How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack

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Having the right backpack for travel is essential to your ability to get around comfortably and to avoid the hassles that come with choosing a backpack ill suited for a trip. There are some key questions that can help you find the backpack that is perfect for your travels.

Marky Ramone Go in Kota Kinabalu
Marky Ramone Go in Kota Kinabalu – I like a backpack that is durable

The first question is, how long will your trip be? Is your trip and overnight trip, a weekend getaway, or will your trip be a week long or even longer? I have ruined daypacks right in the middle of airport security by packing a weekend’s worth of gear into the wrong size pack. If you want to avoid busted zippers and frustration, consider how big of a bag you will need to get through the trip with less trouble. Most backpacks are broken up into size by liters.

Gay Mitra Emami with Abner Mercado
Gay Mitra Emami with Abner Mercado – I like a backpack that is lightweight.

For example, a 20-50 liter backpack will work for 1-2 days, 50-60 liter backpack will work for 2-3 days, a 60-80 liter backpack will work for 3-5 days and, you will need a backpack of 80 liters or more for a trip of over 5 days depending on the length of your trip. These guidelines are fairly general and there is some overlap but using this range can help you narrow in on one or two sizes that will be compatible with your needs.

Monette Fernandez of Fliptravels.com
Monette Fernandez of Fliptravels.com – I like a backpack that is ergonomic

The second question is, what is your personal style? Are you looking for the lightest backpack out there, or are you more interested in comfort? Some people go for ultra light backpacking equipment. They measure every ounce of their gear right down to the weight of their backpack. If this is your style, then look for ultra light packs, or UL packs for short. However, if you prefer a more comfortable, yet more bulky pack, UL backpacks may not be for you. There is a broad range between UL minimalist backpacks to full comfort luxury backpacks.

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Last, what is your body type? For example, I have a fairly short torso and long legs, whereas my wife has a long torso and short legs. When we sit together we are the same height but when we stand, I am 6’ and she is 5’5”. This means we wear different backpacks that are set up differently. If I were to wear her backpack and if she were to wear mine, we would not only be uncomfortable, we would not be able to walk or hike very far in each other’s packs.

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