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As part of my Central America pre-trip planning back in 2011, I decided to give my trusty travel backpack a good clean. We’d been through a lot together gallivanting through 15 countries in the span of 1 ½ year.
After having been thrown around from airport to bus to boat and everything in between during my RTW trip I decided it was time for a clean.
After reading the Osprey pack care instructions I decided to try my own method. I took advantage of the end of the summer heatwave in England and cleaned the bag outdoors to help it dry quicker.
These are my tips:
How to Clean Your Backpack
I started off by giving it a strong scrub using a soft cloth and lukewarm water, no soap. I cleaned the interior and worked my way to the exterior, leaving the dirtiest spots last.
I let it dry for about 15 minutes so I could better asses the spots that needed extra cleaning. It didn’t take long to dry because of the bags waterproof materials.
I gave certain areas a good almost dry scrub to get rid of any excess dirt before I added to soap.
Instead of immersing the entire bag in a bath full of soap and water, I added just a touch of gentle hand soap to the bucket of water and then spot cleaned the stains.
I opened all the vents and zippers and hung it out to dry.
ADDITIONAL TIP: I use the top, removable compartment for my toiletries and it gets really dirty. I soaked this separately in mild soap and water before throwing it in a load of laundry.
The entire process took about an hour and my backpack looks good as new. Considering how much my backpack does for me, I thought it was time well spent.
Wanna see the rest of my Travel Gear?
The backpack shown is an Osprey Aura 65L. Since I’m 5’2” their size small is perfect for my frame. It fits like a glove and has plenty of room to store all my gear. I would highly recommend this bag to anyone and everyone looking for a medium-sized and durable pack. It was a good investment. I now use the Osprey Farpoint 55 which I review here.
For more tips on travel backpack, please read:
- How to Choose a Travel Backpack
- Backpack or rolling bag: Which is right for me?
- Tom Bihn Convertible Travel Backpack: Aeronaut Style
- Best Osprey Backpacks: 4 Styles Compared which Makes the Cut?
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Thanks, this is great! I’ve only used my pack for hiking/camping in US National Parks, so it really needed a little TLC. Now it’s ready for some international travel.
Thanks for writing this, Alex. Lots of people forget that cleaning a backpack is an important part of taking care of your gear. We’ve also written up our advice on cleaning your backpack.
My backpack could definitely do with some TLC right about now! Certainly time well spent!