How to choose a backpack that is right for you?

Updated: Jun 14



Picking the right travel backpack is an important part in planning your trip. Too big and you’ll have too much extra weight to carry around, too small and you’ll never fit all your stuff that you need and may end up buying a bigger one later on! Buy a cheap one and it will suddenly break, Pick the wrong material and your stuff will be soaked in the rain.




There are so many backpacks out there that it can be very confusing knowing how to pick the right one. When I first started traveling, I bought the cheapest backpack possible as I did not have much budget and I did not know anything about backpacking either.. I tried few of them and pick one within 10 minutes ( I hate shopping too !) My backpacked lasted me over 6 years, i carried it everywhere with me, and when I said everywhere I mean Everywhere.


In fact, the only reason I bought a new backpack was because this one died ( R.I.P) The zip was not closing anymore and the seams started going apart as well.


India 2008 ( I did not even carry it properly)


There are many travel backpacks in the world – and even more places where you can purchase one.


So in order to save you hours upon hours of research, I’m going to lay out all the good qualities a backpack should have, the best backpack brands, and where you can buy them so can save yourself hours of time and simply purchase one knowing it’s amazing and going to last forever.


“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” –Susan Sontag


1. Water-Resistant Material


Even tho your backpack is not 100% waterproof ( Unless you are going on some long multi-day hike), make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get soaking wet (most travel backpacks come with rain proof cover that you can put over them in case of a severe downpour). Moreover, make sure the material won’t stay wet too long. I always look for thick quality material but also try to find one that is not too heavy either. ( #backpack #waterproof #hiking #camping ) You should be able to pour a cup of water over it without the insides getting wet. I’m living in Malaysia so during downpours or monsoons it can get very nasty and because my backpack is made out of a good material, I’ve never opened my bag to find wet clothes.


Water resistant backpack:





2. Lockable Zippers


Make sure each compartment has two zippers on each side so you can lock them together. While am not really worried about people breaking into my bag and stealing my dirty and smelly clothes in a hostel, but I like locking up my bag when I am traveling. After watching TV series like ''Lockdown abroad'' I’m always paranoid that someone is going to put something in my bag that do you not belong to me if you know what I mean.


When purchasing locks, make sure the package says they are TSA-friendly locks — these locks have a special release valve that allows the TSA to open the lock without breaking it so they can check your bag. They are not very expensive and you can purchase it Here if you d like.


During my last backpacking trip I bought a Pacsafe, which wraps a lockable metal mesh around your whole bag and can be tied to a large object. It means that not only is no one breaking into your stuff, no one is walking away with it either. Pacsafe is a good form of protection for your bag, especially if you are going to be somewhere where your bag will be unattended for a long time.



Read more about Pacsafe...




3. Backpack essentials


  • Multiple Compartments

A good bag must to have multiple compartments. This way, you can break up your belongings into smaller sections so it’s easier to access and find the stuff you need. For example, my clothes are in the main compartment of my bag, my umbrella and flips-flops in the top, and my shoes in the separated side compartment (that way they don’t get everything dirty). It saves having to dig around your bag.


  • Padded Hip belt

Most of the weight you will be carrying around will be pushing down on your hips, so you’ll want a padded belt support it and make it more comfortable for you. The belt will help provide support and distribute the load more evenly on your back, causing less strain. Make sure that the hip belt is also be adjustable so you can tighten it for extra support.


  • Front Loading

A front-loading backpack is allowed you to access to all your stuff from the front of you bag but also on the side of it. A top loading bag only allows you to access your stuff from a hole in the top and this makes things really difficult especially if you need to get something at the bottom of your backpack. Always get a backpack that it “front loading” so you have easy access to all your gear.



Should you buy a Backpack or suitcase?


1. Backpack


Backpacks are so important because of how they are used in our everyday lives and because of this I decided to highlight some of the pros and cons of backpacks.





PROS


- They Make Your Items To Be Well Organized

- Frees Up Your Hands

- Safely Secure and Transport Your Belongings

- They Are More Comfortable and are Better For Your Health

- They Can Be Carried Longer

- They Are Being Used As An Accessory


CONS


- They Can Make Your Back Sweaty

- They Can Be Used To sneak Dangerous Items

- They Can Be Expensive

- Not always waterproof








2. Suitcase


There really is no one piece of luggage that will address all your needs. It's just a matter of personal preference and what kind of traveler you are. Here's a quick overview of the Pros & Cons of buying a hard suitcase to help you decide what is best for you.



PROS


- Better protection for items inside luggage

- More effective in preventing theft

- Easier to clean and comes in many colors

- 100% waterproof


CONS


- Items are not easily accessible without opening the entire bag

- Surface can be easily scratched or dented

- Cannot be expanded

- Risk of breaking a wheel and getting a hard time to carry it around






Travel Backpacks: How Much Should a Backpack Cost?


Backpack / Suitcase prices depend a lot on size, fabric, & if you purchase a brand or not. Most backpacks cost between $69–200+ USD. The medium-sized store brands generally cost around $129 USD. Store brands are cheaper than big-name brands like North Face, Osprey, & Gregory.


These expensive backpacks tend to be large and have more bells and whistles, special padding, and material than you really need as a traveler.


Additionally, you’ll find that most travel backpacks are hiking backpacks, meant for camping and multi-day treks in the woods. Buying a backpack that was meant to be used in the Rockies instead of the streets of New Zealand doesn’t matter, though — backpacks are pretty interchangeable these days, and getting a backpack meant for the outdoors simply means you’ll have a stronger and more durable pack.


You should spend $100 to $250 for a backpack if you want to keep it for long time, high quality pack are always worth it 1




P.S.If you found this article helpful, consider using this link to purchase your bag (whatever brand you go with). This will helps me keep the website running, community supported, and advertiser free.



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