Choosing a Backpack – Our Important Points

Submitted by mumunmumun on 16 May 2014   •  Uncategorized

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Is there anything we can add to the many posts about choosing a backpack? There are tons of posts out there about picking the right pack for your back, with all the considerations and everything. So why add another one? Because we can’t stress enough how important your back is to you. Choosing the wrong pack can cause back pains after a while, a pain you don’t want for yourself. Trust me, you’ll see it eventually. A backpack is an investment on your health and on your future. And now I sound like a saleswoman.

Choosing a backpack - traveling with two cover

Right, I’m not going to repeat every single advice out there on choosing a rucksack, but I’ll just emphasise all the important points that should be put into consideration.

– Purpose

This would be the basic of your purchase. What kind of traveling are you mostly going to do? How long? Would it be often? What would be in your bag? Considering volume, some people say the bigger the better, but that isn’t necessarily true. The bigger a pack, the more you tend to carry, the more stress you put on your back. My suggestion would be a 40-liter backpack if you aren’t planning a round world trip for more than 3 months. If you plan to travel often with your backpack, you might want to consider mountain gear brands as they are designed for endless walks with the backpack.

choosing a backpack - changing its purpose

My main backpack became my daypack. On the left, male 60 l backpack for my clothes and stuff. 

– Hip and chest strap

A lot of people underestimate the function of the hip and chest strap. They might look odd, plump you stomach or your boobs the wrong way, but they’re actually your saviors. They distribute the weight of your bag from your back more on to your body. If you’re going to travel for a long time or often, and even though you’re not bringing a lot of things, it’s essential to have and wear the straps properly. Male and female bags also differ in their straps. Women backpacks have curvier straps to accommodate breast lines, while male backpacks are more straight. Not accommodating man boobs, but that probably isn’t necessary.

– Price

A great backpack doesn’t necessarily mean big bucks. It could, because design and thought-out engineering don’t come cheap, but it doesn’t have to be. So, survey a lot of brands and types before you buy your backpack. Read a lot of reviews and tap in to forums that might have a lot of information.

– Back support

Male and female back supports are different for some backpack. While some might not feel significantly different, some can be pretty fatal. Women have shorter torsos, hence some male back support tend to span from the lower back all the way to the bottom of the neck, making it impossible to look up. Be aware of your back support.

– Try it on

Obviously, you have to try the pack on. But, don’t stop there. You have to buckle everything up, fill it if possible, and then run around the shop with it. A perfect backpack is a bag that sits on your back perfectly and doesn’t sway much when you’re running with it. An alternative would be borrowing a friend’s pack and testing what a backpack should feel for you.

Choosing a backpack - Vira and her pack

By the end of it all, I totally agree with Dina of Dua Ransel and their word of wisdom when it comes to choosing a backpack on their Indonesian travel blog.

“But there’s really no best way – it all depends on you and your personal style, and that’s something you learn by experience.” – Dua Ransel

Having said that, the first choice might not be the best but it builds your experience with backpacks.

– Change if necessary

My last tip would be don’t hesitate to change your pack once you feel it’s not right. Some just might not suit you after you really put it to test. This is why the secondhand backpack market is pretty busy. On the bright side, there could be some secondhand stuff that might be right for you.

For the record, my trusty backpack is the Vaude 30+5 liters that I’ve reviewed here, which I still use till today. Vira is currently enjoying her Osprey 36 l.

Choosing a backpack - my beloved bag to Sulawesi

Here are some links that can help you choose your backpack.

Nomadic Matt

EHealthBody Blog

Herpacking List

So what are you wearing and would you recommend it?

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6 years ago

mine is Karrimor, buy it at 2009 and still counting until now. 🙂

6 years ago

Hey! I’ve also written a pretty good post on travel backpacks if you’re interested in reading it.. you can find it here.

Thanks! Susan.

6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Thanks for sharing, Susan. Nice reviews!