Backpacking is a form of low-cost travel, which often includes staying in inexpensive accommodation options and carrying all necessary possessions in a backpack. Once seen as a marginal form of travel, it has become a mainstream form of travelling. Backpackers travel light and carry only what they need and are willing to carry. Most if not all of their possession is in the backpack.

One of the most essential items when it comes to backpacking, is the backpack. This is where you put your travelling essentials be it clothes, laptops, cameras, shoes, food, drinks etc. Having the right backpack makes your backpacking trip stress free and less cumbersome as you don’t have to keep pulling something behind your back (suitcase) and your hands are free. But, how do you choose the best travel backpack?

Choosing the right backpack takes time but when you know what you are looking for, it will be easy. It is like choosing an avocado lol. I am going to share some of the pointers you need to look out for so that you can get the right one.

What kind of traveller are you?

Choosing the right backpack comes down to the type of traveller you are. Are you a flash packer,a business traveller, an adventurer, a luxury traveller or a backpacker? All these travellers need different types of backpacks. When you know what kind of traveller you are, it is easier to know what you will look for in a backpack.

Also read: What type of traveller are you?

What are you carrying?

Always put into considerations the things you will be carrying during your trip. If it is just clothes and shoes, laptops, cameras, water, sleeping bag etc. Depending on the things you carry, your backpack will be different from others. The more things you carry, the bigger the bag. Read: My top ten travel essentials.


Make sure your backpack is light. The backpack should be lighter than your luggage. A lighter backpack allows you to carry heavier luggage and vice versa. Considering the fact that airports charge luggage according to their weight, you don’t want your bag to be the heaviest thing you have. The lighter the bag, the more luggage you can carry.

Size and Capacity.

Did you now that backpacks are measured in litres? For a day’s trip you will need about 15-30 litres. A weekend/week getaway 35-45 litres and for long term trips you need 50-65 litres. So depending on how long you will be travelling, the backpack you choose should cater for that.


Straps play a very important role when it come to choosing the right backpack. Make sure your backpack has padded straps as you are going to be carrying it for quite sometime. Padded straps help you avoid back pains and sore shoulders after a long day. Also consider getting one that has a waist and sternum strap so that the weight is evenly spread.

If the backpack comes with top or side handles, they will be of great help when you are tired of carrying the backpack on your back.

How to choose the best travel backpack.
Courtesy of Amazon

Front Loading

Most bags are always top loading meaning that you load your items from bottom to top. When you have to remove the bottom item, you have to remove everything from the top until you reach the bottom. This is tiresome. Get a front loading backpack that opens like a suitcase. This will lessen the time needed to look for items in the bag.

How to choose the best travel backpack.


A great backpack should have lockable zippers in that you can lock your things in and keep them safe. The zippers should also be big enough to avoid struggling when opening and closing the bag.

Water proof

You never know when the weather might change while you are travelling. Make sure the material used to make the backpack is waterproof so as to avoid getting your luggage wet when it rains. Other backpack come with an extra water proof cover.

Multiple compartments

The more compartments the better because you are able to separate your luggage. If you are a business traveller or a digital nomad you should look for a backpack that has a laptop/camera compartment to avoid carrying an extra bag. Having an extra compartment for putting your water bottle is also essential.

How to choose the best travel backpack

If with the above pointers, you still have difficulties in choosing the right backpack, feel free to ask your seller to choose for you. Give them details on the kind of bag you want and the budget, and they will be able to help you the best fit.

Also read: How to stay cyber safe when travelling.