The Backpacker from Salkan backpack review

The Backpacker from Salkan is one of the best travel backpacks we’ve had our hands on over the last couple of years. As avid travellers themselves, it’s clear that founders Tom and Will have created a bag that’s ready for every eventuality. 

Design9
9
Comfort9
9
Features9
9
Value8
8
Overall88%
88%
  • Made specifically for backpacking
  • Matching daypack and mainpack
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Customisable

The Backpacker from Salkan review

The Backpacker was born out of a need for something versatile, tough, and high-quality. This very well could be one of the best unisex travel companions out there for 2021/22 – created by backpackers, with backpackers in mind. 

You might have noticed that Salkan likes to keeps things simple and currently stocks just three bags. There’s “The Daypack”, “The Mainpack”, and “The Backpacker” – which combines the two former packs to create the ultimate travel sidekick. 

Here, we’ve reviewed The Backpacker from Salkan in full. There’s an impressive number of features to take you through, so we’ll get straight into it.

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Outside the backpack

The Backpacker is made up of two parts – The Daypack and The Mainpack. The two can be easily connected using aluminium G-hooks found around the packs – attach the daypack to the front or back of the larger bag for simple, hands-free travel. Sturdy top and side grab handles will help you to transport the backpack at a moment’s notice.

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It’s important that your travel backpack fits you well, especially if you’re heading off on a long trip. Salkan recognises this, which is why The Backpacker has numerous features allowing you to tailor the bag to fit your frame like a glove. The bag has an adjustable sternum strap, beefy hip belt, and an adjustable back system so you can move the harness to fit your height. You’ll notice the padded shoulder straps and mesh back panelling when you wear the pack, as well as load lifting straps to adjust the way the bag sits on your back. 

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The Backpacker comes in various colourways, and each part of the pack can be customised at no added cost. This means you could choose a different colour for the large bag, day bag, and the straps on each if you wanted to. The packs themselves are available in grey, forest green, and charcoal, and there are nine different strap colours to choose from. 

Four compression straps around the outside of The Mainpack help to keep your belongings packed in tight. You’ll then be able to attach The Daypack to these straps using the G-hooks. You can increase the carrying capability of the pack by moving two of the straps to the bottom of the bag, allowing you to attach a tripod, yoga mat, or even your Salkan laundry sling to the exterior. 

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We like that The Backpacker comes with its own flight and rain cover that’s easy to pull out and fit during wet weather or at an airline check-in desk – these often come at an added expense when purchasing other branded bags.

You will also discover a good number of exterior pockets on this pack. There’s two very large water bottle pockets on either side, two roomy hip belt pockets that will fit most smartphones, and even a couple of hidden pockets in the back panelling to stash your valuables.

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The Daypack also has a hidden sleeve for valuables, two water bottle pockets, and a top pocket that’s easy to access. The harness on this pack is pretty simple – there isn’t much in the way of padding, but it’s pretty good for a 20L pack. The sternum strap on The Daypack can be moved to fit your frame or removed completely – and you’ll find an emergency whistle here which is always handy to have.

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We love that almost every inch of The Backpacker’s exterior is in use – more features make for a much more versatile bag that you can use to fit your personal travel style.

Inside the backpack

If you thought there was more than enough features on the exterior of The Backpacker, things get even more impressive with the interior. 

We’ll start with The Mainpack. Seasoned travellers will know how handy it is to be able to open your backpack like a suitcase. The Backpacker can be opened from both the front and the top, meaning you have access to all the easy packing advantages of a U-shaped zip, but can also stuff belongings into the bag at the last minute from the top.

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Detach the top G-hooks and release the drawstring to open the top of the backpack. You’ll find Salkan’s laundry sling sat here, attached using toggles for easy access. This 10L bag is great for separating wet or dirty clothes from the rest of your belongings, and the top can be rolled down to create a handle. 

The inside of the larger bag is very roomy with 45L of space to fill. There are three large internal pockets on the sides of the bag and a waterproof, zipped pocket at the top for smaller items.

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The padded laptop sleeve will fit most 15” laptops and has a velcro strap to keep everything secure when travelling.

You will find that The Daypack is very much a smaller replica of The Mainpack. This 20L bag also has a padded laptop sleeve, internal waterproof pocket, and lined sunglasses pocket. A hidden pocket can be found on the back of the bag, similar to the larger pack, for you to store valuable items.

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We’re so impressed with how easy it is to make the interior of The Backpacker fit your personal travel wants and needs.

Material and durability

The Backpacker is made out of wax-coated 900D Cotna which means you’re protected in the event of unexpected rainfall. The Salkan rain cover provides that little bit of reassurance when travelling too, which we recommend placing over the bag in heavy or long-lasting wet weather.

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Salkan is big on sustainability, which means every bag purchased from the company comes with a lifetime guarantee. If something goes wrong with The Backpacker in normal use, you will be able to send it back to Salkan for repair or replacement.

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We recognise that this bag is a fairly large one-off purchase, but the brand’s ‘Buy Well, Buy Once’ policy means you’re set for all future trips. 

Testing The Backpacker

Salkan kindly gifted The Backpacker to the Adventure Pending team to test out, and the sheer quality of the pack was clear from the moment it arrived on our doorstep. This bag has responded well to every situation thrown at it and has proven to be ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice.

We found The Backpacker to be extremely easy to pack, especially when combined with the brand’s high-quality packing cubes. These come as a set of two large and one small cube and can be purchased separately. 

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The detachable laundry bag has been especially handy for keeping worn clothes separate from the clean and is something we haven’t seen in any other pack we’ve tested thus far. As digital nomads, a sturdy, padded laptop sleeve is essential in our travel packs – and The Backpacker’s certainly passed the test with that too.

We’ve also taken The Daypack out by itself on many an occasion and can vouch for how high-quality this bag is. It’s been on numerous hikes and trips out of town and has held its own every time. We love that The Daypack has a sternum strap for extra support when trekking, but can be removed for more casual trips.

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This pack has definitely proved its worth over the last few weeks and is set to stick around well into the future.

Overall verdict

The Backpacker is a great looking pack that’s very comfortable to wear. We like that it comes with a matching, detachable daypack, and most of the fun Salkan features are replicated across both bags.

Personally, I’ve loved it so much that it’s a very strong contender to be my travel companion in 2022, overtaking the Fairview Trek from Osprey.

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This Salkan backpack has you covered for all eventualities with its vast number of features, and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do. It’s sure to be by my side on hostel floors and overnight buses as we jet off again in January!

1-month update on The Backpacker from Salkan

I’ve been using The Backpacker in varying situations over the last month- the full pack has been on a week away with me, and I’ve been using The Daypack on walks, to take into the office, and on day trips.

I love how this pack fits well into pretty much anything thrown at it – and looks great while doing so. The unexpected stand-out feature for me, though, is the laundry bag! This small added extra shows that Salkan has really thought about its audience – it’s simple and works exactly how I want it to, even down to the roll-top and handle clip.

I’m also looking forward to customising my pack over the coming months with some new straps!

It’s a little disappointing that this pack is too big to take as a flight carry-on bag, but it’ll definitely be my sidekick for longer trips over the coming years.

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FAQ: The Backpacker from Salkan

Have a question about The Backpacker from Salkan? We’ve covered a few of the most popular queries on the packs below.

There’s so many features that make up The Backpacker, so we can understand if it’s a lot to take in! If you have any questions about the pack, please feel free to drop me an email – ann@adventurepending.com.

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