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I was wondering what brands of backpacks are popular in Paris, France and Berlin, Germany because I'm the type of traveller that likes to wander under the radar without people knowing that I'm a tourist...here in North America Jansport and Eagle Creek are used a lot. So, what brands are popular across most of Europe?

Or, what travel brand backpacks are popular all around the world?

Also, I'm looking for urban backpacks not trekking ones. I just want to learn what brands of everyday bags are popular...and I suppose it doesn't have to be popular but just a local brand.

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To have a better camouflage, in addition to buying a local branded backpack you should also pretend to be a mute.. –  MeNoTalk Jun 22 '13 at 16:59
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A person with a backpack with hardly any idea of the local landscape and dressed as an american. Yep.. You're going to blend in just fine... –  Karlson Jun 22 '13 at 17:54
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@ Karlson: You don't even know me and are you telling me university students in Paris and Berlin don't use backpacks? Only shoulder bags? –  verve Jun 22 '13 at 18:06
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I think the point is that there are about a hundred things more likely to get you tagged a tourist than the brand of backpack you're wearing. –  Michael Borgwardt Jun 22 '13 at 22:58
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The only people who are going to recognise your backpack as American, rather than an obscure European brand they have never heard of, are those familiar with the American backpacking scene –  DJClayworth Jun 23 '13 at 3:07

2 Answers 2

For Germany:

  • The most inconspicous backpacks are either Jack Wolfskin or Deuter. Seriously, while traveling it is like a lighthouse: Hello, compatriot !
  • Other popular brands: Arc'teryx, Eagle Creek, Tatonka, The North Face, Thule, Vaude or special brands like PacSafe.
  • But you can always use a cheap No-Name brand: They are also quite often visible.

For moving under the radar: No Hawaiian shirt or boxer shorts, especially on the beach.

Do not smile automatically at people. It is not that you cannot smile, it is more that you here either smile slightly the whole time because you are in a good mood or this likeable man/woman addresses you now. It is difficult to explain, but there is a typical subconscious smile which appears at once at eye contact that tells people at once: "Tourist from the USA".

You are allowed to ignore people or remain silent as long as no one addresses you and it is also no problem to look back if someone looks at you. It is a widespread habit in Germany that people are sitting outside in a Cafe/Park and watch the passersby.

Using "Paris, France" or "Berlin, Germany" is also a sure sign of an US-Tourist: No European uses the country name for cities because the names are unique.

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London. London, England? Always makes me laugh (as a British person living in the US). –  Jeremy Miles Jun 22 '13 at 20:12
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Well, there is a Berlin in US and a London in Canada! :-D And, there is a place called Paris even. I just thought I would state the country and not assume everybody knows where I mean. I mean maybe someone is in fact asking about London, Canada! –  verve Jun 23 '13 at 1:21
    
I believe you would be referring to London, Ontario. Saying 'London, England' is useful if you try flying out of Toronto to one of them. –  DJClayworth Jun 23 '13 at 3:05
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@verve: I did not criticize the usage because I think it is simply a force of habit: The USA is vast (4th greatest), densely populated and has many duplicate city names, so the usage to call out the state is straightforward. The thing is that it is US specific and Europeans in general are using the least surprise case: They are adding only the state/country if it is important. "Berlin" is always "Berlin, Germany" unless stated otherwise because it is a capital and has a population with more than 3m while the US ones have less than 30k. –  Thorsten S. Jun 23 '13 at 13:35
    
@verve: it doesn't matter. No one says "Berlin, Germany" any more than they'd say "New York City, New York". Also there are non-unique names in Europe, but state/region name is not used to differentiate. For example Frankfurt might be considered is ambiguous, thus you have full names such as Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt an der Oder. –  vartec Jul 23 '13 at 10:22

As for France and other European countries (Spain, Poland ...), go to Decathlon. That's the most popular sport store by far, it is reasonably priced and the quality is good, they invest much in R&D.

I would recommend actually buying your backpack there than in North America, I bought one at Mountain Equipment Coop, the Canadian equivalent, and for the same price I would have had a little better backpack at Decathlon (more comfortable with more pockets).

Actually they sell different brands (still all designed by the same company, Oxylane), each for a different sport category: Quechua for mountain sports (except Winter sports, which is Wedze), B-twin for cycling, Rockrider for mountain biking, Kalenji for running and also team sports I think, Tribord/Nabaiji for aquatic sports, ...

You will see everyone with bags, clothes, and whatever sport equipment from this store in France. But then if you wear it in North America, be prepared to see French people talking to you in French!

By the way I still find this is a strange request.

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I'm strange. ;-) –  verve Jun 22 '13 at 17:25
    
They sell MEC in France? Any other brands common or at least only sold in Paris? –  verve Jun 22 '13 at 17:26
    
No I bought it in Canada. If I was in France I would have bought it at Decathlon ;) –  Vince Jun 22 '13 at 17:27
    
Oh, Decathlon is not a brand but a store carrying different brands? Newfeel and Quechua seem popular in the store. What's the French word for everyday backpacks? –  verve Jun 22 '13 at 17:30
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@Lukasz: Do you mean only foreign students use them? Or do you mean tourists AND students...? –  verve Jul 22 '13 at 9:31

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