The big one. Which backpack I will pack my life into and why.

So, I feel this is a pretty big thing.

What bag did I pick to pack my little life into?

Firstly, what things did I want out of a long term backpack?

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • The right size for me
  • The right fit for me
  • In my price range

In the end, the OEX Vallo 70+10 from Go outdoors won.


Firstly here is a brief specification from their own website.

A large capacity, fully featured and adjustable expedition pack with multiple pockets and a built-in rain cover.

Tough, light and comfortable to carry, OEX rucksacks have been built with long days of trekking in mind.

Their shoulder/hip system adjusts to let you get a comfortable fit while you’re on the move, helping to distribute and stabilise your pack weight – the easier your pack is to carry, the further you can go! The ingenious strap system lets you carry your OEX sleeping bag securely attached.

An integral raincover pulls out in seconds when you need it, and it’s big enough to cover your additional strapped-on gear too.

  • Rugged fabrics with stress point strengthening
  • Bellow Pockets for easy side access
  • Hydration access point
  • Easy adjust non-snap buckles
  • Simple adjustment straps
Hydration Compatible: Hydration Compatible
Raincover: Raincover
Weight (kg): 2.00
Volume (L): 80
Dimensions: 66 x 34cm

Now you have the facts, here are my own reasons and discussions of the features.

1. The size

I am, if you don’t already know, a compact individual. Standing at 5″2.

So most backpacking backpacks are just plain huge on me. I tried on a load. All the expensive makes Vango, Osprey, Berghaus etc and they just made me into a walking bag.

I felt like I was using my old Duke of Edinburgh high school lent backpack, back in the day.

Not good.

So the OEX Vallo, although a 70 litre, is very compact. Which is what you want really. It has a variety of straps and clips in order to make it feel and look more compact when your gear is in it. As well as help distribute the weight in the pack to, hopefully, make it easier to carry.

Having a 70 + 10 may seem big, and I have been warned if you’re my height to get a smaller one. But being someone who tends to hoard clothes, you’ll see how difficult it is when I post my packing one, I’d always rather have the option.

The overall frame feels small too. When on it sits just about on my waist when adjusted, so what I’m saying is if you need a light weight adjustable bag, this is the one.

2. Adjustments

That takes me on nicely to the adjustments.

There is many back sizes you can adjust, this makes it perfect for a variety of sizes.

There is also a hell of a lot of padding and adjustments on the waist, arms, and back.

This makes it fit comfortably and also stable when on the move. A lot of backpacks don’t offer all the padding, but you do need it so it doesn’t hurt you when all your stuff is packed in.

You can adjust the waist to pretty small, well it fits me and I’m a size 6, and it can fit a full grown man. You can also adjust the arms so it fits snug and comfortably.

Basically, just a lot of adjustment options.

3. Compartments

So when I have met other backpackers along the way I got told mixed things.

It’s the old top loading (that means you can only access it from the top like a normal backpack) or front opening (this means it opens like a suit case so you can see the whole contents) backpack debate.

Well the OEX Vallo is a bit of both.

You can access it from the top, the middle, and the bottom all separately. So you can’t open it exactly like a case but it pretty much allows you access in the same way, as well as ease of getting into it from all angles.

It also has handy compartments on the outside for storing things like my yoga mat, jackets, sleeping bags  (if you choose to take one) etc. There is advantages to having the option of separate compartments. The bottom section can be separate so you could store shoes for example in there, there is also a separate compartment at the very top for things like wash stuff, and a sneaky pocket inside for valuable documents.

The problem I found when searching for a front opening, which is what I wanted initially, is that they were more built like an actual suit case. This made it altogether heavier or look bulkier and I could immediately tell the difference.

There also wasn’t many just front opening that weren’t just hiking bags, so you have to weigh up what you want.

4. The price

The OEX Vallo costs a very reasonable £69.99.

If you look around for a backpack you’ll see this is the lower end of the price spectrum. They can range from low to in the hundreds.

I felt that this backpack ticked all the boxes that many of the more expensive ones did, but for half the price.

Good size.
But compact.
Handy compartments.

Even if you don’t choose the same backpack I did, this may give you an idea of what you might want out of a backpack.

I don’t count myself as a backpack expert. But as I’ve said this is just my first time doing all this and I’m sharing what a first timer comes across.

It may help those out there in a similar position. It’s difficult when you literally have no idea. It’s easy to often just think oh I’ll go with the most expensive one it must be good right?

So I think I found a happy medium, everything I want and need for a reasonable price.

The main thing is you are going to be carrying your backpack for a long time, so in the end it is subjective about what you need.

I’ll keep you updated. It may break after a few months, it may last years.

Either way there’s only one way to find out.

‘Til next time. ✈?

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