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Our Travel Gear: Caribee Recon 32 Backpack Review

Every time we post a picture in which our backpacks are visible, somebody asks what type of bag we carry. We’ve come to realise that we haven’t talked much about what we take with us when we travel, least of all our means of carrying it all.

Caribee backpacks

I guess the reason we haven’t is that our backpacks are never on our mind. What I mean by this is that for both of us this has been the first and only travel backpack we’ve ever owned, and we’ve never felt the need to change. They are our ‘go-to’ bags and after more than a decade on the road, three round-the world trips, more than 50 countries and countless adventures with them, they are still going strong. We don’t worry about being soft on them either – they’ve been thrown on top of vans, under buses, in boats, been rained on, sat on, slept on… They have literally been everywhere.

The brand of our bags is Caribee, a proudly Australian owned company that has an extremely good reputation Down Under (and around the world). I can’t even tell you what the model numbers of these bags are because they don’t sell them anymore. I bought mine in 2003 and after Hai and I starting dating and decided to travel together, I could totally recommend this brand to him, so he got whatever model was available in 2005. We’ve both been travelling with those exact same bags ever since.

Here therein lies our problem of “reviewing” this product for you. We don’t see much point in going over the features of a bag that you cannot check out for yourself, so we approached Caribee last year and asked whether they could provide us with bags from their current line. They kindly agreed and we were able to arrange delivery from their UK distributor while we were in London. We decided just to go with something we can use as a day pack for now, as we were looking to replace the ones we had been using, and just keep our main packs. You see, we were on the road at the time and we didn’t have anywhere to store our old main packs, and we couldn’t bear to throw them away as they are awesome and there’s nothing wrong with them. And, oh the memories we have with those bags! I’m kind of sentimental like that.

We may replace our old main Caribee packs with new ones in the future, just because technology has come a long way in a decade and their latest products are more light weight, but for now and until we have a place to store them, we are more than happy to keep using them.

So what day packs did we get? We got the Recon 32, which is specifically designed to carry laptops (which we carry all the time) as well as doubling as an awesome general day pack.

We’ve been road testing these packs for the past 6 months. Rather than writing a list of the features and what we think about them, we thought we’d make a video review and just show you instead.

If you’re interested in this pack, you can find it online here.

Disclaimer: We were provided with these backpacks free of charge. As always, we keep it real and tell it like it is.

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Les Petits Pas de Juls

Monday 20th of April 2015

Why would change your big bagpacks if they're perfect, still?!? Day packs take it more roughly than the big ones, I've noticed; I've had to change mine already and had I known about the brand you're using before, I might have changed for one of those instead of the one I have now. But the big ones! Keep them if you can, specially because they're in such good shape. Unless you want to enjoy the newest features on the newest bags... in this case, you could give those away to one of your fellow travellers who doesn't have a great bagpack yet! ;-)

Jessica - Notes of Nomads

Sunday 26th of April 2015

The only reason we'd consider "upgrading" would be because the newer bags are lighter nowadays. I don't say that because we want to pack more but because when you carry your bags around everywhere, as you know, anything you can do to lighten the load is always appreciated. But we're not in any hurry and if we were to stop using them, we'd want them to go to a good home! :)

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