Tips for Picking the Best Travel Backpack

Picking the best backpack travel is an essential part of your trip. Whether you’re planning to visit beach resorts, city destinations, or explore the off beaten track, nothing can beat the flexibility and comfort of having the right backpack, making it one of the most important pieces of your travel gear.

Yet, with so many options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when it’s time to choose which travel backpack is the best for you. Apart from selecting among the best backpack brands, there are lots of considerations you need to take to ensure that it serves its maximum purposes. Luckily, nothing is impossible. Here are the best tips for picking the best backpack that will help you enjoy and make the most out of your travels.

1. Get the appropriate size for your trip

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tortuga (@tortugabackpacks)

First things first: You must get a backpack of the appropriate size. If you’re planning to visit Southeast Asia, getting a 70-liter backpack may not be the best option. Though a huge backpack may seem better, remember that the region has a hot and humid climate and most have bustling tourist destinations, making it hard to travel around. Having the disciple to fit your stuff in a 40-liter backpack is your best bet. You can size up but definitely not over 60 liters.

If you’re visiting the French Alps, Australia, or the Himalayas instead, that’s when 58-liter to 70-liter backpacks can be handy. Envision your travel plans and goals to make the decision easier.

2. Don’t let the weight hold you back

Another critical factor to take note of is the weight of your backpack. Be mindful that heaviness doesn’t imply durability. Technology has made a huge impact on backpacks, which makes them fairly lightweight yet very sturdy. Saving one or two pounds from the bag you’re choosing can make a lot of difference, especially if you’re wearing it throughout the day.

3. Consider what trip you are taking

Young woman packing for a trip
Close-up of young woman packing and preparing her suitcase for a trip. Travel and tourism concept.

Often, the best backpack depends on the trip you’re taking. Some of your trips may involve hiking, trekking, or camping. Others may entail visiting museums or historic monuments. Of course, you’ll probably bring a different backpack when visiting a beach resort in Cancun than the one you brought when you went to a safari in Tanzania. Knowing the nature of the trip and the activities that you will take can help you in choosing the backpack that fits the situation you will be in.

4. Check the material

Rear view of adult woman tourist with white backpack enjoying sunset
Rear view of adult woman tourist with white backpack enjoying sunset on the bridge in Speicherstadt historical warehouse district. Hamburg, Germany, Europe.

Along with considering the purpose of your trip is finding the suitable material. Backpacks come in different materials, such as canvas, polyester, nylon, and leather. If you’re going for outdoor adventures, polyester is the best option as it is highly resistant to UV degradation, adding extra protection to your backpack. On the other hand, nylon is lightweight and water-resistant, perfect if you’re traveling during the rainy season or expecting to engage in water activities. Canvas is highly fashionable but may be relatively heavier, but can still work on shorter hikes. Leather backpacks are versatile but are extremely expensive compared to their counterparts. Consider all those factors and make the choice.

5. Review and decide on the features.

What’s remarkable about travel backpacks is that they now offer tons of features. However, you must assess and decide which features you need to fully take advantage of them. Not to mention that features often mean an increase in price, so it’s essential to get ones valuable for your trip.

If you’re into photography and carry costly lenses during your travels, you may want to look for a bag with added security features like locks and reinforced zippers to protect your items. If you’re trekking, a backpack with water bottle holsters and other external compartments will be your best choice. It will also be great if you will get waterproof backpacks, given the unpredictability of the weather in mountains or rainforests.

Do you travel for work instead and frequently grab your laptop, tablets, earbuds, or other smaller items? A backpack with a top roll design will provide you easier access to your stuff. Simply review what you need and find a back that will cover all those necessities.

6. Opt for quality, not price

Like with any other purchase, the cost of the item is always part of the picture. When it comes to backpacks, it matters a lot as you can be surprised how costly they can be. High-quality are expected to be expensive, as they are meant to last proportionally longer, and not just to survive a few trips.

A common mistake by many travelers is opting for the cheapest option, not knowing that it would cost them more in the long run. For instance, buying a $130 backpack that you can use for a decade with proper care is more cost-efficient rather than buying five different $30 backpacks in the same timeframe because they have worn out quickly. So, invest in a high-quality backpack – as often, you will get what you pay for.

7. Comfort is your top priority

Is the backpack comfortable? It is perhaps the biggest question you need to answer when picking the best travel backpack. From waiting for the taxi cab, standing in line at the airport, going around the city to walking for hours or days on a trek, you will be carrying your backpack on your back almost the entire time. It’s important that you choose one that offers comfort and won’t feel like torture during your whole trip.

Fit the backpack, if possible. See if the shoulder, chest, and waist straps and see if they fit you snugly. Then, add some weight and see if you’re available to keep your balance. Is the foam or padding firm and durable enough for longer use? Does it have a back panel feature to enable airflow and keep you cool during hot weather? Always aim for one that has the best comfortability.

Straps

A backpack for an orange camera and a bottle of water on an asphalt road
a backpack for an orange camera and a bottle of water on an asphalt road in a field at sunset

When it comes to choosing the best travel backpack, straps play a crucial role. You need to know where they are located and how you can wear or use them since you will be involved in activities like hiking for hours. Most travelers opt for backpacks that focus the entire weight on the back, which is a fatal mistake.

Instead, you should opt for Hip straps that distribute the weight to your legs as well. This way, your body will be better able to handle the weight. Travelers who carry the weights on their back, soon complain of backaches that can turn chronic. Therefore, a backpack that is supportive of your body will make the journey much easier.

Pockets

Pockets
Cropped image of fitness trainer putting essentials into sports bag

While straps help distribute weight, pockets allow you to keep your essentials safe and secure. You might be taking along shirts, jeans, and flip flops but what about your passport, wallet, and other important items. Stashing or piling these things above another is neither practical nor useful. You can easily end up misplacing something important. 

With that said, before you begin your hunt for the perfect travel backpack, make a checklist of the items you will be taking along. This will help you narrow down your options and choose a bag with a sufficient number of pockets. 

At the same time, do not opt for a bag that has hundreds of pockets that you won’t be using because it won’t be of any good use either. The last thing you would want is your wallet missing while paying for coffee or your passport if you encounter law enforcement.

The Gender Question

The Gender Question
Mountains can be romantic

Many of us wonder if travel backpacks have a gender. The answer is sort of. Some travel backpack manufacturers make travel backpacks according to women’s frames. This means that your options are men’s, women’s, or unisex. The reason is that most women as compared to men are lightweight, skinny, and shorter and may require carrying relatively more essential items.

Therefore, a travel backpack that is mostly opted by men will not suit a woman as it might be oversized. If you are a female looking for a travel backpack, keep in mind that the design of backpacks for short and petite women is more comfortable. With that said, try on a few and decide, which suits you the best. 

FAQs: Tips for Picking the Best Travel Backpack

Here are some common questions asked about travel backpacks.

1. What should I carry in my backpack when traveling?

Your backpack should consist of all the essentials you might need for your adventure. Things like travel documents, first aid kits, passports, and electronics are amongst the most important. However, make sure to store them in a safe location inside the bag.

2. What should you not forget about a trip?

While packing for your vacation, you should make a list of all the items you are going to need. Include some liquids and snacks and do not overstuff the bag. Keep in mind the maximum weight limit and keep some space for holiday purchases.

3. What should a woman pack for a trip?

If you are a woman packing for a trip, you need to include some tops, a sweater, blazer, a long-sleeved shirt, a jacket, 2-3 bottoms, a pair of shoes, and socks. Depending on the location you intend to visit, you might need some additional items as well such as a portable charger, backup battery pack, etc. 

Final Words

Buying a backpack doesn’t need to be intimidating. Just follow the rules in this post and you’ll find the best travel backpack in a breeze. That way, you can save time and use it on other aspects of planning to ensure that your trip will be most enjoyable.