A couple of weeks ago I took the advice of my guitar teacher and made a purchase to take with me on our journey: The Martin Backpacker.

I know that our goal is to travel light and minimize the unnecessary items in our packs, but I’ve made a very large investment in my guitar playing over the last few years and would hate to atrophy those skills.  This purchase adds some weight to my pack, but it allows me to continue playing while I’m away. It should also provide us some entertainment when things are slow.

After playing the Backpacker for a couple of weeks, I have to say I am very impressed.  Its size is astonishingly small while still providing a full classical guitar-sized fretboard.  When I first received it, I was expecting a tinny sound like a cheap guitar, but Martin has done an excellent job with this instrument.  The sound is rich and the tone is good.  The volume, however, is lacking, although that isn’t unexpected considering the body of the guitar has the depth of a cereal box and shape of a lava lamp.  The guitar weighs in under 3 pounds, and is 36″ from top to bottom.

I ordered the Backpacker from American Musical Supply and couldn’t be more pleased.  They sold me the guitar for $169.95 (free shipping), a 48% discount from Martin’s suggested $329 list price.  Also, the guitar came with a durable nylon strap and a decent quality gig bag to hold the instrument and any associated gear.

I may change my mind after lugging this thing around for 6 months, but right now I love this guitar and can’t wait to strum my way across Asia.