I tested the Quechua Forclaz Travel 500 backpack. Spoiler alert: I’m not a fan of this travelpack!

ENGLISH SUBTITLES AVAILABLE

As a backpacker you’ll need a good backpack (seems logical).
I bought this Quechua Forclaz Travel 500 from Decathlon. It can contain about 70 litres. Some of that volume is in the detachable shoulder bag.
This seemed a very handy backpack to me since when travelling I like to take an extra day pack or bag.
However, this backpack wasn’t as handy as I thought. It’s best if you watch the video (turn on English subtitles), but I’ve made a transcription in case you don’t feel like doing that! 🙂

The good

There’s many compartments: you can put away your shoes, tripod and so on. You can carry two bottles on the side. In the front there’s place for your jacket. There’s a lot of space.
You have straps on the front and on the side to carry extra gear like a drinking bottle or sleeping bag.

In the back there’s an opening for a camelbak, you can carry a water bag and when you’re walking around you can drink without having to open the whole thing.

The rain cover is very sturdy Which in turn makes it quite heavy. But it’s sturdy and you can also use it to completely cover you backpack and turn it into a duffel bag which you can carry with one hand. That’s handy for transport in the airport: it won’t be pushed of conveyer belts due to loose straps.

This backpacked can be locked with only one padlock. That’s a great advantage. I always look for that nowadays in a backpack.

It’s quite comfortable to carry. If you pull the two orange straps the Easy Fit system Will adjust the backpack to your body in a comfortable way.

The backpack is very sturdy, I don’t think a knife could easily penetrate it. That’s good against thieves. It’s also a good thing you won’t have to replace it after two years. It’s a sturdy thing.

The bad

You have to completely untie the shoulder bag to get into your backpack and you get tangled up when you try to release it. The straps on the top and bottom have to be loosened first and only then can it be used as the strap of the shoulder bag. This is very clear in the video, I can’t really describe the frustration in text. This is very annoying but not the worst part. When you want to attach it again the shoulder strap has to be evenly distributed on both sides and when everything goes right you’ll be able to attach it again. This is only the case if you’ve done it correctly, but most of the time it fails. It’s a disaster!

When you want to open your backpack, you always have to detach the shoulder bag because the Decathlon engineers decided to put the buckles over the zipper and you can only open the backpack with that one zipper. The very annoying effect is that every time you want to go in your backpack you have to detach the shoulderbag!
It drove me so crazy I gave it away to someone and bought a different one.
This is the deciding factor for me. No, no, really, no!

Because the zipper’s on the back and thus you don’t have a sturdy back it collapses like a pudding when you’re trying to load it. This is a real shame. You can try to solve it by holding the back vertically with one hand and at the same time load it with you other hand but that’s a very clumsy method.

The bag itself is quite heavy so if you want to be a lightweight backpacker this one’s not for you.

The conclusion

I wouldn’t buy this. This awkward opening system drives me crazy. Just buy a decent backpack. Or buy this one and don’t use the shoulder bag but take a foldable day pack with you. Or a different solution: buy a good Osprey Farpoint 70. They’re a bit more expensive but they’re better quality with lifelong warranty.
Buy everything, but not this Quechua Forclaz Travel 500. Maybe you can buy a cheaper backpack at Decathlon. They have a lot of great travelpacks. Just don’t buy this one.

Thank you for reading or watching this review. I hope it was useful. You can always leave a comment if you bought it and regret it or if you completely disagree with me or if you have different suggestions for backpacks!

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