A backpack is of course indispensable when traveling. But you can find them in all kinds of sizes, colors and shapes. To what should you pay attention to when buying a backpack? I give you some useful tips! My first (and current) backpack I bought last year for my first backpacking trip to Costa Rica. I got informed in various outdoor shops and on the internet what is the best backpack. What a quest! Because I booked my trip rather last minute, therefore this search had to be sped up a bit. I spent weeks trying to find the perfect backpack.
Do you want to buy a backpack? Here an overview with tips!
What size backpack for travelling?
Backpacks come in all sizes. The size of the content is indicated by liters. How many liters is suitable for you depends on where you are going and how long you are going to travel.
Are you going to a warm destination? Then those thin t-shirts don’t take up that much space. But if you are going to travel in a country where it can get relatively cold, it’s advisable to opt for more liters. Of course, this does not mean that you need a different backpack for every trip. The money doesn’t grow on your back, right?
Below I give a guideline of the backpacks.
- Small backpack: <40 liters
- Normal backpack: 40 – 60 liters
- Large backpack: >60 liters
Keep in mind that your backpack is probably packed with (sometimes very useless) stuff when you travel. It’s therefore recommended to buy one that’s not too large.
In my opinion, the best thing was to choose a nice intermediate size of around 60 liters. Those 60 liters do not have to be completely packed. I can easily leave the top 10-liter compartment empty without excluding its complete shape. This gives me more freedom when I go to a cold destination, or want to take more with me. Be aware not to overpack!
The amount of compartments is certainly important when purchasing a backpack. Nothing is more inconvenient than having to mess up all your stuff thanks to a limited number of compartments. Several zippers to get to the largest compartment are recommended.
Some backpacks have small pockets on the waistbands where you can put some snacks in, for example. Quite handy, but not necessary. The best thing is to have several compartments in the large compartments. Think of a zipper at the bottom and on the side. In the small compartments you can easily store small items such as underwear and socks. Nothing is more annoying to have to look for clean underwear for fifteen minutes.
My backpack has a large compartment with multiple zippers at the top and a large zipper for the bottom compartment. There are also two zippers on the side, one of which opens the large compartment. There are also small compartments on both hip belts. It also has three external compartments where, for example, a poncho or drink can be stored.
This is something you can only test in the store. I tried dozens of backpacks in the store until I found the one. Let the employees advise and help you to find out which suits you best. Most are adjustable so you can ensure that the backpack is at the correct height on your back and that the straps fit well on your shoulders.
What can also be very nice is back ventilation. Once stuffed, a backpack is no longer so light anymore causing you to sweat a lot. Then back ventilation is really an invention. This wasn’t really something I was looking for with my backpack, but it turned out to be very useful afterwards.
Quality and price
The quality is very important when choosing a backpack. You have to pay for good quality. But good quality will result in a longer lasting backpack. You notice this in the quality of, for example, the zippers and shoulder straps. These won’t break that easily if you invest in a good backpack.
The prices of backpacks are between € 100 and € 250. This sounds a lot and it is. But see the purchase as an investment. You will need one during your travels and you will enjoy it for a long time.
Buy the ideal Backpack for you
If you want to orient yourself towards good backpacks, check some online shops and visit one of those outdoorshops.
My backpack is an Osprey Kyte 66. Osprey is a best known brand among the backpacks. I’m still very satisfied with my first backpack and I expect that I will use it on many trips.
It did a good job during my tour in Costa Rica and during my tour in Panama. Thanks to the back ventilation, it’s ideal for warm tropical countries. It fits a lot and it is super light. It comes with a rain cover so I didn’t have to buy it extra. The amount of compartments make it very convenient. It also looks nice. I mean, the eye wants something in the end, too. But don’t let the looks fool you! 😉
What I can not miss with a backpack is a good flight bag. With a flight bag you prevent your backpack from getting dirty and getting damage during the flight or bus trip. Many flight bags are waterproof, so you can also use them as a rain cover. Also useful during a wild boat trip!
Preferably choose one with a striking color so that its’ easily recognizable on the baggage belt. Also make sure that the zippers fit well so that you can put a lock on them.