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.. Jun 22, 2013 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, 2013 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, 2013 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. Jun 22, 2013 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 Jun 23, 2013 at 3:07

6 Answers 6


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). Jun 22, 2013 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, 2013 at 1:21
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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. Jun 23, 2013 at 13:35
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    @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, 2013 at 10:22
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    As soon as you start talking people will know you are a tourist let alone how you refer to your cities. Brand of backpack is likely the least of your worries if you are trying to stay undercover Sep 20, 2015 at 21:54

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, 2013 at 17:25
  • They sell MEC in France? Any other brands common or at least only sold in Paris?
    – verve
    Jun 22, 2013 at 17:26
  • No I bought it in Canada. If I was in France I would have bought it at Decathlon ;)
    – Vince
    Jun 22, 2013 at 17:27
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    @Lukasz: Do you mean only foreign students use them? Or do you mean tourists AND students...?
    – verve
    Jul 22, 2013 at 9:31
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    @pnuts Wow, forgot I even asked this question...alright, will do Master. ;-)
    – verve
    Nov 1, 2014 at 2:31

Not actually a backpack, but what I do is to get a decent plastic or fabric bag from a local market chain.

Not only does it make me inconspicuous, but teaches me to not to pack unnecessary stuff as well. To have one hand busy all the time helps against carrying a camera and other traveler's stuff in hand all the time.

One must be careful, though, not to forget the bag somewhere.

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    What about IKEA shopping bag? :)
    – user3450
    Oct 31, 2016 at 21:52

(a) You will probably be identified as a tourist whatever you do.
(b) Nobody will mind (and neither should you -- after all, you are a tourist).

As for backpacks: the mere fact that you are toting a big friggin backpack in the first place is the biggest giveaway, regardless of branding. If you want to be mistaken for a local, leave your backpack at the hostel.

  • But he could look like a tourist from elsewhere in the country rather than from the US. Nov 28, 2022 at 3:16

At times some brands of backpack have a period of being in fashion.

The brands named in the question have had their time of fame and are still used quite a lot by some groups and well used by the average European.

But there are so many brands, and even so many more backpacks with fantasy brands or without brands at all, that no single backpack will stand out as from a particular country.

What makes you stand out as a tourist is how you dress, and that is fashion more than regional differences, and how you fit in. Some people will fit in as 'local' whatever they wear and however they look, others will never fit in even when they wear the same as the locals of their age, due to small differences like how you smile and how you look or not at the others on the street.
So do not worry about the brand of pack, or even its size, just behave as you would do when dressed as the others in the street and you will likely fit in.

And if not, you are a tourist and there is nothing wrong with being a tourist, nobody is bothered by the nationality of a single tourist as long as they try to fit in.

  • And older packs might have their name worn off. Nov 28, 2022 at 3:18

Why not have a look at Amazon? It's one of the largest online retailers in Europe.

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