How to pick the right backpack?
The first thing you should think about is, what kind of journey you will make. Of all the people reading this blog, 99% will probably go backpacking. This means you will make a journey with more than 1 destination.
This can be one country or more countries. The accommodation will probably be hostels, cheap hotels and transportation will probably be by bus, train Tuk Tuk, other vehicles, taxi’s and other transportations.
Backpackers include outdoor sport lovers, travel lovers, weekend travelers, campers, mountain climbers with their on needs from a backpack. There is a difference between the backpacker who travels for a longer amount of time and the backpacker that travels for a shorter amount of time such as the weekend traveler. The difference is important as outdoor shops sell different kinds of backpacks.
What differences are there?
The main importance of a backpack is that it must be open and easy accessible, this makes it easier to take your stuff out (also if you need to move fast for a train or bus, it makes it easy to put things quickly in).
The first step is to decide what size of backpack you need. Next to this the travel time (days/ months), the season you will be facing or the weather and personal preferences will affect your choice. A lot of brands have a wide selection based on these factors. Of course this selection includes a 35 lt bag, but this won’t be enough if you go on a longer trip. The 65, 75 and 85 backpacks will suit your trip for a long journey.
Lt is the measure for the capacity of backpacks. It can vary between a 5 lt small bag and a monster 85 lt backpack. In most cases there is no need to go for a backpack larger than 70 lt (remember you will have to carry the weight eventually, and overpacking doesn’t do you any good). For most people, a 60 lt backpack would be the best, although a 50-55 lt would be more ideal for women. This is only because women can be more petite than men. For men 60-65 (+10) would be good. Personally we have been traveling a lot with a 65+10 lt backpack which was only filled for 2/3. So we didn’t need more than that.
Next to capacity there is also the ‘back adjustment which is very important. This is adjusting the backside to your size to make sure the weight is carried by your middle instead of your shoulders and therefor for your comfort. If you adjust it properly, your journey will be comfortable and you won’t face any shoulder or back pain.
In general, 2 sizes are provided, one for women and one standard. The one for women is made with the generalization of women being shorter and the back side is smaller. This size is also suitable for children, shorter or smaller men. The standard size can also be suitable for women if they are tall. Therefor don’t go straight to the women’s department.
After figuring out the right size, you may want to think about other options to make your trip more comfortable. There are ultralight packs which make traveling light and prevent that it’s too hot. These are more expensive but more comfortable. Especially if you will go backpacking in warm weather, this could be very important.
Some backpacks have their own rain cover, but some don’t. Especially if you will face rainy days, this is one item you can’t forget.
How to pick between all brands?
We’re not going to promote brand names here. What you need to do is, pick one which provides all your needs from the factors as written above. It is important that you have the best price/quality ratio. The backpack should be within your budget but good enough not to let you down during your trip. If you will travel for a long time or plan to use your backpack for many years, we would say keep that in mind when you make the investment.
One additional tip here: Go to outdoor shops, see and check the backpack you love and try to find it online. It might be available for lower prices on the internet. Do make sure that the products you are ordering are originals.
The most important aspects are that the backpack is comfortable, doesn’t let you down on your trip and make your trip easy going and simple. Have a nice journey!