How to choose the right backpack

Travel Pro Tips

Are you looking for a travel backpack but don’t know where to start? This is the ultimate guide to choosing the right backpack for your needs. Talking from my own experience a good backpack can make or break your travel experience, so it’s important to choose wisely.

We’ll go over everything you need to consider before making a purchase, from size and features to price and brand.

I’m a seasoned backpacker and I can attest that the right backpack can greatly improve your comfort and enjoyment while on the road. So, after years of backpacking adventures, here are my top tips for picking the perfect travel companion.

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Things to consider when buying abackpack

  • Intention
  • Volume & Size
  • Weight
  • Compartments
  • Wheels or no wheels
  • Opening
  • Color
  • Outside Straps
  • Quality
  • Try it

How are you using your backpack?

First, consider your intended use for the backpack. Ask yourself if you're looking for something to take from accommodation to accommodation without much hiking or carrying? Or are you actually planning on carrying your backpack for a longer period of time? This decision will greatly impact which backpack is right for you! I usually try to never carry my belongings for more than an hour straight but it is very important to be able to handle my luggage independently. So I always want to be able to bring it to a beach hut or a tree house. But because I don't carry my backpack for hours I can sacrifie on weight and comfort.

Which volume & size to choose

This can be tricky as you don't want to overpack yourself but at the same time, you don't want to have limited space either. Whenever I'm traveling I hate to carry more than 10 kilos. That being said I plan my wardrobe so that I can easily fit outfits for 3 months into a 55 liters backpack. The size of your backpack will greatly impact your flexibility and level of comfort!

Consider the weight

Make sure to weigh the bag before purchasing it. A good travel backpack should be lightweight and comfortable to wear, even when it's fully loaded. Keep in mind that the bigger the pack, the heavier it will be when it's loaded down with your clothes and gear. I love being able to carry my luggage myself when necessary, so this is an important point to consider.

Stay organised with compartments

Also, consider the number of compartments and pockets on the bag. It helps to have smaller pockets for items you need to access quickly. This is especially helpful if you're constantly on the move.

Do you want wheels?

Obviously, wheels will add to the weight of the backpack and make it less comfortable to carry. However, I also felt frustrated whenever I was at the airport or on even terrain where I couldn't roll my backpack. Therefore I just recently switched from my beloved Jack Wolfskin backpack to an Osprey Sojourn with wheels. Using a backpack with wheels greatly increased my level of comfort in airports and in cities. However, I realized it's not as comfortable carrying it around. So, my piece of advice is if you plan on a trip where you have to carry your backpack a lot, opt for the option without wheels.

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Position of the opening

The way your backpack opens is a game-changer when packing and organizing your clothes. Opt for a big front opening to allow you to see everything you packed. It's nice to have a backpack that opens like a suitcase. This makes it easier to access the items you need without having to unpack your entire bag every time. Making it so much easier to quickly grab your clothes and you won't have to take out all of your stuff just to find the item you need!

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Choose a unique color

The color of your backpack does not only impact the way it looks but also your ability to spot it quickly. Very light and black backpacks dirty up quickly and are hard to make out between many pieces of luggage. Instead, opt for a colorful option that will make your backpack stand out!

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Do you need outside straps?

Outside straps can be helpful when plan on bringing your yoga mat or hiking shoes. When you run out of space, outside straps are a great way to keep your hands free and use the rain cover to protect your items when on the road.

Pack it and try it!

The design of the backpack greatly impacts your level of comfort when traveling. Whenever your purchase a new backpack make sure to test it enough at home. Fill it up and carry it around for an hour or so to see if you can carry it comfortably.

Quality of your backpack

Finally, make sure that the backpack will stand up to wear and tear. When buying a backpack, the quality is also a major factor. The last thing you want is for the straps to break in a foreign country or for the zipper to give up on you in the middle of your journey. So, make sure you buy a high-quality bag that will last you for years to come. Look for models made of waterproof materials, sturdy zippers, and sustainable materials. I love that my backpack has accompanied me on so many trips. I even feel like you can pack better, the more trips you made with your luggage.

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