Choosing the Right BackpackChoosing the right backpack to travel the world is absolutely essential to any successful traveling experience. But with the market being flooded with so many sub-par, generic rucksacks it is difficult to know what to choose.
- How many litres should your backpack be?!
- Is the brand important?!
- How much should I pay?!
I’m going to run through the criteria you should consider when purchasing your backpack from my experience traveling to all 197 countries in our beautiful world.
Table of contents
What’s your backpack for?
The first question of all. It sounds obvious of course, but it changes everything! This article is for things to remember when you’re buying a full-size backpack to go backpacking around the world. You need a small ‘day pack’ in addition to this too (the one you see in the above pic).
Also, if you’re going to be climbing mountains or doing long-distance hiking, that’s a different backpack too. I use a different one when I’m trying to climb the seven summits than I do when I’m traveling around the world.
This blog post is for a backpack for traveling. It’s for your gap-year, career break or retirement. So remember these points:
What Size of Backpack Should I Buy?
Backpack size is measured in litres. So how many litres should your backpack be?
When choosing the right backpack, you want to choose something between 40 litres to 85 litres. The sweet spot is 55 or 65.
In terms of kilos, a full 55 litre backpack will weigh around 14kgs approximately whereas a full 70 litre backpack will weigh around 20kg. That’s too much to travel around the world with.
Naturally, as a backpacker, you want to travel as light as possible so I would recommend taking a 55litre. Although on my first few trips I struggled to choose what to take and went with a 65 litre. Now I carry an (only partially) filled 55 litre and it’s perfect.
Just remember though if you take a larger bag, you will fill it (probably with unnecessary extras!) so be vigilant. Buy a smaller backpack, and reap the benefits for the duration of your trip. No one wants to be lugging around 20kg+ from country to country I promise you that, and that’s what you’ll do if you go with a larger size.
TLDR? Get a 55 or 65 litre backpack to travel the world.
What’s the best shape of backpack to buy?
If I had one piece of advice for any first-time backpacker it would be this:
Get a side access backpack, NOT a top-loading one.
This is one feature you should not compromise on. There are few things more infuriating than having to unpack your entire belongings to get access to the one shirt you carry for a special occasion! With a side-zip, everything is on hand and easily accessed, much much more desirable.
Also, search for as many interior compartments as possible. Certainly, a minimum of a mesh divider in the main body to keep either your dirty clothes or electronics separate is a must. Hidden pockets for US dollars/spare credit cards etc is a huge plus too.
TLDR? A ‘toploader’.
What’s the best backpack brand?
To be honest, unless you plan to redesign your life and be on the road constantly over the next few years then the brand isn’t important.
Any run-of-the-mill backpack should last the course of one 3month-1year trip.
However, if you plan to be on the road indefinitely it would be worth your while to go for a high-end brand (Berghaus, Osprey etc) as they are much more robust (and expensive!). I use a Macpac one personally.
TLDR? Macpac or Osprey
How much should I spend on a backpack?
Backpacks range from $50-$500 so the choice is ultimately dependent on your budget.
I’d avoid the cheap, cheap bags unless you’re just jetting off for a week or two. Normally you get what you pay for and you don’t want the bottom of your bag falling out on the way up to Machu Pichu now do you?!
If you spend more than $200 you’re getting towards the top of the range, from there on up you’re pretty much guaranteed top-quality bags. Aim to pay over $100 but no need to pay more than $250 really.
Final thoughts on choosing the right backpack?
These 2 are the best in my opinion. Knock yourself out:
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.
Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!
Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.
Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email email@example.com to get started.
Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.
I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!