Travel Backpacks – How not to shop for them!

 how to buy a backpack!

We bought our backpacks for our life changing year yesterday.  We are so excited – it’s starting to seem like we are real travellers now!!

Generally we decide to go to several shops and do our research when we make a major purchase.  We plan to go to the first one and then hit the second and subsequent stores and play them off against each other to get the best deal.    What usually happens is the first store has great stuff and we diligently mark down all the makes and models of whatever we are purchasing and imagine the great deals we are going to get.

Then we head to the second store and see a heap more great items.  We talk to the salesperson (who always seems nicer than the one at the first store) and we tell them what we’ve seen and ask them to compare.  About this time we’ve usually been at it for a couple of hours and have had enough.  We get a small discount, buy the items from the second store and take ourselves off for lunch!!!

This has happened on at least 4 occasions that I can remember and there are probably more that I have conveniently forgotten!!

This time I was determined to do it differently.  After all, a travel backpack that needs to be your friend for 12 months deserves far more research than a TV or a fridge that you might only have for 5-10 years don’t you think?  Well maybe not – but we haven’t ever had to carry the fridge on our back for a year!

So off I go to Luggage Direct with 2 kids in tow.  I tell them we are not purchasing anything today except for a slash proof backpack.  We are just price and feature checking on the actual luggage.  I tell them I’m still deciding if we will takes suitcases or backpacks.  We will get the information and come home and check on the internet what others have recommended.  (I was already pretty sure our backbacks would not be the 30 litre kind from my previous internet research!!)

Then we will try several different brands to see how they fit on our backs.  Maybe even fill them up with some other stuff to get an idea of how they feel when they are loaded up with goodies.  Each of us will need to try a backpack to make sure we are happy with the feel.  Kate (who was not with us on this expedition) had decreed that her luggage needed to be gold or black.  I was pretty sure she would be getting black!!

So we head to Luggage Direct and there’s no parking.  Probably because they are having a sale.  We park at least 3 blocks away and walk to the store (we needed the exercise!)  We spend 1/2 an hour comparing 2 slash proof backpacks (I decided long ago that I won’t be taking a handbag on this odyssey) and several smaller shoulder bags and finally decide that we need 2 backpacks – one for me and one for Gert.  While we are busy comparing these my eyes wander down to the back of the store where there is a very large backpack section.  We head down there with our two new slashproof backpacks.

Where we proceed to spend another 90 minutes trying every single backpack complete with zip off daypacks.  We decide we don’t want one with wheels because they feel so much heavier (even though the signs say they weigh about the same – it can’t be right)  Jono had an especially fun time doing this.  We then found a little suitcase that could go on his back but it looked a bit uncomfortable for him.  He begs for it but he is overruled.

This leads to another discussion about the zip off daypacks.  They are 15 litres and have plenty of room for everything we need and we’ll have one each.  We go back to the slashproof bag section and decide to put both backpacks back and just buy a little satchel made from the same material.  It’s a tiny little bag and it costs $75!  But it is marked down from $99 so we feel better about this purchase.

Finally we narrow it down to a 65 litre pack for $99 – marked down from $199.  Bargain but it only comes in Khaki.  Won’t we look like geeks with the same khaki packs on the 5 of us?  Do we really want to have to write our names on the outside so that each person can easily find their own junk?  No.  We do not.

So we go back the drawing board and settle on 75 litre packs for $149.  Marked down from $299.  Bargain AND they come in black, red, blue and green.  Now we are talking!!!  We won’t need to label them on the outside and they are a tiny bit bigger than the 65 litre one.  To cut a long story short, we somehow decide on a 65 litre khaki one for Jono and one of each colour of the 75 litre ones for the rest of us.

Then I realise I have lost my mind and we will be purchasing these items today!  No research, no price comparisons, no checking that they fit nice on each person’s back!

To make myself feel better I decide I am going to ask for my first discount EVER.  Gert and I usually play good cop, bad cop in the store and I never have to ask for the discount.  I just look dubious when the price is mentioned and remind him that we are meant to be price checking (even though I really just want him to take me for lunch!)

I bravely march myself up to the salesman and ask if I can have a discount if I buy 5 backpacks and a slashproof satchel?  He says “yes, yes of course!  Which ones do you want?”  I am thrilled on the inside thinking “this isn’t so hard”.  We walk to my, by now, enormous pile of backpacks and he says “oh, those are already as low as they can go!”

HOW RUDE!!!!!!!!!!

I finally get brave and the guy says no!

So I stand there looking dubious (my fallback face!) and he offers to carry our stuff to the counter.  I tell him I’ll think about it since it’s going to be nearly $800.  After he wanders off Britt and I jump on Google on our phones to see what our packs are selling for on eBay and at other stores.  We discover these are the cheapest that are out there for the same brand and console ourselves that we are paying full discounted price!

We drag our pile of backpacks to the checkout (avoiding the salesman – we do not like him now.)  I tot up in my head which plastic card to use since I wasn’t really planning to buy anything today.  The checkout lady scans everything and announces the price is…………….wait for it……………..


WHAT??? – my brain says on the inside!!!!!

Turns out our new backpacks were not as cheap as they could go – they scan as $129 each – SUPER BARGAIN!!!!!!!  I’m so excited as I pay and not feeling guilty at all that I’ve jumped the gun now.

Now all that was left to do was drag the bags 3 blocks back to the car and take ourselves off for lunch!!!

But not before I got some pics of our new travel backpacks!

Travel backpacks all shiny and new!

gert showing off his new travel backpack - still empty!

Gert modelling for you all!

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Travel Backpacks – How not to shop for them! — 3 Comments

  1. Ah, I remember the day I bought my backpack. I went into the shop, approached the assistant, told him I want a lady backpack (somehow male and female backpacks tend to differ, beats me how), tried it on, liked it, found the price reasonable, paid and left. Didn’t last half an hour. I think i might have gotten a better deal online but I do like to see and try the actual thing. I am very satisfied with my backpack now.
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