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So that big blue thing under my feet? It’s my travel backpack and it (along with my Macbook and maybe my first iPhone) is one of the best purchases I think I have ever made.

Sure, it may have sat in my closet for a few years at a time after my first backpacking trip through Greece at 18. But, it’s been an invaluable tool anytime I have gone somewhere in the last – well, almost close to a decade since I got it. In between, I’ve used it for packing clothes for temporary living on Mackinac Island or New Orleans. But, it wasn’t until these past two years that I have actively been toting this thing around with me everywhere again.

In one of my favorite series of backpacker travelogues, the author, David Childress, takes to calling his large green backpack his “bag of tricks”. However, being the sci-fi nerd that I am, and playing on its blueness and seeming dimensionally transendental-ness, I relate this bag more toward the TARDIS of Doctor Who; or in the words of the show, “It’s bigger on the inside” This big blue bag has always comfortably carried everything that I need.

For a complete index of my usual long-term gear: check it out here.

The pack itself is an Eastern Mountain Sports Summit 5500, a 90-litre bag, which according to its stats is:
• Ideal for extended backpacking trips like the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails
• Made from abrasion-resistant, high-density 420-denier nylon ripstop
• Reinforced with 1,000-denier Kodra® nylon on the bottom (I have no idea what that means, but I appreciate its effects)
• Fully adjustable suspension with shoulder straps that pivot into place
• Front-panel access through the front pocket and through the sleeping-bag compartment
• Hydration sleeve and port
• Two large water-bottle pockets with integrated ski slots
• Axe and trekking pole loops

The lid also becomes an immensely handy dandy daypack. And the entire bag can make a convenient footrest.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at


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