People ask me this questions all the time. Which backpack should I choose?
Your backpack is the most important piece of equipment for people who want to travel around the world. Your new backpack will basically be your new house. All your belongings need to find comfortably into this one space and that’s why picking the right backpack will be crucial for any trip. Your new backpack will escort you for weeks, months and maybe even years from country to country. Your backpack needs to have decent quality. So, which backpack should you choose?
The variety of backpacks is huge and nearly endless. It should not be too big, and also not be too small. The material you choose should be resilient as well and waterproof (at least partly). Your new backpack should be very comfortable and fit perfectly fine because you may be walking around for longer periods of time with you new best friend on your back. You don’t want to end up having back pain while travelling (though this is hard to achieve with any backpack to be fair!). There are a lot of things to think about and it’s easy to be confused in order to make the right choice.
I’ve had a look at many different styles of backpacks and I will share my knowledge with you and why I have chosen the one I am wearing. But hey, please do your own research, everybody is different and prefers different features.
This is a list of my recommendations:
- Deuter ACT Lite 60l
- The North Face Terra 65 l
- Mammut Trion Backpack (40-Liter)
- Eagle Creek Travel Pack 60L
I personally travel with Eagle Creek. I love it because you can easily open it just like a suitcase without unpacking all your belongings. It also comes with a daypack which you can easily strap on top of the big one. It’ so super handy!
Size of the backpack
The size is mostly expressed in litres. If you are looking at a 45-55 litre backpack, you will be absolutely fine. Everything else above is getting really heavy on your back! The bigger the backpack, the more junk you will carry with you, which you aren’t going to use in the end anyways. Most of the time I do not even use 60% of the clothes I am carrying around the world with me. Travelling light makes your life so much easier, try and keep the size of your backpack low.
If your destination leads you more often into colder areas, I would bulk up for a couple of litres. But no more than 70 litres! 20 kg extra on your back is pretty heavy!
If you still think you need to take a lot of things with you, do yourself a favour while you are still at home. Pack your backpack with everything you would like to take and go for a walk up and down the street for about 30 minutes. You will see what happens when you return. I bet you will get rid of at least 30% of your stuff you have just tried to fit into this backpack.
Most of the backpacks are unisex, so for everyone regardless of shape or size. Nowadays there are rucksacks specially made for women / men. The reason for this is because men’s upper bodies are longer than women’s so they carry weight very differently. So, at a women’s backpack the:
- hip-belt is shorter
- shoulder straps are shorter and narrower
- torso range of women’s packs is shorter.
However, please don’t focus too much on those features. Unisex backpacks are as good as women’s packs, especially for someone who is a little bigger than ‘the normal’ size.
Shape & loading
Classic backpacks that you can only pack from the top and often have a little section at the bottom. Now there are these backpacks where you can insert your stuff from the side or from the front (also known as a suitcase backpack). I think that’s super handy and relaxing as you don’t have to go through all of your stuff and unpack it all, just because you really want to wear that one shirt which is located at the very bottom of your bag. Just open the backpack like a suitcase or a bag, nice and easy.
That’w why I LOVE my Eagle Creek backpack!
Usually showerproof material will do the job. Of course, nobody wants to wear wet clothes and waterproof sounds so much more exciting, but at the end of the day the fully waterproof backpacks are less convenient. Most of backpacks have a rain shelter included, which you can wrap over and cover your backpack with.
2 zips are always better than one, so you can connect those with a little locker. Super important for security freaks!
Pockets means organisation. Not too many though, you still want to keep track on everything. 3 pockets sounds about right, plus maybe a couple of small ones for little things.
Many backpacks also have a little daypack one attached at the front, just like mine. You can detach it any time you like. It comes in very handy if you are on a trip and you have the opportunity to leave your big backpack in a van or a bus. You can just go off hiking with the little one for a couple of hours.
If you budget is not too high, you don’t always need to have a Deuter or a North Face one. If you tried out a couple of backpacks in a shop, you should check out the ranking and reviews in Google and see what others have to say. You don’t necessarily need to buy the top brands, you can also go for a no-name one. Be aware of the quality differences though. If you go for the ‘cheaper’ ones now, you may need to buy a new backpack earlier…
Expensive doesn’t always mean it’s brilliant and cheap doesn’t always mean it’s shit. Don’t be too impressed with some of the prices. Test and compare online. You don’t need every knick-knack and bling-bling and definitely no 90 litres. A good salesperson will introduce to you the right backpack for your needs!
Backpack versus suitcase
I know a couple of backpackers who are using suitcases and they would never change it for a backpack they say. I started travelling with a suitcase. What a disaster! Never again. In the train, off the train or the steps up and down. If you really fancy some adventure, it’s just so much easier to go over hedge and ditch with your pack on the back. And if you already suffer from some back pain, maybe a backpack with little wheels would be the perfect solution for you!
Any Questions in terms of backpacks? Or any tips? What do you prefer? Suitcase or backpack? What is your experience with backpacks on the road? Feel free to leave a comment! 🙂
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