My backpack failed me in the worst way. The zippers failed at the Marseille Airport rental car lot. The backpack was less than a year old.
In October of last year, I bought the Endurax Camera Drone Backpack. I liked it because it had a flat drone launching pad, a rain-proof cover, lots of space and cost only a hundred bucks on Amazon.
The front panel, which exposed the entire innards of the backpack, closed with two zippers, which met in the middle.
Some months ago, one of the zipper's sliders slipped off the "teeth" or "chain" of the zipper. It was inconvenient, but I kept using it with the other zipper.
Then, a couple months ago, the second zipper slipped off as well. I had to carry the backpack horizontally with both arms in front of me to the rental car. (I understood the possibility of using pliers to re-connect the sliders. But I had lost faith in the zipper.)
Once we arrived at our apartment in Provence, I used the mini day pack that attaches to, and came with, my Meridian rolling luggage. The pack is handy, but it's really a minimal, poorly protected skimpy backpack. That's what I used for the next two months. I carried it across France, Spain and Morocco. I wore it in the Sahara desert.
In that tiny backpack I squeezed my brand-new M1 MacBook Pro, my iPad Pro and my Sony A7 III dslr into the backpack, using T-shirts for padding.
During two months of travel, the flimsy backpack damaged the expensive Pad & Quill cover for my laptop, and probably damaged my camera. It was painful to wear. When it rained, I had to take shelter because I knew the backpack couldn't handle the rain.
It was a stressful, painful two months, thanks to the failure of my backpack.
But no more.
I just bought the Peak Design 45L Travel Backpack (pictured above). It cost three times the amount as my previous backpack, and worth every penny. It has super high-quality, waterproof zippers. All the materials are extremely high quality, plus it has a gazillion great features that you can research if you're interested (mostly around the designs for wearability, access and straps). It's really an incredible backpack. I also bought a small "Camera Cube" to optimize the protection and use of my DSLR.
My point is not to praise the Peak Design backpack specifically, but to offer the following advice: Don't fuck around with your backpack purchase if you're an internationally traveling digital nomad, especially one like me who carries expensive gear.
My attempt to save a few bucks almost cost me thousands of dollars in damaged equipment, nearly wrecked my back and created needless stress while traveling.
When you buy a backpack, get one that will not fail you. When you're abroad carrying expensive gear, backpack failure is not an option.