traveling roles, every person has aspects of the vacation that they are in charge of.  For Mitch and I, he is in charge of the logistics.  Things that involve maps, bus schedules, or researching if it is Monsoon season are totally  his thing.  Finding unique lodging, activities to do, and taking care of the passports and boarding passes is my job.  External backpack pockets were a must for me so I could have our passports and boarding passes easily available and I could be crazily checking to make sure I still had them without having to take my pack on and off.  The Tortuga has the perfect pockets for the job.
  • Hip belt: I may look like a dork wearing it but the amount of pressure that is taken off my shoulders and back by having a bag that has a hip belt is awesome.
  • Dedicated Spot for Technology: We typically travel with a computer, iPad, and a nook.  I knew I wanted a specific, padded location to keep my devices in.
tortuga hip belt

Sweet looking Hip Belt with space for boarding passes and passports.


tortuga technology pouch

Dedicated space for computer.


Things Mitch Looks for in a bag

  • Security: If we have a safety captain in our marriage it is definitely Mitch.  He is the one who remembers to lock the door at night, who thinks to put important documents in a safe, and picks up my wallet off of the deodorant shelf when I have left it there at Target.  So it makes sense that he is concerned about the security of his backpack while we travel.  His backpack is designed in a way that the zippers and spaces that open are tucked against his body when his backpack is on.  The part that is facing outward toward the world is a solid piece with no access to anything that is inside the bag.
  • Minimalist: While I love the external pockets and things that are on my bag, Mitch is more of a minimalist bag kind of guy.  He doesn’t like all those pockets and wanted a bag that was pretty simple and sleek.
eagle creek

No hip belt or external pockets for Mitch, just the way he likes it!


eagle creek back

Outward facing side of Mitch’s bag.



We both searched quite a bit and read quite a few reviews before we chose our bags and neither of us have regretted the packs we are carrying at all.

So there you go Jody, options on backpacks you could bring on our great Middle Eastern Adventure.  Can’t wait to see you, only a few more months!

*Pictures from here and here.


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