August 11, 2011

Investing on a Good Backpack, TNF Terra 30

Wheeled suitcases can sometimes be a pain in the neck (figuratively and literally). Sure it works great on airports and flat even surfaces but wait till you hit an unpaved road; the wheels start to choke on cracked cement, broken stones and pebbles and it starts to feel like a tug of war between you and your suitcase.  And don’t even try rolling it on sand, it’s just impossible. So good-luck carrying that suitcase with one arm.

Backpacks on the other hand even when full and heavy, once thrown in your back with its proper support straps and pads can easily get comfortable and feel light. It’s also much more convenient when you’re on a constant move or always in transit, plus of course its nice to have both your hands free. You just have to invest in a good one, and that’s exactly what I did.

I’ve been advised by Mj that my backpack should only be about 25% of my body weight. Now I’m not about to tell you how much I weigh but I did get The North Face Terra 30, the smallest of the Terra series. I’m thinking small bag equals lesser weight plus it’s the cheapest among the bunch so picking it was a no brainer.

The North Face Terra 30 is a top-loading pack and is made of a rip-stop nylon - meaning, its supposed to be technically reinforced to withstand tearing and ripping. What I love about this pack is that the shoulder and waist straps are well padded; the adjustable waist straps in particular are thickly padded at the same time soft making it comfortable. Comfort means padding!

The pack also has an adjustable sternum strap, stretch woven side pockets, side compression straps, gear/tool loops, a sleeping bag compartment with a trampoline divider which can also double as a shoe compartment and it is hydration compatible. It doesn’t come with a rain cover but the inner material seems to be water repellent.

The Terra 30 utilizes a Verti-cool back panel system; there’s a mesh panel in between the 2 back pads allowing better air circulation so that you don’t sweat as much. I also like how they covered the haul handle with rubber, it doesn’t hurt that much anymore when you have to pull your pack from the airports baggage conveyor belt using the handle.

verti-cool back panel
rubber coated handle
My only problem with the pack is there is no locking mechanism, you can’t put a padlock on the main compartment because it doesn’t have any zippers at all, it only has a drawstring that keeps your stuff from falling out and a top cover with a plastic buckle. Basically a sack with a lid. So what I do is I secure it using a nylon wire strap, tie it in between those little holes in the plastic buckle thus preventing the buckle from being opened. You can also use cable ties from Samsonite or Pacsafe as long as it fits in those tiny little holes.

main compartment draw string cover
used a nylon wire strap for the main compartment's lid to keep it closed, you can also use cable wires from pacsafe
The Terra 30 proved to be a good investment (so far, as far as Cebu-Moalboal and Iloilo-Guimaras-Iloilo- Boracay goes). It just takes time getting used to a top-loading pack.  Or maybe I should also consider getting a panel-loading backpack like the Solaris 40 (if only it weren't too darn expensive).



  1. Cool. Thanks for the idea of posting information like this :D

  2. Hi Renevic, glad you appreciate. Happy to share :-)

  3. How much is it? I've always been partial to backpacks, though all (except my Deuter) were local. I still remember climbing with my first backpack, a Bomika. Now I have two, a Montanara 45L and a Deuter 45+10.

  4. Nahiya naman ako, 30L lang yung sa kin eh mas malaki ako sa iyo! I got this from North Face with a 30% discount, so almost 6k na lang siya.

  5. You sold me on Terra, the only problem now is what size I am going to get :)

  6. it's not advisable daw to carry more than 10-20% of your body weight, maybe that could be the guide on your deciding process:-)


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