Way back in 2004, I planned to go on a 5-week trip to Europe and needed a travel backpack that could haul my shit from city to city.
It was not only my first trip to Europe, but was by far the longest time I would spend on a vacation, and one that I would be traversing solo. As you can imagine, I was a bit nervous about it all, so I wanted to be as prepared as I could. And to be prepared, I needed a backpack that could accommodate my need to be in control of the possibilities.
Travel Backpacks: Lots of Features to Consider
I don’t know how much time I spent educating myself on what kind of bag I wanted. I immediately ruled out roller luggage, duffle bags, and decided that I needed a good travel backpack.
But what did a good travel backpack consist of? In 2004, a hiking backpack was an expensive purchase for me and the internet wasn’t quite as helpful as today, so I know it was a decision I probably unnecessarily tortured myself with.
I do remember discovering that there were many features, sizes, and designs available for the backpack. After a lot of research, I decided that the following features were the most important for my purchase:
- Storage Space (5500+ Cubic Inches)
- Front Loading
- Price (between $80-150)
- Detachable Daypack
- Aesthetics of the bag
Luckily, the internet isn’t lacking for reviews and opinions about travel gearand travel websites aren’t a niche you’ll have trouble finding. However, based off my most important factors for what I was looking for, I was looking for something more specific. This online review ultimately pointed me to the JanSport Mozambique travel backpack.
Storage Capacity: The most important attribute for the backpack would be how much the bag could hold, and the Mozambique had cubic inches in spades. Not only could it pack in 6,250 cubic inches (100L+) but the bag was expandable on top of that.
The bottom of the backpack could unzip to reveal space that was big enough to hold a sleeping bag or blanket (or shoes in my case), making the bag 8300+ cubic inches altogether if need be.
Front Loading: Having a front-loading bag vs. a top-loading one made the most sense. If you had your undies at the bottom of your bag, you’d have to remove everything on top of it to get to your unmentionables.
Detachable daypack: A small daypack was another piece that I wanted. Having a smaller bag that was connected to the mother bag and you could unzip, pack with your needs for the day, was a convenience I wanted for my travel bag.
On top of covering all my non-negotiables, the Mozambique also has padded shoulder pads, a padded hipbelt, carrying grip handle, and compression straps. However, the best feature that I later discovered was that the bag doubles as a suitcase, so it was good for for more than just backpacking. The Mozambique’s size (26H x 16W x 16D”) allows it to fit in most airplane overhead bins lengthwise. It looks like a bulky missile, but easily slips into typical bins.
Still Holding Up A Decade Later
When June rolls around this year, I will have had the Jansport Mozambique for 10 years. It’s been with me on trips to Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Hanoi, Florence, Costa Rica, Paris, Cologne, Singapore, Siem Reap, Mexico City, Vancouver, Barcelona, New Delhi, Brussels, Cuzco, all over the United States, and more.
During those trips, the bag has been unzipped, tossed, thrown over my shoulder, pulled at, dragged, dropped, stuffed full, and forced into small spaces.
Not only do I still have the backpack, but I still use it every time I go on a holiday. All that and surprisingly, there’s not one rip, tear, wear, or malfunction — it’s still going strong. The Mozambique is one of the best investments I have ever made.
Unfortunately, it looks as if the Mozambique is no longer available, but if you’re in the market for the perfect travel backpack, I hope this post made it easier for you to decide.
The original post was written back in 2004 — I’ve updated it.
jansport 481202 e39325 backpack