Looking to invest in a new backpack? Whether you’re an urban traveler bouncing from hostel to hostel. Or an ultralight backpacker maximizing your packing efficiency for a trail. Choosing the right backpack for travel is of paramount importance. An ill-fitting piece of crucial gear in your arsenal not only will diminish your experience but can also cause extreme discomfort and in some cases, injury.
Choosing the right backpack for travel
Regardless of function, here are a few things to keep in mind that will assist you in making the right decision.
1. Volume capacity and weight limit
Are you going out for a day hike? Or are you in it for the long haul? The volume of your pack is determined by function. Many packs have attachments and lids than can increase your space by a few liters and be removed for shorter trips. Additionally, each pack has a recommended weight limit that should be adhered to. If you overpack or fill out your bag unevenly, the structure of your frame might not be able to perform, regardless of design!
As always, it depends on function and design.
Many brands feature customizable pieces to adapt to your specific body type. It is important to consider how the weight of your load is distributed and balanced symmetrically. Though much of this is determined by packing method, it doesn’t matter how well you pack if your bag doesn’t fit! Think “snug”, but without constricting airflow.
Most of your weight should be resting above your hips, so be sure your hip belt has room to be tightened. If not, then your shoulders will absorb too much of the load. This can lead to immediate and long-term problems. Always adjust your hip belt first, then shoulder straps, then sternum strap. Additionally, make sure your frame is properly sized to match your torso. If you have a small frame, your pack should also!
3. Packing Method
A common misconception is that your heaviest item should be on the bottom and packed first. This is not entirely true when you consider how weight will accumulate to rest on your lumbar or lower back. It’s important to keep your heaviest item above your hips and as close to your back as possible as to not throw off your balance or sag too far below as the day progresses. Consider packing something like a sleeping bag or extra clothing on the bottom to fill out and maximize space, only after resting your more weighty pieces towards the middle.
Lastly, remember to keep frequently-used items handy. This will also be determined by the style of your gear and how easily you prefer to have access to certain pieces. For example, a raincoat, some cash, a map, compass, travel itinerary or other essentials may be best served in a handy pocket, so consider your needs before choosing how many/what kind of outside attachments exist on your pack.
Don’t forget insurance!
Whatever you do, don’t forget about insurance. I personally use Safetywing insurance for Digital Nomads. But that will only cover your medical expenses. So if you need something more comprehensive then it’s World Nomads all the way!
As always, your preference plays a key role in your decision. There are many styles and designs to choose from, and the options go on in every direction. Just keep in mind these factors, and you should be well-equipped to equip yourself.
Miles Cottingham – Texas-bred vegan chef, musician, writer, trail-wanderer and backpacking guide with an affinity for the extreme and the obscure. A firm advocate of human rights and environmental stewardship.
This post was proofread by Grammarly
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.