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How To Choose A Backpack? (Select The Right One for You)

Imagine this situation: you’re packing for a long-awaited trip, and you realize you forgot the most important item of all – your backpack. Whether you’re planning a weekend hiking trip, a month-long backpacking adventure, or simply commuting to work, a backpack is an essential accessory that can make or break your experience. But with so many sizes, styles, and features to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of selecting the perfect backpack for your needs. From size and capacity to fit and comfort, materials, and durability to organization and accessibility, we’ll cover it all. So whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or a first-time buyer, get ready to discover the secrets of how to choose a backpack that will have you trekking in style and comfort.

Importance of The Backpacks

A backpack is an essential piece of gear for any travel or outdoor adventure. It provides a convenient and comfortable way to carry all of your gear, from clothing to food and water. A well-chosen backpack can also protect your belongings from the elements and prevent discomfort or injury.

  • Convenience: A backpack is a hands-free way of carrying your essentials, leaving your hands free to handle other tasks such as holding a camera, a map or even using trekking poles.
  • Mobility: A backpack allows you to move quickly and efficiently, whether you’re navigating through crowded city streets or hiking up a mountain trail.
  • Comfort: Choosing the right backpack with a good fit and proper padding can ensure that the weight of your gear is distributed evenly across your back, reducing the risk of discomfort or injury.
  • Storage: A backpack allows you to carry all the necessary items you need for your adventure including clothing, food, water, and gear.
  • Accessibility: Many backpacks come with several compartments, pockets, and zippers to ensure that you can access your items easily, without having to unpack everything.
  • Organization: Backpacks often have specific pockets for various types of items, allowing you to keep everything in its place, and stay organized.
  • Durability: A high-quality backpack is designed to bear wear and tear, and the elements. Whether you’re facing rain, sun, or rough terrain, a good backpack can keep your items safe and dry.
  • Security: Many backpacks come with security features such as locks, zippers, and hidden compartments, allowing you to protect your valuable items.
  • Versatility: A backpack is suitable for various types of adventures, including hiking, camping, and traveling, making it a flexible piece of gear.
  • Style: Backpacks come in various designs and colors, allowing you to choose one that suits your personal style and preferences.
  • Wash – Mostly, backpacks are made up of durable and easy-to-dry material. So, after your travel, you can easily wash your backpack at home before moving on your next journey. The easy home washable backpack materials are cotton, jute, polypropylene, etc.

How to Choose A Backpack? (7 Quick Tips)

When it comes to choosing a backpack, there are many factors to consider. From size and capacity to materials and durability, it can be confusing to decide which backpack is right for you. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the key features to look for when you choose a backpack.

Materials & Durability

The materials and durability of a backpack are important considerations, as they can impact longevity and functionality of the backpack. Here are some additional factors to consider when selecting a backpack based on materials and durability:

  • Nylon: Nylon is a common material used in backpacks due to its durability, water resistance, and lightweight properties.
  • Polyester: Polyester is another popular material used in backpacks. It’s affordable, durable, and water-resistant, but not as lightweight as nylon.
  • Cordura: Cordura is a high-performance material that is extremely durable, abrasion-resistant, and water-resistant. Backpack manufacturers often use it in heavy-duty backpacks designed for outdoor adventures.
  • Leather: Leather backpacks are durable and stylish, but they require more maintenance and are often heavier than other materials.
  • Canvas: Backpacks designed for rugged use often use canvas, which is a heavier material. It is durable and abrasion-resistant, but not as water-resistant as nylon or polyester.
  • Hybrid Materials: Backpack manufacturers make some backpacks with a combination of materials, such as nylon and leather or canvas and polyester. These backpacks offer a balance of durability, weight, and style.

When selecting a backpack, consider the level of durability you need based on the activities you’ll be doing. For example, if you’ll be hiking or camping in rough terrain, choose a backpack made from durable materials such as Cordura. We have curated a list of travel buddies for you. Check out some of the top best travel backpacks for your adventures.

Size & Capacity

You are not sure what extra things you might require. That’s why make sure that your backpack has enough room to store your essentials. Choosing the right size and capacity is essential for a comfortable and convenient backpacking experience. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Activity: The type of activity you’ll be doing will determine the size and capacity of your backpack. For example, a daypack for hiking should be smaller and lighter than a multi-day backpacking pack.
  • Duration: The length of your trip will determine the amount of gear you need to bring, and therefore the size and capacity of your backpack.
  • Body Size: Your body size and frame will also determine the appropriate size of your backpack. A properly fitted backpack will distribute weight evenly and prevent discomfort or injury.
  • Gear: The amount and type of gear you’ll be carrying will determine the size and capacity of your backpack.
  • Extra Pockets: Choosing a backpack with extra pockets can be incredibly helpful in organizing your gear. You can use small pockets for items like a wallet or phone, while larger pockets can hold items like water bottles or rain gear. This way, you’ll be able to access your belongings quickly and easily.
  • Detachable: A backpack with detachable compartments allows for greater flexibility in packing. You can remove certain compartments to lighten your load or add more when you need extra storage. Moreover, you can use detachable compartments as smaller day packs or waist packs, making them a versatile option for any adventure.

Choose The Right Size Backpack For You

To choose a backpack (which is perfect), it has to be proportionate to your body and spacious enough to carry all your items. The right-fit backpack size is measured based on your torso length. To find the right size backpack, you have to consider the following things. 

  • Your Torso Length – Backpacks are available in multiple different sizes—from small to extra large. But, you should pick the backpack that fits your torso length. Measure your torso length and check out the backpack size guide for more clarity.
  • Your Hip Size – The major part of your backpack weight will be managed by your hips. So, it is recommended to buy adjustable backpack hip belts to accommodate your hip size. Once you measure it, you will get an idea what size fits you better.

Purpose & Use

Another important factor to consider when choosing a backpack is the specific purpose and use of the backpack to enhance your experience. Here are some additional considerations:

  • Travel: If you’re traveling, you’ll likely need a backpack that’s easy to carry and fits within the size requirements of airlines. Look for backpacks with padded shoulder straps and a hip belt for added comfort. Consider a backpack with a front-loading design for easy access to your belongings, and make sure it has lockable zippers for added security. Everyday backpacks can squeeze in all the travel essentials for a short trip. Check out the best everyday backpacks in our blog to get more details.
  • Hiking: For hiking, you’ll want a backpack that’s sturdy and comfortable for long treks. Look for backpacks with ventilation systems to reduce sweating and hot spots, and consider one with a hydration system to keep you hydrated on the trail. Make sure it has straps to secure your hiking poles, and choose a backpack with multiple compartments to keep your gear organized.
  • Adventures: If you’re planning on going on outdoor adventures like camping, backpacking, or mountaineering, you’ll need a backpack that’s designed for rugged use. Look for backpacks with durable materials like ripstop nylon or Cordura, and consider features like a hydration system, compression straps, and ice axe loops. Make sure the backpack has a frame to distribute weight evenly and provide stability on uneven terrain.
  • Commuting: If you’re using your backpack for commuting, look for one with a sleek design that fits a laptop and other work essentials. Choose a backpack with multiple compartments and pockets to keep your items organized, and make sure it has comfortable straps and a padded back panel for added comfort.
  • Work: For professionals, a backpack can be a practical and stylish way to carry work essentials. Look for backpacks with compartments for laptops and documents, as well as pockets for smaller items like phones and pens. Choose a backpack with comfortable straps and a padded back panel for added comfort during your commute. Consider a backpack with a professional look that matches your work attire. Additionally, if you’ll be carrying important and valuable documents, choose a backpack with lockable zippers for added security.
  • Photography: For photographers, a backpack can be a convenient way to carry camera gear and accessories. Look for backpacks with compartments specifically designed to hold cameras, lenses, and other equipment. Consider a backpack with a padded back panel and straps for added comfort during long days of shooting. Additionally, choose a backpack with weather-resistant materials to protect your gear in inclement weather.
  • Cycling: For cyclists, a backpack can be a practical way to carry gear and essentials during rides. Look for backpacks with a sleek design that won’t interfere with your cycling posture, and consider features like a hydration system and a helmet holder. Choose a backpack with comfortable straps and a padded back panel for added comfort during long rides. Additionally, consider a backpack with reflective details to increase visibility in low-light conditions.

Fit & Comfort

The fit & comfort of a backpack is crucial to its overall functionality and your enjoyment of it. If your backpack hurts your back or puts a strain on your shoulders, you can’t carry it for longer. And worst, you might injure yourself. Here are some additional factors to consider when selecting a backpack based on fit and comfort:

  • Torso Length: To ensure proper fit, measure your torso length and select a backpack that matches it. Most backpacks are adjustable to accommodate different torso lengths, but some are not. A backpack that is too long or too short for your torso will be uncomfortable and could cause pain or injury.
  • Hip Belt: A hip belt is an essential part of a backpack’s suspension system. It transfers weight from your shoulders to your hips, reducing strain on your back and shoulders. Look for a hip belt that is adjustable and padded for comfort.
  • Shoulder Straps: Shoulder straps should be padded and adjustable to ensure a comfortable fit. Look for backpacks with contoured straps that follow the natural curve of your shoulders, and make sure the straps are wide enough to distribute weight evenly.
  • Back Panel: The back panel of a backpack should be padded and breathable to reduce sweating and hot spots. Look for backpacks with mesh or ventilation channels for added breathability.
  • Load Lifters: Load lifters are straps that connect the top of the backpack to the shoulder straps, pulling the load closer to your body and improving balance. Look for backpacks with load lifters that are adjustable for a customized fit.
  • Sternum Strap: A sternum strap connects the two shoulder straps and helps distribute weight evenly across your chest. Look for backpacks with adjustable sternum straps to ensure a comfortable fit.
  • Weight Distribution: A well-fitting backpack should distribute weight evenly across your hips and shoulders. When trying on a backpack, make sure it feels balanced and doesn’t pull you backward or forwards.

Features of A Comfortable Backpack

  • Extra Handles: The backpacks with extra handles on the top or side can offer more flexibility to carry. When you are in a hurry, you can quickly hold your backpack from the top handle. Additionally, while hopping from one bus to another, handles make transportation easier. So, if you find a backpack with extra handles, that would be nice. 
  • Padded Shoulder Strap & Hip Belt: It is ideal to have padded shoulder straps and a hip belt to gain comfort and support while carrying a heavy bag. The padded shoulder straps can support your shoulders on long walking trips. And the hip belt can have a perfectly diverse weight on your hips. 
  • Lumbar Support: One comfortable backpack has lumbar support with a back panel so that you get sufficient support. Furthermore, proper airflow is maintained to protect the backpack from getting wet from body sweat. 

3 Tips to Wear A Perfect Backpack

  • Arrange the shoulder straps in a way that won’t put a strain on your back. 
  • To choose a backpack for traveling, ensure that it has natural padding that can arch according to your lower back shape to keep pressure off your back. 
  • Use the hip belt when you have to carry heavier loads for longer. The belt ensures no strain on your back and shoulders. 

Zippers

Lockable zippers are an important feature to consider when choosing a backpack, especially for travel or when carrying valuable items. Here are some additional factors to consider when selecting a backpack based on its lockable zippers:

  • Lock Compatibility: Check if the backpack is compatible with standard padlocks or combination locks. Some backpacks come with built-in lockable zippers or locking systems, which can provide added security.
  • Number of Zippers: Consider the number of zippers on the backpack and if they are all lockable. It’s important to have multiple compartments and pockets, but if they can’t be secured, it can be a security risk.
  • Quality of Zippers: Look for backpacks with high-quality zippers that are durable and can withstand frequent use. YKK zippers are considered to be the industry standard for quality.
  • Ease of Use: Make sure the lockable zippers are easy to use and don’t require complicated or time-consuming locking mechanisms. A good lockable zipper should be easy to open and close, even with one hand.
  • TSA-Approved Locks: If you’re traveling by air, consider using TSA-approved locks. These locks can be opened by TSA agents without damaging the lock, which can save time and hassle during security checks.

However, if you don’t want to buy an extra lock for your backpack, you can get backpacks with the following zipper options:

  • Auto Lock Slider – This slider will automatically lock when you stop pulling the zipper. 
  • Pin Lock Slider – This system zipper lock has a pin inserted into the slider that locks when the zipper isn’t moving. It will prevent unwanted slider moments. 
  • Double Pull Slider – It is the same system as the pin lock slider with two sliders to pull the zipper. 
  • Key Lock Slider – This slider comes with a separate key to lock the zipper. This will be very useful when you have to lock your backpack at the airport or carry important documents. 

Pro Tip: Always buy a backpack with two zippers to easily lock them together. When you are purchasing locks for your backpack, always get TSA-friendly locks. These locks have a special release valve that facilitates TSA to open locks without breaking them. They are easily available at local retail stores like Walmart or Target.

Accessibility

Accessibility is an important consideration when choosing a backpack, especially if you need to access your gear frequently. Here are some additional factors to consider when selecting a backpack based on its accessibility:

  • Front-Loading vs. Top-Loading: Decide if you prefer a backpack that opens from the top or one that opens from the front. A front-loading backpack allows you to easily access all of your gear without having to dig through layers of items. Top-loading backpacks are generally more water-resistant and can be easier to pack.
  • Compartments & Pockets: Consider the number and size of compartments and pockets in the backpack. Multiple compartments and pockets allow you to organize your gear and access it quickly.
  • External Access: Look for backpacks that have external pockets or attachment points for items that you need to access frequently, such as water bottles or a camera.
  • Removable Daypacks: If you plan to do day trips from a base camp, look for backpacks that have a removable daypack. This allows you to leave the bulk of your gear at camp and take only what you need for the day.
  • Wearing Accessibility: Make sure the backpack is designed for easy access while wearing it. Some backpacks have side access panels or a sling design that allows you to quickly reach items without having to take off the backpack.

Pro Tip: When choosing a backpack, accessibility is crucial to consider. Look for a front-loading or top-loading backpack with multiple compartments and pockets. External access and removable daypacks can also provide convenient accessibility, while side access panels or a sling design allow quick access without taking off the backpack.

Style & Design

Style and design may not be the most important factor when selecting a backpack, but they can still play a role in your decision. Here are some additional things to consider when it comes to the style and design of your backpack:

  • Color & Pattern: Backpacks come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Consider choosing a color or pattern that reflects your personal style, but keep in mind that brighter colors may be easier to spot if you’re traveling or hiking in low-light conditions.
  • Brand: Some people prefer to purchase a backpack from a particular brand that they trust or admire. Research different brands to find one that aligns with your values and meets your needs.
  • Aesthetics: Consider the overall aesthetics of the backpack, including the shape, size, and design elements. Some backpacks are designed to be sleek and minimalist, while others are more rugged and functional.
  • Gender-Specific Backpacks: Many backpacks are designed specifically for men or women, with differences in shoulder strap placement and padding, hip belts, and torso length. Choose a backpack that is designed to fit your body type.
  • Fashion vs. Function: While style is important, don’t sacrifice function for fashion. Choose a backpack that meets your practical needs first and foremost, and then consider style and design as secondary factors.

Top Budget Backpack Brands Online

If you’re looking for a high-quality backpack that meets your needs for travel, hiking, work, or other adventures, it’s important to choose a reputable brand that you can trust. With so many brands and retailers offering backpacks online, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start your search. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top backpack brands available online. These brands are known for their quality, durability, and practical features that make them ideal for all types of outdoor activities.

The price of a backpack is determined based on quality, design aesthetics, and craftsmanship. You’ll find a different price range of backpacks from various brands like North Face, Osprey, and Gregory in the market. One basic backpack can cost between $150-$400, whereas top-end backpacks can go beyond $1500. So, choosing a backpack also widely depends upon your budget and requirements. 

Top 5 Backpack Brands

FAQs

How do I find the right backpack for me?

To find the right backpack for you, consider factors such as the purpose, duration of use, your body size, and the capacity required. Look for backpacks that are comfortable, durable, have adjustable straps, hip belts for a customizable fit, and have practical features that suit your needs.

How do you determine backpack size?

The capacity of the backpack determines the backpack size and manufacturers measure it in liters. To determine the right size backpack, consider the duration of the activity, the number of items you need to carry, and the size of the items. Backpacks with a capacity between 20-30 liters are suitable for day hikes, while backpacks with a capacity of 40 liters or more are suitable for multi-day trips.

What materials are best for a durable backpack?

Look for backpacks made from high-quality materials such as nylon, polyester, or Cordura. These materials exhibit durability and resistance to tears and abrasions.

Is it better to size up or down a backpack?

It is better to choose a backpack that fits your body size and needs, rather than sizing up or down. A backpack that is too large or too small can cause discomfort, back pain, or make it difficult to carry your belongings.

How do you choose the right backpack for your height?

When you choose a backpack for your height, you should look for backpacks that are sized according to your torso length. You can measure your torso length by measuring the distance between the base of your neck and the top of your hip bones. For the best fit, look for backpacks that design to fit your torso length.

What features should I look for in a backpack?

Features to look for in a backpack depend on the purpose and activity. For instance, a backpack for hiking should have a hydration system, while a backpack for work should have compartments for organization and a padded laptop sleeve.

What is the average lifespan of a backpack?

The quality of materials and frequency of use can vary the lifespan of a backpack. On average, a high-quality backpack can last between 5-10 years with proper care and maintenance

What is the difference between internal frame and external frame backpacks?

Internal frame backpacks have a support structure built into the backpack, while external frame backpacks have a visible frame on the outside. Internal frame backpacks are generally more comfortable and streamlined, while external frame backpacks are better for heavy loads and uneven terrain.

Choose A Backpack For You Now!

The definition of the perfect backpack is different for everyone. Choosing the right backpack for your needs is essential for any purpose. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a months-long trek, having a reliable and comfortable backpack can make all the difference. We’ve covered the key factors to consider when selecting a backpack, from materials & durability to style & design.

There are many great backpack brands out there, and we hope that this guide has helped you in making an informed decision. Whether you’re looking for a backpack for travel, everyday use, hiking, photography, or any other purpose, be sure to check out some of the top brands available online. From high-quality materials to innovative features, these brands offer some of the best backpacks on the market. So, get out there and find your perfect backpack, and happy adventuring!

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