After nearly a decade spent on the road I have gone through my fair share of backpacks. I have tried big backpacks and small backpacks, good ones and bad ones. So it really does take a special kind of pack to impress me these days and yet in this Salkan Backpack review, I shall tell you just why this new to the market travel pack impresses me very much.

The Salkan Backpacker is a adaptable, extendable, customisable travel backpack partially fashioned from recycled materials that offers some very innovative features.

In this review I am going to break down how the pack works, what its best uses are, the quality of materials, construction and how pretty it looks. I will also assess its value for money and how it compares to other backpacks (such as my trusty old Osprey Aether).

Let’s dive in!

The Salkan Backpacker
Salkan Backpacker

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    Quick Answers – Salkan Backpack Overview and Specs

    The Salkan Backpacker combo is actually 2 separate backpacks that attach together to form a 65 litre behemoth. That’s a 45 litre main pack and a 25 litre daypack that fit together using a highly innovative design. That makes it a great pack for long trips and backpacking as the day pack can be detached and used for hiking trips.

    The pack is made from recycled yarn, is weatherproof and utilises the usual comforts such as hip belts for ease of carry. Priced at £295.00, it’s kind of expensive for a 65l pack, and yet not so bad when you consider that you are actually buying 2 separate packs.

    Salkan also offers some optional extras such as an attaching laundry bag, a bespoke packing cube and pretty, colourful straps.

    Salkan Backpack Specs

    Capacity: Mainpack 45L Daypack adds 20L

    Weight: Mainpack 5.62 lb (2.5 kg)  Daypack: 0.85 Kg

    Dimensions: 26 in x 12.6 in x 8.7 in (66 x 32 x 22.1 cm) Daypack: 18.9 in x 11.4 in x 7.1 in (48 x 29 x 18 cm)

    Main Materials: Recycled Yarn,Nylon, YKK Zippers, Polyester

    Made in: Designed in UK, manufactured in Vietnam

    Laptop Compartment Size: 15″

    • 2-in-1 adaptable backpack
    • Strong and rugged materials
    • Loads of hidden, little features
    • Comfortable carry for its size and weight
    • Kind of heavy and bulky
    • A bit fiddly and not intuitive
    • Not fully waterproof
    • Expensive

    The Salkan Backpack is PERFECT For…

    • Those open to a 2-in-1 backpack system such as long term backpackers.
    • Style and eco conscious travellers.

    But The Salkan Backpack IS NOT For…

    • Those who want a straight forward backpack
    • Carry on travellers
    • Anybody on a tighter budget

    Salkan Backpack Pack Review – Key Feature and Performance Breakdown

    Salkan Backpacker
    Salkan Backpacker

    As you can probably tell by now, this is not a straightforward backpack and so this will not be a straightforward backpack review. Rather, I will look at the pack as one unit as well as looking at the two packs individually. We will also touch on the optional extras as they form an integral part of the pack’s appeal in our opinion.

    Interior and Organisation

    The mainpack and the daypack use pretty much the same, identical design – if you like, think of them as Big Me and Mini Me, but with some crucial differences. Both use a single main storage compartment which is primarily accessed from the top and fastened using a drawstring. However the main pack can also be zipped open from the front when the day pack is not attached and the day pack has a side zip that offers partial access to the main compartment from the left hand side.

    This main compartment can fit about 40L and 20L of stuff respectively and both main compartments also have 15”, padded laptop compartments. Both packs have 2 side pouches (ideal for water bottles and rain ponchos) as well as a little front pouch which could maybe hold something like keys.

    Salkan Backpacker

    Both packs also have zipper pockets at the rear side of the top lids. Note that neither have any storage capacity inside the top lid.

    One difference is that the main pack has 2 zippable storage pockets on the hip belt (one on each side) as well as a secret pocket at the rear-back that zips open and sits under back support. 

    Even when the small pack is attached and fastened, the mainpack is still accessible from the top which is good. However, I do lament the absence of any storage inside the top lip and the hip belt pouches on the mainpack feel a bit tight compared to my Osprey Aether and I can’t imagine getting too much stuff in them.

    Overall Storage Capacity

    In total, the Salkan Backpack offers 65L of storage which is spread between its main compartments, top pockets, side pouches and the hip belts on the mainpack. This puts it in the serious backpacking and proper back-coubtry camping backpack category – I generally use a 65L Osprey Aether pack for trips of 2 weeks or longer and find it to be plenty of space.

    Coming in at 45L of storage on its own, the main pack is the kind of pack I might use for a trip of up to 1 week – that said, in situations like this I would probably preference a carry-on compliant 40L pack instead.

    The 25L daypack is what I consider to be classic day pack size. You can fit all you for a day hike, for hitting the gym, going to work and even for overnight trips.

    Me and the Salkan Backpacker

    How The Salkan Backpack Fits Together

    The attached photographs will show you how the packs fit together better than I can explain it but basically the small pack attached to the outer front of the big pack and then fastened together using velcro straps.

    The velcro straps fasten through some plastic hooks fairly easily and seem fairly secure. However one does wonder how long the velcro will retain its stickiness for.

    If you decide to buy the Salkan Laundry bag, it clips to the top, inside of the mainpack using wooden togs.

    Salkan Backpacker

    Carry Comfort and Weight

    The recycled, rugged materials used in the Salkan backpack are heavier than those used in a lot of other backpacking packs. For example, the 45L mainpack weighs almost as much as my 65L Osprey Aether and the 25L daypack is heavier than my 28L Osprey Quasar.  If you have used a more old-skool backpack then you will recognise this but it seems that the choice to use recycled materials meant that the ultralight materials were off the table. When you attach the 2 packs together, you do feel the weight.

    That said, once the adjustable straps and hip belt are properly fastened into position the Salkan is quite comfortable and as long as you are reasonably fit and strong it won’t give you too many problems carrying it.

    Both packs also have nicely cushioned, breathable lumbar support panels which are a lot gentler against the spine than the ones on many other packs that I have tried. Additionally, the mainback uses an adjustable back system which slides up and down to match your height making it that bit more comfortable to carry.

    The carry straps on both are soft, padded and breathable too and I cannot image it chafing anybody too much.

    The mainpack also has a grab handle situated in the middle of the right hand side meaning it can be picked up like a suitcase/duffel if you want – this is helpful for loading the backpack onto busses and into overhead compartments (not that it is allowed into airport cabins…).

    Aesthetic and Materials

    Both packs use a pretty classic backpack design with a nice retro aesthetic chucked in. My Salkan Backpack is in a nice khaki green which gives the backpack a bit of a Korean War/Boy Scout vibe. Honestly, individually they are among the more striking looking packs I have seen in a while and rival even the hip-tastic Fjaldraven in terms of coolness.

    However, when attached to one another, the dynamic does change completely and I couldn’t help but feel I was wearing a pregnant backpack or carrying a reverse babushka around. Still, really it is no less cool than wearing a big backpack on one’s back and a small one on one’s front which I normally have to do.

    Aiden in Bali carrying 2 osprey
    The Salkan Backpacker saves you having to do the 1 in front, 1 on the back thing…

    The true fashionistas among you will also take delight in learning that Salkan also offers a range of different straps so you can further customise and jazz up the Salkan pack.

    Right now let’s get into the materials. I already explained that the pack uses semi recycled materials which Salkan describes as GRS Standard recycled yarn. However their website also states that the pack’s body is made from 900D COTNA Polyester with wax finish and the webbing and lining from 100% nylon. The zippers used are YKK (pretty common in modern backpacks) and the clips/buckles are light aluminium. 


    Full disclosure, I have not had the pack all that long so cannot offer too much insight in terms of its durability. But it feels like a tough mudder. The fabric is thick and strong, the seams are properly stitched and there are no signs of the usual weak spots that cheaper backpacks often display.

    That said, the aluminium buckles are light and this could be a weak point and as I previously mentioned, the velcro that attaches the 2 packs together does cause me a bit of unease.

    The Salkan also comes with a rain cover which is located at the base of the main backpack. The recycled material that the pack uses does not feel to me to be as weather resistant as other, synthetic materials so it is absolutely vital to use this rain cover in the event of rain.

    Still, I know other Salkan users whose packs are as good as new after months of use.

    Price and Value

    Quick Answer – £295

    OK, so purchased together the Mainpack and Daypack costs £295 (that’s around $370). Alone the mainpack costs £220 ($275) and the daypack £95 ($120).

    That does nudge the Salkan towards the expensive category. To offer some comparisons, the Osprey Aether 65 Litre is currently going for £225 or looking at it another way the Osprey Talon 44 Litre is currently priced at £170 and the Osprey Quasar 28L £90.

    The real question however is whether it’s worth it? My take here is that good quality gear never comes cheap and I wholeheartedly subscribe to the “buy cheap buy twice” mantra. The Salkan is a highly unique and innovative backpack made from ethical materials and as such, the price reflects this. For 2 packs and an entire backpacking carry system, £295 is quite reasonable in my view. Crucially, there is no other pack quite like this on the market and so the price is what it is.

    Furthermore, the Salkan Backpacker comes with a lifetime guarantee meaning that it can be viewed as an investment for life.

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    Salkan Backpacker Additional Extras

    I mentioned a few times already that there are a few optional extras that customers can purchase along with the Salkan backpacks. If you were to buy both packs, plus the extras it would cost you around £390 ($465).  Let’s look at these little extras;

    Packing Cube Set

    Sallkan Packing Cube

    Salkan offer a packing cube set that includes one 12l cube and 2 x 6l cubes. The cubes are made from polyester and nylon and feel to me to be amongst the more robust cubes that I have tried. Interestingly all cubes have hanging attachments so you can pop them straight into your wardrobe once you unpack.

    Laundry Bag

    Salkan Laundry Bag

    The Salkan laundry bag hooks nicely into the top part of the main compartment of the mainpack. It is spacious, made from washable material and uses taped seams to stop smells.


    Salkan Gear Straps

    This option is purely aesthetic but Salkan offers a variety of different coloured and patterned straps to customise the Salkan and make it your own.

    Alternatives To The Salkan Backpacker 

    This is a thoroughly unique piece of travel gear and as such, conducting a like for like comparison is not exactly straightforward. However, let’s look at a few other adaptable, novel travel packs.

    TropicFeel Shell

    Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

    The TropicFeel Shell is an adaptable 3-in-1 backpack. What you get is a main 40L pack, a 22L pack that attaches to its front and then a ‘hanging packing cube’ which is a very novel feature.

    In terms of notable differences, the Salkan is closer to a traditional backpack design, is better for hiking and backpacking and in my view is far more versatile. Still, the TropicFeel Shell is a special backpack that has won an army of fans.

    Osprey Farpoint 70

    Osprey Farpoint 70

    The Osprey Farpoint 70 is a 2- 1 backpack much like the Salkan. What we have is a 55L mainback and a 15L daypack. The Farpoint is bulkier than the Salkan and has the look and feel of a duffel/suitcase as much as a backpack.

    Again, the Salkan has the edge in terms of hiking capabilities and personally I also find 15L too small for a daypack. However, the Farpoint 70 is priced at £185 ($230). 

    Salkan Backpack Review
    Pack NameCapacityWeightDimensionsPrice ($)
    Salkan Backpacker65L2.95kg76 x 38 x 26.1 cm370
    TropicFeel Shell40L1.5 kg50.8 x 30.5 x 19.1 cm290
    Osprey Farpoint70L2.5kg65 x 38 x 32 x cm230

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      Final Thoughts On The Salkan Backpack

      Salkan Backpacker

      The Salkan backpacker combo is a very special and unique travel bag system. While not everybody will need or want a 2 bag in 1 system, some of you out there will reap a hell of a lot of benefits from it. The 2 packs are great on their own and fit together nicely too. Furthermore each pack has enough pockets and pouches for ease of packing and carrying.

      In terms of downsides, it is heavier than what I am used to and the price point is going to be too much for some of you. Finally, I can’t help but feel they missed a trick by not making the mainpack 40L as that way it would have been carry-on approved.

      Still, it’s a decent pack and the Salkan brand have a very bright future.

      And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!